Menu

Preliminary Guide to the Elizabeth A. McMahan Papers, 1926-2010 and undated

Collection Overview

The collection contains primarily correspondence and greeting cards, including correspondence with John Craig Wheeler (considered the father of "black holes") on parapsychology and its intersection with theoretical physics. Also includes news clippings and scrapbooks documenting McMahan's life; illustrations she made describing her travels aboard Pacific-traveling cargo ships; several of her self-published children's books; and compilations of her cartoons from "The Meadowlark, " a newsletter published by Carolina Meadows, a retirement community in Chapel Hill, N.C. Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.

Subsequent additions include materials relating to McMahan's termite research; book illustrations; her early life, including school materials and World War II ephemera; and personal correspondence with friends and relatives. Also includes a memorial tribute to her.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Elizabeth A. McMahan papers, 1926-2010 and undated
Creator
McMahan, Elizabeth A.
Extent
16.4 Linear Feet, 9105 Items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Language
English.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

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 Restrictions

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.

Contents of the Collection

[Technical Services staff may need to reformat brittle paper before use.]

[Attention: Contains rusty fasteners.]

Correspondence, 1957-1980
Box 1
Clippings, 1980-2002
Box 1

[Technical Services staff may need to reformat newsprint and brittle paper before use.]

[Technical Services staff need to format for use copies of video tape before use.]

[Attention: Contains pictorial material.]

Rhine Correspondence, 1946-1975

Includes letters and hand-made birthday cards to J.B. Rhine. Also contains letters to family from Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.

Box 2
Big Book of Animal Behavior
Box 2
Loose material removed from scrapbook in box 4, 1960-1978

Includes original artwork, newspaper, and magazine clippings.

Box 2
Videotape: Wall Cartoons (Vic and Jim Smith Video)
Box 2

[Technical Services staff may need to process materials in envelopes before use.]

Correspondence with John Wheeler, 1986
Box 3
Life at Carolina Meadows series
Box 3
Children's books
Box 3
The Meadowlark newsletter
Box 3
Curriculum vitae
Box 3
Artwork, cartoon illustrations
Box 3
Clippings and greeting cards, [1964-2001]
Box 3
Scrapbook, 1941-1962

Includes clippings, correspondence and photographs.

Box 4

Addition consists of McMahan's artwork, correspondence (including with friend and colleague Howard T. Odum), photographs, journals, diplomas, and other ephemera.

Accession (2004-0334), 1972-2004

1 Box, 1 Oversize Folder

Addition comprises correspondence, field notes, journals, and sketch books related to McMahan's termite research. Also includes newsletters, photographs, certificates, and awards.

Addition comprises primarily original illustrations by McMahan. Also includes correspondence, children's stories, cartoons, a sketchbook, postcards, poetry, lecture notes, travel journals, clippings and one VHS tape containing an interview with McMahan held in 2004.

Addition comprises primarily correspondence written by McMahan to Burke Smith; 6 photographs; clippings; and sketches of cartoons by the donor.

Miscellaneous emails and clippings
Box 1
Email correspondence, 1999-2003
Box 1
Email correspondence, 2003-2005
Box 2
Correspondence with sister, Mary Lee Doyle, 2006
Box 2
Correspondence
Box 1
Clippings
Box 1
Sketches
Box 1
Journal
Box 2
Ephemera from a European trip, 1950s
Box 2
Correspondence 1950
Box 2
Postcards
Box 2
War ration books, 1942
Box 2
Student handbook, 1960-1961
Box 2
Senior diary, 1935
Box 2
Record of payments for work in Parapsychology lab, 1943-1945
Box 2
Research notebook, 1975
Box 2
Autograph book, 1936-1939
Box 2
School treasures book, 1934
Box 2
Wood engraving
Box 2
Name cards
Box 2
Autograph book
Box 2
Postcards
Box 2
Diary, 1936
Box 2
Autographed wooden spoons, 1940
Box 2
Address book
Box 2
Correspondence
Box 3
Drawings for Camie book
Box 3
Plaque from the Entomological Society for support, 1993
Box 3
Clippings
Box 3
Materials from elementary school
Box 3
Scrapbook
Box 4
Clippings
Box 4
Sketches for Camie
Box 4
Miscellaneous correspondence, 1980s-2007 (4 folders)
Box 1
Hoyle correspondence, 2007
Box 1
Correspondence and photographs, 1950s
Box 1
Rhine Center correspondence
Box 1
Carolina Meadows material
Box 1
Public Health Service Research Fellowship Application, 1959
Box 1
Miscellaneous photographs
Box 1
Carolina Meadows publications
Box 1
Email correspondence, 2007-2008 (5 folders)
Box 1
Miscellaneous email correspondence, 2008 (3 folders)
Box 1

Addition (2009-0203) (100 items; 0.4 lin. ft.; dated 1946-1987) includes a Thematic Apperception Test, Duke parapsychology lab communications, color slides of Duke's campus (1957), UNC Department of Zoology correspondence, materials on Donald Costello and Burke Smith, and miscellaneous materials from McMahan's retirement in 1987. Addition (2009-0206) (1 item; 0.2 lin. ft.; dated 1950s-1960s) consists of a photo album with unlabelled photographs of the J.B. Rhine family and the Duke parapsychology laboratory.

