The following excerpt is from Dr. Cecilia Marquez, Hunt Family Assistant Professor of History. Dr. Marquez was one of the speakers at an event celebrating the exhibition, Our History, Our Voice/Nuestra Historia, Nuestra Voz. The exhibition was on display in the Chappell Family Gallery from January through July 2022.
I came to Duke as an Assistant Professor in the History Department in August 2019. Nine months later, just after I had found a doctor, a grocery store, and a routine, the world shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with my students, I was reaching for some kind normalcy and some kind of optimism in what was an increasingly bleak world of quarantines, Zoom calls, and isolation. The exhibition Our History, Our Voice/Nuestra Historia, Nuestra Voz can’t be understood outside of this context. As much as the exhibition was a call for recognition, it also became a way to build community when we were scattered across several states.
It feels almost clichéd to say I learned as much from my students as I taught them, and yet it’s true. The students I have encountered at Duke, and those who curated this project, are some of the most resilient and dedicated young people I have ever known. I watched these undergrads withstand an unprecedented and generational trauma because of COVID-19. Through that they produced something truly beautiful and supported each other in the process. Their vision and dedication to this project was the fuel that made it all possible.
“In high school, as an AP US history student, my burning question was constantly: where are Latinos in US history? Where were we in the Civil War? Where were we in World War II, and in other big moments in US history? That was my constant burning question.” —Elizabeth Barahona
The exhibition is a testament to all parts of Duke really working together: faculty, staff, and students. Too often the emphasis at Duke is on faculty and students but this exhibition would not have been possible without library staff who led the way as we learned what it meant to create an exhibition.
During this project, Assistant University Archivist Amy McDonald taught dozens of my students how to discover and engage with archival material. Meg Brown, head of Exhibition Services, taught them how to make an exhibit, construct a project, and reimagine it again and again. Teaching Latinx history these past two years was a collaborative endeavor with Amy, Meg, and my co-conspirator in this project, Senior Lecturer in Romance Studies, Joan Munné, as we imagined this exhibition and brought it to fruition. At every step, I was reminded that the work we do at Duke is a collective and community effort that is not possible without the library and its staff.
“[This exhibit] It’s history in the making. You are witnessing history right now. It’s time to hear about those other stories. Those brown stories that have been here, but are not told because no one is asking us or writing about us.” —Elmer Orellana
It is my hope that this exhibition is the beginning of telling the history of Latinxs at Duke, not the end. There are many voices that were not represented in the exhibition, maybe some reading this now. The exhibit opened during Black History Month, making us acutely aware that Black Latinx students could not attend Duke until March 1961, when Duke first accepted Black students. Generations of Latinx students were systematically excluded as a result of Duke’s racist admissions policies. Early research from Dr. Javier Wallace, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke, suggests that during this time Black Latinx students found a home at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). The absence of their stories in the early period of the exhibition is notable and an urgently needed future direction of this project. In the process of constructing this exhibition and future projects like this one, we also construct a fuller and more representative archive of what the Latinx community looks like at Duke.
Nuestra Historia was sponsored by the Duke University Libraries and the following Duke entities: Latino/a Studies in the Global South Program, History Department, Romance Studies Department, the Provosts’ office, Dean Valerie Ashby, the Dean of Humanities, the Forum for Scholars and Publics, and the Franklin Humanities Institute who funded a Story+ Program to continue the work of this exhibit in the digital sphere.
Post contributed by Zachary Tumlin (Project Archivist for the Economists’ Papers Archive), Andrew Armacost (Head of Collection Development), Laura Micham (Director of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture), and Vincent Carret (2021-2022 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar and 2022 Summer in the Archives Fellow).
