Fascinating Finds in the Stacks: Women’s Lib?

In the wake of our collections move, I came across a board game, “Women’s Lib? A Game of Women’s Rights.” As a child of the seventies, the box’s Bob Fosse-esque cover image caught my eye, as did the oh-so-1970 line drawings that reminded me of Schoolhouse Rock and other educational cartoons of my youth. However, this board game has a decidedly adult theme.


womenslibEach player selects a character that represents one of six different stances on the Women’s Liberation Movement, ranging from “Male Chauvinist” to “Moderate Woman,” to “W.O.M.B. (Women Opposed to Male Bigots).” Characters then vote on contemporary issues as prompted by playing cards. These topics are familiar to us over 40 years later:  Abortion, Day Care, Employment Equality, Women’ Legislation and Domestic Issues. In fact, the only category on the election docket that we don’t hear much about today is “Male Contraception.”

Points are awarded to players who successfully campaign and debate to achieve the goals favored by the character they represent. The game sets out to educate players about controversial gender issues in a rapidly changing world. Although this piece of memorabilia seems anachronistic today, the topics it addresses are still extremely relevant.

This board game joins a number of other games and playing cards held by the Bingham Center that explore issues related to women and gender. For even more fun and games in the Rubenstein Library, check out the Richard Pollay Collection of Advertising-Related Board Games, or the Edwin and Terry Murray Collection of Role-Playing Games.

Post contributed by Megan Lewis, Technical Services Archivist for the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture.

Dispatches from the German Judaica Project

Usually catalogers spend most of our time thinking about appropriate subject headings, title added entries, transcription of titles and other useful information. We have developed efficient ways to do this quickly and accurately and aren’t often conscious of our role in preserving a book because it is an historical object. Sometimes, however, there is something about a book that brings the cataloging process to a temporary standstill.

lois blog post fullA book that was acquired recently as part of the German Judaica Project suddenly made me stop and think about the history of Europe during the Nazi period. The particular title in question is Jad hachasakah, oder Mischna Thorah, 1. Buch. Maddah, published in 1846 by E.J. Dalkowski in Königsberg (once the capital of Prussia, now known as Kaliningrad). It was edited by Elias Soloweiczyk “aus Slutzk in Russland.” (Slutzk, or Slutsk, is a town near St. Petersburg.) There are hundreds of editions and commentaries of Moses Maimonides works, edited by a wide variety of authors and there isn’t anything too unusual about the text of the book. It isn’t even extremely rare, as there is at least one other copy in the United States. What is very interesting is that, clearly stamped on the title page, is the ownership mark of one of the libraries of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei Schutzstaffel or “SS.” It’s unfortunate that the identity of the specific library is not quite clear, but the central symbol is distinctive.


So many questions came to my mind as I cataloged: How did this little volume manage to survive the war at all, since Jewish libraries were systematically destroyed? How did it arrive in the hands of the SS, who were definitely part of the destruction? Why did they save it? Did it possibly serve a purpose in the officer training schools as an example of why Judaism should be destroyed? How did this it survive the destruction of the SS libraries after the war and find its way first to the United States and finally to Duke?

This little ownership stamp also reminded me of a cataloging project that I completed in the 1980s. It was a large collection of pamphlets that was given to the library following World War II. They were materials literally picked up from the streets or plucked from the waste bins as the libraries belonging to the Nazis were dismantled. They remain a treasure-trove of everything from official Nazi propaganda on race to manuals for pistols. Many of the items had ownership stamps similar to the one in the Maimonides work described above. In order to more easily locate these resources, we devised two categories of locally developed subject headings: Nazi period (further subdivided by place of publication and date) and Provenance (followed by the former owner).

It seems serendipitous that I would catalog the new title because I am probably the only cataloger who would realize the philosophical connection to the earlier project and create the same type of subject added entries.

Post contributed by Lois Schultz, Catalog Librarian for Monographic Resources in Perkins Technical Services.

Street Exposure: The Photographs of Ronald Reis

Exhibit Dates: March 18-May 18, 2013
Opening Reception: March 22, 2013, 6:00PM
Location: Photography Gallery, Perkins Library
Contact Information: Kirston Johnson, kirston.johnson(at)duke.edu

Ronald Reis, New York City: Lower East Side, 1964.
Ronald Reis, New York City: Lower East Side, 1964.

