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Guide to the Tom Rankin photographs, 1980-2008

Abstract

Tom Rankin is a documentary photographer, filmmaker, folklorist, professor of art and documentary studies, and former director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

The Tom Rankin photographs collection dates from 1980-2008 and consists of black and white and color large-format and contact prints from Rankin's work documenting the American South, particularly religious sites, rituals, and communities in the Mississippi Delta region. A selection of Rankin's photographs was published in Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta, 1993. Other prints portray various places and people elsewhere in the American South; another series features as its subject Mississippi writer Larry Brown. There is also a digital audio recording of a talk by Rankin at the exhibit opening of his work, Near the Cross: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta. 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
Rankin, Tom.
Title
Tom Rankin photographs, 1980-2008
Language of Material
English
Extent
9.0 Linear Feet, 106 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The Tom Rankin photographs collection dates from 1980-2008 and consists of black and white and color prints from Rankin's work documenting the American South, particularly religious sites, rituals, and communities in the Mississippi Delta region. A selection of Rankin's photographs was published in Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta, 1993. Other prints portray various places and people elsewhere in the American South; another series features as its subject Mississippi writer Larry Brown. In addition to the large-format black and white gelatin silver and color photographic prints, some of which are matted, there are also smaller contact prints. There is also a digital audio recording in mp3 format of a talk by Rankin at the exhibit opening of his work, "Near the Cross: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta." 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

Collection is open for research. However, publication and commercial use requires the permission of the photographer.

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

Black and white and color photographic prints, with supporting contact and proof prints, of portfolios created by Tom Rankin. Arranged alphabetically by project title: Larry Brown; Mississippi Delta; Portraits of the American South; and Sacred Space.

Portraits of Mississippi writer Larry Brown with his family and friends in Mississippi.

Larry Brown on porch swing at Jefferson Ave., Oxford, 1993
Box 1 Folder 2
Seated outside with jars in foreground, Tula
Box 1 Folder 2
Wearing white tee shirt holding Lilly (puppy dog)
Box 1 Folder 2
Larry and Mary Annie on grass, 1993
Box 1 Folder 2
Larry Brown riding and playing guitar
Box 1 Folder 2
Larry wearing dark button down shirt standing in front of vines, 1996
Box 1 Folder 2
Larry and Charlie Jacobs with boat on bank
Box 1 Folder 2
Larry at Charlie Jacobs funeral, Bolivar County
Box 1 Folder 2
Larry resting on hoe in garden, Oxford
Box 1 Folder 2
Larry Brown and Richard Howorth from behind, 13x16 digital color print
Box 3 Folder 1
Larry Brown and Richard Howorth, 13x16 digital color print
Box 3 Folder 1
Blue striped shirt, 16x20 digital color print
Box 3 Folder 1

Unless otherwise specified, all locations are in Mississippi

Larry cleaning Shane's deer, Yocana
Box 7 Folder 2
Larry with beer and cigarette looking up, Oxford
Box 7 Folder 2
Larry burning, 1993
Box 7 Folder 2
Larry shirtless leaning on fence post, Tula, 1993
Box 7 Folder 2
Larry and Mary Annie fishing, Tula
Box 7 Folder 2
Larry Brown and Johnny Miles smoking, Copiah County
Box 7 Folder 2
Larry Brown with rack of horns, Copiah County
Box 7 Folder 2
Larry Brown in doorway of shed, Oxford
Box 7 Folder 2

Images document and reflect on spiritual and religious practices in the Mississippi Delta region of the Southern United States. Dominant subjects include churches, individuals associated with the churches, cemetery sites, and baptisms.

Mt. Tinna M. B. Church, Scott, 1990
Box 1
Bethlehem No. 2 M. B. Church, Shaw, 1991
Box 1
Campbellsville Church, Holly Bluff, 2007
Box 1
Candidate for baptism, fourth week in August, Perthshire, 1989
Box 1
Baptism, Jerusalem M. B. Church, Mound Bayou, 1989
Box 1
Candidate for baptism, Mound Bayou, 1990
Box 1
Handmade gravestones, Mound Bayou, 1989
Box 1
Mt. Pleasant M. B. Church, Beulah, 1989
Box 1
Church on Deer Creek, Estill, Mississippi, 1989
Box 1
Reverend E. B. Brown, Mt. Pleasant M. B. Church, Beulah, 1989
Box 1
Bethlehem No. 2 M. B. Church, Shaw, 1992
Box 1
St. James Missionary Baptist Church, Jonestown, 1991
Box 1
Near Litton, Mississippi, 1991
Box 1
Abundant Life Church, Lamont, 2007
Box 1
Brooks Chapel M. B. Church, Greenwood, 2006
Box 1
Congregation outside Bethlehem No. 2 M. B. Church, Shaw, 1991
Box 1
Reverend Tom Bronner with neighborhood children, Gunnison, 1989
Box 1
New Hope Church, Shelby, 1989
Box 1
Hand-painted window, A. M. E. Church, Indianola, 1990
Box 1
Grave of Alfred Green, Morning Star Cemetery, Beulah, 2006
Box 1
Paper Easter flowers, near Tchula, 1991
Box 1
Near Shaw, 1990
Box 1
Mt. Olive Church, Bolivar County, 1992
Box 1
Deacon Fred Davis, Moon Lake, Coahoma County, 1990
Box 1
Baptism of Cheronda Brown by Reverend Crabtree, Stamps Lake, Perthshire, 1990
Box 1
Baptism, Moon Lake, Coahoma County, 1990
Box 1
Prayer after baptism, Moon Lake, Coahoma County, 1990
Box 1

All locations are in Mississippi.

