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Dispatches from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University
Updated: 1 hour 27 min ago

Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen: World War I Soldiers’ Soup

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:28

Grace Glergue Harrison. Allied Cookery: British, French, Italian, Belgian, Russian.  New York and London: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1916.

A century ago, the Great War was causing massive casualties and destruction in France. Allied Cookery, the product of an international collaboration, was written as a fundraiser. The proceeds were distributed by Le Secours National, the French organization created immediately after war was declared in 1914. The brainchild of banker and arts patron Albert Kahn, Le Secours raised funds to provide food and warm clothing to French soldiers and their families and to civilians in the country’s devastated regions. The cookbook’s introduction explains that any money raised will go to those areas that had been invaded by the Germans and subsequently retaken by the Allied forces. The impact of the damage was all the more horrific because these were France’s most fertile agricultural regions. With the buildings destroyed and the farm implements, livestock, and food stores seized, the surviving farmers could not produce food. With armies to supply, shortages were a real danger. Allied propaganda posters encouraged citizens to grow vegetable gardens and to restrict their consumption of wheat, meat, sugar, fats, and fuel. (French propaganda posters included the wine and tobacco products so badly needed by the military!) Fittingly, the recipes in this cookbook emphasize vegetables, beans, and soups. The section on meats includes many dishes using the less choice bits:  tripe, kidneys, sheep’s head and the like.

In addition to the countries listed in the title, Allied Cookery includes recipes from Commonwealth countries and Eastern Europe. Hence, there is a whole section on curries and dishes such as Pilau (pilaf) and Serbian Cake. I decided to try the Soldiers’ Soup (Soupe à la Battaille); it seemed altogether fitting when highlighting a World War I cookbook and also potentially tasty.

The ingredients were, for the most part, easily obtained at my usual supermarket. I was unable to find chervil for the garnish, and so simply left it out. The note at the bottom suggests that “a bone of ham or the remains of bacon improve this soup immensely.” I therefore purchased a bone of ham from our local HoneyBaked Ham. The instructions were extremely simple to follow and it is easy to imagine an army cook preparing the soup over an open fire using vegetables that had been requisitioned from nearby farms.

There was a great deal of washing, peeling, and chopping and I needed to use my largest cooking pot. After everything was added, I left the soup to simmer, with only occasional stirring, for two hours. I pulled out the ham bone and skimmed the fat. The recipe says that the mixture should be quite smooth at that point, and if it is not, the cook should “beat it well with a whisk.” Mine was not smooth, so I cheated a bit and used my 21st century immersion blender. The result was a beautiful jade green silky concoction.

The flavor was absolutely delightful—a fresh vegetable taste with a little smoky depth from the ham and a creaminess from the potatoes. I shredded the ham and served it on the side, but the soup was delicious without it. My husband ate three full bowls. I would rate this soup a five out of five. Without the ham, it would be a perfect vegan dish. It makes so much that I refrigerated enough for another two or three meals and froze several large containers for later consumption. Civilians were called upon to sacrifice for the war effort, but preparing and eating this soup was no sacrifice whatsoever!

You can explore Allied Cookery in the Rubenstein Library or on the Internet Archive.

 Every Friday between now and Thanksgiving, we’ll be sharing a recipe from our collections that one of our staff members has found, prepared, and tasted. We’re excited to bring these recipes out of their archival boxes and into our kitchens (metaphorically, of course!), and we hope you’ll find some historical inspiration for your own Thanksgiving.

Post contributed by Elizabeth Dunn, Research Services Librarian.

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An Unlikely Alliance: Medical Civil Rights Reformers and Southern Senators in the Age of Deluxe Jim Crow

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:53

Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Room 217, Perkins Library
Contact: Rachel Ingold, rachel.ingold@duke.edu  or (919)684-8549

Please join us on Wednesday, October 29 at 5:30 p.m. for our next Trent History of Medicine lecture. Karen Kruse Thomas, Ph.D., will present An Unlikely Alliance: Medical Civil Rights Reformers and Southern Senators in the Age of Deluxe Jim Crow. A reception will follow the talk.

