I was looking through the May 1944 issue of Duke’s Divinity School Bulletin when I came across a brief article about a Bo tree (Ficus religiosa) presented to the Divinity School in honor of then-Ivey Professor of the History of Religion and Missions James Cannon III. (He’d later serve as the Divinity School’s dean from 1951 to 1958.)
You’ve possibly heard the tradition that Gautama Buddha was sitting beneath a tree when he attained Enlightenment. That tree was a Bo, or Bodhi, tree, and it is, as a result, sacred to Buddhists.
Professor Cannon’s Bo tree had its own august history, as the article relates:
The Cannon Bo-tree is descended from the Bo-tree planted at the ruined city of Anuradhapura, near Kandy, in Ceylon. In the year 288 B.C., King Asoka of India sent a shoot from the parent tree to Ceylon. To this day the tree is worshiped by throngs of pilgrims. In 1929 an American tourist obtained a shoot from the Ceylon Bo-tree, planted it on his Florida estate, and several months ago presented a shoot to Duke.
We found snapshots of Professor Cannon with his Bo tree in his papers. He looks very serene, doesn’t he? A note from the back of one of the snapshot states that his “topcoat is supposed to represent Buddha’s ‘yellow robe.’”
We’re not certain of the current whereabouts of Duke’s Bo tree. Do you have any information about it?
The portraits of Durham photographer Hugh Mangum are the subject of a new exhibit, opening July 27th at the Museum of Durham History’s History Hub. “Hugh Mangum on Main Street: Portraits from the Early 20th Century” shows Mangum’s largely unknown portraits of Southern society after Reconstruction.
Mangum was born in Durham in 1877 and began establishing studios and working as an itinerant photographer in the early 1890s. During his career, Mangum attracted and cultivated a clientele that drew heavily from both black and white communities, a rarity for his time. Mangum’s photographs are now part of the Rubenstein Library’s Archive of Documentary Arts.
“Although the late-19th-century American South in which he worked was marked by disenfranchisement, segregation and inequality — between black and white, men and women, rich and poor — Mangum portrayed all of his sitters with candor, humor, and spirit. Each client appears as valuable as the next, no story less significant,” said curator Sarah Stacke. “His portraits reveal personalities as immediate as if the photos were taken yesterday.”
Stacke, a photographer and a 2014-2015 Lewis Hine Fellow at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, and Margaret Sartor, who teaches at CDS, are working together on a book about Mangum’s life and work. This new exhibit expands on “Keep All You Wish,” an exhibit of Mangum’s work that Stacke curated for CDS in 2012.
“Hugh Mangum on Main Street: Portraits from the Early 20th Century” opens at the History Hub, 500 W. Main St., on Tuesday, July 22 and runs through August. The exhibition will be in the Our Bull City area.
The public is invited to a launch party for the exhibition on Wednesday, July 23, from 5:30pm to 7pm, and a program on Mangum and his work at 3pm on Sunday, August 10.There is no charge for the exhibit, program, or party. The Hub is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
Next week, July 18-19, a diverse group of energetic zine librarians from academic, public, and independent libraries, and archives will meet in Durham to share ideas and skills for providing access to zines to readers in our communities. The Bingham Center’s collection of women’s and queer zines from the 1990s to the present is one of our signature collections was one of the main draws for the selection committee who chose Duke University as the location for the 6th annual Zine Librarians (un)Conference. Though some elements of the program will be planned in advance, the unconference format allows the attendees to determine their interests, goals, and priorities for learning and sharing their knowledge as a group at the beginning of the event.
This conference will have no registration fee in order to increase accessibility to attendees, and will be open to all who are interested in zines and libraries. Elements of the program will be broadcast online to allow wider participation. More details via the zine libraries wiki.
Like zines but can’t make it to the conference? There’ll be a zine reading on Friday, July 18 from 5:30-7:00pm at the Pinhook in Downtown Durham! Open mic sign-ups to read from your own teenage angsty zine (or the one you wrote last week) or choose a passage from our pile of extras–you know you want to! Zinesters, librarians, riot grrrls, and everyone else are welcome to join. Donations will be collected to support participation by zine librarians of color in next year’s Zine Librarians (un)Conference. RSVP on Facebook.