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Guide to the Will Grossman Photographs of Durham, North Carolina, 1969-1979, 2006

Summary

Will Grossman was a 20th century documentary photographer based in Durham, North Carolina. The 80 black-and-white images in the collection chiefly document Durham County and the city of Durham in the 1970s. There are also 488 negatives, as well as a set of 16 inkjet exhibition prints and an exhibit poster from 2006. Grossman's subjects include barns and rural landscapes; houses and churches; tobacco warehouses, a cigarette factory, and other industrial buildings; tobacco workers and other portraits of individuals, including many African Americans; scenes along the Eno River; and the Durham County Fair. A few images are from Orange County, N.C. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.00485
Title
Will Grossman photographs of Durham, North Carolina
Date
1969-1979, 2006
Extent
6 Linear Feet, 8 boxes; 1 oversize folder; 585 items, 585 Items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Material in English

Collection Overview

The 80 black-and-white images in the collection chiefly document Durham County and the city of Durham in the 1970s. There are also 488 negatives, as well as a set of 16 inkjet exhibition prints and an exhibit poster from 2006. Grossman's subjects include barns and rural landscapes; houses and churches; tobacco warehouses, a cigarette factory, and other industrial buildings; tobacco workers and other portraits of individuals, including many African Americans; scenes along the Eno River; and the Durham County Fair. A few images are from Orange County, N.C. Included in the collection is one of Grossman's most important photographs, "Sunbeam," which features three men sitting in a shaft of sunlight near a warehouse door. Prints are arranged in image number order supplied by library staff.

The 80 gelatin silver prints range in size from 4x6 to 10 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches, and are organized in the following topical series: Buildings; Durham, N.C.; Durham County Fair; Eno River; Landscapes and the Natural World; and Portraits. These series titles were supplied by library staff, with a few exceptions. There is also an exhibit prints series housing 16 digitally printed inkjet photographs that range from 8x8 to 16 x 24 3/4 inches. The sizes of the mats range from 11x14 to 24x32 inches.

Some prints bear original captions; captions supplied by library staff are in brackets. Print numbers were supplied by library staff. Among the negatives in the collection are images that represent the photographic prints in the collection, but there are also many negatives for which prints do not exist, including images of locations in Durham city and county.

Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Portions of the collection are restricted: the negatives are closed to access.

Images may only be used for non-commercial, educational purposes; they may not be reproduced except by permission of donor.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use & Permissions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Will Grossman photographs of Durham, North Carolina, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Original Photographic Prints, 1970s

5 boxes

Series contains 80 black-and-white gelatin silver prints focusing chiefly on Durham and Durham County landscapes, agricultural and industrial buildings, and individuals. Prints are matted, except where noted in the listings. The size of each print is given in inches, with dimensions ranging from 4x6 inches to 10 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches. Mats measure as follows: Box 1, 11x14 inches; Box 2, 11x14 inches (with one 8x10 and one 7x11); Box 3, 11x14 inches; Box 4, 14x19 inches (with two 14x14); Box 5, 16x20 inches (with two 11x14). Captions supplied by library staff are in brackets. The photographs are arranged in the following topical series: Buildings; Durham, N.C.; Durham County Fair; Eno River; Landscapes and the Natural World; and Portraits. Series titles were supplied by library staff with a few exceptions.

Arranged in numerical order following print identifiers supplied by library staff.

House, Orange County, 1973
(5.5x8.25 inches)
Box 1
Image [1]
[White house on hill], 1970s
(6.5x7.25 inches)
Box 1
Image [2]
[White barn with indented roof], 1970s
(9x13.25 inches)

Print unmounted.

