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Guide to the Semans Family Papers, 1878-2008 and undated

Abstract

Collection consists of correspondence, financial papers, legal papers, writings and speeches, scrapbooks, pictures, and miscellaneous material reflecting the philanthropic, cultural and social activities of the Semans family. A major focus is the interrelationship of the Semans family with the Biddle, Duke, and Trent families. Additionally, the papers document the roles of Mary Duke Biddle, James H. Semans and Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans have taken in the development of arts and educational programs throughout North Carolina. To a lesser degree, the papers reflect on childcare during the early 20th century.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Semans Family papers, 1878-2008 and undated
Creator
Semans family
Extent
64.5 linear feet, circa 40,000 items
Repository
Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library Durham, North Carolina 27708-0185
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Language
English.

Collection Overview

The papers of the Semans family span the years 1878 to 2008. The collection consists of four sub-groups of papers: the Mary Duke Biddle Family Papers, the James H. Semans Family Papers, the James H. and Mary D.B.T. Semans Family Papers, and the Elizabeth Lucina Gotham Family Papers.

The collection reflects the philanthropic, cultural, and social activities of the Semans family. Major focuses are the interrelationships of the Semans family with the Biddle, Duke, and Trent families. Additionally the papers document the roles Mary Duke Biddle, James H. Semans, and Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans have taken in the development of arts and educational programs throughout North Carolina. To a lesser degree, the papers reflect on childcare during the early twentieth century.

Individuals represented include Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle, Nicholas Benjamin Duke Biddle, Angier Biddle Duke, Angier Buchanan Duke, Benjamin Newton Duke, Sarah Pearson Angier Duke, Elizabeth Lucina Gotham, and Josiah Charles Trent as well as other members of the Duke, Biddle, Trent, and Semans families. Political and educational leaders are also represented.

Subject areas represented include: arts; charities; childcare; The Duke Endowment; Duke University and other universities and colleges; the North Carolina School of the Arts; education; genealogy; personal finances; philanthropy; Durham, N.C., politics and social life; vocational rehabilitation; and the Methodist church.

For additional collections of Duke family papers, see the Washington Duke Papers, the Benjamin Newton Duke Papers, and the James B. Duke Papers. For further information on the contributions of the Duke family to Duke University, contact the Duke University Archives.

The Mary Duke Biddle Family Papers span the years 1894 to 1960, although the bulk of the material dates from the 1920s to the 1930s. They consist of correspondence, legal papers, scrapbooks, pictures, address books, miscellaneous expense accounts, wedding memorabilia, baby books, and other materials relating to Mrs. Biddle's personal and family life, and social, cultural, and philanthropic activities.

The Correspondence series consists primarily of correspondence to and from Mary Duke Biddle, but also includes correspondence to and from Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Benjamin N. Duke, Sarah P. Duke, Angier Buchanan Duke, Mary D.B.T. Semans and Nicholas Benjamin Duke Biddle, and Duke University officers, board members, and faculty. There is also a significant amount of correspondence from Duke family business managers that relates to Mrs. Biddle's private finances and correspondence from Mrs. Biddle to Duke University wherein she continued the Duke family tradition of giving to Duke University. Some legal papers relating to financial transactions and purchases are interspersed with correspondence. There are many condolences addressed to Mrs. Biddle on the deaths of her brother, father, and mother as well as other materials relating to the death and funeral of B.N. Duke. Additional materials related to the death of Benjamin N. Duke are in the Benjamin Newton Duke Papers.

The Scrapbooks Series contains newspaper society page clippings about the Duke and Biddle families and Duke University. Some scrapbooks contain correspondence to and from Benjamin N. Duke, primarily related to Duke University. Mrs. Biddle's interest in the performing arts is reflected in scrapbooks which contain primarily photomechanical pictures of opera and theater celebrities.

