Welcome to Blogging, Medical Center Archives!

Illustration from the Malcolm Tyor Papers, Duke University Medical Center Archives.
From the Malcolm Tyor Papers, Duke University Medical Center Archives.

This morning, we’re sending best wishes to our friends at the Duke University Medical Center Archives, who have just entered the blogosphere!

Visit their new blog for stories about the history of the DUMC community; interesting images, artifacts, and documents from their collections (like the illustration at right); and information about their resources, services, news, and events.

Recent posts include:

All illustrated with great finds from the Medical Center Archives’ collections.

Look for new posts every other week! Happy blogging, y’all!


Rights! Camera! Action!: The Undocumented (Director’s Cut)

Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Full Frame Theater on the American Tobacco Campus (directions & parking information)
Contact: Patrick Stawski, patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu

Marcos Hernandez lives and works in Chicago. He came to the United States from Mexico, after a life-threatening border crossing through the Sonora Desert in southern Arizona. Each month, he sends money to his mother in Mexico City to buy medicine for his brother, Gustavo, who needs a kidney transplant. The Undocumented, by acclaimed filmmaker Marco Williams, is Marcos’s story—as well as the story of countless other migrants.

Chronicling Arizona’s deadliest summer months, award-winning documentary and fiction film director Marco Williams (Banished, Two Towns of Jasper, In Search of Our Fathers) weaves Marcos’s search with the efforts of humanitarians and Border Patrol agents who are fighting to prevent migrant deaths, the medical investigators and Mexican Consulate workers who are trying to identify dead border crossers, and Mexican families who are struggling to accept the loss of a loved one.

Poster for Screening of The Undocumented

In true cinéma vérité style, The Undocumented (91:00 TRT; 2013 Full Frame Honorable Mention for Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights) reveals the ongoing impact of immigration laws and economic policies on the very people who continue to be affected by them. By going beyond politics, the film also tells a story that is deeply personal.

The screening, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a panel discussion featuring director Marco Williams and Duke University professor Charlie Thompson.

Rights!Camera!Action! is sponsored by the Archive of Documentary Arts and the Human Rights Archive in the Rubenstein Library, the Duke Human Rights Center @ FHI, and the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image.

Meet our Interns

Every fall the Rubenstein Library welcomes a new group of graduate student interns from Duke and other area universities.  Maybe I just have a soft spot for our interns since I was once one, but I think anyone at the Rubenstein would tell you that our interns are an integral part of the work we do, helping us with processing collections, creating finding aids, answering reference questions, coordinating events, and much more. I’d like to introduce you to some of the interns who are working with the Research Services department this year:

Dominique Dery, Research Services Intern

What she’s studying: I’m currently a PhD student studying Political Theory and Religion and Politics in the Political Science department at Duke. My dissertation links historical accounts of civic friendship with contemporary theoretical and ethnographic work on civic engagement and community service.
What’s she’s been working on at the Rubenstein Library: As the Research Services intern, I serve patrons at the front desk of the Rubenstein, and I also respond to queries from researchers who can’t make it in to the library themselves. So far I’ve searched through and ordered reproductions of letters, sheet music, and pamphlets.
What she likes to do when she’s not with us: When I’m not writing or at the Rubenstein, I love to help out at a friend’s farm in Rougemont and hike along the Eno.
Most interesting thing she’s come across in our collections:  The most interesting thing I’ve come across so far has been the correspondence between Carson McCullers and Tennessee Williams while on the hunt for mention of another writer in McCullers’ papers; I love McCullers’ fiction and it was fascinating to get to see some of her letters to her dear friend Tennessee (also known as ’10’ in some of the letters).

Williams to McCullers Letter
Letter from Tennessee Williams to Carson McCullers


Danielle Lupton, Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History Intern

What she’s studying: I am a sixth year graduate student in Political Science at Duke University. I focus on international relations, and my work looks at how leaders interact during international crises.
What’s she’s been working on at the Rubenstein Library: In doing research for patrons, I have come across some really neat old advertisements, including some fascinating ads from the turn of the century. I am also doing research for the Hartman Center on Pan American Airlines. Both my parents are pilots, and my father flew for Delta Airlines, who bought out Pan Am. I really feel a connection to the material.
What she likes to do when she’s not with us: In my free time, I am an avid tennis player.
Most interesting thing she’s come across in our collections: I came across this beautiful advertisement from 1896 for Liberty Bicycles on the back of a Kodak ad I was searching for. I think as a political scientist the tag line really resonates with me, and the artwork is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau in advertising.