Box 1
Image [3]
[Cart on farm, detail], 1970s
(5.5x7.75 inches)
Box 1
Image [4]
[Barn with cart], 1970s
(5.5x8 inches)
Box 1
Image [5]
Barn, N. Duke St., Durham County, 1973
(5.75x8.25 inches)
Box 1
Image [6]
Barn, Durham County, 1970s
(5.5x8 inches)
Box 1
Image [7]
Tobacco barn, Durham County, 1970s
(7.75x11 inches)
Box 4
Image [8]
[Old store building with portico], 1970s
(5.5x7.25 inches)
Box 1
Image [9]
[White church near Route 501 and Bahama, N.C.], 1973
(5.25x8 inches)
Box 1
Image [10]
[Dilapidated house], 1970s
(4.5x6.5 inches)
Box 1
Image [11]
[Dilapidated house, door frame], 1970s
(4.5x6.5 inches)
Box 1
Image [12]
[Dilapidated house detail of siding], 1970s
(6x9 inches)
Box 1
Image [13]
[Wood-plank siding], 1970s
(5.25x7.25 inches)
Box 1
Image [14]
[Wood-plank siding], 1970s
(5.25x7.25 inches)
Box 1
Image [15]
[White-washed door with lock], 1970s
(5.5x8.25 inches)
Box 1
Image [16]
[Door frame in shadow and light], 1970s
(5.5x7.5 inches)

Print unmounted.

Box 1
Image [17]
[Door frame in shadow and light], 1970s
(7.75x11 inches)
Box 1
Image [18]
[Window grate], 1970s
(5.5x8 inches)
Box 1
Image [19]
[Open window with grate], 1970s
(5.25x7.5 inches)
Box 1
Image [20]
Cigarette factory, 1971
(5.5x7.25 inches)
Box 2
Image [21]
[Brick cigarette factory fa├žade], 1970s
(5.5x7.25 inches)
Box 2
Image [22]
Geer St. looking west, 1974 November
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 2
Image [23]
Hot dog stand, Geer and Foster St., 1974 November
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 2
Image [24]
Hot dog stand, Sunday, 1974 November
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 2
Image [25]
L&M Office Building, 1971 [Liggett & Myers]
(5.25x7.25 inches)
Box 2
Image [26]
Hammond Street, 1972
(5.5x7.25 inches)
Box 2
Image [27]
Hutchins Automotives Supply Co. Inc., 1974 November
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 2
Image [28]
[Snow on bicycle], 1974
(5.25x7.25 inches)
Box 2
Image [29]
Liberty Warehouse, 1974 [door with tobacco seed advertisements]
(7.5x7.5 inches)
Box 4
Image [30]
Liberty Warehouse, 1974 [close-up of window with seed company advertisement]
(7.5x7.5 inches)
Box 4
Image [31]
Sunbeam, 1974 [Three African American men sitting in open door of warehouse]
(10.75x13.75 inches)
Box 5
Image [32]
Durham County Fair, 1974 [man and woman in front of food vendor]
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 2
Image [33]
[Fair carney with large stuffed toys], 1970s
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 2
Image [34]
[Fair carney with stuffed toys], 1970s [enlargement of image 34]
(7.75x11 inches)

Print unmounted.

Box 2
Image [35]
[Prizes at fair], 1970s
(7.75x11 inches)

Print unmounted.

Box 2
Image [36]
Having fun, Durham County Fair, 1974 [fairgoers at target shoot]
(7.75x11 inches)
Box 4
Image [37]
Durham County Fair, 1975 September [woman jewelry vendor]
(7.75x11 inches)
Box 4
Image [38]
[White family playing by a river], 1975
(4x6 inches)

Prints 39-48 are unmounted.

Box 2
Image [39]
[White family swimming in a river], 1975
(4x6 inches)
Box 2
Image [40]
[Searching by the river], 1975
(4x6 inches)
Box 2
Image [41]
[Boy by river], 1975
(4x6 inches)
Box 2
Image [42]
[Children by river], 1975
(4x6 inches)
Box 2
Image [43]
[Getting ready to jump into river], 1975
(4x6 inches)
Box 2
Image [44]
[Playing beside the river], 1975
(4x6 inches)
Box 2
Image [45]
[Jumping off the bank], 1975
(4x6 inches)
Box 2
Image [46]
[Jumping off bank], 1975
(4x6 inches)
Box 2
Image [47]
[Young man by the river], 1975
(4x6 inches)
Box 2
Image [48]
Eno River, 1973
(8x9.75 inches)
Box 4
Image [49]
[River rocks], 1973
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 2
Image [50]
Reflections, Little River, Fall 1973
(10.25x10.25 inches)

[Mat has some staining from water damage.]

