Category Archives: New at the Rubenstein Library

A Jazz Master’s Papers Come to Duke

Frank Foster, ca. 1970s. From the Frank Foster Papers.

The Jazz Archive at Duke University announces the recent arrival of the Frank Foster Papers. Foster is one of the leading jazz saxophonists, big band leaders, and composer/arrangers of the post-World War II era. While serving as the primary arranger for the Count Basie Orchestra since the 1950s, Foster continued to compose and arrange for a variety of ensembles, receiving two Grammy Awards in the 1980s for his work. In 2002, Foster received the Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The papers (which range from 1927 to 2009) reveal Foster’s personal and professional lives. Scores and parts composed or arranged by Foster for jazz big bands, as well as business records, publicity, reviews, and news clippings documenting Foster’s career, are complemented by personal correspondence, photographs, and a variety of Foster’s own prose writings. There are also roughly fifty hours of concert recordings featuring various bands Foster performed in.

While portions of the papers are currently open for research, the entire collection should be processed and available for use by the fall of 2010. If you’d like to arrange a visit to view the collection, or if you have any questions, please e-mail us at special-collections(at)duke.edu.

Post contributed by Jeremy Smith, Jazz Archivist.

Patricia Derian Papers Coming to Duke

The Archive for Human Rights has signed an agreement with Patricia Murphy Derian to serve as the repository for her papers, which document her long career in human rights.

Patt, as she is known to friends and family, was involved in the civil rights struggles in Mississippi prior to being tapped by President Jimmy Carter to head the newly-minted Bureau for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. In 1977, she became the nation’s very first assistant secretary for human rights.

Her papers consist of country files, general files, correspondence, and a collection of audio and video interviews. Processing of the collection will begin immediately and should be complete by summer of 2010. If you’d like to arrange a visit to view the collection, or if you have any questions, please e-mail us at special-collections(at)duke.edu.

Post contributed by Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist.

Afghanistan in Pictures

Jirga with Kaniguram in background.
From the R. B. Holmes Afghan War Photographs, 1919.

The harsh and beautiful landscape of Afghanistan has been the site of many conflicts, including the Anglo-Afghan Wars of the early 20th century. The RBMSCL’s Archive of Documentary Arts has recently acquired a collection of 34 black-and-white prints of the 1919 war taken by British photographer Randolph Bezzant (R. B.) Holmes, who owned a photography studio in Peshawar, Pakistan. The majority of these well-preserved, highly detailed, and skillfully composed images depict large British military camps and vast landscapes, sometimes with camel caravans or military convoys. Some scenes show the remains of villages, military features such as towers, and religious structures. The landscape views include the Khyber Pass, Tanai Gorge, Kabul River, and Khargali Ridge. Military camp views, many in grand panoramic scale with fine detail, include Landi Khana, Dakka Plain, and Landi Kotal.

For more information about the collection, take a look at the collection guide. If you’d like to arrange a visit to view the collection, or if you have any questions, please e-mail us at special-collections(at)duke.edu.

Post contributed by Tim Pyatt, University Archivist and Associate Director of the RBMSCL

A Glorious Revolution

Early in Gloriana; or The Revolution of 1900, a rare 1890 novel recently acquired by the RBMSCL, the heroine, twelve-year-old Gloria de Lara, stands on the seashore, plotting:

“I was imagining the foam flakelets to be girls . . . and I looked upon them as my audience. I told them . . . of all the wrongs that girls and women have to suffer, and then I bade them rise as one to right these wrongs. I told them all I could think of to show them how to do so, and then I told them that I would be their leader, and lead them to victory or die. And the wavelets shouted. . . . I seemed to hear them cheer me on, I seemed to see them rising into storm, the wind uprose them, and their white foam rushed towards me, and I seemed to see in this sudden change the elements of a great revolution.”

Years later, posing as a man named Hector l’Estrange, Gloria wins a seat in Britain’s Parliament . . . and you’ll just have to visit the RBMSCL and read the book to find out the rest.

Lady Florence Dixie
Lady Florence Dixie. From the Illustrated London News, March 1883.


The novel’s author, Lady Florence Dixie, was a prominent travel writer and advocate for women’s rights. At her death in 1905, British women were denied the right to vote. 92 years ago today, the Representation of the People Act, which granted voting rights to women over 30, received Royal Assent.

The book joins the Glenn Negley Collection of Utopian Literature as an especially interesting example of feminist utopian writing.

Paul Samuelson Papers Coming to Duke

Paul A. Samuelson, 1950.

The papers of preeminent American economist Paul A. Samuelson (1914-2009), the first American recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics, will be added to the Economists Papers Project in the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke. Before his death on December 13th, Samuelson had decided to donate his papers to Duke, where they will join the collections of his MIT Nobel Prize-winning colleagues Robert Solow and Franco Modigliani, as well as those of Nobelists Kenneth Arrow, Lawrence Klein (Samuelson’s first Ph.D. student), Robert E. Lucas, Douglass North, Vernon Smith, and Leonid Hurwicz (all links lead to collection inventories). The Economists Papers Project, developed jointly by Duke’s History of Political Economy group and the RBMSCL, is the most significant archival collection of economists’ papers in the world.

