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Guide to the North Carolina Self-Portrait Photography Collection, 1930-1996

Abstract

The North Carolina Self-Portrait Photography Collection includes copy negatives, contact sheets, prints, information sheets, agreements, and voice recordings created as part of the North Carolina Self-Portrait Project, undertaken to build an archive of images and other materials documenting the experiences of African American families in the South. The photographs were assembled by requesting copy photographs from African American families primarily in North Carolina, but a few locations in Mississippi were also included. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Duke University. Center for Documentary Studies.
Title
North Carolina Self-Portrait Photography collection, 1930-1996
Language of Material
English
Extent
8.0 Linear Feet, Approximately 2000 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The North Carolina Self-Portrait Collection, 1993-2000, contains paper documents, audio cassettes, contact sheets, slides, negatives, and photographs, all relating to the work of the NCSP project. To build the collection of images of African Americans in the South, project staff visited African American families primarilyy in North Carolina locales, but also in Mississippi, and requested copies of original family photographs created from 1900 to 1990, giving back quality reproductions to the families for their own collections.

The collection is particularly rich in materials related to the private and professional lives of African Americans living in the South during the first half of the 20th century. The images contain subjects typical to family photograph albums, including: candid and formal portraits, weddings, anniversaries, award ceremonies, school pictures, athletic teams, vacations, leisure activities, and other aspects of domestic life. In addition, many of the families whose photographs were copied were active members of religious and social organizations. Some of the distinct and more heavily represented organizations are the Arabian Shriners, New Bern Isiserettes, Eastern Stars, Young Men's Institute in Asheville, the A.M.E. Church, as well as employees of the NC Mutual Insurance Co. The North Carolina portion of this project was primarily conducted in the geographic locations of New Bern, James City, Durham, Asheville, and Southern Pines.

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

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

Portions of the collection are restricted.

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

Consists of files and records stemming from the project to create the North Carolina and Mississippi Self-Portrait Collection. Includes information sheets for each subject or family; notes from the photography sessions; grant proposals and budgets; correspondence; photocopies of loaned photos; and other project records. Also includes computer disc with information sheets.

This subseries contains paper format materials created when photographing the family albums of North Carolina residents. The material is arranged alphabetically, by the collection's creator, using a three letter code for the last name of the participant family, with some exceptions. Each folder contains an information sheet that provides an itemized description of the photographs that were copied, and may contain notes used when printing the photographs contained in other series in this collection.

Master Disk for North Carolina Information Sheets
Box 1
Information Sheets for North Carolina Color Materials
Box 1
Mrs. Helen Adams, ADA 0194-1, ADA 0194-2
Box 1
Agnes and Tommie Brown, AgnesBro-1, AGN-2 BRO
Box 1
Isadore and Julene Allen, ALL-1093
Box 1
Black Highlander Collection, BHC- 1193
Box 1
Kaye Brown and Annie Chadwick, BRO-1, BRO-2
Box 1
Mr. Robert and Artelia Bryant, BRY-1, BRY-2, BRY-3
Box 1
Jessie Carr, CAR-1
Box 1
The Clements, CLE 0294-1, CLE 0294-2,
Box 1
Doris Daniels, DAN 1193-1, DAN 1193-2
Box 1
Stella Dowdy, DOW 1093
Box 1
Mrs. Ida Franks, FRA 0194-1, FRA 0194-2
Box 1
Jacquline Shelton Green, GRE-1, GRE-2
Box 1
Lottie Hainsworth, HAI 1093, HAI 1093-2
Box 1
Mrs. Mary Hallman, HAL 1093, HAL 1093-2
Box 1
Ms. Bessie Hasty, HAST 1093
Box 1
Phyllis Jones Sherill, JON 1193-1, JON 1193-2, JON 1193-3, JON 1193-4
Box 1
Erline McQueen, MCQ 1193-1, MCQ 1193-2, MCQ 1193-3
Box 1
Omega Ray Wilson, OME-1
Box 1
Jesse Ray, RAY 1193-1, RAY 1193-2
Box 1
Mary Sligh, SLI 1193, SLI 1193-2, SLI 1193-3 (4x5)
Box 1
Ray Trent, TRE-1
Box 1
Margaret Turner, TUR-1, TUR-2, TUR-3
Box 1

Files house records concerning the administration of the NCSP project.

Correspondence
Box 1
Publicity
Box 1
Budgets, Grant Proposals, Reports
Box 1
Photocopies of Borrowed Prints
Box 1
Photocopies of Contact Sheets Made in Mississippi
Box 1
Miscellaneous
Box 1

Photographs printed from negatives made by photographing family albums.

This subseries contains photographs made from the albums of families living in North Carolina, and is organized by the same three letter code as the North Carolina Individual Families Subseries located in the Paper Format Series.