16 color slides from Duke's West Campus, 1957
Box 1
8 color slides of the K.M. Wilbur family, including children Gretchen and Louise; Dr. J.R. Bailey; Dr. Horn and Kathy, 1957
Box 1
Thematic Apperception Test, 1946

Includes cards, manuals, and interpretation guide.

Box 1
Duke materials

Includes Department of Zoology correspondence, 1960s, and Nixon Library correspondence, 1981.

Box 1
Donald Costello, 1970s
Box 1
Burke Smith correspondence, 1984-1986
Box 1
Parapscyhology
Box 1
Retirement, 1987
Box 1
Voices: the Literary Magazine of Carolina Meadows, Spring 2009
Box 1
Photo album

Includes unlabelled photographs of J.B. Rhine, his family, and the Duke Parapscyhology Laboratory, 1950s-1960s.

Box 1

Addition (2009-0222) (700 items; 1.2 lin. ft.) includes subject files, correspondence, and other materials from McMahan's retirement. Subjects include Jamaica, freighter travel, UNC's Zoology Department, etc. Box 2 of this material is housed with Acc. 2010-0132.

Society of Woman Geographers
Box 1
Australia
Box 1
Professional correspondence, 2002
Box 1
General mail and email, 2002
Box 1
References
Box 1
India
Box 1
Lin Frye: CMSW UNC/Vance Co., July 1994
Box 1
Zukeran
Box 1
Peace Corps (Jamaica), 1987-1988
Box 1
Jamaica, 1991
Box 1
Freighter travel (talks)
Box 1
Arm-chair travel (freightering), 2002
Box 1
La Selva (and LTER), 1985-1986
Box 1
Talks (extras)
Box 1
Sigma Xi
Box 1
Unlabelled folder (miscellaneous)
Box 1
Rowland, 2002
Box 1
Greenes
Box 1
Capt. Chris Blake and Capt. Cook
Box 1
NC State
Box 1
Christy Lehrer (Nalepa)
Box 1
Duke Library (Bingham Center)
Box 1
UNC Zoology
Box 2
Correspondence, 1986
Box 2
JB Rhine
Box 2
Parapsychology Abstracts International, 1986
Box 2
ESP tests, 1940s
Box 2
Printouts of 2 photos of JB Rhine and the parapsychology lab, 1970s
Box 2

Addition (2010-0132) (29 items; 0.1 lin. ft.; dated 1985-2009 and undated) contains flyers and email from the UNC biology dept. and library; McMahan's obituaries and memorial program; two articles she published on the Assassin bug;, newspaper clippings on her work; and copies of her cartoon works, including two of her children's books.

Accession (2010-0132)

[This material is housed with Acc. (2009-0222)]

Box 2

Addition (2011-0124) (2 items, 0.1 lin. ft.; dated 2010) comprises a journal copy of SOCIOBIOLOGY (2010 Vol. 56, no. 1) containing a memorial tribute to McMahan, along with a reprint of the piece.

Accession (2011-0124)

[This material is housed with Acc. (2009-0222)]

Box 2

Historical Note

Entomologist (termite biology), psychologist, cartoonist, writer of children's books, and ocean traveler. McMahan is credited with 59 publications, many under the name E. A. McMahan, including 11 children's books.

DateEvent(s)
1924Born, Davie County, N.C.
1946A.B., Duke University, Major in Psychology
1948M.A. in Psychology, Duke University
1943-1954Research Assistant, Parapsychology Laboratory, Duke University. Close friend of Rhine family.
1960Ph.D, Entomology, University of Hawaii
1960-1961Post-doctoral work, Zoology, University of Chicago
1961-1987Professor, Department of Biology, UNC-Chapel Hill. Received outstanding teaching award in 1970.
1987-1988Peace Corps, College of Agriculture, Port Antonio, Jamaica
1989Received North Carolina Entomological Society's Award of Excellence for contributions to entomology.
1989-2009Retired to Carolina Meadows, a retirement community in Chapel Hill, N.C.
2009Died, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Parapsychology Laboratory Records, 1893-1984 (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University)
  • Louisa E. Rhine Papers, 1890-1983 (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Elizabeth A. McMahan Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Elizabeth A. McMahan Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2003-2011.

Processing Information

Processed by Stacey Clark

Completed September 30, 2003

Encoded by Stacey Clark, Elizabeth Arnold

Finding aid updated by Meghan Lyon, 2008 and 2009

Finding aid updated by Alice Poffinberger, 2010, 2011

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.

This collection is unprocessed: materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.