Date: Thursday, October 29, 2015 Time: 2:00-4:00 PM Location: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room Contact: Amy McDonald, email@example.com
Y’all, we hear you. The semester is getting more and more intense and sometimes Duke is just so . . . gothic, you know? Sometimes you just need to eat some free candy and look at cute things. And what better time to do that than in celebration of that traditionally cute holiday, Halloween?
Your cuddly Rubenstein librarians would like to invite you to visit us for Screamfest III, an open house featuring creepy ADORABLE things from our collections.
Like this postcard of these sweet black kitty-cats, bringing you Halloween joys in their happy hot air pumpkins.
If you, an esteemed Duke University professor, received a pie in the face in front of your class, what would you do?
A. Update your CV, in preparation for finding an alternate career far away from college students.
C. Pause for snack time, then continue your lecture on a sugar high.
D. Chase your assailant and catch him while wading through a creek.
Duke students have always been enterprising—a proud trait imaginatively demonstrated by the brief but legendary history of Pie-Die, Ltd., a student-run company that placed its first advertisement in the March 21, 1975 issue of the Chronicle.
For a fee, Pie-Die would track down your target of choice and, well, you get the idea. Apparently, business was quite good: on March 28th, an anonymous letter to the editor of the Chronicle, written on behalf of the “Family,” spoke of a “labor shortage” and offered a job to anyone with “expertise in dexterity and cunning not to mention a dash of insanity.” A hit on a professor cost around $30, while $300 bought a contract on then-Duke president Terry Sanford.
The letter concluded:
We sincerely hope that those who receive our pies are not left with a bad taste in their mouths. All pies are administered in good clean wholesome fun in the best “mom-apple pie” tradition. To prove our intentions, all proceeds will go to World Famine Relief after operating costs have been met.
The first to be hit was psychology professor Irvin Alexander, who was pied in front of his class in Zener Auditorium. He wore a fencing mask to his next class.
James Bonk’s turn came on March 31st, one day shy of April Fools’ Day. His hired assailant caught him with a pie at the end of one of his famed “Bonkistry” lectures. The first-year “hit-man” either didn’t know or failed to properly consider Bonk’s athletic prowess: he was a volunteer coach for Duke’s men’s tennis team and had played the sport since his childhood.
With his 200 students cheering him on, Bonk chased the young man out of his class, across campus, and finally caught up with him in the middle of a stream, where he demanded to see the student’s Duke identification card.
This type of prank was becoming a trend on college campuses, and Bonk’s pursuit became national news. It was the perfect opportunity for pun-loving headline writers: the Charlotte Observer‘s article was titled “Pie-Eyed: Latest Craze is Chunking Custard,” while the Raleigh Times went with the more subtle “Creamed professor nabs pie thrower.” The Chronicle‘s headline was direct: “Bonk gets bonked.” The newspapers reported that the student would possibly face disciplinary action and that Bonk would also hold him responsible for his dry-cleaning costs.
After this, we lose track of Pie-Die: was there a turf war with their competitor, Fli-Pie? Did they ever catch up with Terry Sanford? Let us know in the comments if you can shed any light on these Duke history mysteries. (And, if you were a part of Pie-Die, let us know if you have any documentation from those days that you’d like to add to the University Archives. The statute of limitations must be up by now.)
Oh and, by the way, the pie that hit James Bonk was lemon meringue. Happy Pi Day!
Post contributed by Amy McDonald, Assistant University Archivist.
Dearest readers and friends, we long to see you on Valentine’s Day. Won’t you please set our hearts a-flutter and come to our Valentine’s Day open house?
Do you fear that you will be too busy penning epistles of undying love to your own beloveds to join us? Ah, but this event is crafted especially for you: we’ll be sharing the most swoon-worthy of love declarations from the Rubenstein Library’s collections, so you may find just the term of endearment you need to woo your mate.
Perhaps a few examples to help the time pass more swiftly until we meet?
Or the more expressive route taken by Francis Warrington Dawson—writing to Sarah Morgan, his future wife–is always sure to succeed:
“How deeply should I thank God that he has allowed me to know you, which is to love you, for the sun now has a brighter light & the sky a deeper blue. The whole world seems truer & better, & this pilgrim, instead of lingering in the depths, is breasting the healthy difficulties of existence, with his eyes fast fixed on you. Whatever else may fail, believe always in this devoted & unselfish love of Francis Warrington Dawson!”
