New Year, New Acquisitions

What better way to ring in the new year (okay, we’re a couple of weeks late) than with a roundup of exciting new acquisitions from the second half of 2011?   All of these amazing resources will be available for researchers in the Rubenstein Library in 2012 and for years to come!

  • Stereograph of John Wesley Powell with a Native American. From the Powell Expedition Photograph Album.

    Powell Expedition Photograph Album: A remarkable album of 539 photographs taken during John Wesley Powell’s Second Expedition along the Colorado River in 1871-75 by John K. Hillers, E. O. Beaman, and James Fennemore.  The photographs include landscapes of the Western states and documentary photographs of Native Americans, especially the Paiute tribe.  Part of the Archive of Documentary Arts.  Look for more information on this album in the Biblio-file column in the January-February 2012 Duke Magazine.

  • Case book of Dr. Philip Turner. From the Philip Turner Papers.

    Philip Turner Papers: Documents from the life and career of Dr. Philip Turner (1740-1815), Surgeon General for the Eastern Department of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.  The manuscript collection contains correspondence, medical returns, printed materials, records from northeastern field and city hospitals, and ledgers documenting Turner’s career as a surgeon in private practice, in the Continental Army, and in the United States Army. Part of the History of Medicine Collections.  More information about this important collection of early American medical history is coming soon!

  • The Door in the Wall, And Other Stories, by H. G. Wells: This 1911 limited edition of Wells’s science fiction and fantasy stories features stunning photogravure illustrations by the vorticist photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn.




From the Rubenstein Wire

Korean Man Reading, ca. 1917-19. From the Sidney D. Gamble Photographs.

Before we dive into another exhilarating semester, it’s high time we caught up on some recent articles about the Rubenstein Library and its collections.

In the Lens blog at the New York Times, David Gonzalez explores William Gedney’s photographs of the Myrtle Avenue El in New York.

University Archivist Valerie Gillispie was introduced to the Durham community in a Durham Herald-Sun article.

NPR featured an interview with Robert Korstad and Leslie Brown about Behind the Veil: Documenting African-American  Life in the Jim Crow South.  The interview includes selections from a few of the one hundred oral histories now available online.

Neil Offen wrote an article about the exhibit “From Campus to Cockpit: Duke University During World War II.”  (The exhibit will be on display until January 29!)

Gamers far and wide noticed the opening of the Edwin and Terry Murray Collection of Role-Playing Games with our first-ever Game Night, including the blogs Robot Viking and 88 Milhas por Hora (in Portuguese) as well as more local sources.


“I Recall the Experience Sweet and Sad: Memories of the Civil War”

Civil War Exhibit banner

Date: 6 January-31 March 2012
Location and Time: Perkins Library Gallery during library hours
Contact Information: Meg Brown, 919-681-2071 or meg.brown(at)

“Memories of the Civil War” shares personal reflections and memoirs of Civil War participants from a variety of backgrounds: an escaped slave, a Union volunteer, a Southern woman, and an army field nurse. Also featured is the memoir of poet Walt Whitman, whose poem, “The Wound Dresser,” is quoted in the exhibit’s title. Despite the different backgrounds of their authors, the memoirs have remarkably common themes of triumph, tragedy, hope, and pain. Though the Civil War lives on in American memory and legend, this exhibit seeks to ground that legend in the experiences of those who lived it.

Accompanying the memoirs are supplementary manuscripts, photographs, and memorabilia from the Civil War itself, including maps, scrapbooks, and artifacts such as this amputation kit from the Rubenstein’s History of Medicine Collection. Original Whitman letters, flag remnants from the Battle of Fort Sumter, and handmade playing cards are other exhibit highlights.

amputation kit
Amputation kit used during the Civil War, now on display in the Perkins Gallery.

During your next visit to Perkins-Bostock Library, please swing by the library gallery to see the new exhibit on display now! If you can’t visit in person, be sure to check out the online exhibit, which includes additional letters and photographs that didn’t quite fit in the Perkins cases.

Also, please plan to join curators Jessica Janecki, Meghan Lyon, and Kim Sims for a gallery talk on Monday, January 23, from 3-4 p.m. The Devil’s Tale will have more information about this event posted soon!