Box 5
Image [51]
[Snow in trees], 1974
(5.25x8 inches)
Box 2
Image [52]
[Storm clouds over barns], 1970s
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 2
Image [53]
[Sycamores], 1970s
(7.75x11 inches)

Print unmounted.

Box 2
Image [54]
[Distant shot of two dogs on road, church in background on hill], 1970s
(4.5x6.5 inches)
Box 2
Image [55]
[Sycamore trees], 1970s
(8x5.5 inches)
Box 2
Image [56]
[Waterfall], 1970s
(5.5x8 inches)
Box 3
Image [57]
[Lily pads], 1970s
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [58]
[Lily pads], 1970s
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [59]
[Lily pads], 1970s
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [60]
[Field of daisies], 1970s
(5.25x7.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [61]
Eno River, 1973 [Two African American boys]
(6.75x7 inches)
Box 3
Image [62]
Eno River, 1973 [Two African American boys]
(6.75x7 inches)
Box 3
Image [63]
Eno River, 1973 [Two African American boys]
(6.75x7 inches)
Box 5
Image [64]
Kids at Eno, 1973
(10.5x11 inches)

[Two African American boys. Enlarged duplicate of print 64; photo emulsion is slightly damaged.]

Box 5
Image [65]
Kids at the Eno, 1973
(10.5x10.75 inches)
Box 5
Image [66]
Johnny Finch, 1973 [Young African American man]
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 5
Image [67]
Johnny Finch, 1973 [Duplicate of print 67]
(8.5x13 inches)
Box 5
Image [68]
[Two young African American men in front of store], 1970s
(8.25x10.25 inches)

Prints 69-72 are unmounted.

Box 3
Image [69]
[Two young African American men in warehouse], 1970s
(7.75x11 inches)
Box 3
Image [70]
[African American man in braids], 1970s
(7.75x11 inches)
Box 3
Image [71]
[Young white woman (at fair?)], 1970s
(7.75x11 inches)
Box 3
Image [72]
[Young white woman, (carnival vendor?)], 1970s
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [73]
Rough hands, Durham County Fair, 1974 [Two young white men]
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [74]
[Hiker resting on rocks], 1970s
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [75]
Mr. Arthur Revis #1, 1974 November [Elderly African American man]
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [76]
Mr. Arthur Revis #2, 1974 November
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [77]
Mr. Arthur Revis #3, 1979 November
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [78]
Mr. Arthur Revis #4, 1979 November
(5.5x7.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [79]
[Mr. Arthur Revis], November?
(4.5x6.5 inches)
Box 3
Image [80]

2. Exhibit Prints and Poster, 1970s (printed circa 2006)

2 boxes

These 16 matted inkjet prints were exhibited at Through This Lens gallery in Durham, N.C., in 2006. They are all duplicates of images from the original collection described in the Photographic Prints Series. The prints range in size from 8x8" to 16x24.75". Matted prints measure as follows--Box 6: 16x20"; Box 7: 24x32". Captions supplied by library staff are in brackets. The subjects include barns from Durham and Orange counties, tobacco warehouses, African American tobacco workers, and a game booth at the fair. Included in the series is one of Grossman's most important photographs, Sunbeam. Also present in the series is the original exhibition poster from 2006.

Arranged in original order as received, with image identifiers supplied by library staff.