pan am
1987 Pan Am Billboard


Mary Mellon, University Archives William King Intern

What she’s studying: I’m a library and information science student at UNC-Chapel Hill.
What’s she’s working on at the Rubenstein Library: Various projects for the University Archives, including the Chapel sermon recordings digitization project (some of the recordings are being used in the Great Black Preachers of Duke Chapel series on iTunes U), and creating information pages about members of the Duke family.
What she likes to do when she’s not with us: Outside of work and school, I love knitting, baking, and Duke basketball!
Most interesting thing she’s come across in our collections: A 1958 Duke Law School banquet program signed by “Dick Nixon.”

Richard Nixon Signature
Signature of Dick Nixon, Sometime President of the Duke Bar Association


Claire Radcliffe, Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History & Culture Public Services Intern

What she’s studying: I’m working on a dual masters degree; I just finished my MA in Public History at NC State, and I’m working on my MSLS from Chapel Hill.
What she’s working on at the Rubenstein Library: I’ve been working on a range of things: migrating the website to Drupal, migrating subject guides to LibGuides (and revamping some of them), assisting with remote reference and reproduction, assisting with preparation for classes, helping out with 25th anniversary events, and processing zines.
What she likes to do when she’s not with us: Outside of school and work, I’m interested in photography, old movies, traveling, baking, dance fitness classes, and used bookshops. Although there is distressingly little time outside of school and work.
Most interesting thing she’s come across in our collections: Two of the most interesting things I’ve come across were the pink corset book  and a picture of Kathy Acker with the Spice Girls.

Kathy Acker and Spice Girls
Kathy Acker, third from left, with the Spice Girls

Video Killed the Research Woes

With the Fall Semester well underway, we wanted to let you know about a couple of videos that can make your research at the Rubenstein Library even easier.  For example, not sure where to find us since we moved?

Know that you know where we are and you want to come do research, check out our other videos:

Author Waldo E. Martin Jr. to speak on the Black Panther Party

Bloom&Martin_compREV.inddDate: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Time: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Location: Rubenstein Library, Perkins 318 (PDF Map)
Contact: John Gartrell, john.gartrell@duke.edu

Black Against Empire: the History and Politics of the Black Panther Party traces the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party against the backdrop global revolution. Co-authors Waldo E. Martin Jr. and Joshua Bloom argue that the Black Panther Party rejected fighting for full citizenship within the U.S. and instead, joined the global struggle against U.S. imperialism. In this comprehensive overview, the authors examine why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the Party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the Party at its peak of influence.

Dr. Waldo E. Martin Jr., joins us to discuss and sign copies of his new book, Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party, co-authored with Joshua Bloom.  




A Family with a Mission: The McGee Family Papers

We just wrapped up processing an exciting new addition to the McGee Family Papers. John S. and Doris McGee were Baptist missionaries to Nigeria in 1945, where they served until their retirement in 1977. Their two sons, John David and Sidney, joined them in Africa for their formative years before finishing their education in America. During the McGee family’s time in Nigeria, they served at the Baptist College of Iwo and the Baptist Mission in Igede-Ekiti and Ikogosi, and they helped found the sixth Baptist high school in Nigeria–the Ekiti Baptist High School in Igede. They were made “Chief Gbaiyegun of Igede” by the Onigede and Chiefs of Igede-Ekiti, the paramount chief by the Ewi of Ado, and “Chief Akorewolu of Ikogosi” by Loja and Chiefs of Ikogosi-Ekiti.

McGees and chiefs, Gbaiyegun event, 1957
McGees and Nigerian chiefs, Gbaiyegun event, 1957

Some of the items in the new accession include correspondence (as well as reel-to-reel “audio letters”) between the family members while they were separated  during their various Nigerian tours; Doris’ many prayer diaries; and seven beautiful 16×20 color prints documenting life in various Nigerian missionary camps.

John S. McGee baptizing believers in Nigeria
John S. McGee baptizing believers in Nigeria

The collection offers fascinating insight into the lives and histories of a family on a Baptist Mission to Nigeria in the mid-twentieth century.

Heschel Highlights, Part 2

Welcome to the second post in a series documenting the processing of the Abraham Joshua Heschel Papers.

Processing the materials in the Abraham Joshua Heschel papers over the past three months has presented interesting challenges, including deciphering a wide assortment of languages represented in the collection (we’re up to nine languages thus far) and determining date ranges for the materials. As a result, we’ve come up with some creative, yet practical solutions to address these challenges and are hopeful they will positively affect how researchers interact with and interpret the materials in the collection.