How could Jim Crow segregation ever be described as “deluxe”? Thurgood Marshall, lead counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, used the term “deluxe Jim Crow” to refer to the efforts of southern state and local governments to shore up segregation by spending money to improve separate black facilities and programs. This strategy was applied to the fullest extent in health care, with federal assistance from the Hill-Burton hospital construction program and other health initiatives. Although the majority of civil rights history scholarship has focused on issues that captured extensive media attention such as school desegregation, public accommodations, and voting rights, the story in health care was largely overlooked, at the time and since. Yet the unlikely alliance during the mid-twentieth century between medical civil rights activists, southern policymakers, and New Deal liberals has much to teach us about the possibilities and limits of political compromise, especially in the context of our own era of Congressional deadlock.

Karen Kruse Thomas has served as Historian of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health since 2012. Dr. Thomas earned her doctorate in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has taught U.S. history at the universities of North Carolina, Minnesota, and Florida. Her publications in the history of medicine and public health have received national awards from the American Association for the History of Medicine and the Southern Historical Association. She’s also received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. In 2011, the University of Georgia Press published her first book, Deluxe Jim Crow: Civil Rights and American Health Policy, 1935-1954.

The event is sponsored by the History of Medicine Collections and the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture.

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Tomorrow! Sound performance by lowercase music pioneer Steve Roden

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:22

Photograph by Randy Yau.

Tuesday, October 21, 7:30pm
The Carrack Modern Art
111 W Parrish St., Durham
Cost: Free!

Steve Roden—a renowned sound artist, painter, writer, and collector of photographs and 78s—is in residence at Duke this month. He’s giving a talk and visiting classes, but this is the only performance he’s giving of his lowercase style of music in which quiet, usually unheard, sounds are amplified to form complex and rich soundscapes.

Roden’s solo exhibitions include the Chinati Foundation, Marfa; the Henry Art Museum, Seattle; and the San Francisco Art Institute. Roden has been part of group exhibitions at the Fellows of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Mercosur Biennial in Porto Allegre, Brazil; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; the Serpentine Gallery, London; the Sculpture Center, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou Museum, Paris; and Miami MOCA, Miami. Check out his website here and more examples of his work here, and be sure to come tomorrow to hear him perform!

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Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen: Rice Apples (1777)

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 12:51

Want to make history this Thanksgiving? Every Friday between now and Thanksgiving, we’ll be sharing a recipe from our collections that one of our staff members has found, prepared, and tasted. We’re excited to bring these recipes out of their archival boxes and into our kitchens (metaphorically, of course!), and we hope you’ll find some historical inspiration for your own Thanksgiving.

For my shift in the Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen, I wanted to try something truly old-school. (When the idea for this series of blog posts was first proposed, one of the names we considered calling it was “Antiquarian Culinarian,” with the idea of recreating the flavors of times gone by.) Browsing the library catalog for cookbooks of yore, I came across a title that looked promising: The Young Ladies’ Guide in the Art of Cookery, Being a Collection of useful Receipts, Published for the Convenience of the Ladies committed to Her Care, by Elizabeth Marshall (T. Saint: Newcastle, England: 1777).

The 200-page volume is part of the collections of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, and it’s one of many titles the Bingham Center holds that offer a fascinating window into the domestic and social life of women in the eighteenth century.

Marshall (1738-?) ran a cooking school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1770 to 1790. Such schools were not uncommon at the time and catered to women who aspired to work as housekeepers or cooks for the wealthier class. As Marshall explains in her preface, the book came about after frequent solicitations from her former pupils to put her most sought-after recipes in writing:

LADIES,

It is at your urgent and frequently repeated request that the following Receipts have at length come abroad. – You were sensible of the necessity of having an assistance of this sort to your memory; and the difficulty as well as expense of procuring the Receipts in manuscript, suggested the present form as the most proper and convenient for answering your intentions. – I hope this will be considered as a sufficient apology for the design. For its execution I have less to say. – The subject does not admit of elegance of expression, though I acknowledge the language might have been more correct. It was my wish to have rendered it so, but the various other duties in which I am engaged, would not allow me leisure sufficient for the purpose. – Such as the work is, I hope it will be received with candour, and consulted with advantage.

The eighteenth century wasn’t exactly the heyday of British cuisine, and many of the dishes in Marshall’s book hopefully won’t be making a comeback anytime soon. There are entries on how to make Herring Pudding, Calf’s Foot Jelly, Stewed Turbot’s Head, Eel Pye, and something called “White Soop.”