Four autochrome portraits of Mrs. Biddle and Sarah P. Duke are in the Pictures Series. The autochromes, a rare early color photographic process, are displayed in diascope cases and date from about 1910. Other pictures are of Mrs. Biddle and her family and friends at Biddle's Durham residence "Pinecrest" in the 1950s. Numerous pictures of Mary Duke Biddle are also found in the Pictures Series of the James H. and Mary D.B.T. Semans Family Papers.

The James H. Semans Family Papers span the years 1878 to 1953, with the bulk of the materials dating from the 1930s and 1940s. They consist of genealogical materials, correspondence, financial papers, legal papers, writings and speeches, scrapbooks, calendars, printed materials, student and professional reports, pictures, and miscellaneous materials relating to the Semans family of Uniontown, Pa. The papers particularly describe the life of James H. Semans, including the academic and professional course Dr. Semans took toward becoming a physician and the early years of his medical practice, before his marriage to Mary Duke Biddle Trent in 1953.

The Correspondence Series especially illustrates Dr. Semans's relationships with his parents and several other family members and his medical training and career. Dr. Semans carried on considerable correspondence with his parents during the 1930s and 1940s, and with his sister Virginia and her husband Wendell A. Stone in the 1940s. The letters describe family life and Dr. Semans's academic, professional, and personal life. Many of these letters were written during Semans's medical residencies at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, St. Mary's Hospital in Pierre, S.D., Ancker Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., and various military base hospitals. He served on the urological service of Dr. Hugh H. Young at Johns Hopkins Hospital. There are also scattered letters from acquaintances.

From 1938 to 1939 Dr. Semans served a medical internship in Pierre, S.D. In a series of letters to his parents he describes his work at the hospital and relationships with members of the staff, his impressions of the community and citizens including American Indians, and the surrounding countryside. Notable are Dr. Semans's descriptions of his St. Mary's Hospital mentor, Dr. Theodore E. Riggs, grandson of Stephen R. Riggs, a missionary to Indians. [Dr. Riggs is also mentioned in letters dated March 31 and April 15, 1944.]

Beginning in 1946 the bulk of correspondence occurs between J.H. Semans and his medical colleagues. Much of it concerns the establishment of his Atlanta medical practice, arrangements for professional meetings and organizations, personnel references and other professional matters. There is some correspondence between Dr. Semans and his patients. The latter part of 1953 includes information on Dr. Semans's establishment of a medical practice in North Carolina and family and personal correspondence related to his marriage to Mary D.B. Trent.

Most of the letters from the 1880s and early 1900s in the Correspondence Series are addressed to the father of James H. Semans, Thomas B. Semans, a successful businessman. They relate to family matters and business investments, including a coal enterprise in New Zealand. The Financial Papers Series and the Legal Papers Series include personal financial records created by Thomas B. Semans and records pertaining to his estate. The Writings and Speeches Series includes periodic diary entries made by Dr. Semans. Most diary entries date to 1946 wherein he describes various trips he made as he looked for a location to establish a medical practice. Most of the medical papers and speeches were prepared for medical professionals but some speeches were presented to local service clubs.

The Scrapbook Series includes photographs, clippings, and correspondence from Dr. Hugh H. Young and others. Dr. Semans compiled and annotated an autobiographical scrapbook for the years 1910 to 1952. Types of materials similar to those in this scrapbook are located in the autobiographical files of the Speeches and Writings Series of the James H. and Mary D.B.T. Semans Family Papers.

There are a variety of family photographs, chiefly of members of the Semans family, in the Pictures Series. There are some formal pictures of children's birthday parties (1910s, 1920s) and Uniontown houses, and some candid photographs made in Atlanta, Ga., and Pierre, S.D. There are copy photographs of Semans family ancestors made from a cartes de visite album. See the James H. and Mary D.B.T. Semans Family Papers for pictures of the Semans family dated after 1953.

