Early last week, friend of the RBMSCL and James B. Duke Professor of Economics Dr. Craufurd Goodwin came to us with an exciting discovery. He has kindly shared a few words about it, noting that “archives are where you find them.”
When my wife and I moved from Durham in 1977 to a property called Montrose on the edge of Hillsborough, a venerable green 1961 Chevrolet pickup truck was included. Legend had it that the truck had mainly gone once a week to a garbage dump on the edge of town and spent the rest of its life in its garage. It had 18,000 miles on the odometer.
After moving most of our possessions from Durham, the old truck reverted to its traditional role and has today only 33,000 miles. But last week, on the old truck’s fiftieth birthday, it seemed appropriate to let someone else play with this toy and I sold the truck. Soon after it left the driveway, I heard from the young man who bought it that he had discovered a photograph taken by a professional studio in Durham called “Miss Johnson, Durham, N.C.” of a person described on the back as “Holland Holton, 1922.”
Holton was one of the first professors at Duke University and an administrator in various capacities; his papers are now at the Duke University Archives. There was no dated photograph of Holton in the RBMSCL’s collections until this week, but now there is.
It is a complete mystery how this picture ended up on the floor of the old truck for at least 34 years, and perhaps 50. My predecessor at Montrose and in the truck was A. H. Graham, a prominent figure in the state (Lieutenant Governor, Highway Commissioner, etc.) but Carolina all the way. How a picture of a pioneering Duke professor ended up in his farm truck we shall probably never know.
Post contributed by Dr. Craufurd Goodwin, James B. Duke Professor of Economics at Duke University.
This spring, the Flat Blue Devil has been visiting lotsoffunplaces on campus. Here at the Duke University Archives, we have Flat Duke: that is, approximately 100 hand-drawn, 23 x 30 inch property plats detailing Duke University lands around 1925-1926. These plats helped the new university prepare for the reconstruction of East Campus and the construction of West Campus.
These five plats show the land along Anderson Street (part of which now belongs to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens):
These two plats show part of East Campus:
And when we say that these are detailed, we mean detailed. For instance, there was an apple tree near Vice President of the Business Division (and future Duke president) Robert L. Flowers‘ house (located on what is now East Campus).
How do you piece the plats together? Match up the circles!
As you can imagine, we’d need a pretty sizeable flat surface to lay all of these out. We wonder if we could borrow Cameron for a day….. Stop by the RBMSCL and pore over every little detail yourself!
And you thought only children get to go on field trips?
Today, the staff of the Duke University Archives paid a visit to Maplewood Cemetery and the graves of the people whose papers we work with every day. We started with a visit to the Dukes.
It’s very sunny on the steps of the Duke Mausoleum at 9:30 AM! From left to right are Molly Bragg, our outgoing Drill Intern; Mary Samouelian, Doris Duke Collection Archivist; Kim Sims, Technical Services Archivist; and Seth Shaw, Electronic Records Archivist. (I’m taking the photo!)
Here’s Molly at the Teer Family’s mausoleum. During her internship, Molly studied Duke University’s construction, becoming well-acquainted with Nello Teer. She wrote this article about him for Duke Magazine.
100 years ago today, near tragedy struck campus as fire destroyed the Washington Duke Building, one of the seven original buildings constructed after the college moved from Randolph County to Durham. The multi-purpose building held lecture halls and offices, as well 56 dorm rooms. With coal heating and rooms lit by candle and kerosene lamp, the returning students must have tried to heat up the building too quickly that cold January 4th. Fortunately, all escaped uninjured.
Plans were already in place to replace the building and the new West Duke Building had just been completed. East Duke Building would be completed the following year on roughly the same spot as the original Washington Duke Building.
Duke Magazine “Retrospective” about the fire by Duke University Archivist Tim Pyatt.
Visit Duke University’s West Campus any weekday at 5:00 PM and you’ll hear the 50 bells of the Duke University Chapel’s impressive carillon.
But there’s a 51st bell on West Campus. Hung in the Kilgo Quadrangle belfry sometime in October or early November of 1950, Charley came to Duke (according to legend) from Cherley Myncherry in Oxfordshire, where it had been part of this Benedictine priory’s set of bells. The bell was a gift of Furman G. McLarty (Trinity College Class of 1927 and Duke professor of philosophy from 1933 until his death in 1952), who had purchased it in 1929 while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.
Perhaps overshadowed by its Duke Chapel brethren, our Charley does have one particular point of pride: with Cherley Myncherry dating from the 12th century, the bell may very well be one of the oldest in the New World. We were lucky to record a peal from this historical treasure.
Duke Magazine “Retrospective” on Charley by former Associate University Archivist Tom Harkins.
The practice of honoring the benefactors of Trinity College and Duke University was formalized by the Board of Trustees on June 4, 1901, when October 3 was designated as Benefactors’ Day in honor of Washington Duke. The original intent “to honor Washington Duke forever” has been kept in spirit, but the name and date of the annual observance has changed over the years. It has been called Benefactors’ Day (1901-1924), Duke University Day (1926-1947), and, since 1948, Founders’ Day. The most elaborate celebrations occurred during the year-long Centennial Celebration of 1938-1939, and on the 100th anniversary of James B. Duke’s birth in 1956.
After the creation of Duke University in 1924, the date shifted to December 11 in honor of the signing of the Indenture of The Duke Endowment. For several decades, tree-planting ceremonies were a traditional part of the festivities. In 1997, the ceremonies were moved back to a date in the early fall, usually the weekend closest to October 3rd. Events include a memorial for members of the community deceased during the year passed, recognition of outstanding students, faculty, and staff, and the presentations of awards for teaching, the Distinguished Alumni Award, and the University Medal for Distinguished Meritorious Service at Duke.
Post contributed by Tim Pyatt, Duke University Archivist.
This Saturday’s football game with Alabama recalls the historic ties between our two programs. In 1930, shortly before the opening of the new Gothic West Campus, President William Few sought the advice of the celebrated Alabama coach Wallace Wade on potential names for a football coach and director of athletics. Wade, who had led Alabama to two Rose Bowls and a record of 51-13-3, surprised Few by replying that he would be interested in the vacancy. Wade brought his Alabama success to Duke, leading the Blue Devils to two Rose Bowls as well. He would post a record of 110-36-7 in his sixteen years as coach at Duke.
While Wade served in the U.S. Army as major during World War II, his assistant Eddie Cameron took over as head coach and continued the Blue Devils’ gridiron success. He led the 1944 team to a Sugar Bowl showdown with Alabama on January 1, 1945. In what sportswriter Grantland Rice called “one of the greatest thrillers of all time” Duke edged the Tide 29 to 26. Cameron kept a scrapbook filled with images from the game, which now forms a part of the Edmund M. Cameron Records.
Duke’s connections to Alabama continue with current Coach David Cutcliffe, an Alabama native and graduate of the University of Alabama who also served as an intern to legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant. Duke fans will be hoping that Coach Cutcliffe will rekindle some of that “Sugar Bowl magic” and will lead us to another thrilling victory over Alabama this Saturday!
Post contributed by Tim Pyatt, Duke University Archivist.
Dispatches from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University