Tag Archives: photography

This Post is DUMB

In an earlier blog post, we mentioned that we’ve been processing thousands of sports-related negatives and prints transferred to the Duke University Archives by Duke’s Sports Information Office.

I recently began reviewing images from the 1930s and 1940s.  In envelopes labeled “football sidelights” are negatives of the Duke University Marching Band, fondly known as DUMB.

In existence since the early 1900s, DUMB is an integral part of Duke sports, providing music and vocal support at games, and has established a reputation for performing creative and highly entertaining halftime shows.  For more information, take a look at the finding aid to DUMB’s own records, part of the University Archives’s collections.  Below are a few of my favorite images.

Duke University Marching Band, October 7, 1939
Duke University Marching Band, October 7, 1939
Duke University Marching Band Drum Line, October 21, 1939
Duke University Marching Band Drum Line, October 21, 1939
Duke University Marching Band, October 28, 1939
Duke University Marching Band, October 28, 1939
Majorette Lucille King and her Mother, November 19, 1938
Majorette Lucille King and her Mother, November 19, 1938
Duke University Marching Band and Blue Devil, 1940
Duke University Marching Band and Blue Devil, 1940

Post contributed by Kimberly Sims, Technical Services Archivist for Duke University Archives.

New Acquisitions Week, Day Four: The British, in India and Cast Away

We’re celebrating the beginning of a new fiscal year with a week’s worth of new acquisitions from the first half of 2012.  Two newly acquired selections will be featured in a post every day this week.  All of these amazing resources are available for today’s scholars, and for future generations of researchers in the Rubenstein Library!

  • Samuel Bourne Photographs: Samuel Bourne is the best-known photographer of India under British rule, capturing landscapes, architectural studies, and genre scenes from 1863 to 1870.  He co-founded the studio Bourne and Shepherd, still active today in Kolkata as the world’s oldest operating photographic studio.  The Library has acquired over 300 of Bourne’s photographs, prized for their technical quality, their documentation of Indian sights, and the insight they can provide into British views of Indian life.  The Bourne photographs are a valuable addition to a growing body of photographs of India in the Archive of Documentary Arts.
Samuel Bourne, “The Taj, from the Garden, Agra,” 1860s.
  • Daniel Defoe, The Life and Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe; The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe; Serious Reflections Upon the Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe: One of the most groundbreaking and influential narratives in literary history, Defoe’s tale of a castaway on an uncharted island  has been endlessly reprinted, adapted, updated, copied, and critiqued since its first appearance in 1719.  Thanks to a generous donation by Alfred and Elizabeth Brand, the Library now holds the second edition of The Life and Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, printed days after the first edition in 1719, as well as first editions of the two continuations of the story, including the famous map of Crusoe’s “Island of Despair.”  This invaluable set will be a jewel in the Library’s large collection of works by Defoe, and is also a key complement to the Negley Collection of Utopian Literature.

Previous posts:

A Fond Farewell in Photography

Karen Glynn, long-time Photography Archivist in the Archive for Documentary Arts, retires today to move to South Africa. In her honor, we present some images of travel and farewell from our digitized collections. Happy trails, Karen! We’ll miss you!

Sidney Gamble, Men in boxcar ("Travelling Fourth Class"), China, 1917-1919. From the Sidney D. Gamble Photographs.
William Gedney, South Dakota, 1966-1967. From the William Gedney Photographs and Writings.
ca. 1980s, from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Archives.
Gary Monroe, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 1994. From the Gary Monroe Photographs.

Fascinating Finds in the Stacks: Oversize Gems

Preparing our oversize manuscripts for the upcoming renovation means spending lots of time in a corner of the stacks, pulling folder after folder out of our oversize cabinets and trying to prepare these giant documents and photographs to be moved in a few months. “Oversize” is a term that archivists use to refer to things that are bigger than legal- or letter-sized paper. At Duke, our oversize documents range in dimensions from 11×14 all the way up to 40×50 inches in width and height. (We have things in our collections that are even bigger, but their move prep is a different process.)

The oversize cabinets have been used to house collections for decades, and there are hundreds of folders in each cabinet. It’s challenging work, but also fascinating to spend time with manuscripts and photographs that we’ve never had a chance to see in our years of working at Duke. (Usually, as Technical Services archivists, we work with new or unprocessed collections; most of the oversize cabinet collections are very old and were processed a long time ago.) There are so many wonderful collections in the Rubenstein, there’s no way that we would normally have the time to poke through them all — except now we get to, because we have to check them over for the renovation. Here are our favorite “new to us” discoveries from our oversize stack work. This project will be ongoing for the next several months, so more photos to come as we keep digging!

J.B. Duke and Directors of the Aluminum Company of America, 1925
This huge panoramic photo features J.B. Duke and his fellow directors of the Aluminum Company of America in July 1925. From the George Garland Allen Papers.
Here's a close-up of J.B. Duke, with his trademark cigar. This photograph was taken shortly before his death in October 1925.
Civil War vetaran Randall B. Williams poses with his memorabilia in 1924.
Civil War veteran Randall B. Williams, from Maine, poses with all his Civil War memorabilia for a 1924 reunion photograph. He was 80 years old at the time. From the John Mead Gould Papers.
Fred Chappell acrostic poem
Not everything we find is old: Students presented poet and author Fred Chappell with this acrostic poem after his visit to their classroom. From the Fred Chappell Papers.
There is a penciled caption at the top that reads, "This was dropped from an Airplane in Durham N.C. about June 11, 1919. The plane passed over my home, and it was the first one I ever saw! -- Mrs. Angier." From the John Cicero Angier Papers.

Post contributed by Mary Samouelian and Meghan Lyon, archivists in Rubenstein Technical Services.

