Final Papers, Meet New Finding Aids

Time to get cracking on those final papers? Start your research with one of the collections described in these brand-new finding aids!

African American Miscellany, 1757-1983

This collection of approximately 400 print and manuscript items relating to African and African American history was assembled over a number of decades by the staff of the RBMSCL. These documents—largely from the southern United States—speak to the sales, escapes, and emancipations of slaves from colonial times through the Civil War, the civil rights era from 1950-1970, and to a lesser extent, the period in between the 1870s and the 1950s.

South Africa Documentary Photographs Collection, 1940s-2007 and undated

Metal artist Titus Moteyane, Atteridgeville, Pretoria, 1984. Gisele Wulfsohn. From the South Africa Documentary Photographs Collection.

Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts, the South Africa Documentary Photographs Collection consists of four series of photographs documenting South African social conditions under and after apartheid, dating from approximately the 1940s-2007: Beyond the Barricades, The Cordoned Heart, Then and Now, and Underexposed. Each series originated in an exhibition, book, or project developed jointly by Duke University and South African institutions. The collection represents work by 45 South African photographers, many of whom were members of Afrapix, a collective photography agency that was politically active in the 1980s, or were otherwise active in documenting anti-apartheid struggle.

Louanne Watley Photographs, 2002-2010

The photographs and supporting materials created by Louanne Watley depict communities of Catholic nuns in Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia, and images of their religious life in those communities. She typically focuses on the women’s individual faces, hands, and feet. There are also a few images of monks and their communities as well. The formats are primarily black-and-white prints with some color prints, contact prints, Polaroids (diffusion transfer process), large color inkjet prints, and negatives. As with many Archive of Documentary Arts collections acquired in recent years, digital scans of Watley’s work are also included.

Walter McGowan Upchurch Papers, 1841-1977

Walter McGowan Upchurch, Jr. served as a member of Duke’s Board of Trustees and was senior vice-president of Shell Companies Foundation, Inc. This collection contains personal correspondence among members of the Upchurch family, including correspondence between Upchurch and his brother during World War II, when they were both serving in the U.S. Navy; professional correspondence concerning Duke University administrative affairs; and genealogical materials for the Upchurch, Daniel, and Meadows families of North Carolina. Additional materials include Shell Development Company records on personnel issues such as labor relations and salary administration at the progressive Emeryville Laboratories; and Shell Companies Foundation records from 1963 to 1974, chiefly relating to the foundation’s endowments, scholarships, grants, and donations. The Duke University Archives also holds a smaller collection of Upchurch’s papers.

Please remember that many RBMSCL collections are stored off-site in our wonderful Library Service Center and need to be requested by RBMSCL staff members at least 24 hours before your research visit. We encourage you to e-mail special-collections(at) for assistance.

Research for Human Rights

A continuing goal of the Archive for Human Rights at the RBMSCL is to explore how archives can help sustain and nurture human rights and social justice. Over the past few months, we have had the exciting opportunity to provide our knowledge and services to the staff of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation (CDPL), a Durham, NC-based non-profit that provides post-conviction legal representation to indigent defendants accused or convicted of capital crimes in the state of North Carolina.

On August 11, 2009, Governor Bev Purdue signed into law the North Carolina Racial Justice Act, which will allow defendants facing the death penalty to present evidence of racial bias, including statistics, in court. Since the act was signed into law, CDPL lawyers have been working with the CDPL case files archived here at the RBMSCL to uncover evidence of such bias. CDPL staff easily accessed the well-arranged collection through its online finding aid to determine which boxes and files contained relevant material. They then worked with RBMSCL staff to call boxes for review in our research room and to take advantage of our duplication services.

In addition to research for the Racial Justice Act, CDPL and ACLU lawyers have been reviewing case files in our reading room to research how broader discovery and prosecutorial issues may impact future death penalty cases. We hope our services will continue to aid their efforts.

Post contributed by Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist.

A Worthy 100 Years

Date: Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Tim Pyatt, 919-684-8929 or tim.pyatt(at)

William Preston Few

On November 9, 1910, William Preston Few was inaugurated as the sixth president of Trinity College. Few accepted the presidency of Trinity College promising “to keep the future worthy of the past.” This would be no hollow promise as, over the next three decades, he would transform the strong and growing liberal arts college into a major research university.

To celebrate this pivotal moment in the history of Duke University, Michael Schoenfeld, Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Affairs and Stephen Nowicki, Dean of Undergraduate Education, will give brief remarks on Few’s legacy and lasting impact. University Archivist Tim Pyatt will introduce members of the Few family attending and talk about the materials documenting Few’s life and presidency that will be on display.

Our National Sweepstakes

In the spirit of election day, we are highlighting a new acquisition: the James Cartoons Posters, a series of political cartoon posters created by the New Process Electro Corporation in 1920 and 1921.

