Category Archives: Exhibits

Book + Art

Date: 13 October 2010-9 January 2011
Location and Time: Perkins Library Gallery during library hours
Contact Information: Kelly Wooten, 919-660-5967 or kelly.wooten(at)duke.edu

During your next visit to Perkins-Bostock Library, be sure to stop by the Perkins Library Gallery to see the eclectic selection of artists’ books on display in “Book + Art: Artists’ Books from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture.” Or if you can’t visit in person, you can enjoy the online exhibit!

R & J: the txt msg edition. Elizabeth Pendergrass. J. Hastings, 2006.

So what exactly is an artists’ book? In the most general terms, it is an original work of art that that incorporates or innovates upon the book form in some—often dramatic—way. These books combine traditional arts, such as graphic design, printmaking, and bookbinding, with the full spectrum of contemporary art practice and theory, expanding and redefining the form. In this exhibit, you’ll see books in the form of a cell phone, a grandmother clock, women’s underwear, and even the traditional paperback book structure. The themes highlighted in this exhibit and in the Bingham Center’s artists’ book collection as a whole reflect the strengths of our broader collection of print and manuscript materials documenting women’s lives: motherhood and family, the domestic sphere, women’s bodies, sexuality, and women’s health.

This exhibit is part of this fall’s Book + Art series, part of a semester-long celebration of book arts in collaboration with UNC Libraries. In the coming weeks, the Bingham Center will be sponsoring several events about the book arts:

Aging Gracefully. Bea Nettles, 2002.

Bea Nettles, Book Artist and Photographer
Date: Thursday, 21 October 2010
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Rare Book Room

Bea Nettles is a book artist and photographer whose work addresses issues of family relationships, the body, and the ways in which personal identities reflect political and social realities. She will give a lecture with book signing and light reception to follow. For more about Bea Nettles, visit her website.

Careers in Book Arts
Date: Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Time: 9:30 AM
Location: Room 217, Perkins Library

Panel discussion about making a career out of a love of book arts, featuring Laurie Corral, founder of Asheville Bookworks, Dave Wofford of Horse and Buggy Press, and Meg Brown, Duke conservation librarian and exhibits coordinator. Moderated by Beth Doyle, Duke conservation librarian.

Post contributed by Kelly Wooten, Research Services and Collection Development Librarian for the Sallie Bingham Center of Women’s History and Culture.

Treasures of the TCHS

Date: Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Time: 3:30 PM
Location: Rare Book Room and Perkins Library Gallery
Contact Information: Amy McDonald, 919-681-7987 or amy.mcdonald(at)duke.edu

Piece of Wood, undated. From the Trinity College Historical Society Collection.

Ever wonder how the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library got its start? When faculty started using primary sources in their teaching? Why the University Archives keeps a seemingly random chunk of wood in its collections?

Find out all this and more as the co-curators of “‘As Far As Possible from Forgetfulness’: The Trinity College Historical Society” lead a gallery tour and talk about this popular exhibit, on display in the Perkins Library Gallery through October 10.

University Archivist Tim Pyatt will start the celebration with a brief history of the TCHS. Then co-curators Meghan Lyon, Amy McDonald, and Kim Sims will lead a tour of exhibit in the Perkins Library Gallery, sharing some of the stories behind the artifacts in the cases and the people who collected them. A reception in the Rare Book Room will follow their remarks.

Post contributed by Tim Pyatt, Duke University Archivist.

Opening Reception for “Deena Stryker: Photographs of Cuba, 1963-1964″

Date: Thursday, 16 September 2010
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Karen Glynn, 919-660-5968 or karen.glynn(at)duke.edu

A café and store in Birán, Fidel Castro’s home town, Holguín Province, December 1963. From the Deena Stryker Photograph Collection.

Photographer and journalist Deena Stryker brings her reminiscences of the Cuban Revolution to this opening celebration for “Deena Stryker: Photographs of Cuba, 1963-1964,” on display through 12 December 2010 in the Special Collections Gallery.

Following Stryker’s remarks, exhibit curators Holly Ackerman and Heather Settle will lead a panel of several local experts on Cuba in discussing the photographs and placing them in their historical context. Panelists include:

  • Lars Schoultz, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Monika Gosin, Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South, Duke University
  • Linda Howe, Department of Romance Languages, Wake Forest University

A reception and gallery tour, led by Stryker, will follow.

Can’t visit the exhibit in person? Check out the virtual exhibit, which includes an additional eleven photos from the Deena Stryker Photograph Collection, part of the RBMSCL’s Archive of Documentary Arts.