Inspired by the changing of the seasons, I opted for something a little more autumnal (and less zoological): Rice Apples! The recipe not only looked relatively easy and tasty, but it also presented a rare opportunity to use my apple-corer, a handy but sadly neglected implement in my kitchen that only gets a chance to shine once every couple of years.

Here’s the recipe, which I’ve transcribed below in case it’s difficult to read the old-fashioned ligatures:

  • Boil a quarter of a pound of rice in three pints of water for a quarter of an hour
  • Strain off the water, and put to the rice, one pint of milk, one pint of cream, a stick of cinnamon, and lemon skin
  • Let them boil, and sweeten to your taste
  • Beat four eggs, leaving out two whites, put them to the rice, and let it stand on a slow fire a little
  • Keep it stirring till cool
  • Pare and cut the core out of your apples, put them in a dish well buttered, and strewed over with grated bread and sugar
  • Fill them with the above mixture, and cover them over with it
  • Strew it over with bread crumbs and sugar, and bake it a fine brown
  • Melt butter with sack and sugar, and cover them before they go to table

One thing you immediately notice about eighteenth-century recipes is their lack of helpful specifics. How many apples should you use, and what kind? Should the lemon skin be peeled or grated? (I went with grated.) Exactly how many minutes is “a little”?

Modern cookbooks don’t leave much room for interpretation. They give exact measurements, precise times and temperatures, and sometimes even brand-name ingredients, so that your dish looks and tastes as close as possible like the one in the book.

Not so with Mistress Marshall. Her instructions are more like general guidelines. A little this, a little that. But I actually appreciated that about her style. Cooking is more fun when it’s improvisational and you have to use your own judgment. In keeping with m’lady’s free-spiritedness, I even made a few modifications along the way, whenever I thought they might improve the final result. I’ll describe those here.

The recipe calls for three pints of water to cook the rice. That’s six cups of water, which is way more than you need for less than a cup of rice, and it would take forever to boil. I reduced the water to two cups, which was enough for the rice to absorb without having to strain any off.

I chose small snack-size Golden Delicious apples, the kind you can buy in a bag, instead of the jumbo-sized genetically modified ones you often see in the grocery store. The smaller ones seemed more historically authentic, closer to the size of apples you would probably find two hundred years ago. After coring and peeling the apples, I put them in a bowl of water with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning.

After adding the eggs to the milky rice mixture, you’re supposed to let it stand over low heat for “a little” and stir. I did this for about 15 minutes, until it started to thicken. Then I took it off the burner and stirred periodically for another 15 minutes or so, until it had the consistency of lumpy cottage cheese.

Instead of store-bought breadcrumbs, I bought a baguette and used a food processor to make fresh ones. And before popping the whole thing in the oven, I sprinkled a little ground cinnamon on top for good measure, because cinnamon and apples were made for each other. I think this was a good addition. I used a 350-degree oven and baked the dish for one hour.

The final step of the recipe calls for pouring over the apples a mixture of butter, sugar, and “sack.” I had to look up what sack was. Turns out it was a kind of sweet, fortified white wine from Spain, the forerunner of sherry. I’m not a big sherry fan, but I picked up a cheap golden variety in the wine aisle at the grocery store.

The verdict: Quite delectable, by Jove! The apples were tender and sweet, and the milky-rice-breadcrumb mixture was like an envelope of bread pudding. The sherry added a subtle boozy kick that seemed especially English. I would have no qualms serving this to company, however high or low their station.

 

Guest post by Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications, Duke University Libraries. Special thanks to Gwen Hawkes (T’16), Library Communications Student Assistant, for her help in researching this recipe and its historical context.

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Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen: Apple Kuchen

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 15:49

Want to make history this Thanksgiving? Every Friday between now and Thanksgiving, we’ll be sharing a recipe from our collections that one of our staff members has found, prepared, and tasted. We’re excited to bring these recipes out of their archival boxes and into our kitchens (metaphorically, of course!), and we hope you’ll find some historical inspiration for your own Thanksgiving.

