Category Archives: Exhibits

Historical Photography Display

Dates and Times: Wednesday, 27 January 2010, 1:00-5:00 PM and Thursday, 28 January 2010, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Location: Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Karen Glynn, 919-660-5968 or karen.glynn(at)duke.edu

Unidentified man wearing a blue tie. Quarter-plate tintype, ca. 1850s. From the Jarratt-Puryear Family Papers.
Unidentified man wearing a blue tie. Quarter-plate tintype, ca. 1850s. From the Jarratt-Puryear Family Papers.

The Archive of Documentary Arts‘ annual display showcases the numerous formats that document the evolution of the photographic process from early daguerreotypes to modern digital prints. The display will include photographs by Mathew Brady, Timothy O’Sullivan, Edward Curtis, Doris Ulmann, Eudora Welty, Lewis Hine, Manual Alvarez Bravo, Minor White, and Walker Evans.

Please note that the display is open by appointment only during the hours noted above. Contact Karen Glynn (919-660-5968 or karen.glynn(at)duke.edu) to schedule your appointment.

Unable to visit the display? Over 100 images from the archive’s collection have been reproduced in Beyond Beauty: The Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University. This full-color, 128-page publication is our gift to you with a $50 minimum donation to the archive (donation form here).

Opening Reception for “Conscience of a Nation”

Date: Wednesday 20 January 2010
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: Perkins Library Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Karen Jean Hunt, 919-660-5922 or k.j.hunt(at)duke.edu

Join the exhibit curators and the staff of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture as they celebrate the legacy of Professor John Hope Franklin (1915-2009).

Speakers will include Judge Allyson Duncan, a 1975 Duke Law graduate, and Dr. Walter Brown, former dean of North Carolina Central University’s School of Education.

“Conscience of a Nation: John Hope Franklin on African American History”

Date: 13 January-31 March 2010
Location and Time: Rare Book Room cases during library hours
Contact Information: Janie Morris, 919-660-5819 or janie.morris(at)duke.edu, or Paula Mangiafico, 919-660-5915 or paula.mangiafico(at)duke.edu

Sit-In Songs LP, 1962. From the Frederick Herzog Papers


The recent passing of historian, author, teacher, and activist John Hope Franklin has prompted all of us at the RBMSCL to consider the role of historical research and education in ending injustice, fear, and hatred. As Dr. Franklin wrote in a 3 June 2002 letter to fellow historian Nell Irvin Painter (on display in this exhibit), history’s responsibility is “to illuminate and interpret the past in order to ‘map’ what we think the future should be.”

Inspired by Dr. Franklin’s powerful words, this exhibit is a tribute to his legacy. The exhibit uses materials from the RBMSCL’s collections to explore four themes crucial to understanding the history of African Americans in the United States: African American enslavement, segregation and the Jim Crow era, the Civil Rights Movement, and the contributions of African American historians.

Dr. Franklin’s papers (collection inventory here) are held by the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture. For more information on using this collection, contact the Franklin Research Center staff at franklin-collection(at)duke.edu.

“Cedric Chatterley: Photographs of Honeyboy Edwards”

Date: 18 January-28 March 2010
Location and Time: Special Collections Gallery during library hours
Contact Information: Karen Glynn, 919-660-5968 or karen.glynn(at)duke.edu

David “Honeyboy” Edwards at home on South Wells near 43rd Street, Chicago, Illinois, winter, 1994.


In this series of black and white photographs, photographer Cedric Chatterley traces the life of blues musician David “Honeyboy” Edwards, beginning at his birth place in Shaw, Mississippi and continuing through the Mississippi Delta to New Orleans, Memphis, and Chicago. Chatterley drove thousands of miles—often with Honeyboy himself—photographing important people and places in Honeyboy’s long career, as well as his performances at blues festivals, concerts, and recording sessions.

Reflecting on the photographs, Chatterley writes, “Touring with Honeyboy in the 1990s, and also traveling alone with his life’s story in hand, were formative times for me as an image maker. . . . From him I learned that there is a rhythm, a cadence, and a particular way in which time and sight and sound and memory—expressed and unexpressed—are inseparable when they come together to shape an image, whether that image is delivered in the form of a song, photograph, or any other form of expression.”

If you’re unable to visit the libraries, you can still see the photographs in the online exhibit.

These photographs belong to the Cedric N. Chatterley Photographs, 1985-2003 (collection inventory here), a collection recently acquired by the RBMSCL’s Archive of Documentary Arts. For more information on using this collection, contact the RBMSCL at special-collections(at)duke.edu.

On 28 January, two additional exhibits of Chatterley’s work—including his handmade cameras—will open at the Center for Documentary Studies. The CDS will also host a public reception for Chatterley that evening at 6 PM. More information is available here.

“I Take Up My Pen: 19th Century British Women Writers”

Date: 15 December 2009-21 February 2010
Location and Time: Perkins Library Gallery during library hours
Contact Information: Meg Brown, meg.brown(at)duke.edu

An Amusing Story by T. Conti
“An Amusing Story” by T. Conti. From the Illustrated London News, 1 April, 1893

Tumultuous, changeable 19th century Britain was the era of the professional woman writer. Amid emerging controversies over women’s suffrage and a woman’s rights over her property, her children, and her own body, women demanded a place alongside men in the world of letters to contribute to cultural discourse, to make their opinions heard, and to tell their own stories.

“I Take Up My Pen: 19th Century British Women Writers” focuses on women’s use of writing as a powerful tool to alter their positions within a social order that traditionally confined them to the home. The women represented here—including Jane Austen, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the Brontë sisters—are lecturers, suffragists, publishers, world travelers, professional writers, poets, journalists, and labor reformers. The exhibit also highlights the fascinating array of literary publications available to 19th century readers and writers: everything from periodicals and the penny press to three-volume bound editions, gift books, pamphlets, letters, and diaries.

Curator Angela DiVeglia arranges exhibit materials
Curator Angela DiVeglia arranges exhibit materials

An online guide to the exhibit offers links to the digitized full-text versions of many rare 19th century works in the RBMSCL’s collections.

“I Take Up My Pen: 19th Century British Women Writers” is presented by the Duke University Libraries and curated by Sara Seten Berghausen, Angela DiVeglia, Anna Gibson, and William Hansen with co-sponsorship from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.

For more pictures of the curators installing this exhibit, visit the Duke University Libraries on Flickr!

“The Bathers”: Exhibit Opening and Reception

Date: Thursday, 12 November 2009
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Karen Glynn, 919-660-5968 or karen.glynn(at)duke.edu

Budapest, Hungary, 2006
Budapest, Hungary, 2006

Photographer Jennette Williams, winner of the 2008 Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography, will speak about her recent work, which centers on women in the ancient communal bathhouses of Budapest and Istanbul. A selection of these photographs have been gathered for “The Bathers: Photographs by Jennette Williams,” currently on view in the Special Collections Gallery through 13 December, 2009. Her book, The Bathers, will be published this month by Duke University Press in association with the Center for Documentary Studies.

These stunning platinum prints of women bathers—which draw on gestures and poses found in iconic paintings of nude women, such as those of Cézanne and Ingres—take us inside spaces intimate and public, austere and sensuous. Over a period of eight years, Williams photographed, without sentimentality or objectification, women daring enough to stand naked before her camera. Young and old, these women inhabit and display their bodies with comfort and ease.

Williams is a photography instructor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has a master’s degree from Yale University and has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Copies of The Bathers will be available for purchase and signing at the event. The quad in front of Duke Chapel has been reserved for parking. Additional parking is available in the parking deck behind the Bryan Center (view campus map).