On Monday, June 27th, around two dozen participants in the Center for the History of Political Economy’s (HOPE Center) 2022 Summer Institute met with four staff members from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library for a showing of items from the Economists’ Papers Archive (a joint venture between the HOPE Center and Rubenstein Library). The Summer Institute was started in 2010 with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is a two-week long annual event that brings together faculty and PhD students in economics to examine various topics in the history of the field. This year’s focus was on preparing participants to design and teach their own undergraduate-level course on the history of economic thought, along with showing how such concepts and ideas might be introduced into other classes. The instructors were Duke faculty members Bruce Caldwell (HOPE Center Director), Steven Medema, and Jason Brent.
What follows are contributions from Andrew Armacost (Head of Collection Development), Laura Micham (Director of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture), Zachary Tumlin (Project Archivist for the Economists’ Papers Archive), and Vincent Carret (2021-2022 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar and 2022 Summer in the Archives Fellow) about what they displayed during this event.
While many of the collections in the Economists’ Papers Archive relate to documenting the careers of individual economists, the archive also holds some related collections that offer a larger context for the history and range of work that encompasses this discipline.
Starting at the bottom right and going clockwise, one goal of the Archive is to chronicle the historical development of the field, and a key early work in this narrative is Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. This work explores the role of markets, international trade, and economic decision making. In it, Smith famously describes market forces acting as an “invisible hand” that guides economic decision making.
The Archive also holds organizational papers, including those of the American Economic Association (AEA; founded in 1885) and its journal American Economic Review. These papers represent more than a century of economic thought and the participation of a broad range of economists, and include correspondence from international economists like John Maynard Keynes, who corresponded on behalf of the Royal Economic Society.
The Archive also holds the papers of economists working in government, such as Federal Reserve Chairman Arthur Burns, who served during the Nixon administration. This collection preserves correspondence between the President and Chairman and their discussions related to economic policy and decisions related to the administration’s ending of the gold standard for US currency.
The Economists’ Papers Archive holds the papers of several prominent women economists, such as Anita Arrow Summers, Anna Schwartz, Juanita Morris Kreps, Charlotte Phelps, and Barbara Bergmann. Though these scholars emerged from a range of backgrounds and intellectual traditions, and each took different professional paths, they all seem to have been animated by an interest in living independent lives and a realization that financial independence was crucial to that goal.
During this event, I shared materials from each of these collections that offer a window into these women’s contributions to the field of economics and to society:
Bottom left: Professor Arrow Summers’s graduate student work during the mid-1940s in the University of Chicago Economics Department.
Bergmann’s archival collection consists of published writings, including congressional testimony, as well as research and project files, and a selection of career awards and books from her library. One of the manuscripts included in the display is “A ‘cost-sharing’ formula for child support payments.” This undated piece was written in pencil on sheets from a legal pad, copiously revised, meticulously calculated, and thoroughly argued. She published several scholarly and journalistic articles on the topic of child support, some likely emerging from this piece, including an article co-authored with Professor Sherry Wetchler in Family Law Quarterly, Fall 1995, Vol. 29, No. 3, “Child Support Awards: State Guidelines vs. Public Opinion” [Duke NetID required for access].
Since I began in February, I have been processing a new acquisition: the Marc L. Nerlove papers. The papers primarily document the professional career of economist Marc Nerlove, who specializes in agricultural economics and econometrics (the use of economic theory, mathematics, and statistics to quantify economic phenomena). Upon his election to the AEA as a Distinguished Fellow in 2012, he was recognized for creating a widely used template having to do with the dynamics of agricultural supply, pioneering the development of modern time series methods and the analysis of panel data in econometrics, and being the first to apply duality theory to estimate production functions. During his 60-year career, he held appointments at Johns Hopkins, Minnesota, Stanford, Yale, Chicago, Northwestern, Pennsylvania, and Maryland; worked as a consultant at the World Bank, International Food Policy Research Institute, and RAND Corporation; and was awarded the 1969 John Bates Clark Medal from the AEA.
Like what Vincent will detail next about the highly influential economics department at Chicago, I chose material that showcases his own connections there:
Material related to his father, Samuel H. Nerlove, who came to the U. S. from Russia as a toddler in 1904 with his parents, who settled in Chicago; Samuel was a professor in business economics at Chicago from 1923-1965:
1939 syllabus for Business Economics 1.