Happy Oktoberfest!  To kick off our Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen series, I prepared a recipe to celebrate the German festival, which runs this year from September 20th to October 10th.

The Recipe and Duke History

I found a recipe for apple kuchen, or apple cake, in the Ted Minah Papers.  The recipe was grouped with a series of recipes apparently intended for Duke’s Woman’s College, [1] ranging from barbecued meatballs to a lemon soufflé pudding.  Although a sweet cake, interestingly, the recipe was labeled as a bread recipe rather than a dessert.

The recipe helped me learn more about some of the culinary history at Duke, especially about the influential Theodore W. “Ted” Minah.  Minah was the director of Duke University Dining Halls from 1946 to 1974. By his retirement in 1974, Minah had transformed the dining halls at Duke University from a small operation to 12 dining halls serving approximately 15,000 meals each day.

The context for the recipe collection wasn’t clear – the ingredient proportions were for smaller portions, usually 4 to 6 servings.  Since it was coming from the collection of the Dining Hall director, I expected the recipe to be scaled to serve large groups of students, but perhaps the recipes were designed for a Woman’s College cookbook?  I’ve seen university-related cookbooks in other collections, like the “Culinary Casebooks” in the Duke Law Dames records (possibly a topic for a future “Cooking in the Archives” post!).

Like many older recipes, it was short and to the point – no lengthy descriptions of methods or ingredients to coddle the home cook.  I did encounter an interesting culinary term I’d never seen before, but which continues to appear in other archival collections I’m processing: Oleo.  Oleo was a common colloquial term used to refer to margarine, whose full name is oleomargarine.  I admit that I strayed from the recipe and used butter rather than margarine, but that substitution didn’t seem to hurt the recipe.

The Results

As often happens in the archives, I learned a variety of interesting new facts that I would have never guessed I’d encounter – from the history of the university, to colloquial cooking terms!

Overall, the recipe was perfect for fall – the tart apples, cinnamon, and somewhat unusual cake batter made a tasty seasonal treat.  The recipe was easy and quick to make, used common ingredients found in any grocery store, and should appeal to even the pickiest eater.

Rating:  4 out of 5

Stay tuned for more tasty recipes from our collections!

1. The Woman’s College was established at Duke in 1930 as a parallel to Trinity College for men. The Woman’s College fostered a community that allowed for shared university faculty, curriculum, and educational facilities with the men’s college, while giving women an opportunity for leadership through separate student government, social standards committees, and judicial board.  The Woman’s College merged with Trinity College in 1972.

 

Post contributed by Patrick Dollar,  Drill Intern, University Archives.

 

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Archive of Documentary Arts Photobook Club

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 15:00

Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Time: 6:00-7:30 PM

Location: Center for Documentary Studies Library | 1317 W Pettigrew Street, Durham, NC 27707

Robert Frank, The Americans

Join us for the inaugural meeting of The Archive of Documentary Arts Photobook Club where we will be discussing Robert Frank’s groundbreaking photobook, The Americans.

Book Discussion Group, Free and Open to the Public, byo beverage and/or snack

Three editions are on reserve for public use prior to the meeting in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library (click here for directions):

http://search.library.duke.edu/search?id=DUKE005688815

http://search.library.duke.edu/search?id=DUKE004942094

http://search.library.duke.edu/search?id=DUKE004655891

Examine these editions for yourself in person, and/or read more about them online at the links below:

http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2009/frank/index.shtm

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100688154

https://www.lensculture.com/articles/robert-frank-the-americans

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHtRZBDOgag

**Please note – Discussion will take place at the Center for Documentary Studies while the books themselves are held at The Rubenstein Library.**

Contact: Lisa McCarty, Curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts | lisa.mccarty@duke.edu | 919-681-7963

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Steve Roden: Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Artist

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 14:18

In October 2014, the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library will welcome internationally known sound and visual artist Steve Roden as the inaugural Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Artist.  Named in honor of Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel, a prolific author, interviewer, curator, and champion of the arts, this new artist-in-residence program will provide an extended opportunity for an artist to study and engage with archival, manuscript and other special collections in support of developing a new body of creative work.  The Library’s diverse and unique collections have the potential to inspire a variety of works, from new documentary films and textile designs to installations and theatrical plays, and the fellowship will be open to artists working in all media.

