Tag Archives: new acquisitions

Add it Up: Duke and the Putnam Mathematics Competition

Post contributed by Hillary Gatlin, Records Manager

The inside front cover of the Putnam scrapbook. The right-hand page reads "Duke 1993 Putnam Champs in blue capital letters.
William Lowell Putnam scrapbook, inside front cover

The University Archives works with offices across campus to collect and preserve university history. As part of these efforts, the William Lowell Putnam Competition scrapbook, previously on display in the Department of Mathematics, has now made its way to the University Archives for preservation.

The scrapbook describes Duke undergraduates’ participation in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition. The Putnam, which began in 1938 as a competition between college and university mathematics departments, is now the premier mathematics competition for undergraduate students. In fact, it has been repeatedly described as the “NCAA tournament” of the math world. Taking place each December, undergraduates attempt to solve challenging mathematical problems over a six hour period. This is both an individual and team competition, with prizes awarded to students with the highest scores as well as to the five institutions with the highest rankings.

This scrapbook contains press releases, correspondence, programs, and photographs related to the Department of Mathematics’ participation in the Putnam Competition. In 1993, Duke University won its first Putnam, with the team of senior Jeffrey Vanderkam, junior Craig Gentry, and freshman Andrew Dittmer taking first place. Harvard University had taken the top honors for the previous eight years. While the scrapbook focuses primarily on Duke’s first victory in 1993, it also includes some material from later years, including a photograph of Duke’s second winning team in 1996, and a copy of a Board of Trustees announcement honoring five mathematics students in 2000, when the Duke University team again took first place in the Putnam.

A scrapbook page with two photos relating to the 1993 Putnam competition team. The top photo shows a display in the mathematics department about the competition. The bottom photo shows the winning team of three students and a faculty member.
Photos of the Putnam Competition team from 1993

Duke University students compete in both athletics and academics. Now the victories of these undergraduates will be preserved and shared with the larger campus community as part of the University Archives.

The William Lowell Putnam Competition scrapbook was created by Dr. David Kraines, Associate Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, who leads many of the Putnam competition teams. It was transferred to the University Archives by the Department of Mathematics in April 2019.

Southern Poverty Law Center Donates Extremist Literature Collection to Rubenstein Library

SPLCblogThe Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project has donated its extensive collection of materials documenting extremist and hate groups in the United States to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.

The collection includes nearly 90 boxes of periodicals, pamphlets, flyers and other documents intended for distribution to group members and recruits over the past 30 years.

At the Rubenstein Library, the collection will allow researchers to examine the histories of hate groups and efforts to monitor and infiltrate them adding to the Library’s Human Rights Archive, its rich collections for social movements in the United States, and its large existing collection of materials documenting the Ku Klux Klan from the 1860s to the present day.

The SPLC collection includes materials on many types of extremist groups such as neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, black separatists, border vigilantes and others.

“We are very excited that Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library has decided to house the extremist materials we’ve been collecting for decades,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “We are especially pleased that these relatively rare materials will finally be made available to scholars who research America’s radical right. We look forward to learning from their scholarship.”

The collection will be made available to researchers after being prepared for use by the Rubenstein Library staff.

The SPLC Intelligence Project has been called “one of the most respected anti-terror organizations in the world” by National Review. It monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public. The project posts its investigative findings online, on the Hatewatch blog and in the Intelligence Report, an award-winning quarterly journal. The Project has crippled some of the country’s most notorious hate groups by suing them for murders and other violent acts committed by their members.

This post previously appeared on Duke Today.