About the Archive of Documentary Arts

The Archive of Documentary Arts (ADA) in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library collects, preserves and makes accessible audio, moving images, photography and text from around the world related to:

  • African-American history & culture
  • the American South
  • gender
  • human rights
  • occupational culture
  • migration
  • race and ethnicity
  • social change

Collection formats cover the history of photography and audiovisual formats from:

  • daguerreotypes to contemporary digital prints
  • 35mm nitrate film, Super-8mm film, video & digital moving image formats
  • wax cylinders, open reel audio, transcription discs to wave files.

ADA works closely with Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Since April 2007, ADA has partnered with the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival to acquire, archive and preserve copies of the festival’s award-winning films. In addition, ADA has been collecting work generated by the Center for Documentary Studies for nearly 30 years.