Bob Harris on the 1942 Rose Bowl

Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Biddle Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Amy McDonald, 919-681-7987 or amy.mcdonald(at)

Join “Voice of the Blue Devils” Bob Harris as he shares thoughts on how Duke football has changed from the legendary 1942 Rose Bowl held in Wallace Wade Stadium to today’s modern game. He will also talk about the impact of the game on campus beyond the stadium walls.

Rosemary Davis and Jessica Wood, curators of the current “From Campus to Cockpit” exhibit, will highlight photographs and other artifacts from the 1942 Rose Bowl, including archival film from the game.

Following the presentation, game day refreshments will be served, and Harris will sign copies of his autobiography, How Sweet it Is! From the Cotton Mill to the Crow’s Nest.

“From Campus to Cockpit” is on display in the hallway cases outside the Biddle Rare Book Room through January 29th. An online exhibit—including the complete film of the game recorded by Duke’s coaching staff—is also available.

Articles on the 1942 Rose Bowl and the exhibit recently appeared in Duke Magazine and the Durham Herald-Sun.

Aerial Photograph of Duke Stadium during 1942 Rose Bowl
Aerial Photograph of Duke Stadium during 1942 Rose Bowl. From the University Archives Photograph Collection.


Happy New Year from the Rubenstein Library!

As we say good-bye to 2011 and welcome 2012, the staff of the Rubenstein Library would like to thank its researchers, fans, and supporters. This has been an incredibly busy and exciting year!

New Year's Eve Card
New Year's Eve Card, Postcard Collection

Highlights were the generous gifts from David M. Rubenstein and Merle Hoffman.  The library formerly known as the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library is now the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Bingham Center Director Laura Micham is now the Merle Hoffman Director.

We also welcomed wonderful new colleagues! The History of Medicine Collections and their curator, Rachel Ingold, joined us in July.  We are thrilled to add these rich materials, which beautifully complement our existing collections, and such a knowledgeable colleague.  We were delighted to welcome Valerie Gillispie as our new Duke University Archivist and Kat Stefko as Head of Technical Services.  Finally, Molly Bragg, former Drill Intern, has returned to work as our move coordinator, assisting us in preparing for renovation.

The excitement will continue in 2012 as plans for the Rubenstein renovation are finalized.

We wish you all health, happiness, and plenty of good books (and manuscripts!) in the New Year!


Post contributed by Elizabeth Dunn

Season’s Greetings from Robert Frost

The Academy of American Poets recently published an article about Robert Frost’s annual winter holiday poems, which were printed as small chapbooks and sent through the mails as holiday greetings.

Published for more than 30 years from Joseph Blumenthal’s Spiral Press, the poems were often written specifically for this purpose.

Robert Frost's The Wood-Pile
Robert Frost's The Wood-Pile

The Rubenstein Library has an excellent collection of Frost’s books, chapbooks, broadsides, and other ephemera. Part of the important Trent family collections, the Frost collection is kept in the Trent Room, fittingly with the Walt Whitman collection.

One More Brevity
Robert Frost's One More Brevity

Rubenstein’s Frost collection sometimes includes multiple copies of particular winter poems. Occasionally, a copy will come with an inscription from the poet or a comic or personal remark.

Note from Robert Frost
Note included with Robert Frost's Does no one but me at all ever feel this way in the least

For more information about Rubenstein’s literature collections, visit our literature library guide.

Happy holidays!


Holiday Shopping with Don Draper

Looking through some 1960s print ads from the J. Walter Thompson Competitive Advertisements Collection, we couldn’t help but wonder what would’ve been on Don Draper’s holiday shopping list.  The Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History has a few suggestions for him. . . .

Click to enlarge.

For Sally: Topper Toys advertised a line of Suzy Homemaker® products for girls who were “square” because they washed regularly, wore shoes rather than beads, and got “more fun out of being a cook than a kook.” Rebellious Sally will surely love spending the day cleaning with her new Vacuum and Super Sweeper, baking Dad a chocolate cake with the High Speed Mixer and Safety Oven, and then getting gussied up at the Vanity before she sneaks out to see Glen. The perfect gift to reinforce traditional gender roles (or perhaps the best way to create a feminist)!

Click to enlarge.

For Roger Sterling: What could be better than Milton Bradley’s Drop in the Bucket game, the highlight of the next office holiday party! Apparently it was “so zip-zap new” that you would be “hailed like Columbus for discovering it.” Who else would have the nerve to strap a net to his waist as coworkers try to drop “bouncy cubes” in it?  Just add a few martinis and watch the merriment commence!