The James H. and Mary D.B.T. Semans Family Papers span the years 1925 to 1991. The bulk of the papers date after 1950, except for the Pictures Series which dates from the 1880s to 1990. Included in the papers are genealogical materials, correspondence, financial papers, legal papers, subject files pertaining to the many academic institutions and philanthropic, artistic, and social organizations in which the Semanses are involved, writings and speeches, scrapbooks, pictures, and miscellaneous materials such as audio tapes, awards and certificates, calendars, clippings, motion films, and phonograph records. The papers also document the commitment of the Semans and Trent families to use their personal and financial resources to support artistic endeavors, academic institutions, and research in social welfare and medical programs, particularly in North Carolina.

Papers dating from 1925 to 1953 focus on Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans; her personal and family life including travel, school life, musical pursuits, her marriage to Josiah Charles Trent and their family life and activities; and her relationship with Elizabeth L. Gotham. Her philanthropic, political, and social activities are also illustrated. The development of Mary and Josiah C. Trent's collection of rare book materials and their donations of these to the academic and medical libraries of Duke University are described, as well as their relationships (and later Dr. Semans's) with book dealers Henry and Ida W. Schuman.

James H. Semans's papers merge with those of Mary Semans beginning in 1953, the year in which the two were introduced and subsequently married. After their marriage materials reflecting the Semanses' joint and individual activities are interspersed throughout the sub-group.

The Correspondence and Subject Files Series form two of the largest and most important components of the papers. There is much overlap of topics between the two series. The papers demonstrate the continuing interest of Duke family members in the welfare of Duke University and the institutions served by The Duke Endowment. Mary Semans's positions with the Duke University Board of Trustees and numerous committees, the Woman's College, and with The Duke Endowment are documented, especially in the Subject Files Series. Correspondents for Duke University include university presidents, officers and staff, especially Douglas M. Knight, Terry Sanford, Keith Brodie, Thomas L. Perkins, Benjamin E. Powell, and Joel L. Fleishman. Medical Center correspondents include Barnes Woodhall, Wilburt C. Davison, Lenox D. Baker, and William G. Anlyan. The Duke Endowment correspondents include Marshall I. Pickens and Robert McCormack. However, since many of these individuals operated within several organizational spheres, their correspondence may be scattered.

James and Mary Semans's involvements with Duke University's Art and Music departments and other programs and events are described in the Correspondence and Subject Files Series. Mary Semans participated in the development and expansion of the academic and medical libraries. James Semans was instrumental in the expansion of the medical library in the 1950s. Their trusteeship in the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation and its contributions to Duke University and the arts outside of the university are prominently represented. Other educators and civic leaders who corresponded with the Semanses include William C. Friday, George Watts Carr, Jr., and Dan K. Moore.

The North Carolina School of the Arts is heavily supported by the Semanses, particularly by Dr. Semans who is a school founder. The school, including its summer sessions in Siena, Italy, is documented primarily in the Subject Files Series, but references will be found also in the Correspondence and Miscellaneous Series, and additional photographs are in the Pictures Series. The correspondence illustrates the close personal and professional relationships of the Semanses with school staff and students. Prominent people represented in the North Carolina School of the Arts materials include Vittorio Giannini, Robert C. Suderburg, Samuel M. Stone, and Giorgio Ciompi.

The Correspondence and Subject Files Series document the Semanses' work in the arts and their memberships in many arts organizations, including the Advisory Board of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and the Concert Opera Board of New York City, and James Semans's extensive connections stemming from the North Carolina School of the Arts. Numerous artists, writers, musicians, dancers and art supporters have close ties with the Semanses. Correspondents for these areas include John Ehle, Iain Hamilton, Nancy Hanks, Agnes De Mille, and Archie K. Davis.

The Semanses sponsor music scholarships and prizes, artistic programs and concerts, and have commissioned art and musical works at Duke University, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and elsewhere. A number of endowments, funds, scholarships, and foundations have been started by the Semanses in support of the arts, social and medical research, and other academic endeavors. They also sponsor a collection of art for Duke University in honor of Dr. Semans's parents.

