All posts by Kate Collins

Things We Will (Probably) Miss: Our Old Elevator

As the Rubenstein Library moves out of our space in original West Campus library building, it also means we won’t be using the 1928 elevator to carry us through all seven floors of the building anymore. Inside the Elevator While I could never decide if I found this elevator endearing or frightening, I think I’m going to miss its old school charms.   It has a heavy metal door and a brass gate that need to be opened and closed by hand, as well as instructions on how to use the button and the door and gate.

Instructions on how to operate elevator

If you want a chance to experience the thrills of Otis yourself, here’s a little video of a trip from the third floor up to the sixth floor in our former home.

Rubenstein Library Moving December 17th – January 6th

Rubenstein Library Move Logo

Over the past year we’ve enveloped our books, trayed our books, used lots of post-it notes, and found many interesting things in the stacks, and now it’s time for us to get moving!

Between December 17th, 2012 and January 6th 2013 we will be closed while we relocate our workspaces and collections to our new space. We will reopen to the public on January 7, 2013 in our new temporary reading room: the third floor of Perkins Library!

Staff will have been relocated by January 7th, but our collections will be moving until February 17th, 2013. Access to collections and reference services will be limited while we finish moving them.

If you’re planning a research trip we strongly encourage you to come after February 17th.  If you just can’t wait and need to come between January 7, 2013 and February 17, 2013, please contact us at least four days before your visit so we can make sure we have the material you want to use.

We’ll miss you while we’re closed, but we’re excited to have you visit us in our new home!  If you have any questions about our move or the library renovation in general check out our Information for Researchers and Visitors and our Renovation FAQ, and if you still have lingering questions let us know.

Durham Tobacco History, In a Box

As a new research services librarian at the Rubenstein Library, it’s been fascinating to explore what we have in the library. People have this idea that our collections are made up of only old books and paper, but our holdings are far more diverse than that, as I’m sure our blog readers know. Recently, a researcher was looking at a box from the Julian Shakespeare Carr Papers and when they returned the box I noticed it was oddly light and also labeled as fragile. Curious, I opened the box to find strange dark brown lumps sealed in plastic bags.

Box 2 of the Julian Shakespeare Carr Papers
Box 2 of the Julian Shakespeare Carr Papers
Tobacco Twists
Tobacco Twists

Fortunately there was small piece of paper in the box explaining that I was looking at tobacco twists from 1885 that were made in Durham, N.C. by the W. T. Blackwell & Company, which Julian Shakespeare Carr became a partner of in 1871. Tobacco twists were made by braiding and twisting tobacco leaves together into a sort of rope that could then be knotted or coiled, like these examples. While tobacco twists are strange looking today, they were one of the most common forms of tobacco in the 1800s. Consumers could cut off as much tobacco as they needed, whether it was headed for their pipe for smoking or straight into their mouths for chewing.

Bull Durham Cigarettes
Bull Durham Cigarettes

However, in the late 19th century Americans began to move away from chewing tobacco and pipes toward cigarettes. This box contains another Blackwell & Company product: Bull Durham cigarettes. These cigarettes are still wrapped in their paper pack, so you can’t get a good look at them, but if you could you would find filterless, hand-rolled cigarettes. At this time the cigarette production hadn’t been mechanized so it was an incredibly time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Even the best factory workers were only able to roll 4 or 5 cigarettes a minute.

Blackwell’s competitor and Durham neighbor,  W. Duke, Sons & Company pioneered the use of the recently invented cigarette rolling machine in 1884, enabling them to produce up to 200 cigarettes a minute from one machine and sell those cigarettes at a substantially lower cost. By the end of the century W. Duke, Sons & Company became the dominant tobacco company in Durham and the country, and Blackwell & Company and its Bull Durham brand eventually ended up as part of the Duke’s growing tobacco empire.

Post contributed by Kate Collins, Research Services Librarian.

 

The Extravagant Shadows Screening

Date: Friday, November 30th, 2012
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: Biddle Rare Book Room, Perkins Library, Duke University
Contact Information: Kirston Johnson, kirston.johnson(at)duke.edu

Please join us this Friday at 3:00pm for a screening of The Extravagant Shadows, David Gatten’s new work of digital cinema. Gatten is an award-winning filmmaker and Guggenheim fellow, and is currently a Lecturing Fellow and Artist in Residence with Duke University’s Program in Arts of the Moving Image.  Earlier this year he was named one of the fifty best filmmakers under fifty by Cinema Scope magazine.

Still from The Extravagant Shadows
Still from The Extravagant Shadows

Fourteen years in the making, The Extravagant Shadows is a film concerned with libraries, reading, letters, and lovers.   It premiered at the 50th annual New York Film Festival and has received widespread acclaim.

