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. 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 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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.