Category Archives: Featured

Thursday, March 19: Rachel Levitsky, Founder of Belladonna*Feminist Avant-Garde Collective: A Reading and Talk

Date: Thursday, March 19, 2015
Time: 12:00 p.m. (Bring your lunch. Coffee, tea, and sweets will be served.)
Location: The Edge Workshop Room, Bostock Library, First Floor
Contact: Kelly Wooten kelly.wooten@duke.edu

Levitsky, RachelJoin the Rubenstein Library for an lunchtime program with poet, scholar, and activist Rachel Levitsky. Levitsky, who founded Belladonna*, will share its history, mission, and aesthetics and read selections from both her writings and work published by the Belladonna* collective. Levitsky will also share the collaborative work she’s done within  Belladonna*, Pratt Institute, and the Office of Recuperative Strategies.

In 1999, Levitsky started Belladonna Series in order to investigate and promote feminist avant-garde poetics. Belladonna Series is now Belladonna* Collaborative, and Levitsky is a participating member. Levitsky is a faculty member at Pratt Institute in the MFA program in Writing, where she initiated the program of Creative Writing for Art and Design. With poet Christian Hawkey, Levitsky co-founded the Office of Recuperative Strategies (oors.net). Levitsky’s hybrid poetries and prose utilize politics, humor and abstraction to map the structural reality of everyday life. Her recent books are NEIGHBOR (UDP), The Story of My Accident is Ours (Futurepoem) and the chapbook Renoemos (Delete).

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Sponsored by the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, the Program in Women’s Studies, the English Department, and the Forum for Scholars and Publics.

Growing up Duke

When Angier B. Duke (1884-1923) and Mary L. Duke (Biddle) (1887-1960) were born, Trinity College was still plodding away in Randolph County, and the American Tobacco Company was just a twinkle in James B. Duke’s eye. Still, W. Duke, Sons, and Company, the family business founded by Washington Duke, was so successful that parents Benjamin N. and Sarah P. Duke could already afford to give their son and daughter a childhood that wildly exceeded that of previous generations in terms of comfort and education. The couple’s first son, George Washington Duke, died at about two or three years of age in the early 1880s. His life preceded the time span of most of the papers held by the Rubenstein Library, and only a few reminders of his brief existence can be found, such as the haunting note from Ken Roney, Ben’s uncle, following the death of Roney’s son: “You know and I know now, how hard it is to give up a promising son.” Given this tragic past, the couple’s second and third children were much doted upon by their parents.

Among the few remaining mementos of their childhoods in the Benjamin Duke papers, some of the most amusing are the letters the children wrote to their father when he was away on business in New York. A young Angier was full of demands—for a sword case, a pair of shoes, and a visit from “Uncle Buck”: “when he comes he must stay with us longer.”

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In 1893 he also sent along his first school composition, an essay on Christopher Columbus (historical myths intact). Mary delighted in telling her father of her April Fools’ Day pranks:

“I have had a right good time April fooling people. I fooled Mrs. Robinson, and brother, and many other people. I don’t think you can fool anybody much up there.”

While the ties between the Duke family and Trinity College were obviously very strong (“Duke University,” need I say more?), it still seems extraordinary how closely connected Angier and Mary were with the campus community from a young age. A steady stream of professors were welcomed at the Duke home, including former presidents Crowell, Kilgo, Few, and many other names you might be able to pick off a university building in passing. Sarah P. Duke hosted literary societies such as the Shakespeare Club, and guest speakers also lodged at the Duke home. Angier and Mary’s private tutor was Arthur H. Meritt, whose day job was professor of Latin, German, and Greek.

Community events also drew together the Dukes and other Durham residents with the college faculty, including spelling bees and athletic matches. An 1896 letter from Angier to his father conveys his enthusiasm for an upcoming “kite-sailing” contest to be held by Professors Lockwood and Meritt. The same Professor Lockwood (physics and biology) used a nine-year old Mary, or rather four Mary’s, as the subject of one of his trick photograph experiments.

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Mary L. Duke (Biddle)

When the time came for Angier and Mary to attend college—well, it’s safe to say that Carolina wasn’t on the table. By the time they began their respective terms at Trinity (Angier in 1901 and Mary in 1903), the siblings already had buildings named after them, built with funds from their father and grandfather. The Mary Duke Women’s Building was demolished long ago to make way for new dormitories, while the Angier B. Duke Gymnasium, better known by the nickname “The Ark,” still stands on Duke University’s East Campus.