Still from The Extravagant Shadows
Still from The Extravagant Shadows

“David Gatten’s first digital work, The Extravagant Shadows, undertakes the head-scratching question of what it would mean for a film to be of its textual sources. A historical narrative of love separated across space and time is embedded in various codes and correspondences, all of it pocked by ellipsis and obscurity, never unfolding so much as digressing, disclosing, doubling back.”  – Max Goldberg, Fandor 

“Gatten […] lays long excerpts, condensations, and re-writings of text upon the image itself, so that looking at the image is as much about seeing as it is reading—if these two activities can even be separated. The text tells a looping, broken and elliptical tale of love across distances, love missed and time passed, of communicating via letter, manuscript, telegraph, […] notes, novelization, monologues and memories across and within these spaces. Of the lost meanings, allusive facts and fixtures, of the supreme ambiguity of purposes, of a sense of time, of narrative to be found between, around and inside text and its transmissions to the reader.” – Daniel Kasman, Love in the Painted Image,” MUBI

This event is sponsored by the Archive of Documentary Arts, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and the “Thinking Cinematics Working Group” with support from the Franklin Humanities Institute and the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image at Duke University.

 

The Spiritual is Political

With generous assistance from a 2012 Mary Lily Research Grant, I visited the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture this past summer to conduct research for my dissertation, “The Spiritual is Political: How the Southern Baptist Convention Debated Feminism and Found the New Right.”

I focused primarily on records in the Resource Center for Women in Ministry in the South collection.  The Resource Center was founded by Jeanette Stokes in 1977 to provide support for women who were in ministerial leadership roles.  Its extensive archival records at Duke University include back issues of its publication, “South of the Garden,” materials from its annual “Women in Ministry in North Carolina” conferences, and the newsletters and paraphernalia of affiliated religious organizations.

newsletter image
Illustration from the “Southern Baptists for Family and Equal Rights” newsletter. From the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South records.

In my examination of the Resource Center files, I came across an interesting collection of newsletters for Southern Baptists in North Carolina who supported feminism in the 1970s and 1980s.  These newsletters were produced by “Southern Baptists for the Family and Equal Rights,” or SBFER, an organization formed in 1981 to create support for the Equal Rights Amendment and issues related to women’s health and welfare in the North Carolina Baptist Convention and in state politics.SBFER was short-lived, lasting less than five years. Though it failed to attract considerable support in the national denomination, it enjoyed limited success as a local organization.  After its efforts to promote the ERA in the state were unsuccessful and the deadline for ERA ratification came and went, the organization turned its focus to women’s ordination and other expressions of feminism in the Southern Baptist Convention.  After 1985, however, the organization began to decline as it became clear that the denomination was not returning to a moderate course.The SBFER’s newsletters are crucial for my dissertation as they provide evidence of grassroots feminism within the Southern Baptist Convention at a time when the denomination was reversing course on many issues regarding gender equality, in full retreat from moderate positions it had taken in the 1970s.  These materials from the early 1980s reveal strong dissenting views, which complicate the narrative of the Southern Baptist Convention’s right turn on social issues.  SBFER aimed to throw a wrench in the plans of the denomination’s new conservative leaders. And while they were unable to stop the Southern Baptist Convention from aligning itself with the Religious Right, they did succeed in keeping women’s issues part of denominational dialogue in the 1980s.

Post contributed by Laura J. Foxworth, Ph.D. candidate,  University of South Carolina, Department of History.

Nancy Fletcher on Outdoor Advertising

Date: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Time: 5:00 PM reception, 6:00 PM talk
Location: Gothic Reading Room, Perkins Library
Contact information: Jacqueline Reid Wachholz, 919-660-5836 or j.reid(at)duke.edu.

The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History at Duke University celebrates its 20th Anniversary in 2012 with a lecture series of advertising luminaries. Please join us next Thursday for the fourth talk in the series.

Nancy Fletcher, CEO of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) will talk about Outdoor Advertising: Unified Vision. Bold Future. Outdoor advertising is one of the oldest forms of media in existence, dating back to the circus posters of the 1800’s. Since those early days, outdoor advertising has constantly evolved to adapt to new markets, formats, technology, and opportunities. Please join us and take another look at one of the fastest-growing advertising media around. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the lecture series website.

This 20th Anniversary Lecture Series event is sponsored by the Duke University Office of the Provost, Fuqua School of Business, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Markets & Management Studies, Duke Marketing Club, NCOAA, SCOAA, Fairway Outdoor Advertising, and Adams Outdoor.

Post contributed by Jacqueline Reid Wachholz, Director of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History.