1972 letter and eulogy from former student and then U. S. House Representative Sidney Yates.
Volume 22, number 2 of issues/ideas (Graduate School of Business magazine) from 1974, sent by Dean James Harper at the request of Nerlove’s mother Evelyn (with letter indicating this); includes article “Hunt’s ‘Why’ Unveiled” about unveiling of artist Richard’s Hunt sculpture “Why”, commissioned by the Samuel H. Nerlove Memorial Fund.
Material from his time as a student at Chicago and Johns Hopkins:
1953 letter from economist John Nash (subject of the book and filmA Beautiful Mind), apparently in response to a letter from Nerlove with a question about utility function.
Draft of introduction to Studies in the Quantity Theory of Money by Milton Friedman (published in 1956) and class notes for Friedman’s 1955 course on the same topic (including doddles of trains, a subject Nerlove would write about early in his career in the context of railroads).
Material from his time as a professor at Chicago from 1969-1974:
8×10 inch black and white headshot.
Letter from his secretary Gloria Feigenbaum upon his departure for Northwestern (pictued right), as well as a candid print of the two of them. Such staff maintained his on-campus files, which are now part of this archival collection, but these people can become invisible without thoughtful description. In this letter, she expresses how he had occasionally forgotten his purpose (research), interfered in matters that were her responsibility (administrative), and prevented her from exercising the degree of initiative that she was used to and capable of, but that she chosen to remain quiet to preserve their good working relationship.
Folder of early 1970s material from the Political Economy Club at Chicago (graduate student group). It includes three issues of their Journal of Progressive Hedonists Against Rational Thought (JPHART), a caricature of Nerlove that has him beside the White Rabbit and someone as Alice from one of his favorite books—Alice in Wonderland (these sketches appeared at the end of each issue of JPHART), a script of a skit set in the department that mentions Nerlove, and a copy of Sir Dennis H. Robertson’s poem “The Non-Econometrician’s Lament.”
What brings together Leonid Hurwicz, Paul Samuelson, Don Patinkin, and Oskar Lange? Apart from the fact that they were all major economists by any standard (two of them received the Nobel Prize), they were also all affiliated with the University of Chicago at some point.
In the material I presented, this connection is the link between them. Starting at the bottom right and going counterclockwise are a few of Patinkin’s student notebooks, of which there are dozens. At Chicago, Patinkin attended classes taught by the likes of Jacob Viner, Frank Knight, Jacob Marschak, and Oskar Lange—in particular, Lange’s course on Mathematical Economics and Stability Analysis held during the first half of the 1940s.
It was on this very subject of economic stability that Lange corresponded with Samuelson, who earned his undergraduate degree from Chicago. Their letters on the stability of an economic model called general equilibrium were exchanged in 1942, before Lange published his 1944 Cowles Commission monograph on Price Flexibility and Full Employment. These letters, shown here next to Patinkin’s notes, were duly kept by Samuelson and are now available in his collection of papers, rich in hundreds of folders of correspondence with almost every economist of the 20th century.
At one point in their correspondence, Samuelson asks Lange if he could name a few outstanding graduate students at Chicago, as he was looking for a new assistant. The first name on Lange’s list was that of Leonid Hurwicz, a young Polish immigrant who had arrived in Chicago at the beginning of the 1940s after fleeing Europe. Hurwicz became the assistant of Samuelson, now an Assistant Professor at MIT, in 1941, before coming back to Chicago to work in the Meteorology Department during the war. His papers, which I am currently reprocessing, trace his distinguished career at the University of Minnesota, where he stayed at for more than a half century after being recruited in 1951. For his creation of the field of mechanism design theory (the study of efficient allocation of resources), Hurwicz was jointly awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize at age 90.