Steve Roden. Photograph by Randy Yau.

Roden is a visual and sound artist based in Pasadena, California, whose work includes painting, drawing, sculpture, film, video, sound installation, text and performance pieces. Roden has shown and performed art around the world, and his work is included in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, and National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece, among others.

In 2011, Roden completed a month-long residency in Berlin where he studied the Walter Benjamin archives at the Akademie der Künste. Since he neither speaks nor reads German, Roden turned his discerning eye toward the visual elements of Benjamin’s archives. Through this paleographic lens, Roden created a series of works in multiple formats inspired by the color-coded symbols Benjamin used to organize and annotate his work. Several of these were featured in two 2013 solo exhibitions entitled “Ragpicker” at CRG gallery in New York City, and Susanne Vielmetter LA Projects in Los Angeles.  Roden is perhaps best known for his pioneering work in lowercase music, a form of experimental music that involves quiet sounds, analog technology, small found objects, and cheap electronics, among other elements.

Roden will be in residency at the Rubenstein Library October 13-30, 2014.  During this time, Roden will be available to meet with scholars, students and staff from across the academic disciplines at Duke and will offer two public talks.

On Saturday, October 18 at 6:30 pm, Roden will present “Ragpicker” at the Full Frame Theater of the American Tobacco Warehouse. Through an interactive discussion format, Roden will consider both g both his work and his creative processes, Roden will show images of some recent work and the found objects, junk, and other detritus of everyday life that inspired them. The event will be followed by a reception, and both are free and open to the public.

Roden’s residency will culminate with a public discussion about how the archival collections, people, and experiences he engaged at Duke may inspire future works.  This event will be held at the Center for Documentary Studies on Thursday, October 23 at 5:00 pm, and will be followed by a reception on the Center’s front porch.

Roden’s visit is jointly organized and sponsored by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Center for Documentary Studies, and the Master of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts Program at Duke University.

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Stanley Nelson Documentary Film Series

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 15:00

The Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Filmmaker Series will be sponsoring screenings of four films directed by Stanley Nelson prior to his visit to Duke on October 16-18. Co-sponsors of the series are the Archive of Documentary Arts, Center for Documentary Studies, Franklin Research Center, Screen/Society and the Program in Arts of the Moving Image. Voter registration will be available before and after the screenings. Each screening begins at 7:00pm and is free and open to the public.

 

Date: Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Location: Richard White Lecture Hall, Duke University East Campus

Film: The Murder of Emmett Till

Introduction by Mike Wiley, past Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Location: Griffith Theatre, Duke University West Campus

Film: Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple

 

 

 Date: Thursday, October 2, 2014

Location: Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville St, Durham, NC 27701

Film: A Place of Our Own

 

 

Date: Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Location: Durham Public Library, Main Branch, 300 Roxboro Street, Durham, NC 27701

Film: Freedom Summer

Discussion will be lead by SNCC veteran and Visiting Activist Scholar, Charlie Cobb

 

Post contributed by John B. Gartrell, director John Hope Franklin Research Center

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Rubenstein Library to Welcome Visiting Filmmaker and Artist in October

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 15:00

In October, the Rubenstein Library will host the third Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Filmmaker and the inaugural Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Artist.

 

Stanley Nelson

This year’s filmmaker is award-winning director/producer, Stanley Nelson. Nelson is the director and/or producer of over a dozen documentary films, principally highlighting the life and history of African Americans. His most recent release is the acclaimed Freedom Summer, and this past summer he was recognized as a 2013 National Humanities Award winner. Nelson will visit Duke’s campus from October 16-18 and will engage in a public conversation with Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel on his career and work at the Nasher Museum of Art on October 17 at 6:00 pm, reception to follow.

 

 

Steve Roden

As the inaugural Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Artist, internationally known sound and visual artist, Steve Roden will participate in a three-week residency in the Rubenstein Library from October 13-30. Roden’s residency will include extensive research in the Rubenstein Library collections to inform his process of artistic creation. Roden will also engage in two public events during his visit. On October 18 at 6:30 pm, he will present an overview of his work entitled “Ragpicker” at the Full Frame Theater at American Tobacco Campus. And on October 23 at 5:00 pm, he will share his experiences working in the Rubenstein Library at the Center for Documentary Studies.