Language materials

Materials in English make up about 57% of the collection; materials in Hebrew and Yiddish about 38%; materials in German 4%; and materials in Italian, Spanish, French, Latin, and Polish about 1%. There are varying degrees of the amount of language materials in each folder and oftentimes multiple languages are represented in a single folder (sometimes in a single document!). Hebrew is particularly challenging as Heschel not only wrote in Hebrew but also frequently wrote folder titles in Hebrew.

To assist researchers understand the language(s) represented in the collection and its extent, each folder description will include a note identifying the language(s) and its extent in the folder. As an example, if all the materials are in German, the note will read “All materials in German,” or if there is a mix of language materials, the note may read “Most materials in German and Yiddish.” To assist researchers with the folder titles in Hebrew, we will be providing the original folder title in Hebrew, the transliteration of the title, and a translation of the title.


Look on both sides!

Heschel tended not to date the materials he authored, nor did he date the folders. However, he does appear to have been a master at recycling paper for his handwritten notes. So far, we’ve discovered he reused coupons, correspondence, receipts, other handwritten notes, memoranda, and (my personal favorite) his student’s blue exam books. In many cases, turning these scraps of paper or documents over has provided essential clues to the date(s) of the materials in the folder.

Looking on the other side of the materials has also had some unexpected benefits by providing additional clues to Heschel that may not have been discovered. As an example, we came across a handwritten table which provides descriptions related to the topic of “Man.”

Capture 2On the reverse side is a draft letter Heschel wrote in 1941, about a year after he arrived in the United States. He asks the recipient of the letter about the availability of a room and if she knows of a place where he could “take one meal every day.” Heschel crossed the letter off and then reused it for other purposes.

Capture 3Stayed tuned for more Heschel Highlights in the near future!

Post contributed by Mary Samouelian, Heschel Processing Archivist in Rubenstein Technical Services.

My Rubenstein Library: Mary Ziegler on The Abortion Wars

With generous assistance from a 2013 Mary Lily Research Grant, I visited the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture last summer to do research for an article and for my book, now under contract with Harvard University Press, The Lost History of the Abortion Debate.

CARASA001resizedThe Bingham Center offers researchers access to many forgotten voices from the abortion wars, from pioneering feminists to founding members of the women’s health movement. I focused on materials documenting the policies and struggles of abortion providers in the years after Roe v. Wade. My search uncovered documents chronicling the work of individual clinics and the activities of political organizations, like the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, that lobby for those working in clinics. These documents revealed a complex legal discourse forged by lay actors—women, clinic staff, providers and activists seeking to redefine what abortion rights meant. Non-lawyers routinely interpreted Supreme Court decisions, using them as raw material for new visions of reproductive freedom.

The story told by the documents housed at the Bingham Center differs substantially from the conventional narrative of post-1973 abortion politics. We often believe that the Supreme Court set the course for the abortion wars of future decades. In particular, by defining abortion as a privacy issue, the Court supposedly short-circuited popular debate about what abortion rights ought to mean. The materials I found complicated this narrative. Far from leaving constitutional issues to the courts, providers, patients, and political activists drew on judicial decisions in creating bold, new ideas about the rights women deserved. The documents I found at the Bingham Center provide indispensable evidence of the true impact of Roe, since the Bingham collections recapture the often-neglected voices of abortion providers. We stand to learn a great deal from studying these materials. I certainly did.

Post contributed by Mary Ziegler, an assistant professor of law at Florida State University College of Law.


Women in the Movement Part One: Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights

Date: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Time: 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Location: FHI Garage, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse (directions & parking information)
Contact: John Gartrell, john.gartrell(at)duke.edu

reflections_imageReflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights focuses on black women activists and their marginalization within the Black Power and Feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Filmmaker Nevline Nnaji looks at how each movement failed to fully recognize black women’s overlapping identities and include them as both African Americans and women. Through interviews and archival footage, Reflections Unheard tells the story of these black female activists’ political mobilization and fight for recognition.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with producer and director, Nevline Nnaji.

Part 1 of 2 in the Women in the Movement series is co-sponsored by John Hope Franklin Research Center, the Department of African & African American Studies, the Center for Documentary Studies, the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, the Center for African and African American Research, the Franklin Humanities Institute, and the Program in Women’s Studies.


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