They are remarkable for a number of reasons—including their large size (21 x 31 inches) and their beautiful colors. Originally offered as a subscription for $1.25 per week, the posters feature not-so-subtle commentary on everything from the League of Nations, prohibition, Russian aggression, and the Ponzi scheme. One common topic is the 1920 presidential election, where Warren G. Harding challenged James Middleford Cox. One of our favorites, “The Home Stretch!,” stars Harding (riding on the GOP Elephant) and Cox (being pulled in a wagon by the Democratic Donkey) racing towards the Election Day finish line.

Detail from “The Home Stretch!”

Many of the posters reflect America’s increasing isolationism, particularly regarding Europe and the League of Nations. Harding’s campaign for a “return to normalcy” struck a chord with voters who were exhausted by World War I and disillusioned by global politics. He defeated Cox in a landslide on November 2, 1920.

The James Cartoons Posters collection has only a sampling of the originally published series, so unfortunately we don’t know what the artist had to say about Harding and the Republicans post-election.

Detail from “The Home Stretch!”

Post contributed by Meghan Lyon, Accessioning Associate.

D is for Diaries, Drama, and Dracula

Buck and his chewing gum.

I’m lucky. As a volunteer at the RBMSCL, I’ve been creating finding aids for small manuscript collections—collections such as love letters and travel diaries from the 19th century—which can be more compelling than any historical novel. One in particular I found to be especially memorable is the John Buck Diary.

Elaborate script and comic sketches recount the eight week long vacation in England and Scotland in 1887 of John Buck, an affluent, young American who spent several days in close company with Henry Irving, the famous English actor; the equally famous actress and Irving’s rumored paramour, Ellen Terry; and the business manager of the Lyceum Theatre as well as Irving’s personal assistant, Bram Stoker. Yes, the Bram Stoker who later wrote Dracula. His visit begins with the Royal Lyceum’s performance of another popular demonic tale:

I reached Edinburgh at seven o’clock and was met by Mr. Stoker. He took me to the Edinburgh Hotel (close by the station) where Mr. Irving was staying. . . . Mr. Stoker after fixing me comfortably hurried away to the theatre and I had my dinner served in Mr. Irving’s dining room. The dinner was good but I was so anxious to see some of “Faust” that I left at the end of the third course and jumping into a hansom drove to the Royal Lyceum Theatre, where I found Mr. Stoker “laying” [?] for me. He . . . took me into the only remaining private box. Mephistopheles was just transforming Faust into a young man as I entered the box, so I had not missed much of the play. . . . At the end of the act Mr. Stoker took me around [to the stage] to see Mr. Irving and Miss Terry. . . . While we were chatting and I was being questioned about “home affairs” the scene shifters were building Marguerite’s room around us, and very soon I was compelled to “skip” as the curtain was about to be rung up. . . . Mr. Irving was grand, and he will make a tremendous hit with Faust in America. (pages 67-70)

One of Buck's sketches.

The diary is so extraordinarily descriptive and entertaining; it is as if Buck, who loved the theater, were writing the storyline for his own theatrical play. At times, I could imagine his diary recast as a BBC period drama! Equally remarkable is the extent to which Buck’s personality is so clearly revealed. He was sometimes irreverent and informal, even when visiting the Duke of Beaufort at Badminton House in Gloucestershire, highly competitive, a bit arrogant, and more interested in pretty young women, having fun, and socializing than sightseeing; he seemed so American, and so amazingly like a few modern young men that I have known.

Happy Halloween!

Post contributed by Danielle Moore, RBMSCL Technical Services volunteer.

Devil’s Food

Our celebration of National Dessert Month has been surprisingly chocolate-free, so we’re aiming to correct that today with recipes from Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes, published around 1922. Instead of boring candy bars, we at The Devil’s Tale want our plastic pumpkins filled with Devil’s Food cake!

Devil’s Food

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
4 ounces Baker’s Premium No. 1 Chocolate
4 eggs (3 may be used)
2 1/4 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon clove
1 1/4 cups milk

Cream butter and add sugar gradually, while beating to a cream; add chocolate, melted, and beaten yolks and mix thoroughly. Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, clove and baking powder and add to butter mixture, alternately with the milk. At the last, fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites and bake in a deep pan and ice when cold.

And, just because you can never have too many chocolate recipes (and because there were no pictures of the Devil’s Food cake):

Chocolate Jelly

1 pint boiling water
Pinch salt
1 square Baker’s Premium No. 1 Chocolate
2 tablespoons gelatine
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put the water, salt and chocolate in a saucepan. Cook, stirring until the chocolate melts, then let it boil for three or five minutes. Soften the gelatine in a little cold water and pour the boiling mixture over it. Stir until disolved, then add sugar and vanilla. Pour into a mould and set aside to harden, serve with cream and powdered sugar or sweetened whipped cream.

RBMSCL Travel Grants: $$$ to Visit Us!

Photo by Mark Zupan.

Good news, researchers! The RBMSCL is now accepting applications for our 2011-2012 travel grants.

The Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture, and the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History will award up to $1,000 per recipient to fund travel and other expenses related to visiting the RBMSCL. The grants are open to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, independent scholars, artists, and activists living outside a 100-mile radius from Durham, NC with research projects that would benefit from access to the centers’ collections.

More details—and the grant application—may be found on our grants website. Applications must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than 5:00 PM EST on January 31, 2011. Recipients will be announced in March 2011.

We’re also excited to announce that the RBMSCL will be offering three new grants this year for scholars interested in using our German Studies and Judaica collections. Additional information about applying for one of these three grants will be available on our grants website soon. These new grants will have a later deadline.

Congratulations to the 2010 Middlesworth Award Winners!

On Friday, the RBMSCL celebrated with students and parents at one of our favorite events of the year: the Middlesworth Award and Durden Prize Reception.

Given annually, the Middlesworth Awards recognize the authors of the best undergraduate and graduate student papers based on research in the collections of the RBMSCL. Funding for the awards has been generously provided by Chester P. Middlesworth (A.B., 1949) of Statesville, NC.

2010 Middlesworth Award winners Adrienne Niederriter, Bonnie Scott, and Hannah Craddock.

Undergraduate student winner Adrienne R. Niederriter plumbed the depths of the Hartman Center’s Ad*Access image database for her paper, “Speak Softly and Carry a Lipstick: Government Influence on Female Sexuality through Cosmetics during World War II.”

Undergraduate student winner Hannah C. Craddock received her award for her senior honors thesis, “‘A New Self-Respect and a New Consciousness of Power’: White Nurses, Black Soldiers, and the Danger of World War I.” Craddock’s study focused upon the Ann Henshaw Gardiner Papers and the Samuel Loomis Hypes Papers.

Graduate student winner Bonnie Scott’s paper began at the heart of Duke’s West Campus, as she compared sermons preached in the Duke Chapel to those preached by North Carolina minister Kenneth M. Johnson during the Civil Rights Movement.

Their papers will now become part of the RBMSCL’s collections.

We know that great papers are being researched and written this semester as well. If you are a Duke student, submit your paper and we might be toasting you next fall! Details about submitting your paper can be found here.

Rights! Camera! Action!: Brother Towns

Date: Monday, 1 November 2010
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Carolina Theatre
Contact Information: Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at), or Kirston Johnson, 919-681-7963 or kirston.johnson(at)

Brother Towns / Pueblos Hermanos (59 min.) is a story of two towns linked by immigration, family, and work: Jacaltenango, Guatemala, a highland Maya town, and Jupiter, Florida, a coastal resort town where many Jacaltecos have settled. The docunmentary film chronicles how and why people migrate across borders, how people make and remake their communities when they travel thousands of miles from home, and how people maintain families despite their travel. To learn more, visit the film’s website.

This screening is part of the Latin American Film Festival sponsored by the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University, the Center for Documentary Studies, and the Carolina Theater and will be followed by a panel discussion (panelists TBD).

The Rights! Camera! Action! film series, which is sponsored by the Archive for Human Rights, the Archive of Documentary Arts, the Duke Human Rights Center, the Franklin Humanities Institute, and Screen/Society at Duke’s Arts of the Moving Image Program, features documentaries on human rights themes that were award winners at the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The films are archived at the RBMSCL, where they form part of a rich and expanding collection of human rights materials.

Not Even Covered in Chocolate Sauce

Wonders never quite cease at the RBMSCL. If ever there were a foodstuff that we strongly believed should not be associated with dessert, it was cauliflower. And then we discovered The Dessert Book: A Complete Manual from the Best American and Foreign Authorities with General Economical Recipes (written by a Boston Lady in 1872). So, in honor of National Dessert Month, we present:

Not dessert.
Not dessert.

Meringues in the Form of Cauliflowers

Fill a biscuit-forcer with Italian meringue-paste, and push this out upon bands of paper, in knobs, or large dots, superposed or mounted one upon the other in such form or fashion, that, when complete, it shall represent, as nearly as possible, the head, or white part, of a cauliflower (of course, on a very diminished scale, of the size of a pigeon’s egg, for instance): this pat of the cauliflower, when fashioned, is to be sprinkled over with rather coarse granite sugar.

The under part, or green leaves, which envelop a cauliflower, are imitated in a somewhat similar manner to the above by pushing out the paste in pointed dots upon bands of paper, in the manner and form as directed for the imitation of the heads, only somewhat flatter: these, in order the better to represent green leaves, are to be sprinkled over with green granite sugar; and when both parts have been dried in the closet, or screen, stick the head, or white part, upon the leafy or green part; thus you will form more or less truthful imitation of a cauliflower, according as in a greater or lesser degree you may have displayed your taste.

Should you want to make these for your next dinner party—imagine the aghast looks on your guests’ faces!—you’ll find the recipe for Italian Meringues after the jump.

Continue reading Not Even Covered in Chocolate Sauce

Dispatches from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University