In addition to Hurwicz’s correspondence and early manuscripts of his publications, I found in his papers the dissertation of Patinkin, which he annotated [this finding aid will be updated in September after reprocessing is completed]. Among Hurwicz’s many notes taken at seminars and conferences, one often finds more or less elaborate doodles—although the word doodle does not do justice to the intricacies of the abstract geometrical forms that are peppered throughout sixty years of thinking about economics!
Join us for a zoom-based reading and conversation with author Sallie Bingham on Thursday, June 9, at 2:00 p.m. ET (Register here: https://duke.is/cm8ce). In her latest memoir, Little Brother, Bingham reflects on her youngest sibling, Jonathan, a deeply sensitive person who suffered from insecurity, isolation, and difficulty relating to his large family. Bingham draws from archived material including the young man’s journal and letters. As in each of her previous memoirs, in addition to bringing these documents to life she offers critical historical context and makes vital connections across generations to create an intimate portrait of her complex family.Sallie Bingham is a writer, teacher, feminist activist, and philanthropist. In addition to Little Brother, Sallie’s recent books include a collection of short stories, a novella, and a play, entitled Treason: A Sallie Bingham Reader (Sarabande Books, 2020) and The Silver Swan: Searching for Doris Duke (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020).
In 1988, Sallie Bingham endowed a women’s studies archivist position in what is now known as the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, to coordinate the acquisition, cataloguing, reference and outreach activities related to women and gender. The Center was permanently endowed in 1993 and was named the “Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture” in 1999 in honor of Bingham.
Post contributed by Roger Peña, MLIS Student at UNC Greensboro and Josiah Charles Trent History of Medicine Intern
“We give a written guarantee that our appliance will cure the diseases mentioned…”
“Indoresed[sic] by the government!”
“Every man and woman troubled with weak and languid feelings, nervous, rheumatic, or organic disorders should wear the… electropathic belt”
“Diseases that are now treated successfully by vibration… (colic, gallstones, impotency, insomnia, paralysis, spinal curvature)” See Image for full list.
“Vibration and Electricity are the most natural remedies known.”
The statements above were just a sample of the testimonials and claims found in advertisements, sales brochures, and user manuals for electrotherapy devices on display in Good Vibrations. Electrotherapy, or the “use of electric currents passed through the body to stimulate nerves and muscles” gained notoriety from the mid 1800s and into the 1920s. Consumers and patients were eager to explore the endless possibilities of electricity to cure their medical ailments and improve their vitality. Eager to reach new customers and with little-to-no government oversight, producers of medical batteries, electric suspension belts, and electric rejuvenators claimed that their devices could cure nearly all diseases – many with a money-back guarantee if it didn’t work!
Though widely regarded as a modern innovation, the use of electricity in medicine dates back to ancient Rome, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece. Centuries ago, these civilizations attempted to harness electricity from eels and catfish to cure ailments such as gout and baldness. We all remember the story of Benjamin Franklin flying a kite. Turns out: this may have been an experiment with medical purposes. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein has its protagonist experiment with electricity to bring life back from the dead.
The invention of the battery in the early nineteenth century revolutionized the capabilities of electricity, and its uses for medical purposes were widely studied. From the 1850s to the early twentieth century, once-unimaginable discoveries in battery power and electricity transformed the world. Many people began to believe they could harness this new power for medical, health, and beauty purposes.
Cities around the world became home to university departments, medical societies, and practices devoted to electrotherapy. At the same time, mass consumerism and mass production allowed average citizens to purchase cheap electrical therapy devices from sales catalogs, local electricians, and medical supply companies and salesmen. Portrayed as an alternative to pills and medicine, electrotherapy devices (through low current shock waves or vibrations applied to different areas of the body) claimed to treat a wide range of conditions, such as arthritis, sciatica, gout, impotency, glaucoma, and “nervousness.”
Although such devices were often dismissed as quackery by many in the medical profession, their low cost and widespread marketing attracted a large audience eager to consume all things electric.