“Deena Stryker: Photographs of Cuba, 1963-1964″

Date: 31 August-12 December 2010
Location and Time: Special Collections Gallery during library hours
Contact Information: Karen Glynn, 919-660-5968 or karen.glynn(at)duke.edu

Journalist and photographer Deena Stryker’s black-and-white photographs of Revolutionary Cuba open a window into an unsettled time in that country’s history, after the Bay of Pigs and before Che Guevara’s departure for the Congo, when Fidel Castro was solidifying his control over the new revolutionary government.

A woman watching a military parade, Havana, January 1964. From the Deena Stryker Photograph Collection.

This new exhibit of thirty gelatin silver prints from the Archive of Documentary ArtsDeena Stryker Photograph Collection documents this extraordinary change, bearing witness to both the vitality of Cuba’s leadership and the optimism of the Cuban people. The exhibit is curated by Holly Ackerman, Librarian for Latin America and Iberia, and Heather Settle, visiting scholar in Cultural Anthropology.

Can’t visit the exhibit in person? Check out the virtual exhibit, which includes an additional eleven photos from the Deena Stryker Photograph Collection.

Keep up with The Devil’s Tale for news about the exhibit’s opening reception on Thursday, September 16th at 4:00 PM in the Rare Book Room. Deena Stryker, the exhibit’s curators, and several local experts on Cuba will come together to discuss the photographs and place them in their historical context.

From the RBMSCL Wire

Boy lying on couch, reading comics. From the William Gedney Photographs and Writings, 1950s-1989.
Boy lying on couch, reading comics. From the William Gedney Photographs and Writings, 1950s-1989.

Sure, you could lie on a couch and read comic books, but why not have a look at some of the articles and blog posts about the RBMSCL that have been published recently?

A profile of Susie King Taylor appears at TheAtlantic.com. (Read the post here). Taylor’s Reminiscences of My Life in Camp is part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture’s Black Voices Collection.

Our new exhibit, “‘As Far as Possible from Forgetfulness’: The Trinity College Historical Society,” found itself on the front page of the Durham Herald-Sun. (Read the article online.)

And Hartman Center travel grant recipient Ari Samsky wrote about his two-week research visit to the RBMSCL for web magazine Splice Today. You’ll find his essay—which makes us glad that Durham’s cooled off considerably in the past few days—here.

Let us know if you find any other mentions of the RBMSCL during your wanderings across the Internet and through print.

“‘As Far as Possible from Forgetfulness’: The Trinity College Historical Society”

Date: 3 August-10 October 2010
Location and Time: Perkins Library Gallery during library hours
Contact Information: Meg Brown, meg.brown(at)duke.edu

Arrows, Possibly from the Fiji Islands. From the Trinity College Historical Society Collection. Photo by Mark Zupan

The Duke University Archives is home to scores of manuscripts, records, and publications documenting Duke University’s history—and a set of fierce arrows possibly from the Fiji Islands; a pair of wooden shoe soles bought by a former slave in 1865; and two cloth-covered buttons from the clothing of Louis XVI.

These and other artifacts—along with manuscripts and historically-significant publications—once belonged to the collection of the Trinity College Historical Society, a student organization established in 1892 to encourage original research in Southern history. Their collection, the precursor to the RBMSCL and the University Archives, forms the subject of our new exhibit, “‘As Far as Possible from Forgetfulness’: The Trinity College Historical Society.”

Pewter Wig Sprayer. From the Trinity College Historical Society Collection. Photo by Mark Zupan.

Assuming the leadership of the Society in 1894, professor of history John Spencer Bassett renewed the Society’s charge to collect manuscripts, books, pamphlets, and objects of enduring historical value, including those artifacts mentioned above. He addressed his undergraduate collectors and historians in 1897, telling them that they would “be doing work for eternity . . . [and] centering the eyes of the centuries on this institution.” This exhibit is proof of their legacy.

For more information about the Trinity College Historical Society and its collections, or if you won’t be able to visit the exhibit in person, visit the exhibit website. Photos of the exhibit’s installation are available on the RBMSCL’s Flickr photostream.

And remember to mark your calendars for a gallery talk with the exhibit’s curators on Tuesday, September 28 at 3:30 PM in the Rare Book Room!

Happy United Nations Charter Day!

The United Nations Conference on International Organization officially convened between April 25 and June 26, 1945 in San Francisco. On 26 June 1945, delegations from 50 countries signed the United Nations Charter, a constituent treaty by which all member nations are bound in an international body and in which organization’s mission and commitment to peaceful resolution are defined.