While the siblings lived in New York after they graduated, they always maintained a connection to Durham and their alma mater. Angier served on the Trinity College Board of Trustees, was president of the Trinity Alumni Association, contributed to the construction of the first fraternity dwellings sanctioned by the college, and left a generous bequest in his will, which was executed after his untimely death in 1923. He and Mary both donated considerable sums to realize the completion of the Alumni Memorial Gymnasium, built in honor of the students and alumni who perished during World War I. Perhaps the greatest testaments to Mary Duke Biddle’s philanthropy are the Sarah P. Duke Gardens and her support of the arts through the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation. Like their parents, uncle and grandfather, both Angier and Mary succeeded in leaving a mark on the institution that had truly become part of the family.

Post contributed by Mary Mellon, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Intern

Mapping alternative and extremist literature

In April 2013, the Rubenstein Library acquired materials from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Intelligence Project. In its efforts to monitor hate and other extremist groups, the SPLC collected publications produced by these groups and individuals from about the 1940s to 2000s.  Many of these groups can be described as aligning not just on the fringes, but outside of the political spectrum, including advocating white supremacy.  However, some publications expressed views that just fell outside mainstream American politics.

When the collection arrived in 2013, Technical Services Archivist Meghan Lyon assessed the contents and concluded that various serial publications were housed across 90 record cartons of materials.  Within these record cartons were also ephemeral and archival materials such as pamphlets, clippings, fliers, and correspondence.  In considering the various formats present in the collection and the best possible descriptive outcomes, we decided to create two distinct workflows for processing the collection.  The ephemeral material was processed as an archival collection.  The serial publications were removed and cataloged separately by Serials Cataloger Mandy Hurt, allowing each title to be discoverable in the online catalog.

In planning for the cataloging of the serials publications, we had the opportunity to ensure the consistency of the metadata.   Mandy included relevant political terms from the Rare Book and Manuscripts Section controlled vocabularies for genre terms and also applied standard geographical names from the Library of Congress geographical headings.

From the beginning we were interested in creating a visualization of the publications represented in the collection – mapping the type of literature and where it was published.  After meeting with Angela Zoss from Data and Visualization Services at Duke University Libraries, we settled on using Tableau Public to map the collection.  The resulting visualization can be viewed here.

Post contributed by Lauren Reno, Rare Materials Cataloger. 

Our new home: A sneak peek

It’s confession time: I started working at the Rubenstein after we moved onto the 3rd floor of Perkins. This means that I never gazed up at the ceiling archway of the Gothic Reading Room, and I never wandered our old stacks, traveling the well-trod paths—literally and figuratively– of those librarians who came before me. Our impermanent home is the only one I’ve known. And in truth, I’ve always had a hard time imagining what came before and what comes after. Architectural plans, while incredibly helpful, don’t always capture grand staircases and hidden crannies.

Rare Book Room
Rare Book Room

 

 

Luckily for all of us, Kat Stefko, the head of Rubenstein Technical Services, and I recently returned to our once and future home. We put on our fanciest construction gear and walked around the floors, all the while marveling at the differences in scale between our temporary location and our new one. Check out the maps cabinets! They are the very definition of bright young things.

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maps cabinets (sideways!)

 

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With a handy ruler, we were also able to measure the shelf clearance for our new manuscript shelving units. I’m happy to report that our larger manuscript boxes will fit safely and snuggly on each shelf. Can you imagine these filled with boxes?

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And just because I mentioned the scale earlier, look at how tall these units actually are! I’m not a small person, but these are the equivalent of two of me. (Don’t worry, fellow staff members and curious readers: our ladders will be sturdy and strong.)

Although we at the Rubenstein love a good field trip, we didn’t tour the stacks just to tour the stacks. We wanted to gain a better sense of how to move our materials from our current abode to our new one. As July 1st swirls closer, we need a solid moving plan, one that takes into account tight turns and elevators, lines of visibility and door widths. Our spaces aren’t quite complete, but we found it incredibly helpful to walk the pathways we’ll take in July, to imagine materials moving at fast clips down hallways and into elevators. It was all enormously satisfying: we know that we can make this move happen, and we’re well on our way to figuring out how to do it.

rube on the move

Post contributed by Liz Adams, Rubenstein Move Coordinator. 

 

ABC’s of John Hope Franklin – (F) From Slavery to Freedom

From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans is widely considered to be the most authoritative, definitive, and comprehensive accounts of African American history. The book traces the history of African Americans from their origins in Africa, to their experiences as slaves in the Western Hemisphere, patterns of migration and demographic changes, as well as the continuing struggle for racial equality in the United States.