Student Photographs Duke Construction

Charles Wesley Clay at Commencement, 1929One of the best parts about being the University Archivist is the unexpected treasure that sometimes arrives in the mail.

Recently, I received a small packet of photographs from the family of Charles Wesley Clay, a Methodist minister and alumnus from the classes of 1929 and 1932. Clay earned bachelor’s degrees from Trinity and Divinity, and he happened to be on campus from 1925 to 1932, during the heyday of construction on East and West campus.

This small collection of 42 snapshots includes Clay posing next to Duke buildings—some completed, some under construction—as well as shots of equipment, scaffolding, and snowfall on the as-yet unmanicured quads.

We have other construction photos taken by Duke’s construction company, but it is revealing to see the “student’s eye view” of what it was like to be at Duke in these early, exciting days.

Charles Wesley Clay at East Campus Union, 1927
Charles Wesley Clay in front of the East Campus Union in the spring of 1927.
Construction of Duke Stadium, 1929
Duke's football stadium (now known as Wallace Wade Stadium) under construction in 1929.
View of West Campus Construction, 1929
A view of West Campus from the Medical School in the fall of 1929. Note the railroad spur that brought Duke stone from Hillsborough directly to campus.

Check out the whole collection on Flickr!

The University Archives is interested in documenting student life through materials like photographs, diaries, and scrapbooks. Please contact us if you have items you would like to donate.

Post contributed by Val Gillispie, Duke University Archivist.

Frank Espada’s Puerto Rican Diaspora

This month the Archive of Documentary Arts highlights the work of Frank Espada. The images were selected from Nation on the Move – the Puerto Rican Diaspora: Photographs by Frank Espada, 1963-1990, an exhibit currently on view in the Rubenstein Library. The exhibit presents images from Espada’s photographic survey of the Puerto Rican diaspora, with a focus on rural migration in Hawaii and Pennsylvania, and urban migration in New York City and Hartford, Connecticut.

The Rubenstein Library’s Archive of Documentary Arts acquired the Frank Espada Photographs and Papers Collection in 2011. Collection materials include exhibit prints, work prints, contact sheets, negatives, oral history interviews, transcripts, and papers.


Washington, D.C., 1973
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, 1984
Pentecostal preacher, East New York, Brooklyn, NY, 1964
The cook's boy, mushroom farm, Kennett Square, PA, 1981

Lynn Saville’s Night Views

This month the Archive of Documentary Arts highlights the work of nocturnal photographer Lynn Saville. The images were selected from Night Vision: Photographs of William Gedney and Lynn Saville, exhibited in the Rubenstein Library in 2005.   The Lynn Saville Photograph collection contains over two hundred black and white and color prints, the majority photographed at night.

Smith and Ninth Street, Brooklyn, 2002


Lynn Saville photograph, Palais Royale, Paris, 1999
Palais Royale, Paris, 1999
Lynn Saville photograph of graffiti in Brooklyn
Dancer on Front Street, Brooklyn, 1997
Lynn Saville photograph of Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge Fog, 1999

Gary Monroe: Photographs, 1976-2012

Date: Monday, February 20, 2012
Time: 6:00-7:30 PM
Location: Biddle Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Karen Glynn, 919-660-5968 or karen.glynn@duke.edu

Gary Monroe will present a retrospective of his work and talk about his life as a photographer at this upcoming event on the Duke University campus.  Among the generation of young men and women influenced by Cartier-Bresson and Garry Winogrand, Monroe’s work includes long-term, continuous documentation of people and places as well as “decisive moment” images captured on the fly.

Protesters with large sign, Les Gonaïves, Haiti, 1986
Protesters with large sign, Les Gonaïves, Haiti, 1986

Monroe describes the body of his photographic work on his website as, “Film-based black-and-white documentary photographs of images from South Beach, Miami, New York City, and from around the world—Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Spain, England, India, Poland, Egypt, Israel, and the Caribbean, as well as photographs of Disney World tourists, Holy Ghost revival participants, roller derby contenders, sex offenders, mentally ill individuals, blind people, and corporate-driven architecture.”

Cairo, Egypt, 2010
Cairo, Egypt, 2010

Duke University’s Rubenstein Library Archive of Documentary Arts holds a selection of Monroe’s early Haiti photographs dating from 1980–1998; to view the selection, click here.

Gary Monroe is a professor of art at the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies in Daytona Beach, Florida. For more information on Gary Monroe’s work, visit his websites:

Portraits from Charleston

The Archive of Documentary Arts continues its monthly series highlighting work in our holdings that has been digitized. This month we are spotlighting the Michael Francis Blake Photographs, 1912-1934. The collection includes 117 photographs of men, women, and children taken between 1912-1934 by Michael Francis Blake. Blake opened one of the first African-American photography studios in Charleston, S.C. and the photographs represent his work from the 1910s to his death in 1934.  The images come from a photographic album entitled “Portraits of Members,” which might have been used by clients in the studio to select the backdrop and props they wanted in their photographs. To see more of Michael Francis Blake’s photographs, visit the library’s digital collection.

Post contributed by Kirston Johnson, Moving Image Archivist, and Karen Glynn, Photography Archivist, Archive of Documentary Arts.

Gedney’s Cars

With this post, the Archive of Documentary Arts inaugurates a monthly series highlighting work in our holdings that has been digitized. Our first post “Gedney’s Cars” celebrates the work of photographer William Gedney and his fascination with cars and people’s behavior/relationship with automobiles.  All four of the photographs below are untitled and were taken in Kentucky in 1972.  To see more of Gedney’s work in our digital collections, visit http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/gedney/.  William Gedney’s life’s work is housed in the Archive of Documentary Arts.

Post contributed by Karen Glynn, Photography Archivist, and Kirston Johnson, Moving Image Archivist, Archive of Documentary Arts.