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.
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.
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 RobinsonCrusoe: 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.
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!
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!
Post contributed by Mary Samouelian and Meghan Lyon, archivists in Rubenstein Technical Services.
One 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.
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.
Date: Monday, February 20, 2012 Time: 6:00-7:30 PM Location: Biddle Rare Book Room Contact Information: Karen Glynn, 919-660-5968 or email@example.com
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.
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.”
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: www.garymonroe.net www.floridafolkart.net
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.
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.
Dispatches from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University