Title page, 1st Edition, 1947
Title page, 1st Edition, 1947

From Slavery to Freedom has been translated into Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Portuguese, and over three million copies have been sold. The book has remained in print since it was first published by the Alfred A. Knopf publishing company in 1947. From Slavery to Freedom is the seminal text on Black history in the United States, and the book is credited with playing an important role in the creation of African-American Studies as an academic discipline.

Portuguese translation, From Slavery to Freedom
Portuguese translation, From Slavery to Freedom

The last edition of From Slavery to Freedom was co-authored by John Hope Franklin and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham.

From Slavery to Freedom, fiftieth anniversary program at Duke University, 1997
From Slavery to Freedom, fiftieth anniversary program at Duke University, 1997

 

This series is a part of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin@100: Scholar, Activist, Citizen year-long celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin

Submitted by Gloria Ayee, Franklin Research Center Intern

 

University Archives Acquires Owens Documentary Materials

As part of a campus-wide initiative to commemorate 50 years of integration at Duke, the Graduate School and filmmaker Ivan Weiss contributed “The Education of Ida Owens,” a documentary about the first African-American female to earn a PhD at the university.

Balancing Dr. Owens’s personal story with Duke’s own integration, and the national Civil Rights movement more broadly, the documentary is well worth a view. A copy is available on YouTube and Vimeo. Take half and hour and watch it, if you haven’t. This post will still be here when you get back.

In late 2014, the University Archives received a bundle of materials related to the documentary. In addition to the completed video files, we also received a bevy of additional materials fleshing out the release of the documentary; Dr. Owens’s background; and the filmmaking process itself. It is these latter items that warrant specific mention. For each person interviewed by the filmmakers there exists video footage, audio recordings, and text transcripts. Because multiple camera people worked on the project, having access to these clips allows insight into the editing process, as well content that did not make the final cut of the video.

Ida Stephens Owens, undated
Ida Stephens Owens, undated. From the University Archives Photograph Collection.

Our descriptive record of the materials is here for perusal. The materials themselves can be seen in the Rubenstein Library reading room. Because many of the files themselves are quite large, please make any requests in advance, as it will take some time to transfer the materials from our servers to a computer terminal able to view the files.

Like any period, the present decade marks a series of fiftieth anniversaries. And like any anniversary, the anniversary of Duke’s integration and impending anniversary of Dr. Owens’s PhD completion, serve to call attention to landmark events while also allowing us to reflect on the great deal of work ahead. This documentary and the supporting materials recently added to the University Archives are a testament to both.

Post contributed by Matthew Farrell, Digital Records Archivist.

ABC’s of John Hope Franklin – (E) Education

John Hope Franklin excelled in his academic work throughout his education. Below is the list of schools that Franklin attended.

Booker T. Washington High School (Tulsa, Oklahoma):In 1931,John Hope Franklin graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. Franklin gave the valedictory speech at his graduation.

John Hope Franklin's diploma from Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, OK, 1931
John Hope Franklin’s diploma from Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, OK, 1931

Fisk University (Nashville, Tennessee): John Hope and his sister Anne Franklin enrolled as undergraduate students at Fisk University in 1931. Having received only a tuition scholarship, John Hope had to secure on-campus employment as secretary to the librarian to pay for other education-related expenses. In college, John Hope took a wide array of courses, including German, physical education, contemporary civilization, and a general science survey class. In 1932, John Hope Franklin enrolled in a history course taught by Professor Theodore “Ted” S. Currier. Currier remained an advisor and friend of Franklin throughout his life. Currier encouraged Franklin to go to graduate school for a Ph.D. in history and even took a bank loan on behalf of Franklin to help finance his graduate education. Franklin was initiated into the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Fisk University in 1932. He excelled in his academic work and thrived as a student leader. In his junior year at Fisk University, Franklin was elected president of his university’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. Franklin was one of 75 students in his graduating class. He graduated magna cum laude from Fisk University in 1935.

John Hope Franklin's grade book at Fisk University, 1933
John Hope Franklin’s grade book at Fisk University, 1933

Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts): Franklin gained admission to Harvard University for doctoral studies in 1935. He earned his Master’s degree in History in 1936, and his Ph.D. in 1941 after completing his research and successfully defending his dissertation on The Free Negro in North Carolina. From 1937 to 1939 Franklin took a leave of absence from his doctoral studies at Harvard University and returned to Fisk University to work as a professor, in order to repay the loan from Ted Currier.