Samuelson was the singular force leading to the post-World War II reconceptualization of economics as a scientific discipline. His “neoclassical synthesis” wedded modern microeconomics to Keynesian macroeconomics, both of which were stabilized through his landmark Foundations of Economic Analysis (1947). His textbook, Principles of Economics, grounded the vocabulary and teaching practices of the economics profession in the second half of the twentieth century, and his career in MIT’s economics department made it the world leader in scientific economics.

Post contributed by E. Roy Weintraub, Professor of Economics, Duke University.

NB: The Paul Samuelson Papers will be transferred to Duke in stages over the next several months. If you are interested in conducting research in the Samuelson Papers once they are made available, please contact Will Hansen at william.hansen(at)duke.edu.

North Carolina Mutual Transfers Collections to Duke and NCCU

Duke University’s John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture and North Carolina Central University’s University Archives, Records and History Department are the joint recipients of the historical archives of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, the nation’s largest and oldest African American life insurance company.

North Carolina Mutual founders John Merrick, C.C. Spaulding, and Aaron Moore
North Carolina Mutual past presidents (l to r) John Merrick, C.C. Spaulding, and Aaron Moore

 

The company’s archives includes thousands of business documents, newsletters, commercials, photography and books which chronicle the vitality of Durham’s “Black Wall Street” in the early 20th century. During the Jim Crow era, North Carolina Mutual allowed the black middle class access to home mortgages, small business loans, and insurance. The archives may be the largest assemblage of African American corporate material in the nation.

 

For more information on using this collection, contact the Franklin Research Center staff at franklin-collection(at)duke.edu.

Franklin Research Center Acquires John Wesley Blassingame Papers

The John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture is pleased to announce its recent acquisition of the papers of John Wesley Blassingame, the nationally-renowned scholar of American history and author of such influential works as The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South and Frederick Douglass: The Clarion Voice.

Blassingame’s path-breaking scholarship has had a profound impact on the American understanding of slavery and the African American experience. The collection includes correspondence, personal manuscripts and research files from Blassingame’s long academic career, and is particularly rich in materials drawn from his work on the Frederick Douglass Papers.

For more information on using this collection, contact the Franklin Research Center staff at franklin-collection(at)duke.edu.

An Artist Responds to Hurricane Katrina

The artistic response to societal tragedy is always a difficult balance: how can art contribute to understanding and interpreting, without aestheticizing suffering? In the past decade, films, novels, and other creative approaches to events such as the Holocaust, 9/11, and the conflict in Darfur have provoked controversy and debate about art’s place in the discussion of international politics and personal suffering.

Shortly after the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 landing on the Gulf Coast, the RBMSCL acquired a unique artist’s book, Katrina by Beth Thielen, made in 2007. An opening supported by waves of paper reveals tiny human figures trapped in a whirlpool, begging for help. The text asks, “How do we make a just society when there is an underlying contempt for helplessness?”


In correspondence with this post’s author, the artist explained: “I made the work because the moment was such a clear and rare reveal of the darker undercurrents of our country…. During Katrina we all watched the images of people with outstretched arms pleading towards the sky. Is there any image more archetypal of helplessness? It is a crying baby’s pose. Reproachful disdain to helplessness… is as primitive as a school yard bully calling someone a crybaby after taking their candy.” She continues, “To feel with is to feel for. A civilized response.”

Thielen’s work joins another artist’s book in the RBMSCL’s collections, Habitat by Jessica Peterson, which explores Katrina’s destruction of Biloxi, Mississippi. Both works add to our collections of Southern Americana and artists’ books by women. Nearly 300 more works of fiction, films, essays, and scholarly works on Hurricane Katrina can also be found in the Duke Libraries’ online catalog (see these catalog records here).

Post contributed by Will Hansen, Assistant Curator of Collections

Doris Duke Collection Comes “Home” to Duke

The press dubbed Doris Duke “the richest girl in the world” when she inherited a fortune from her father, Duke University founder James B. Duke, in 1925 at the age of twelve. Upon her death in 1993, Duke left the majority of her estate to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Foundation recently gave its historical archives to the RBMSCL. The Foundation’s historical archives, 800 linear feet of materials (an amount that, stacked vertically, would be four times taller than the Duke Chapel), includes photographs, architectural drawings, and motion picture footage of Doris Duke and the Duke family.

Artist’s rendering of a proposed Duke mansion.
Artist’s rendering of a proposed Duke mansion.

Records of Duke’s Foundation for Southeast Asian Art and Culture, the Newport Restoration Foundation, and the Duke Gardens Foundation are in the archives as are documents related to the operation of her properties: Duke Farms, a 2,700-acre estate in Hillsborough, New Jersey, that her father created at the turn of the 20th century; Rough Point, the Duke family mansion in Newport, Rhode Island; and Shangri La, her home in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she exhibited her extensive collection of Islamic art.

All of the materials in the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation historical archives will be open for research in about two years when processing of the materials has been completed.

More information about the collection may be found here. Or, contact the RBMSCL at special-collections(at)duke.edu.

Post contributed by Tim Pyatt, University Archivist and Associate Director of the RBMSCL.