 

All of these events will be free and open to the public and are made possible through the generous support of Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel. They are additionally co-sponsored by the Archive of Documentary Arts, Center for Documentary Studies, Franklin Research Center, Program of Arts of the Moving Image and Master of Fine Arts and Experimental and Documentary Arts Program.

 

More details to come soon.

 

Post contributed by John B. Gartrell, director, Franklin Research Center

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New Collection: Meet the Wilsons

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 13:54

It is a rare treat for me to have a chance to process some 19th century family letters. The family papers of Col. David S. Wilson, from Dubuque, Iowa, arrived in March 2014, thanks to a generous donation from the Kirby, Pfohl, and Quigley Family. The collection was discovered in an attic. It reached the Rubenstein Library as it was discovered, with rusty pins and covered in black dust. Considering its age and environment, the letters themselves were in terrific condition — just filthy. A lot of my time was spent cleaning the paper with special sponges that attract grime.

The original state of the Col. David S. Wilson Family Papers, before they were cleaned and sorted; an up-close view of a rusty pin (used before the invention of the paper clip).

I was pleasantly surprised by the contents of the letters. Col. David S. Wilson is moderately famous in Iowa history for his service in the state legislature in the 1850s and early 1860s, and for raising the 6th Iowa Cavalry in 1862. His regiment fought the Sioux in the Dakota Territory. Wilson later worked as a lawyer in both San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and eventually was appointed district judge back in Dubuque.

The collection does not focus on Wilson’s military career, but instead consists largely of letters between David and his family, particularly his wife, Henrietta, and their four children. The letters cover personal topics such as in-laws, health, and finances, and reveal the hardships the family faced as David was frequently separated from his loved ones. They seemed to genuinely miss each other, and it was nice to see such warmth conveyed in their letters.

Also notable in the collection were the courtship letters received by the couple’s daughter Gertrude (also known as “Gertie”) in the mid-1870s. Gertie had at least six different suitors in 1872 and 1873, and their letters to her dominate the correspondence from that period. Emotions turned raw as she rejected a few declarations of love. Gertie finally married George Brock, from Chicago, in March 1874.

Tiny courtship letters for Gertie from her fellas; a lock of Gertie’s hair returned after a break-up; a crumpled up love-note; Gertie’s doodles of a former suitor’s name.

The collection includes more than just correspondence; there are also some legal documents, land grants, and a diary from David S. Wilson’s 1860 term in the General Assembly. One of the land grants includes a signature from President Franklin Pierce. The children’s activities, particularly their schooling, are documented through report cards and flyers. I also came across this handmade score book, which was largely empty, but I was excited to see what sport it was for: baseball. Along with all his other activities, it turns out that David Wilson was also a pitcher.

David Wilson’s score book from his baseball games.

The Col. David S. Wilson Family Papers are now fully processed and available for researchers. You can explore it for yourself using the collection guide.

Post contributed by Meghan Lyon, Technical Services Archivist.

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Duke College?

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 13:30

Benjamin Newton Duke

Our colleague Mary Mellon is currently reprocessing the Benjamin Duke Papers to provide more refined description. Among the many fascinating pieces of correspondence within the collection, she has found a letter, dated November 16, 1896, from Trustee A. P. Tyer to Ben Duke. In it, he makes a not-so-modest proposal: that Duke give a $500,000 endowment and that the school be renamed Duke College.

“The only hope that Trinity College has of ever being endowed is found in the Dukes. I therefore ask that you give the College five hundred thousand dollars as endowment and allow the Trustees to name it “Duke College.”

In 1896, the school was just four years old in its new Durham location. There was great concern about longterm viability, despite the generosity of the Duke family up to that point, including providing the funds to bring the school to Durham. $500,000 in 1896 would have been around $13 million in today’s money.

To sweeten the deal, Mr. Tyer added,

“This will forever take away the feeling of uncertainty, make the college an assured success forever, put the Dukes in front of all southern benefactors, largely increase the number of students, bring even a better class of patronage to the college, make it possible for others to give to it, be the greatest monument any southern man will ever build, be a perpetual benefit and blessing to the human family, and constantly glorify God your Father.”