Ronald Reis was born in New York City in 1935 and began taking photographs when he was twelve years old. He received his first camera, an Argus A2, as a gift from his father, sparking a lifelong interest in photography. From an early age, Reis focused his lens on ordinary people and the routine tasks that make up daily life. Inspired by documentary photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helen Levitt, and Louis Stettner, Reis dedicated himself to street photography while studying at the University of Pennsylvania.

After graduating from college, Reis went into the family apparel business, which enabled him to travel extensively in Europe and frequently visit both New York and London. He quickly became a serious self-taught photographer, and his images were featured in numerous magazines and exhibits. For over fifty years, he has continued to photograph streetscapes in the United States and abroad. The result is a documentary record that captures the essence of everyday life and highlights the commonalities between different people and geographic locations. At the end of the day, the ordinary rituals of urban living are strikingly similar all over the world.

This exhibit focuses on photographs taken in New York and London over a ten-year period, mainly during the 1960s. At the time Reis was making many of these images, photography was witnessing a movement towards creating a documentary record of the everyday. In 1967, photo curator and historian John Szarkowski unveiled his influential exhibition New Documents at the Museum of Modern Art, featuring photographers Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus, and Garry Winogrand. Like Reis, these photographers were interested in the art of observing and documenting the commonplace—the extraordinary within the ordinary. Szarkowski wrote in his introduction to the exhibit, “Their aim has not been to reform life but to know it, not to persuade but to understand.” Likewise, Reis trained his lens on the ordinary people and events around him, in order to more deeply know and understand them.

The Ronald Reis Photographs collection is preserved in the Archive of Documentary Arts in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and the collection has been digitized and is available in the Duke University Libraries Digital Collections.

Post contributed by Kirston Johnson, Curator, Archive of Documentary Arts.


In the Lab: The Mad Dog, or, Take Care of Yourself

This delightful manuscript item came to conservation for some minor repairs and housing.  It is an eighteenth-century card game with a sheet of instructions describing itself as “The Mad Dog, or Take Care of Yourself: A Company Play with coloured Plates on 12 Cards in a Paper Case.”

The faces of the cards are delightfully hand-drawn and painted in watercolors.  The instructions describe them thus:

To this play belong 6 principal Cards and a few vacant ones, the latter distinguished only by 2 different colours….  The objects represent:  1. The Courthouse, 2. The Police Officer, 3. The Hunter, 4. The Physician, 5. A man bit by a mad dog and 6. The mad dog itself, represented exactly with all the symptoms of madness.

Cards and instructions for "The Mad Dog," ca. late 1700s.
Cards and instructions for “The Mad Dog,” ca. late 1700s.

The game consists of a person bit by a dog making a complaint to the court, asking for monetary restitution and seeking to have the dog killed, either by the police officer, the hunter, or the physician, all with various fines and rewards.  The winner seems to be the person who ends up with the most money.

mad dog - box beforeblogThe cards and instruction page were in good condition, having only a few minor tears, but the little box was in a poorer state.  It had split at the seams, and at some point in its history someone with good intentions had neatly sewn it together with thread (which I like much better than tape)!  It was interesting to peek inside and see that the box was made of discarded print and manuscript papers layered together.

I removed the threads and hinged the broken sides back together, mended the instruction page, and provided a polyester “sling” for the cards to slide in and out of the box without abrasion.  Then I made a thick new folder to house the case in a recessed opening and the instructions in a polyester sleeve.  The folder will go back into the manuscript box it came from.  This was such a fun little project!

mad dog - folderblog

Post contributed by Grace White, Conservator for Special Collections, as part of our ongoing “In the Conservation Lab” series.

Investigating CORE in the Duke Student Union Records

For the last several months, I have been processing the collection of the Duke University Union for the Duke Archives.  The collection contains a wide variety of records and information: want to know how many people were injured during the Grateful Dead concert at Duke?  Check the Union records!  Interested in a local artist that showed her work at Duke in the 1970s?  The Union records are the place to be!  But the subject of this blog post involves this curious, unsigned letter that I found in the records:

Unsigned letter about CORE, November 7, 1963. From the Duke University Union Records.
Unsigned letter about CORE, November 7, 1963. From the Duke University Union Records.

CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, was an interracial civil rights organization that, according to its website, began as “a nonhierarchical, decentralized organization funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of its members.” By the early 1960s, chapters and projects existed in many states and were self-funded and self-led.