ADA
Box 2
Agnes Bro
Box 2
ALL
Box 2
BHC
Box 2
BRO, Kaye
Box 2
BRY
Box 2
CAR
Box 2
CLE, Clemment
Box 2
DAN
Box 2
DOW
Box 2
FRA-3
Box 2
FRA-4
Box 2
GRE
Box 2
HAST
Box 3
JON-1
Box 3
JON-2
Box 3
JON-3
Box 3
JON-4
Box 3
MCQ
Box 3
OME, Ray Wilson
Box 3
Sligh
Box 3
TRE
Box 3
TUR-1
Box 3
TUR-2
Box 3
TUR-3
Box 3

Photographs that at the time of processing could not be directly attributed to a specific family; or photographs in a different format than the photographs in the North Carolina Individual Families Subseries.

Loose dry-mounted prints
Box 3
Loose resin-coated prints
Box 3
Loose fiber-based prints
Box 3

Contains contact sheets for the projects conducted in North Carolina and Mississippi.

This subseries contains color and black-and-white contact sheets printed from negatives made from the albums of families living in North Carolina, and is organized by the same three letter code as the North Carolina Individual Families Subseries in the Paper Format Series. The color contact sheets are foldered together because they contain images for more than one family. Color images were not made for all of the participant families, if color material exists for a particular family it is noted in the following container list. The Color Contact Master Sheet (located in the Paper Format Series and the color contact sheet folder) is an index of the color contact sheets that can be used locate a corresponding black-and-white image, and to identify the participant family that provided the original image. Because the color contact sheets contain images for more than one family a portion of the contact sheet may be open for research while another portion is closed. The Color Contact Master Sheet can be used to identify the portions of the contact sheets that are closed.

Mrs. Helen Adams, ADA 0194-1, ADA 2
(color and black-and- white)
Box 4
Agnes and Tommie Brown, AGNES BRO-1, AGN-2 BRO
(color and black-and-white)
Box 4
Isadore and Julene Allen, ALL 1093
(black-and-white)
Box 4
Black Highlander Collection, BHC-1193
(black-and-white)
Box 4
Kaye Brown and Annie Chadwick, BRO-1, BRO-2
(color and black-and-white)
Box 4
Mr. Robert and Artelia Bryant, BRY-1, BRY-2, BRY-3
(color and black-and-white)
Box 4
Jessie V. Carr, CAR-1
(black-and-white)
Box 4
The Clements, CLE 0294-1, CLE 0294-2
(color and black-and-white)
Box 4
Doris Daniels, DAN 1193-1, DAN 1193-2
(black-and-white)
Box 4
Stella Dowdy, DOW 1093
(black-and-white)
Box 4
Mrs. Ida Franks, FRA 0194-1, FRA 0194-2
(color and black-and-white)
Box 4
Jaquline Shelton Green, GRE-1, GRE-2
(color and black-and-white)
Box 4
Lottie Hainsworth, HAI 1093-1, HAI 1093-2
(black-and-white)
Box 4
Mrs. Mary Hallman, HAL 1093, HAL 1093-2
(black-and-white)
Box 4
Ms. Bessie Hasty, HAST 1093
(black-and-white)
Box 4
Phyllis Jones Sherill, JON 1193-1, JON 1193-2, JON 1193-3, JON 1193-4
(color and black-and-white)
Box 4
Erline McQueen, MCQ 1193-1, MCQ 1193-2, MCQ 1193-3
(color and black-and-white)
Box 4
Omega Ray Wilson, OME 1
(color and black-and-white)
Box 4
Jessie Ray, RAY 1193-1, RAY 1193-2
(black-and-white)
Box 4
Mary Sligh, SLI 1193, SLI 1193-2, SLI 1193 4x5's 1-20
(color and black-and-white)
Box 4
Ray Trent, TRE-1
(color and black-and-white)
Box 4
Mrs. Margaret Turner, TUR-1, TUR-2, TUR-3
(black-and-white)
Box 4

This subseries contains contact sheets made for the project conducted at the University of Mississippi. Contact sheets made from the albums of participant families living in Mississippi, as well as, images of the participant families themselves are included in this subseries. The negatives used to make the contact sheets contained in this subseries are not included in this collection.

35mm Contact Sheets Folder 1
(black-and-white)
Box 4
35mm Contact Sheets Folder 2
(black-and-white)
Box 4
4x5 Contact Sheets Folder 1
(black-and-white)
Box 4
4x5 Contact Sheets Folder 2
(black-and-white)
Box 4
Photographs of participants
(black-and-white)
Box 4

This series contains black-and-white negatives and color negatives made from the albums of families living in North Carolina, and is organized by the same three letter code as the North Carolina Individual Families Subseries in the Paper Format Series. This series also contains slides of exhibition quality photographs that were made from both the Mississippi and North Carolina projects.

Slides made from exhibition prints
Box 5
Color negatives made in North Carolina, rolls 1-7
Box 5
ADA
Box 5
Agnes Bro
Box 5
ALL
Box 5
BHC
Box 5
BRO
Box 5
BRY
Box 5
CAR
Box 5
CLE
Box 5
DAN
Box 5
DOW
Box 5
FRA
Box 5
GRE
Box 5
HAI
Box 5
HAL
Box 5
HAST
Box 5
JON
Box 5
MCQ
Box 5
OME
Box 5
RAY
Box 5
SLI
Box 5
TUR
Box 5
TRE
Box 5

This series consists of matted and unmatted black and white photographs printed from negatives originating in Mississippi and North Carolina; the matted prints were used in exhibitions in 1995 and 2000 at the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University. Most titles supplied by archivist.

