The Duke libraries have benefited in many ways from the generosity of the Friends of the Duke University Libraries since the establishment of the first Friends group in 1935. In particular, the collections have been enriched with acquisitions made possible by contributions to the Friends' collections fund. During the past year this fund has been used to purchase major resources in a range of formats and disciplines. The most significant are highlighted here.
Empire On-Line Section 1: Cultural Contacts, 1492-1969
This collection brings together over 16,000 images of original documents, both manuscript and printed materials, that have been drawn from libraries and archives around the world, including the British Library.
The British Empire's worldwide cultural contacts from the time of Columbus until decolonization are traced in periodical literature as well as manuscript sources such as correspondence and the diaries and eyewitness accounts of European travelers. There are also accounts of the indigenous people of Africa, India, Canada, Australia, and the South Pacific.
In addition to the rich collection of documents, the set also features thematic essays written by scholars in the field of Empire studies. The essays introduce users to the material, placing the documents within a broad historical, literary and cultural context. Hypertext links in the essays relate directly to the documentary evidence in the source material.
Confidential U.S. State Department Central Files. The Soviet Union: Internal Affairs, 1960-January 1963
This 32-reel microfilm set covers pivotal years in the relations between the Soviet bloc and NATO member nations. These documents from the State Department's Central Files provide an unparalleled record of the personalities and events of this tense and suspenseful era.
Topics covered include the impact of proposed Soviet pipelines on the petroleum industry of the free world, the trial of Francis Gary Powers, Soviet training of atomic scientists from underdeveloped countries, and the Khrushchev cult.
The English language records reproduced for this microfilm set support research into many aspects of the Cold War. Historians, political scientists, Slavic studies scholars, undergraduates, graduate students and faculty will turn to the materials available in these U.S. State Department files.
Chinese Local Gazetteers
China has a tradition of compiling local gazetteers that goes back to the time of the Song dynasty. Typically published every few decades, the gazetteers are local histories that describe the contemporary state of affairs in a particular locality, usually a province, city or county. Wars and economic and political turmoil that began in the early 20th century brought the production of gazetteers to a halt.
However, since the late 1970s Chinese governing bodies at all levels have begun compiling new gazetteers. The gazetteers cover topics such as geography, politics, industry, agriculture, education, women, labor unions, society and culture.
The Duke library is collecting the newly published gazetteers selectively, focusing on the provinces and areas that support current faculty research, including environmental studies and Chinese social conditions. The interdisciplinary coverage of the gazetteers will make them useful to faculty in history, political science, economics, sociology, cultural anthropology and religion. Indeed, the collection of gazetteers will be of interest to almost everyone who studies contemporary China.
Selections From Despatches Addressed to the Government of India by the Secretary of State in Council, 1858-1936 (3,380 pieces of microfiche)
The strengthening of its retrospective collection of South Asian materials, especially archival and primary sources, is a longstanding goal of the Duke library. For over four decades the library has been acquiring materials in microform from British and Indian archives. The collecting emphasis has always been large sets or long runs of serials and government documents of the colonial period that are not easily accessible to researchers.
These dispatches, which had many purposes, were the most formal means of communication between the British and the government of India. They were used to seek or provide information or ask for advice, but, most importantly, they were used to present and explain the British government's administrative policies. One faculty member commented about the acquisition of the dispatches, "This kind of investment in our South Asia Collection is vital for our history programs and for our National Resource Center in South Asia."
Survey of Western Art
Produced by Saskia, Ltd., Survey of Western Art is a set of 2,500 high-resolution color digital images covering the history of art and architecture from prehistoric times to the present. The set comprises the core images presented in many of the standard Western survey texts and used in art and architecture courses. Survey of Western Art provides the foundation for a developing digital image database that will support the two-semester "Introduction of Western Art" survey offered by the Duke's Department of Art and Art History.
The set contains representative examples of all art forms-painting, sculpture, architecture, prints, decorative arts, mixed media-that have developed throughout history and includes many of the leading artists and canonical monuments from Western cultures. In addition to the full, or standard, view of objects that Survey of Western Art shows, its special strength is in the number of alternative views and details it offers.
The Department of Art and Art History also contributed to the purchase of Survey of Western Art.
The diversity of the resources described above reflects the complex and far-reaching needs of the Duke community. The generosity of the Friends through the collections fund enables the library to promote and sustain scholarly inquiry by meeting needs for new resources and enriching established collections.