The early 1960s were a pivotal time for CORE chapters, particularly those throughout the south. 1960, of course, saw the Greensboro sit-ins, and CORE was instrumental in formulating responses throughout the region. In 1961, CORE chapters, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and other civil rights organizations both participated in and organized “Freedom Rides”  throughout the segregated south in order to desegregate interstate travel. And during 1964’s Freedom Summer, CORE members James Chaney, Andrew Goldman, and Michael Schwerner were murdered in the infamous “Mississippi Burning” case.

Perhaps it was something about the “nonhierarchical, decentralized” language that piqued the curiosity of Duke administrators and compelled them to check with both the United States Department of Justice and the House of Unamerican Activities Commission before approving a CORE chapter at Duke.  The motivation behind such actions may have been lost to time . . . or maybe it’s buried deeper in the Union records!

Post contributed by Maureen McCormick Harlow, Drill Intern for the Duke University Archives.

Come Visit! We’re Now Taking Applications for Travel Grants

Researchers! The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is now accepting applications for our 2013-2014 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 Rubenstein Library.

The grants are open to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, independent scholars, artists, and activists who live more than 100 miles from Durham, NC and whose research projects would benefit from access to collections held by one of the centers.

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 March 29, 2013. Recipients will be announced in April 2013.

NC Travel Billboard, "Only a Day's Drive," undated. From the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Archives.
NC Travel Billboard, “Only a Day’s Drive,” undated. From the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Archives.

Some of last year’s recipients include:

At the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture:

  • Bridget Collins, a graduate student in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, used prescriptive literature held by the Bingham Center as part of her research for her dissertation, “From the Cradle to the Grave: Infectious Disease in the Twentieth Century American Home.”
  • Laura Foxworth, a graduate student in the Department of History at the University of South Carolina, for research for her dissertation, “The Spiritual is Political: How the Southern Baptist Convention Debated Feminism and Found the New Right.” You can read more about her visit here.
  • Jessica Lancia, a graduate student at the University of Florida, conducted research for her dissertation, “Borderless Feminisms: A Transnational History of the U.S. Women’s Movement, 1967-1985.” You can read more about her visit in the Fall 2012 issue of the Bingham Center newsletter.

At the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture:

  • Brooke N. Newman, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Virginia Commonwealth University, for a study on gender, race, and power in the eighteenth century British Caribbean.
  • Kathryn Banks, Assistant Professor in the History and Political Science Department at Andrews University, for an examination of African-American employment in the Southern textile industry from 1895 to 1945.
  • Max L. Grivno, Associate Professor from the Department of History at the University of Southern Mississippi, for an analysis of slavery in Mississippi, 1690-1865.

At the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History:

  • Anne Schmidt of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, for research for her book about the meaning and importance of emotions in advertising throughout the twentieth century in Germany and ways emotions were a constitutive element of capitalist practices of production and consumption.
  • Marcia Chatelain, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Georgetown University, conducted research on the ways in which segregation shaped African-American food culture in the South for her book, A Taste of Freedom: African-American Dining Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights.
  • Rochelle Pereira-Alvares, a graduate student in the Department of History at the University of Guelph, Canada, exploring how the marketing and advertising initiatives of Hiram Walker and Seagram influenced the way in which consumers purchased and imbibed spirits, and the impact consumers’ changing tastes had on the companies’ marketing and product development decisions, 1950-1990.
  • Bryce C. Lowery, a graduate student in Public Policy at the University of Southern California, for research for his dissertation, “The Consumable Landscapes of Los Angeles: How the Spatial Ecology of Outdoor Advertising Influences the Quality of Life.”

Post contributed by Stephanie Barnwell, Bingham Center intern.

New Office Hours for the Medical Center Archives!

Nursing students study in the School of Medicine Library. Courtesy of the Duke University Medical Center Archives.

Nursing students study in the School of Medicine Library. Courtesy of the Duke University Medical Center Archives.

The University Archives has collections from every area of the Duke campus—except the Medical Center. Those materials are collected by the Medical Center Archives, which has an off-campus facility. The location of the office is not far from campus but not easily walkable or accessible by bus.

Recently, however, our friends at the Med Center Archives have started providing regular office hours at the Medical Center Library in the Seeley Mudd Building. Each day from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, they are available on Level 1 in Room 102A to meet with patrons, explain resources, and even (with advance notice) provide access to historical materials.

If you want to make an appointment with a Med Center Archives staff member, you can simply stop by, or contact them at dumc.archives(at)mc.duke.edu or (919) 660-1144.

Post contributed by Val Gillispie, Duke University Archivist.