Boy scouts standing saluting a flag in a field

Photographer unknown. From the collection of Mrs. Eva Ford, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

(8.5 x 11 7/8 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 10
Faded and torn picture of woman in hat

Photographer unknown. From the collection of Mrs. Eva Ford, Vicksburg, Mississippi. Copied by Robert Jones. Supported by a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation.

(8 5/8 x 10 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 10
Girl in angel costume

Photographer unknown. From the collection of Mrs. Baggs, Jackson, Mississippi. Copied by Robert Jones. Supported by a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation.

(7 5/8 x 11 1/4 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 10
Cyrus Nero (right) and classmates at their high school graduation, 1937, Greenwood, Mississippi

Photographer unknown. From the collection of Melvin and Gwendolyn Loper, Jackson, Mississippi. Copied by Robert Jones. Supported by a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation.

(6 3/8 x 9.5 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 10
Young couple posing for photo

Photographer unknown. From the collection of Mr. Roosevelt Cathey, Coldwater, Mississippi. Copied by Robert Jones. Supported by a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation.

(6 3/8 x 10 5/8 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 10
Christmas, boy in cowboy outfit with toy guns in front of TV
(7 7/8 x 12.5 print; 16x20 mat)
Box 11
Man standing next to short column with book

From Mrs. Eva Ford, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

(7 5/8 x 12 print; 16x20 mat)
Box 11

Captions supplied by archivist. Some prints are umatted but the majority are in mats. All are black and white prints.

Man and child reflected in car window
(14x11 print, unmatted)
Box 12
Man with snowball in field of snow
(8x8 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Two children in a playpen outside
(6.75x9.5 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Man wearing military uniform sitting on a chair
(6.75x10.25 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Family portrait in front of a house
(6x10.25 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Train at the lumber yard
(7.75x11.5 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Young girl standing beside a tire
(6x10.5 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Mother kissing a child
(6x8.5 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Man and boy in suits standing beside a car
(7.5x10.75 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Men standing in a circle around a kneeling man
(7.5x10.75 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Young boy and girl wearing Native American headdresses playing outside
(6x9 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Boy sitting on Santa's lap with a gun
(7x11 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Woman standing on a walkway outdoors
(7x10.25 print; 11x14 mat)
Box 12
Girl wearing mud hat
(16x12 print)
Box 13
People at town gathering
(16x12 print)
Box 13
Man working on bicycle
(16x12 print)
Box 13
Elderly man with bow and quiver
(16x12 print)
Box 13
Man in communal shower, alone
(16x12 print)
Box 13
English lessons in a one-room schoolhouse
(16x12 print)
Box 13
People sleeping on a night bus
(16x12 print)
Box 13
Man carrying chair in field
(16x12 print)
Box 13
Elderly woman holding a reference book
(16x12 print)
Box 13
Campsite with fire in a coffee can
(16x12 print)
Box 13
Laughing woman in curlers
(13x9 print, 20x16 mat)
Box 13
People in water for baptism
(12.5x9 print, 20x16 mat)
Box 13

This series contains audio cassette recordings of reminiscence and descriptions of the photographs copied from the albums of North Carolina participant families.

[Original audiovisual materials are closed to use. Use of these materials may require production of listening or viewing copies. Please contact a reference archivist before coming to use this collection.]

Helen Adams
Box 7
Isadore Allen
Box 7
Agnes Brown
Box 7
Kaye Brown
Box 7
Bryant
(2 tapes)
Box 7
Jessie Carr/Wilson
Box 7
Mr. and Mrs. Bill Clement
Box 7
Doris Daniels
Box 7
Stella Dowdy
Box 7
Mrs. Ida Franks
Box 7
Jaki Shelton Green
Box 7
Lottie Hainsworth
Box 7
Mrs. Mary Hallman
Box 7
Erline McQueen
Box 8
Jeese Ray
Box 8
Phyllis Jones Sherrill
Box 8
Sligh
Box 8
Mrs. Margaret Turner
Box 8
Omega Ray Wilson
Box 8

Historical Note

The Center for Documentary Studies, an interdisciplinary educational organization affiliated with Duke University, is dedicated to advancing documentary work that combines experience and creativity with education and community life. Founded in 1989, CDS connects the arts and humanities to fieldwork, drawing upon photography, filmmaking, oral history, folklore and writing as catalysts for education and change.

The North Carolina Self-Portrait project (NCSP) was directed by Alex Harris at the Center For Documentary Studies, Duke University. The NCSP project was modeled after a similar project conducted by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. The objective of these projects was to photograph the family pictures of African Americans, and to record on audio tape the family member's descriptions of the photographs.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], North Carolina Self-Portrait Photography Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Provenance

The North Carolina Self-Portrait Photography Collection was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1999, 2001, and 2007.

Processing Information

Processed by Christopher Black, April 2003

Encoded by Noah Huffman, April 2010

Addition processed and encoded by Clare Callahan, May 2012.

Accessions 1999-0347, 2003-0020, and 2007-0156 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.