Tag Archives: scrapbooks

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.

Preserving a Cork-Covered Scrapbook

I’ll soon be meeting with Conservation staff to discuss the preservation issues surrounding a few collections I’ve cataloged recently, including this one, a scrapbook I felt I had to catalog before it absolutely fell to pieces.

rothholz cover
It is likely that Marianne “Nan” Rothholz created this unique cork cover for her scrapbook that contains 69 letters, 22 V-mails, 6 postcards, and 37 black-and-white photographs.

Nan Rothholz began this scrapbook during World War II, when she served as a member of the National Jewish Welfare Board and the Baltimore United Service Organizations (USO). She and her family hosted servicemen, generally medical professionals stationed at Fort Meade, in their Baltimore home. She became especially close to and followed 5 of the men during the final years of the war in Europe, and to me this scrapbook represents her “filing cabinet” for their V-mail, letters, photographs, postcards, and clippings, rather than a traditional scrapbook.

rothholz page
Rothholz recorded personal details about each serviceman in ink, then pasted in their related material around it. The paper in the scrapbook is of astoundingly poor quality, and breaks into pieces as the pages are turned.

Our challenge here will be how to keep related material together yet preserve the individual items, all before these brittle pages crumble to bits. Conservation staff will advise me on this, and perhaps digitization will be considered to help preserve the relationships in material that Rothholz initiated. Both the National Jewish Welfare Board and the USO commended her on her work, and our work will honor her as well.

Post contributed by Alice Poffinberger, Original Cataloger.

Honeymooning with the Cowpers

On April 17, 1909, Frederick Augustus Grant Cowper married Mary Octavine Thompson. Frederick became Professor of Romance Languages at Trinity College (now Duke University), while Mary (who earned a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Chicago) became a suffragette, helping to organize the North Carolina League of Women Voters in 1920. Both Frederick’s and Mary’s papers reside in the Rubenstein Library.

The Cowpers' honeymoon scrapbook, with flowers picked by Mary

While on their honeymoon in New Hampshire, the Cowpers took many photographs they placed in an album they titled “Photographs of their Wedding Journey.”  In honor of Valentine’s Day, here is my favorite photograph and caption:

The Cowpers' honeymoon scrapbook, asking "How'd you like to spoon with me on Mt. Gardner?"

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

Scrapbooking for Victory

“Every Girl Pulling for Victory.” 
“Back Up the Boys.” 
“Keep Him Smiling!” 
“Morale is Winning the War.”

These chipper slogans grace the 20 posters, handbills, brochures, stickers, song lyrics, newspaper ads, and cartoons found in a United War Work Campaign Scrapbook recently acquired by the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History. This collection of fundraising and morale-boosting materials was produced for a multi-institutional drive during the final months of World War I. Only one other copy is known to exist at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution Archives.

On September 9, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson wrote to Raymond Fosdick, coordinator of the War Department’s Training Camp Activities, requesting that aid organizations pool their resources on a massive single campaign to raise funds for soldier morale programs “in order that the spirit of the country in this matter may be expressed without distinction of race or religious opinion in support of what is in reality a common service.”

The campaign coordinated the efforts of seven organizations that had previously managed individual fundraising drives: the YMCA, YWCA, American Library Association, War Camp Community Service, National Catholic War Council (Knights of Columbus), Jewish Welfare Board, and Salvation Army. Each organization would continue to address their traditional demographic or service focus (for example, the Knights of Columbus worked primarily with Catholic communities, and the American Library Association sent books to soldier encampments) while organizing their activities around a central set of promotional messages.

The goal was to raise $170 million during a campaign scheduled for the week of November 11-18, 1918 (whether prescient or brilliantly planned, November 11 was also the day that Germany signed the Armistice, officially ending hostilities.) The end of the war was already in sight during the campaign-planning period, but it was estimated that the demobilization of nearly four million U.S. troops would require at least two years and a staggering sum for programs to maintain the morale of returning soldiers. With a nearly $1 million operating budget, a National Publicity Committee was formed and chaired by Bruce Barton, a journalist and magazine editor who had been an active official with the YMCA. All media would be employed: print, outdoor advertising, leaflets, stickers, lapel pins, radio spots, motion picture shorts, even a women-run telephone brigade. The campaign was a resounding success, raising over $203 million dollars that funded soldier aid programs through 1920. It was hailed in the press at the time as the largest fundraising event in human history.

As an advertising history-related aside, the United War Work Campaign may have been the launching platform for one of America’s most successful advertising agencies. Ad men Roy Durstine and Alexander Osborn worked on the campaign alongside Bruce Barton. In early 1919, just a few months after the campaign wrapped up, the three men founded ad agency Barton Durstine & Osborn, which merged in 1928 to become Batton, Barton, Durstine & Osborn (BBDO). BBDO rapidly grew to become one of the largest and most respected advertising agencies in the United States. The Hartman Center is proud to add this important scrapbook to its growing collection of war-related advertising materials.

For more photos from the scrapbook, take a look at the scrapbook’s set on the RBMSCL’s Flickr photostream.

Post contributed by Rick Collier, Technical Services Archivist for the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.

Calling All Campers!

“Canoeing at Camp Teconnet.” From the New England Girls’ Summer Camps Photograph Album.

These days are filled with happiness,
Encouragement, and zest.
Companionship we never lack,
Or chance to play—or rest;
No silly rules there are, and yet,
No doubt of loving care.
Each girl has opportunities
To serve, enjoy, and share.

From a 1917 brochure about Camp Teconnet

In 2008, we made a lucky find in a rare book dealer’s catalog: a lovely New England girls’ summer camp photograph album. We were utterly charmed by this album of black and white photos of girls at Camp Mascoma, in New Hampshire in 1916 and Camp Teconnet Maine in 1917. The unidentified teenage girl who created this album clearly had a wonderful time swimming, canoeing, and sitting around campfires with the friends she made, each with her own nickname like “Parsnips.”

The album also included material clipped from a promotional brochure about Camp Teconnet, which described camp life as “the wisest and sanest solution of the vacation problem for girls.” The brochure also proclaimed, “Physical measurements are taken at the beginning of the season for each camper and from these the ‘Missus’ and councilors form the foundation for the work with the individual, encouraging here and holding back there, so that the end of the season may bring its own reward in better health and physique.” These girls certainly do look healthy and fit!

You’ll find a detailed description of this album here. If you’d like to look through the album yourself and reminisce about your own days at camp (or if you have any questions about the album), e-mail us at special-collections(at)duke.edu.

Post contributed by Kelly Wooten, Research Services and Collection Development Librarian for the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture.

“Waiting for Dinner.” From the New England Girls’ Summer Camps Photograph Album.