Rev. Brooks Tobe with dog
Box 1 Folder 1
Rev. Bronner in church with his niece
Box 1 Folder 1
Three at a time, Moon Lake, Coahoma County
Box 1 Folder 1
Baptism, Jerusalem M. B. Church, Mound Bayou, 1989
Box 1 Folder 1
Deacon Fred Davis, Moon Lake, Coahoma County, 1990
Box 1 Folder 1
Three young girls being baptized in Moon Lake, Coahoma County, 1990
Box 1 Folder 1
Mt. Olive Church, Bolivar County, 1992
Box 2 Folder 1
Rev. Tom Bronner with neighborhood children, Gunnison, 1989
Box 2 Folder 1
Matilda Wray grave, near Shaw, 1990
Box 2 Folder 1
New Hope Church, Shelby, 1989
Box 2 Folder 1
Hand painted window, A. M. E. Church, Indianola, 1990
Box 2 Folder 1
Mt. Pleasant M. B. Church, Beulah, 1989
Box 2 Folder 1
Bethlehem No. 2 M. B. Church, Shaw, 1992
Box 2 Folder 1
Rev. E. B. Brown, Mt. Pleasant M. B. Church, Beulah, 1989
Box 2 Folder 1
Handmade gravestones, Mound Bayou, 1989
Box 2 Folder 1
Paper Easter flowers, near Tchula, 1991
Box 2 Folder 1

Unless otherwise specified, all locations are in Mississippi.

Graves with flowers, Sunflower County
Box 3 Folder 2
Church in field, near Litton
Box 3 Folder 2
A stained glass window of three wise men, Indianola
Box 3 Folder 2
(Interior) New Hope Church, Shelby, 1989
Box 3 Folder 2
(Exterior) Stained glass windows, Indianola
Box 3 Folder 2
Church Street, Indianola
Box 3 Folder 2

Unless otherwise specified, all locations are in Mississippi.

Matilda Wray grave
Box 4 Folder 1
(Exterior) Four hand painted church windows
Box 4 Folder 1
Jesus is our Saviours, steeple at Margaret's market, Vicksburg
Box 4 Folder 1
(Interior) Two hand painted church windows
Box 4 Folder 1
Propane tank Highway 61
Box 4 Folder 1
Evening Star Baptist Church
Box 4 Folder 1
Cotton
Box 4 Folder 1
Particle board church
Box 4 Folder 1
Rev. Tobe on porch
Box 4 Folder 1
Mt. Tinna M. B. Church, Scott, 1990
Box 4 Folder 1
New Hope Church, Shelby, 1989
Box 4 Folder 1
White church, double white doors, electric line cutting through picture, propane tank on side
Box 4 Folder 1
(Interior) Church with dark paneling and carpet
Box 4 Folder 1

Unless otherwise specified, all locations are in Mississippi.

Shellmound, Mississippi, 1991 (white frame church with shadow of tree)
Box 5 Folder 1
C.A. Burke Memorial M. B. Church, Rosedale, 1989
Box 5 Folder 1
Mt. Tinna M.B. Church, near Scott, 2007
Box 5 Folder 1
Mt. Tinna M.B. Church, near Scott, 2007
Box 5 Folder 1
Little Ebenezer Baptist Church, Rosedale, 1990
Box 5 Folder 1
Ida Woodruff grave
Box 5 Folder 1
Paper Easter flowers, near Tchula, Mississippi, 1991
Box 5 Folder 1
Rev. Tom Bronner with neighborhood children, Gunnison, 1989
Box 5 Folder 1
Rev. E. B. Brown at pulpit, Mt. Pleasant M. B. Church, Beulah, 1989
Box 5 Folder 1
Graves of Charley Bains and Alfred Green, Beulah
Box 5 Folder 1

Unless otherwise specified, all locations are in Mississippi.

Grave of Alfred Green, Morning Star Cemetery, Beulah, Mississippi, 2006
Box 6 Folder 1
Bethlehem No. 2 M. B. Church, Shaw, 1991
Box 6 Folder 1
Man in striped suspenders standing in doorway.
Box 6 Folder 1
Brooks Chapel M. B. Church, Greenwood, 2006
Box 6 Folder 1
St. James Missionary Baptist Church, Jonestown, 1991
Box 6 Folder 1
Abundant Life Church, Lamont, 2007
Box 6 Folder 1
Campbellsville Church, Holly Bluff, 2007
Box 6 Folder 1
Near Litton, 1991
Box 6 Folder 1
Deteriorating church in overgrowth across dirt road from field, puddles in road
Box 6 Folder 1
Church on Deer Creek, Estill, 1989
Box 6 Folder 1

Unless otherwise specified, all locations are in Mississippi.