Date: Thursday, April 14, 2022 Time: 5:00 p.m. Location: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Room 153, Rubenstein Library Contact: Rachel Ingold (firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-684-8549)
The Rubenstein Library houses the Parapsychology Laboratory Records, a collection of 700 boxes of materials that reveal a comprehensive picture of the Laboratory during its existence at Duke. The collection includes personal papers of J. B. Rhine, J. G. Pratt, Louisa E. Rhine, and others, as well as professional correspondence, research records, legal and financial papers, clippings, and photographs.
Join us on Thursday, April 14, at 5 p.m. for a panel discussion on J. B. Rhine: ESP at Duke. Panelists will discuss J. B. Rhine’s pioneering research on telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis.
Barbara Ensrud, Moderator
Sally Rhine Feather, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, co-editor of J. B. Rhine : Letters, 1923-1939 : ESP and the Foundations of Parapsychology
John G. Kruth, Executive Director of the Rhine Research Center
James Carpenter, Ph.D., Psychotherapist
Tom Robisheaux, Ph.D., Professor of History, Duke University
Join the Rubenstein Library as we open our collections for “I Got a Story to Tell: Black Voices in Print.”
Visitors will be able to browse special selections from our collections, chat with Rubenstein Library staff, and explore Black primary source materials. From rare first editions by Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass to published works exploring Black life in Durham to publications by Black students at Duke, the event will give attendees a hands-on experience with the richness of Black print culture!
This event is open to the public. Please register for a free timed-entry pass for attendance, but visitors are welcome to stay for the duration of the event. Space is limited so reserve yours today.
Date: Monday, April 4, 2022 Time: 11am-2pm Location: Gothic Reading Room, Rubenstein Library, West Campus Contact: John Gartrell (email@example.com)
Come celebrate the exhibit with the curators (including Carlo-Alfonso) in person on Monday, February 21, 2022 from 4-6:00 PM in the Chappell Gallery, Duke University Libraries. The faculty and student curators will be making remarks at 4:30 PM.
Post contributed by Naomi L. Nelson, Associate University Librarian and Director, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky, which was on the western frontier of the young United States. His father was a hardscrabble farmer who moved his family several times in search of better opportunities, but the family never escaped poverty.
Lincoln was an avid reader from an early age. He grew up in Indiana and later remembered that he had less than a year’s schooling there—total. He was ambitious and learned by reading. Over his lifetime, Lincoln is known to have read in many disciplines, including the Bible, law and legal history, classical literature, world and American history, and political economy.
In an address to the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in 1859, Lincoln noted “A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the [yet] unsolved ones.”
These are words to warm a librarian’s heart. David M. Rubenstein’s Americana Library includes many of the books that Lincoln is known to have read. He has loaned Duke a number of these titles for the exhibition “To Stand by the Side of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the American Nineteenth Century,” now on view in the Rubenstein Library and online.
Please join the student and faculty curators at the opening of their new exhibition, “Our History, Our Voice: Latinx at Duke/Nuestra Historia, Nuestra Voz: Latinas/os/es/x en Duke.”
Over the past year, Dr. Cecilia Márquez’s Latinx Social Movements courses and Professor Joan Munné’s Spanish for Heritage Learners courses canvassed the collections of the Duke University Archives and conducted oral histories to create this first-of-its-kind exhibition exploring the complex story of Duke’s Latinx community.
The exhibit curators will make brief remarks at 4:30 PM and offer guided tours of the exhibit afterwards.
We encourage you to register for this event. Registration is not required, but will help us to plan the event safely. Masks are required in the Duke University Libraries.
Post contributed by Rachel Ingold, Curator for the History of Medicine Collections.
The history of vaccine hesitancy is nothing new. Pamphlets, magazines, and newspapers from the eighteenth through twenty-first centuries feature opposing views of vaccination. Some profess personal liberty and abhor government intervention (i.e. instituting compulsory vaccination); or claim that potential side effects from vaccines are too risky. Others stress that public health and the well-being of communities against preventable, lethal diseases, should prevail through large-scale, or even mandatory, vaccinations.