The Veil by Julie Chen, 2002.
Photo courtesy of Vamp and Tramp Booksellers.


Over fifty years later, book artist Julie Chen wove the text of the famously eloquent Preamble into her 2002 free-standing concertina, The Veil. This carousel book offers the artist’s reflections on the political conflicts in the Middle East through both words and abstract visual meditations which unfold over the text of the charter. The Veil will be featured in the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture’s Book + Arts Exhibit this October.

Post contributed by Christine Well, UNC SILS graduate student volunteer, Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture.

“You’ve Got . . . Personality: Testimonial and Celebrity Endorsement Advertisements”

Date: 8 April-30 June 2010
Location and Time: Rare Book Room cases during library hours
Contact Information: Jackie Reid, 919-660 5836 or j.reid(at)duke.edu

Testimonial advertisements, today seemingly reserved for fading actors, retired politicians, and late-night cable infomercials, were once a mark of innovation and prestige in advertising. This exhibit, a complement to “The Power of Refined Beauty: Photographing Society Women for Pond’s, 1920s-1950s,” highlights some examples of this style of advertising, as documented in the collections of the Hartman Center.

In 1923, JWT created a new advertising campaign for Pond’s creams, based on the testimonials of leading American society women and European titled nobility. That campaign lasted for over thirty years and is the focus of half of the exhibit. Newsletters, internal memos, publications, ads and other items allow the viewer a behind-the-scenes look at bringing a concept to fruition in a long-standing advertising campaign.

Taking a broader view, the other half of the exhibit documents an overview of the use of testimonials and celebrity endorsements in advertising for a range of products. From an 1893 endorsement by arctic explorer Lieutenant Peary for Kodak, to Count Basie for Camel cigarettes, to Coach K for American Express, a wide variety of well-known celebrities are shown endorsing products. Advertisements, reports, and memos illustrate advertisers’ belief that celebrity testimonials could lend products a feeling of familiarity and credibility, while also creating the illusion that to purchase a given product was to belong to an elite cast.

Post contributed by Jackie Reid, Director of the Hartman Center, and Lynn Eaton, Hartman Center Reference Archivist

“The Power of Refined Beauty: Photographing Society Women for Pond’s”

Date: 5 April-22 August 2010
Location and Time: Special Collections Gallery during library hours
Contact Information: Jackie Reid, 919-660 5836 or j.reid(at)duke.edu

Nadejda, Marchioness Milford Haven, n.d., by Edward Steichen. Photograph courtesy of the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives.

Nadejda Mikhailovna Romanov Mountbatten, Marchioness of Milford Haven, won a Charleston dance competition at Cannes in 1921 with the future King George VI.

Anne Tracy Morgan organized the American Fund for French Wounded, earning the Croix de Guerre and recognition from the French Legion of Honor.

Clare Josephine O’Brian Egerton, Duchess of Sutherland, lost $84,000 of jewels on the morning of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

Along with other socialites, heiresses, and royalty from families such as the Vanderbilts and the Roosevelts, these women appeared in Pond’s socialite endorsement campaign, masterminded by the J. Walter Thompson Company. The Hartman Center‘s new exhibit,”The Power of Refined Beauty: Photographing Society Women for Pond’s, 1920s-1950s,” charts the course of this wildly-successful thirty-year campaign.

Adding to the prestige of the campaign, the women’s photographs were taken by distinguished fashion photographers such as Edward Steichen, Baron Adolph de Meyer, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, and Cecil Beaton.

A print catalog of these photographs will complement the exhibit. Please e-mail hartman-center(at)duke.edu to request a copy.

“Abusing Power: Satirical Journals from the Special Collections Library”

Date: 22 February-11 April 2010
Location and Time: Perkins Library Gallery during library hours
Contact Information: Meg Brown, meg.brown(at)duke.edu

"Pobre España" by Anonymous. From La Flaca, 12 September 1872.

The RBMSCL’s outstanding collection of over 60 satirical magazines from Europe and North and South America offers a panoramic view of international journalistic caricature from its origins in the 1830s to the present day. This exhibit, which gathers vivid examples from these periodicals and places them in their historical context, surveys the spectrum of comic journalism, examining the visual languages of graphic satire, and investigating its rhetorical power.

Curated by Neil McWilliam, Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies with the assistance of students in his “From Caricature to Comic Strip” course, the exhibit coincides with “Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature,” an exhibition of contemporary and historical graphic satire at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

To see images from the exhibit, and to learn more about the RBMSCL’s collection of satirical journals, visit the exhibit’s online guide.