Baptism, Jerusalem M. B. Church, Mound Bayou, 1989
Box 9 Folder 1
Deacon Fred Davis, Moon Lake, Coahoma County, 1990
Box 9 Folder 1
Baptism, Moon Lake, Coahoma County, 1990
Box 9 Folder 1
Candidate for baptism, fourth week in August, Perthshire, 1989
Box 9 Folder 1
Juandra Griffin and Venita Murray, Moon Lake, Coahoma County, 1990
Box 9 Folder 1
Prayer after baptism, Moon Lake, Coahoma County, 1990
Box 9 Folder 1
Congregation outside Bethlehem No. 2 M. B. Church, Shaw, 1991
Box 9 Folder 1
Baptism of Cheronda Brown by Reverend Crabtree, Stamps Lake, Perthshire, 1990
Box 9 Folder 1
Baptism, Moon Lake, Coahoma County, 1990
Box 9 Folder 1
Candidate for baptism, Mound Bayou, 1990
Box 9 Folder 1

Images were taken in various Southern states, including Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Virginia.

Sonny Boy Williamson's grave, Tutwiler, Mississippi
Box 3 Folder 2
Barbershop, Columbus, Mississippi
Box 3 Folder 2
Dairy Freeze, Crystal Springs, Mississippi
Box 3 Folder 2
Oakly and Manuel under wisteria, Sunflower, Mississippi
Box 3 Folder 2
Krispy Kreme Christmas window, Atlanta, Georgia
Box 3 Folder 2
Rice's Cross Garden, Prattville, Alabama
Box 3 Folder 2
White Castle, Meridian, Mississippi
Box 3 Folder 2
Monument, Appomattox, Virginia
Box 3 Folder 2
Baseball concession stands, Baker County, Georgia
Box 3 Folder 2
My job work day and night, Mary T. Smith
Box 3 Folder 2
Scarecrow, Mary T. Smith
Box 3 Folder 2
(Interior) W. C. Rice's Chapel
Box 3 Folder 2
(vertical) Manuel and wisteria, Sunflower, Mississippi
Box 3 Folder 2

Unless otherwise specified, all locations are in Mississippi.

(the South) North of Shaw, 1989
Box 5 Folder 1
Holly Bluff, 1990
Box 5 Folder 1
(the South) Margaret's Gro & Mkt, Vicksburg
Box 5 Folder 1
Man in heavy coat next to portable b/w tv
Box 8 Folder 1
Man in check shirt and pants smoking cigarette
Box 8 Folder 1
Man wearing a dark fedora
Box 8 Folder 1
Man standing in front of a highly polished sports car, NC
Box 8 Folder 1
Man holding two hounds on a leash
Box 8 Folder 1
Man sitting in back of a boat near the motor
Box 8 Folder 1
Close-up of a man playing guitar close to his chest
Box 8 Folder 1
Man leaning on a fishing boat wearing "CAT" cap
Box 8 Folder 1
Man holding a banjo on porch with three cats
Box 8 Folder 1
Author Tim McLaurin at home with George, Hillsborough, North Carolina, undated
Box 7 Folder 1

Digital audio recording of Tom Rankin's talk on February 27, 2008 at the Duke University Libraries exhibit opening of his work, "Near the Cross: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta." This file has been mounted on the library server and is also availalble online through the Duke Libraries digital exhibits website.

Tom Rankin exhibit opening talk, 2008 Feb. 27

Historical Note

Tom Rankin served as the Director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for three consecutive five-year terms until 2013, and is a Professor of the Practice in the Arts at Duke University. A documentary photographer, filmmaker, writer, editor, and folklorist, he has been documenting and interpreting American culture, particularly in the South, for nearly twenty years. His photographic work has been published and widely exhibited. His most long-standing work has been to reveal through the documentary arts the culture and society of the Mississippi Delta region, where he has also served as a faculty member of Delta State University and the University of Mississippi. He has returned many times since the 1980s to photograph the landscapes and people of the Mississippi Delta, most recently in 2011 after the great floods of that year. His books include Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta (1993), which received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Photography, 'Deaf Maggie Lee Sayre': Photographs of a River Life(1995), Faulkner's World: The Photographs of Martin J. Dain (1997), and Local Heroes Changing America: Indivisible (2000). He received an MFA from Georgia State University and an MA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. American Photo Magazine named Tom Rankin as one of the "100 Most Important People in Photography" , May, 2005.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Tom Rankin photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Tom Rankin Photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift from 2007-2008.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff, Dec. 2008

Encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Matthew Warren, July 2012

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2007-0028, 2007-0046, 2007-0134, 2008-0021, and 2008-0060

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.