Ben Duke remained a steady and heavily involved benefactor, but never made a gift at the level requested in the letter. The month after this letter was received, Washington Duke, Ben’s father, gave a $100,000 endowment, contingent on women being admitted on equal footing with men. In 1924, Ben’s brother, James B. Duke, established the Duke Endowment, which helped fund a massive expansion of the college, and led to the renaming of the school—not to Duke College, but to Duke University.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Post contributed by Valerie Gillispie, University Archivist, with assistance from Mary Mellon, Technical Services Intern.

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Cradle as Laboratory: Psychology Notebooks in the Duke Libraries

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 14:03

The practice of experimentation on one’s own children belongs to a somewhat queasy tradition in psychology that embraces parenthood as an opportunity for “natural experiment.”  Psychologists throughout the twentieth century have kept tabs on their children’s development, blending the pride of parenthood with the detached methodology of science. So it’s no surprise to find in the papers of William McDougall, the first head of Duke University’s psychology department, extensive notes on four of his children, Angus, Duncan, Janet, and Leslie. Just how the disciplinary practices of psychology in the early twentieth century filtered into McDougall’s child-rearing becomes apparent when comparing the McDougall journals to a contemporaneous laboratory notebook from a psychology student, Walter R. Miles, in the Rubenstein Library’s History of Medicine Collections.

 

McDougall’s “localization of touch” experiment on his son Duncan.

 

Miles’s “Cutaneous Sensation Pain Spots” experiment

These images depict similar experiments in localizing sensation. The experimenter stimulated a spot on the subject’s hand or arm using a sharp object (Miles used the point of a compass); a few seconds later, the subject had to indicate, either on the actual hand or on a diagram, where he or she believed the point had been applied. The experimenter recorded both points, noting any discrepancy between the actual and perceived site of stimulation. For Miles, this was a bread-and-butter exercise in the methods of scientific psychology.

The McDougall image comes with a twist, since the experimental subjects were his young children. Rather than illustrating basic principles on a standard psychological subject, McDougall was inquiring specifically into the changing sensory and perceptual abilities of his own kids. The diagram of his son Duncan’s hand and arm are part of a record-keeping practice that encompassed everything from the children’s recognition of colors to their fear of bears.

The fact that these methods traveled a fairly direct path from the lab to the McDougall home, and from the “standardized” psychological subject to the developing child, reveals itself in the telling visual differences between the two sets of experimental notes: Miles’s experiment, neatly taken down in a lab notebook, uses ruler-drawn grid lines and a smoothly-traced outline of the hand and arm, while McDougall’s journal bears indications of its setting in the domestic scene of child-rearing: the data is recorded in grid-less, slanted columns, and the outline of the hand is traced hastily, as though the subject was loath to hold still.

 

Data from Miles’s experiment in the relative location of pain stimuli

 

Data from McDougall’s test of his children’s color recognition.

 

Post contributed by Alicia Puglionesi. Puglionesi is a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of the History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University. Her dissertation is on “The Astonishment of Experience: Americans and Psychical Research, 1885-1935.” Alicia is particularly interested in the relationship between the amateur tradition in which psychical research developed and the emerging academic discipline of psychology. She is a 2014 History of Medicine travel grant winner. 

 

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The Duke Family’s New Ride

Fri, 08/01/2014 - 13:30

I have been giving the collections of James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke, industrialists and benefactors of Duke University, a little TLC this summer. One of my most enjoyable finds so far has been a set of two candid photographs of Washington Duke that turned up in the the James B. Duke papers. Mr. Duke appears to be contemplating a bicycle, the handlebars of which are just visible at the bottom of the photos. The bicycle is likely the one that his son, Benjamin, purchased for $45.25, according to an 1894 letter from the Benjamin N. Duke papers. It would be interesting to know what was going through Washington’s head at the time when the pictures were taken. Possibly, “You really expect me to ride this thing?”

 

Washington Duke contemplating the new bicycle.

 

Like many members of the Duke community, I am accustomed to seeing Washington Duke in his dignified, solemn armchair pose (e.g. the statue at the entrance to East Campus). But, it’s nice to know that “Wash” got to have a bit of fun every once in a while.

-Post contributed by Mary Mellon, Library Intern              

     

1894 letter from Benjamin N. Duke papers

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