Guide to the Hugh Mangum Photographs, circa 1890-1922 and undated
Hugh Mangum was an itinerant commercial portrait photographer from Durham, N.C. His family's home and Mangum's studio, converted from a tobacco packhouse, still stand at West Point on the Eno River, now a county park.
The Hugh Mangum Photographs collection dates from approximately 1890 through 1922, and contains 689 glass plate negatives of portrait photographs taken by Hugh Mangum as he traveled a rail circuit through North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia and in photography studios he and partners established in Roanoke, Pulaski, and East Radford, Virginia. Communities marked on a few of the plates include Warrenton (probably North Carolina rather than Virginia), and Christiansburg, Virginia. The images are composed chiefly of individual portraits and group portraits of residents in those areas. There are women, children, and men featured in the images, either in a studio setting or outdoors; the majority are white but there are a substantial number of African American portraits. Please note: the original glass plate negatives are closed to research use. Print and digital images are available for viewing.
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
- Mangum, Hugh.
- Hugh Mangum Photographs, circa 1890-1922
- Language of Material
- 1.5 linear feet, Approximately 800 items
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Original glass plate negatives are closed to patron use. Print and digital copies are available.
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.
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.
Albumen glass plate negatives contain images of individuals, small groups, and large groups. Often plates contain multiple images in rows, up to 12 per plate. Most of the individuals' names are unknown but some names have been determined through an ongoing collaboration with researchers and other individuals. All the negatives have been digitized and are available on the website created for the Hugh Mangum images; please see the online images for more information about the actual content of each negative. Also, an Excel database is available that offers limited information for each negative: size, composition (individual, small group, or large group), genders, presence of animals, and identification number.
Glass plate negatives are arranged in size order. Number ranges for each size are not inclusive.
[CLOSED: Because of their vulnerability, glass plate negatives are closed to research access. For viewing purposes patrons may use online digitized images or prints.]
Fifty-three black and white prints were made of selected negatives and are housed in this series. Some are original contact prints; others are modern and most of these may have been made in support of the West Point on the Eno Mangum museum. Most prints are 8x10" but there are also smaller prints; there are also a few oversize prints which are housed separately, including an original panoramic photograph.
Consists of two boxes for dry plate negatives, both made by companies based in Missouri. One box, 3.5x4.5", is empty; the other still holds five unused 5x7" glass plate negatives wrapped in black paper.
Hugh Leonard Mangum was born on June 3, 1877 in downtown Durham, N.C., the son of Presley J. Mangum, an early postmaster of Durham and furniture maker, and Sally Mangum. In 1891, the Mangums bought the McCown house at West Point, then a rural community centering on a water mill on the Eno River, and used the home as a summer residence. In 1893, when Hugh Mangum was 16 years old, the Mangum family moved out to the Eno River community permanently. By the time he was 16, Hugh Mangum had taught himself photography. He was also an adept painter in oils and watercolor and could play the mandolin, accordion, and piano. Mangum studied art at Salem College in Winston-Salem, N.C. and studied hypnotism on his own.
From this time on, Mangum led a rambling life throughout the cities and rural areas of the Southeast, photographing blacks and whites, children at play, workers in the field, and scenes around his home by the Eno River. He traveled by train on these picture-taking trips, returning often to his family's Durham, N.C. home on the Eno, perhaps when his money was exhausted. Through the course of his travels Mangum set up many temporary studios as well as three permanent ones located in the Virginia communities of Roanoke, Pulaski, and East Radford. Ordinary people would walk in wherever Mangum set up his studios and have their pictures made. Mangum also maintained a darkroom at his family's home on the Eno in a packhouse building which has been restored and converted into the Hugh Mangum Museum of Photography. Mangum printed many of his negatives in the packhouse darkroom having exposed the negatives elsewhere, usually on location in his permanent of temporary studios. Mangum used Black Meadow Branch, a small tributary of the Eno, as a water source for chemical mixing and for washing his prints.
Mangum’s original darkroom, a tobacco pack house on the Mangum farm at West Point on the Eno, was saved and restored by The Friends of West Point and opened in 1986 as The Hugh Mangum Museum of Photography. In addition to his darkroom, the museum contains Hugh Mangum’s traveling trunk, a selection of vintage prints, prints made from Mangum original negatives in the 1980s by photographer David Page, and period photography equipment.
- African Americans -- North Carolina -- Photographs.
- Mangum, Hugh, 1877-1922.
- Mangum, Hugh, 1877-1922 -- Pictorial works.
- African Americans -- Portraits.
- Commercial portraiture -- History -- 19th century.
- Commercial portraiture -- History -- 20th century.
- Photographers -- North Carolina.
- Photographers -- Virginia.
- Photography -- North Carolina.
- Portrait photographers -- North Carolina.
- Portrait photographers -- Virginia.
- Durham (N.C.) -- History -- Pictorial works.
- North Carolina -- History -- Pictorial works.
- Virginia -- History -- Pictorial works.
- Durham (N.C.) -- Social life and customs -- Pictorial works.
- North Carolina -- Social life and customs -- Pictorial works.
- Virginia -- Social life and customs -- Pictorial works.
- Black and white photographs.
- Glass plate negatives.
- Presley Jackson Mangum Family Papers (has photograph by Mangum - see card catalog for details!) (Rubenstein Library)
- Michael Francis Blake Photographs, 1912-1934 (African American photographer from Charleston, S.C.) (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library)
[Identification of item], Hugh Mangum Photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The Hugh Mangum Photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1986.
Processed by Karen Glynn and Peter Hymas, May 2006
Encoded by Aaron Thornburg, May 2009; and by Kenneth Dasher, July 2009
Updated by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Oct. 2011
Accessions 1987-0137, 2006-0044, and 2007- were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.
Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.
This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.