Or whose heart wouldn’t melt upon receiving this most adorable valentine, from our Postcard Collection:
And there might even be tips on how to present yourself when you present your valentine!
Have we convinced you yet? What if we mention that there will be chocolate and candy?
During renovations to the Rubenstein Library, a new carving was discovered in a remote corner of the stacks. The image of a fairly grumpy looking cat is a tribute to a campus friend named Steven Frownington McWhiskers—affectionately known as Steve.
Steve was a local farm cat who took a great interest in the construction on West Campus between 1927 and 1932. Present for everything from the placement of the cornerstone in the Union to the erection of the Chapel spire, Steve was a steadfast friend and critic. His smoldering glare reminded the stonecarvers that even a single errant stone would mar the beauty of the campus. With a low growl and a hiss, Steve reminded all that he watched over them—and did not approve of anything short of perfection.
We fondly remember Steve today for his efforts to ensure that Duke University would be a place of great beauty for people and cats alike.
Post contributed by Valerie Gillispie, Duke University Archivist.
Nothing says Fourth of July like friends and family, outdoor barbeques and, for the adults of course, a cooler of refreshing canned beer.
Check out these examples of vintage beer cans found in the corporate archive of the JWT Advertising Agency in the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Marketing and Advertising History in the Rubenstein Library. The Hamm Brewing Co. was a client of the agency in the 1960s and early 1970s. The agency collected the beer cans of their competitor’s accounts as part of their market research. And just like clothing and automobiles, there’s something here for everyone.
For the conscientious buyer that appreciates brute honesty in advertising, there’s Gablinger’s Beer, “Not Diatetic or Theraputic.” If an element of regal refinement is more your speed why not try a Duke Beer, “The Prince of Pilsner,” or perhaps a Stite, “Pale and Dry as Champagne.”
If you’re not easily wooed by fanciful slogans and colorful graphics then there’s the subtle simplicity of “Cold-Aged!” Genese. If you like a beer can that looks like it’s constructed of wood paneling (and who doesn’t?), then Meister Brau is the beer for you.
For all of you classicists, there’s the iconic Leinenkugel’s of Chippewa Falls, WI, and the “Original” Pabst Blue Ribbon.”
Whatever your choice, we at the Rubenstein wish you a wonderful holiday!
Post contributed by Joshua Larkin Rowley, Research Services Dept.
Administrative Professionals Day began as part of what was originally called “National Secretaries Week,” founded in 1952 by an organization now known as the International Association of Administrative Professionals, both to honor the work of secretaries and administrative professionals and attract people to the career.
When you think of a secretary in the 1950s, an image like this one, from the back of the Smith-Corona’s Complete Secretary’s Handbook (1951) probably comes to mind:
Our collection also contains this gem: Not Servants, Not Machines: Office Workers Speak Out by Jean Tepperman (1976). In the acknowledgements, Tepperman explains how women affiliated with the Boston chapter of “9 to 5,” an organization of women office workers, supported the writing of this book which includes interviews with women across the country. Like the “9 to 5” organization, this book aims to share these women’s experiences of discrimination in the workplace due sexism, and provide information about how to organize and improve women’s working conditions, treatment, and most importantly, their pay.
The Rubenstein Library salutes Administrative Professionals, especially our own Nelda Webb, and honors their contributions, as well as those who have worked to improve conditions and compensation for all women in the workplace.
Post contributed by Kelly Wooten, Research Services and Collection Development Librarian for the Bingham Center.
As we sit down to our Thanksgiving dinners, I leave you with a few images from a recent acquisition of thirty-four medical prints collected and donated by William H. Helfand. The posters date mainly from 18th century Paris, but the earliest dates to 1695 (the Kospter poster below) and the latest to 1991. They are all beautiful prints–heavy with political satire and caricatures, quack doctors and alchemy. But they also serve as wise reminders to eat in moderation this season. Happy Thanksgiving from the Rubenstein Library!
Post contributed by Joanne Fairhurst, Technical Services Intern and doctoral candidate in the Classical Studies Dept.