Black Presence in the Picture File

The Picture File is a collection that covers an expansive scope of visual history. With over 6,000 items spanning the 17th to 20th centuries, it is the kind of collection that makes mining the African American experience both exhaustive and exciting. This reality is best exemplified by the presence of this photograph located in the Geographic Series.

From Picture File, 1600s-1979, Box 4, folder m162.1
From Picture File, 1600s-1979, Box 4, folder m162.1

At first glance, the photograph is rather striking, if not disturbing. An African American man standing with hands shackled, surrounded by four uniformed white men. The back of the photo however describes a different story, “Members of the Georgia Hussars with [unidentified African American man] at Clyo, GA in 1908(?) to prevent lynching of prisoner.” The inscription further notes, “This negro afterward died of tuberculosis and syphilis in Chatham County Jail while awaiting a new trial on appeal.”

Note on back of photoraph
Note on back of photograph

The historical record of local protection against the lynching of African Americans is indeed a controversial one. But this interesting image at least captures the actual presence of authorities standing guard against violence against this incarcerated man.

Post contributed by John Gartrell, Director of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture.  This is the third in a series of posts on interesting documents in our collections to celebrate Black History Month. 

The Power of This Story: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Durham 1960-1990

Whole Women Carologue


The Sallie Bingham Center has partnered with the Women’s Studies Senior Seminar to present a series of public conversations exploring how social change happened here in Durham. Each panel features individuals and representatives of organizations whose papers are held by the Bingham Center.  Please note the different locations for each panel.



Panel 1:

Joanne Abel, YWCA’s Women Center, Triangle Area Lesbian Feminists, and War Resisters League
Barb Smalley, Ladyslipper Music
David Jolly, NC Lesbian and Gay Health Project

Date: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Time: 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Reception to follow)
Where: East Duke Parlors, East Campus, Duke University


Panel 2:

Jeanette Stokes, Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South
Kat Turner, Lesbian Health Resource Center and NC Lesbian and Gay Health Project
Donna Giles, Triangle Area Lesbian Feminists and Feminary

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Time: 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Reception to follow)
Where: Perkins Library, Room 217, West Campus, Duke University


Panel 3:

Mandy Carter, Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and War Resisters League
Caitlin Breedlove, Southerners on New Ground (SONG)
Steve Schewel, Founder, Independent Weekly

Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Time:  5:30-6:30 p.m. (Reception to follow)
Where: Durham County Library, 300 N. Roxboro Street, Durham, NC


Sponsored by Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, Rubenstein Library; Durham County Library; Duke Program in Women’s Studies; Vice Provost of Academic Affairs; the Pauli Murray Project; and in conjunction with Women’s Studies Senior Seminar.

The Move by the Numbers

After a month of intensive activity, the largest and most complicated phase of the Rubenstein Library move wrapped up, and we bid farewell to William B. Meyer, our wonderful library movers, on Feb 12.  In the 24 days that these 15 movers were onsite they relocated more than 30,000 linear feet of rare books, manuscript collections, university archives, pamphlets, and other material to both our temporary library and the Library Service Center.

Map Cases
Our map cabinets in their new home

We are excited to report that we have a considerable amount of our collection up in our new home on the 3rd floor of Perkins:

  • 17,600 linear feet of books, manuscripts, university archives and other collections
  • 39 map cabinets
  • 4-volume, double-elephant edition of Audubon

The movers transported 836 large blue trucks of material to our offsite Library Service Center!

  • The team at LSC has already ingested 148,727 items!  Thank you LSC team!!

Please note that due to the HUGE amount of material sent to LSC, some items are still being processed into their system.  As such, it may take longer than usual for some materials to be pulled..   Researchers are encouraged to contact the Rubenstein Library to confirm that their collections have arrived before coming to the reading room.  Please call the Rubenstein Library at 919.660.5822 or send us a message. Thank you to all our patrons, researchers, colleagues, friends and fans for their continued patience and support as we finalize the Rubenstein Library move!

But that’s not all!

Although one phase of the move is complete, there is still plenty of work and moving to be done between now and the start of the Rubenstein Library Renovation.  We are still prepping our newspaper collection for transport to LSC, and we still need to move the art collection, including the portraits in the Gothic Reading Room.  Stay tuned for more updates as we complete these projects.

Last but not least, you can always relive the exciting events from the last 6 weeks anytime on our blog:  http://blogs.library.duke.edu/rubenstein/tag/movediary/


Post contributed by Molly Bragg, Collection Move Coordinator.



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