John Hope Franklin and Emory Johnson the day he receives his PhD, 1941
John Hope Franklin and Emory Johnson the day he receives his PhD, 1941

This series is a part of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin@100: Scholar, Activist, Citizen year-long celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin

Submitted by Gloria Ayee, Franklin Research Center Intern

 

A Fiery Duke Tradition

Tomorrow night, the famed basketball rivals meet again. Fans in North Carolina and across the country will don their Duke or Carolina blue and gather to watch the game. And Duke’s Cameron Crazies will go crazy, carrying on the tradition of post-game celebrations and bonfires.

Bonfire after NCAA National Semifinal Men's Basketball Game, April 2-3, 1994. From the University Photography Visual Materials Collection.
Bonfire after NCAA National Semifinal Men’s Basketball Game, April 2-3, 1994. From the University Photography Visual Materials Collection.

Although Duke students were lighting bonfires to celebrate the annual Duke-UNC football game decades ago, the tradition of marking major basketball games with a blaze is of a newer vintage. The newly-processed Duke University Police Department Records provide insight into this period of history.

According to the records, Duke’s bonfire and bench-burning tradition began in 1986, when there was a large screen set up on the quad for students to watch the NCAA final game between Duke and Louisville. Duke lost, and a few angry spectators reacted with assaults and vandalism. The Police Department was unprepared for such a result, but learned from the experience. During the 1990 tournament, the Police Department opted for a more controlled option of a large screen in Cameron for the Duke vs. UNLV game, with a Duke ID card required to enter. They also sponsored a bonfire in the Card Gym parking lot—with no idea this would set the precedent for a beloved tradition—but few students braved the bad weather.

1991 was an explosive and fiery year: after the watching the game between Duke vs. UNC on screen in Cameron Stadium, students spontaneously set up a mudslide and multiple bonfires. Planned fires for subsequent games burned too big and were too crowded. Duke Police had prepared with stadium evacuation plans and ambulances on standby, but were unprepared for the intensity of student energy—often directed harmlessly, but occasionally leading to violence.

Following the Duke-UNC game and some student injuries, Director of Public Safety Paul Dumas worried for students’ safety during the post-game celebrations. The Police Department organized a special committee to establish policies regulating the bonfires, but as many a Chronicle editorial pointed out, these well-intentioned regulations were difficult or impossible to enforce. For example, a March 25, 1991 editorial noted, “Parts of the policy are ridiculous. Why would a living group ever ‘contribute its bench willingly’ to the fire, as the policy suggests? In reality, the first partiers who get to the quad determine which bench gets sacrificed.”

1992 was even more out of control: many games were followed by unauthorized fires on various quads around campus, as well as some break-ins and emergency room visits. In 1994, the Police Department decided not to support any bonfires despite numerous student petitions, and began citing students for starting unpermitted fires. Yet the momentum was building; Duke was now expected to make it to the national championships each year, and, with memories of bonfires and bench-burnings from previous years, students wanted to celebrate in their own way.

Front page of the Chronicle, March  4, 1998.
Front page of the Chronicle, March 4, 1998.

Over the next few years, students insisted on commemorating games with bench burnings, and student-administration tensions increased. During the 1998 season, twenty-five students were arrested for disorderly conduct and starting unauthorized fires, while student editorials accused police of excessive force when responding to unauthorized fires. That year, the administration refused to allow the traditional bonfires and planned giant foam parties instead to celebrate major victories–unsurprisingly, most students were not enthused. In a February 5, 1998 Chronicle article titled “Students reject foam, beg for fire,” freshmen expressed disappointment about missing out on an established tradition and upperclassmen also rejected the plan: “the administration’s heart is in the right place, but foam is kind of a moronic idea.”

Three days after the Duke-UNC game, on March 3, 1998 students burned many benches despite regulations, strategically organizing a decoy to draw police attention away from the real fire. A quote from a Chronicle article following the incident states eloquently: “They took away our alcohol, and we stood by and watched. Then they took away our housing, and we stood by and watched. Then they tried to take away our bonfires, and we went to war.” It was a clever display of student unity to fight back against the administration’s perceived encroachment on their rights, and it worked: the administration sanctioned bonfires and bench burning as long as it adhered to city fire codes.

Letter to the editor from Coach K. From the Chronicle, March 21, 1991.
Letter to the editor from Coach K. From the Chronicle, March 21, 1991.