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For Megan:  Jewelry is the obvious choice for Don’s new young wife, and nothing says “I love you” more than the tagline “Fake hair, fake nails, fake lashes, but real jewelry.”  Only the best for his lovely bride!

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For Betty:  Don still has a soft spot for his ex-wife, so he needs to find something that says “Merry Christmas and I’m sorry I never told you my real name.”  How about astrology soap on a rope!  “Boldly sculptured” in “fragrances and colours to match every personality,” I’m sure he will find the one that fits Betty’s polished, repressed and passive aggressive nature.

Click to enlarge.

And Don, don’t forget Rover! French’s People Crackers for Dogs would be the perfect choice for the furry member of his family. The dog can literally take a bite out of the mailman, the policeman, and even the dogcatcher!

Don will surely be thirsty after all that shopping.  Since he is cutting back on alcohol, why unwind with some drink ideas from Campbell’s Soup? Perhaps he could make Tomato Ice by freezing Tomato Soup, or chill some Consommé until it jellies and serve it with “a lemon slice, cucumber or sour cream.” And who doesn’t love Beef Broth on the Rocks “poured right from the can over ice”? That’s what we call “Mmm Mmm  Good!” (This ad is from the Roy Lightner Collection of Antique Advertisements.)

Click to enlarge.

Happy Holidays from the Hartman Center!

Post contributed by Jackie Reid, Director of the Hartman Center, and Liz Shesko, Hartman Center intern.

It Takes a Village to House a Village

Sorting through the unprocessed contents of an archival collection can be compared to a treasure hunt – sometimes you find an unexpected gem that produces an impromptu “ooh,” but then after the initial excitement wears off, you have to figure out what you’re actually looking at and then decide what to do with it.

Box of "Foundation Models"
A mystery box of Foundation Models (100 scale)

A small box marked “Foundation Models (100 scale)” found in one of the unprocessed boxes of the Foundation for Southeast Asian Art and Culture (SEAAC) records was one of those discoveries. Inside the box were fourteen miniature buildings, ranging from about ½ inch to 1¼ inches in size and elaborately constructed from a thin cardboard material. After a bit of investigative work using the other records in the collection, I found that the miniatures were part of a model of a Thai Village Complex that Doris Duke planned to build in Hawaii during the 1960s. The set of miniatures were quickly dubbed the “Tiny Thai Village.”

3 pieces from the Tiny Thai Village

An avid world traveler, Doris Duke fell in love with the art and culture of Thailand during a trip to the country in 1957. It is likely that this visit inspired her to create a Thai village in Hawaii with houses similar to those she had seen. The establishment of SEAAC in June of 1961 resulted in a project that Doris Duke saw as a gift to the people of Hawaii, and one that occupied her for many years. At least five sites in Hawaii were considered for the Thai Village and it was the choice of an appropriate location that ultimately proved the stumbling block to completion of the project. Her dream of a Thai Village was never realized, however Doris Duke’s interest in Asia continued and she purchased art objects right up until her death in 1993.

Now that I knew what these miniatures were, I needed to determine how to make them accessible to researchers. As both the size and delicacy of the objects were obvious barriers, the need for expertise help in creating practical housing for the Tiny Thai Village was essential. Fortunately for the Rubenstein Library, we have a crack team of conservators who like a good challenge. To read how the puzzle of the Tiny Thai Village was resolved, see the Preservation Underground blog.

Post contributed by Mary Samouelian, Doris Duke Collection Archivist.

Snapshots from Game Night

Our Game Night to celebrate the opening of the Edwin and Terry Murray Collection of Role-Playing Games was great fun!  Thanks to all who took a break from studying and the hectic holiday season to attend on Tuesday. Here are a few photos from a memorable night.

Students enjoy examining a sample of the thousands of games in the RPG collection.
L to R: Rubenstein Director Naomi Nelson talks with collection donors Terry and Edwin Murray.
Materials in the collection related to Dungeons and Dragons, the original role-playing game.
Kids of all ages enjoy a game of "Castle Panic."

Thanks to Nelda Webb for these photos.  For more on the Edwin and Terry Murray Collection of Role-Playing Games and Game Night, check out our earlier post, the “Top 5 Role-Playing Games You Haven’t Heard Of” (via Duke Today), and this article by Neil Offen in the Durham Herald-Sun.  And check out this excellent bonus photo from Game Night, by Beth Doyle!

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