Tobacco barn, Durham County, 1970s
(8x12.25 inches)
Box 6
Image [81]
Barn, N. Duke St., Durham County, 1973
(8x12.5 inches)
Box 6
Image [82]
[Barn with cart], 1970s
(8x12.25 inches)
Box 6
Image [83]
[Cart on farm, detail], 1970s
(8x12.25 inches)
Box 6
Image [84]
[Cigarette factory window detail], 1970s
(8x12.5 inches)
Box 6
Image [85]
Liberty Warehouse [close-up of window with seed company advertisement], 1974
(8.75x8.75 inches)
Box 6
Image [86]
Liberty Warehouse [door with tobacco seed advertisements], 1974
(8x8 inches)
Box 6
Image [87]
Hot dog stand, Sunday, 1974 November
(8x12.25 inches)
Box 6
Image [88]
Hot dog stand, 1974 November
(8x12.25 inches)
Box 6
Image [89]
Sunbeam, 1974
(16x24.75 inches)
Box 7
Image [90]
Geer St. looking west, 1974 November
(16x24.5 inches)
Box 7
Image [91]
Having fun, Durham County Fair, 1974
(8x12.25 inches)
Box 6
Image [92]
[Two African American men, (tobacco workers ?)], 1970s
(8x12.25 inches)
Box 6
Image [93]
[Four young African American male tobacco workers], 1970s
(8x12.25 inches)
Box 6
Image [94]
[Sitting man with cigarette], 1970s
(16x16 inches)
Box 7
Image [95]
Break at tobacco auction, 1970s
(16x24.5 inches)
Box 7
Image [96]
Exhibit poster for "Past / Present: Photographs of Durham by Will Grossman," 2006

The exhibit, a solo show, was held at Through This Lens Gallery, in Durham, North Carolina, from June 4-September 16, 2006. The color poster measures 24x17 inches; the black-and-white photograph used, "Sunbeam," is of three men inside a warehouse building.

Oversize-folder 1

3. Negatives, 1969-1976

1 box)

Series contains 488 negative images. The bulk are negative strips, but there are also larger single negatives cut by the photographer. Among the negatives are images that represent the photographic prints in the collection, but there are also many negative images for which prints do not exist, including images of locations in Durham city and county. Original titles supplied by photographer were taken from envelopes or sleeves; titles supplied by library staff are in brackets.

Conditions Governing Access note

Original negatives are generally closed to access. Please consult with a reference archivist for more information.

Eno River, 1973
(22 images)
Box 8
Eno River, 1974
(20 images)
Box 8
Eno River, 1974
(16 images)
Box 8
Eno River, 1975
(21 images)
Box 8
Eno River, 1975
(20 images)
Box 8
Eno River, 1976
(35 images)
Box 8
Orange Factory Rd, 1975
(27 images)
Box 8
Kids at Eno River, 1975
(21 images)
Box 8
Durham County, 1974
(15 images)
Box 8
Durham County, 1975
(20 images)
Box 8
15-501 around Durham, 1975
(15 images)
Box 8
Northgate Mall, 1972
(20 images)
Box 8
Patterson Mill, Durham, 1970s
(22 images)
Box 8
[Mostly images of individuals, some landscapes and individuals], 1969-1972
(28 images)
Box 8
[Buildings and landscapes], 1973
(17 images)
Box 8
[Mostly buildings, some landscapes, Hartman St?], 1974
(25 images)
Box 8
Barn, 1975
(12 images)
Box 8
Durham, 1971
(11 images)
Box 8
Durham County, 1970
(12 images)
Box 8
Eno River, 1973
(11 images)
Box 8
Eno River, 1975
(16 images)
Box 8
Northgate Mall, 1976
(12 images)
Box 8
Mill on Eno River, 1971
(11 images)
Box 8
[Landscapes], 1971
(8 images)
Box 8
[Landscapes and one portrait], 1972
(11 images)
Box 8
[Landscapes and Catsburg store, northern Durham], 1972
(12 images)
Box 8
[Landscapes and buildings], 1973
(12 images)
Box 8
[Robert's Drink Stand, buildings and portraits], 1974
(12 images)
Box 8
Eno River, 1975
(4 images)
Box 8
 

Historical Note

Will Grossman (1945-2012) was born in the Ukraine and emigrated to Brooklyn, New York, where he received a B.A. in Arts from Brooklyn College. He migrated to the South and received further training and an M.Ed. from North Carolina State University. He was active in developing and promoting educational programs and materials on Jewish history, including a large traveling exhibit, Down Home, exploring aspects of Jewish life in the South.


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The Will Grossman photographs of Durham, North Carolina were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2010 and 2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Joanne Fairhurst and Matthew Warren, December 2012.

Encoded by Joanne Fairhurst, Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, and Matthew Warren, December 2012. Description enhancements by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, January 2017.

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2010-0195, 2012-0113.