Duke Police adapted from year to year and recognized a trend of increasingly intense—and, for a few people, dangerous—parties. They tried to engage in public awareness campaigns by requesting support from the University President, Vice Presidents, student government, and Coach K, to encourage safe behavior. The department also began partnering with the Durham Police Department and the highway patrol to enlist enough officers. Yet there was only so much they could do to prevent injury or crime. And, while the police records focus on the number of incidents of injuries or assaults, most students had a good time celebrating their basketball team. It’s an interesting lesson on perspective: depending on your vantage point, you might see the bonfires of the 1990s as riots or as celebrations. Either way, the seeds of a tradition were planted. So whether or not you gather around a bonfire on February 18, enjoy a safe and exciting game!

Post contributed by Jamie Burns, Isobel Craven Drill Intern, Duke University Archives.

Say it with…Elephants?

It’s hard to kiss and make up. This Valentine Cupid, sweet as he is, carried no red roses to Democrats in 1954, only a satirical reminder of “broken promises” made in 1952, the year Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected (along with running mate Richard M. Nixon). This Valentine’s Day, hug your favorite Republican — or Democrat!

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By Leo Herschfield; Democratic Digest Records, Box 24

This cartoon cover art comes from the records of the Democratic Digest (1953-1961). The small-format magazine was the official mouthpiece of the Democratic National Committee. In addition to correspondence from readers, critics, and Democratic senators and governors, chiefly in response to political issues of the day (among which McCarthyism, civil rights, labor, nuclear weapons, farm subsidies, and party politics), about a third of the collection consists of hundreds of pieces of color and black-and-white layout art, including political cartoons by noted illustrator Leo Hershfield and others. There are also smaller amounts of editorial files and printed material. The Democratic Digest was continued in 1961 as The Democrat.

Post contributed by Paula J Mangiafico, Visual Materials Processing Archivist. 

Devil Décor: Duke Men’s Basketball Posters

If you live or have spent much time in Durham, you’ve probably seen a few of the annual Duke men’s basketball posters in stores and restaurants. Every year since Coach K arrived at Duke, the men’s basketball team has released a limited-edition team poster featuring that season’s players looking ready to rumble. Each of these posters has a theme, which vary from the inspirational (Believe) to the cinematic (Goodfellas) to the trendy (Networking) to the punny (Duke Rocks).

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A few weeks ago, Jim Jarvis, the graphic designer designer who collaborated with Mickie and Debbie Krzyzewski to create these images, gave many of his basketball posters to the University Archives. The majority of them are signed by the entire team and Coach K himself, who often wrote a personal thank-you to Mr. Jarvis on the poster. Many were framed, and hung proudly in Mr. Jarvis’s home for years.

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During processing, we almost always remove items from their frames. We do this for a few reasons, mainly to protect and preserve the item, and to make it easier to store and access. Aside from not having enough walls to display the many awesome items in our collections, ambient light shining on displays leads to fading and damage to the materials over time. Sometimes the glass in a frame adheres to the poster, photograph, or document in the frame, leading to irreversible damage to the original, and most materials used in commercial or home framing are not archival quality, meaning acid and other chemicals present accelerate the deterioration of the framed items.

Happily for everyone, Mr. Jarvis’s posters are in great condition. University Archives Drill Intern Jamie Burns and I worked on removing them from the frames, which come in two basic styles: metal 4-piece frames and wooden frames. The metal frames are four metal sides kept together with metal brackets and screws, and are fairly easy to disassemble and reassemble using just a screwdriver.

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The wooden frames secure the poster using small metal pieces nailed into the wood before the whole back of the frame is covered in paper. These frames require a sharp blade to remove the paper and small pliers to carefully work out the “nails.”

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Once removed from their frames, the posters were placed in very large folders and will be kept in the Rubenstein Library stacks in either large boxes or very large cabinets, often called map cases. Mr. Jarvis’s posters will form the core of a Men’s Basketball Posters Collection, together with some basketball posters previously collected by the Archives, all of which will be available to researchers who want to view them in person.
Receiving this collection was great fun for Tech Services staff, most of whom gathered at my processing table at some point during this process to exclaim over their favorites. New to Duke or a longtime veteran, casual or serious sports fan, we all enjoyed the creative effort and love of the team that went in to these posters.
All of the men’s basketball posters (though not the ones signed to Mr. Jarvis) have been made digitally available through Blue Planet Shots, and you can find them here.

I can’t decide if Duke’s Young Guns or The Defense Never Rests is my favorite – but I encourage you to explore and decide for yourself.

Post contributed by Tracy Jackson, Technical Services Archivist.