The Correspondence and Subject Files Series also reflect the extensive involvement of Dr. and Mrs. Semans in medical and vocational rehabilitation in local, state, and national organizations in the late 1950s through the 1960s. There is significant correspondence from Mary Switzer and Howard Rusk for this area. Three major subject files of these materials are Duke University Medical Center, the National Paraplegia Foundation, and Vocational Rehabilitation.

The Correspondence Series also contains information on family, personal, social, and business activities and relationships. There is correspondence from Duke, Biddle, and Semans family members. The close relationships between the Semanses and members of the Trent family of Oklahoma and elsewhere after Josiah C. Trent's death are reflected in the correspondence. The correspondence also reflects many of the Semanses' close personal relationships with people in North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Italy, and Greece.

The Trent and Semans children, Mary Duke Trent Jones, Sally Elizabeth Trent Harris, Rebecca Gray Trent Kirkland, Barbara Biddle Trent Kimbrell, Jenny L. Semans Koortbojian, James D.B.T. Semans, and Beth Gotham Semans are also described throughout the Correspondence, Pictures, and Miscellaneous Series. This includes information on their academic and professional activities as well as their personal and adult family lives.

Copies of many of the speeches given by the Semanses at the ceremonies in which they received awards and at other public occasions are in the Writings and Speeches Series. Files, including correspondence and other related materials, created by Dr. Semans and his assistants for the publication of an autobiography titled Coming of Age are also in the Writings and Speeches Series. Some of the correspondence in the autobiographical files does not relate to the publication of the book but is background information compiled by Dr. Semans.

The Scrapbooks Series consists of three scrapbooks compiled by Mary D.B.T. Semans during the 1930s. They illustrate her travels across the U.S., her student years at Duke University, and her courtship with Josiah C. Trent.

People represented in the Pictures Series include the Angier family of North Carolina, the Biddle family of Philadelphia, the Duke family, the Trent family (related through Josiah Charles Trent) of Oklahoma and elsewhere, and the Semans family of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. For most of these individuals there are candid photographs as well as formal portraits. Family oriented subjects include children's birthday parties (1920s), family group Christmas portraits that were also reproduced on Christmas cards (1941-1988), weddings, travel in the U.S. and Europe (1950s-1980s), and leisure in Atlantic City, N.J. (ca. 1915-1920s), southern resorts, and at home. This series provides an opportunity for an examination of affluent society in the 1920s and 1930s. A significant number of the pictures were made by professional photographers, and many were reproduced on the newspaper society pages. There are extensive photographs taken in Palm Beach, Fla., showing people engaged in recreational activities and pictures of homes and social clubs.

The Elizabeth Lucina Gotham Family Papers are useful for the study of women's history, particularly that of women trained as baby nurses in the early twentieth century. The papers span the years 1902 to 1968, with the bulk occurring in the 1920s. They include correspondence, pictures, a few genealogical items and clippings. Most of the Correspondence Series consists of letters from Miss Gotham's family and women friends. Many of the latter are evangelistic in nature and include letters mailed from a missionary station in Honduras.

A significant amount of correspondence to Elizabeth Gotham from Mary Semans and her family, which documents their close relationships, is in the James H. and Mary D.B.T. Semans Family Papers Correspondence Series. It dates from about 1938 to 1941 and then is scattered throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

The Pictures Series includes photographs of Gotham family members, portraits of nurses and nurses in baby hospitals, and towns in the state of New York.

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

Access to the Semans Family Papers is 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 the papers of the Semans family have not been transferred to Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1894-1919
Box 1
1920-1960,undated
(16 folders)
Box 1
1923, Sept.-Oct.,undated
(2 folders)
Box 2
Telegrams, 1923, Sept.
Box 2
1929, Jan.-June
Box 2
1929,Funeral
Box 2
1936, Sept.-Nov.,undated
(3 folders)
Box 2
Telegrams, 1936, Sept.
Box 2
Biddle, Mary Duke, 1960
Box 2
Duke, Benjamin N., 1926and Duke, Sarah P., 1936
Box 2
Bridal book, 1915
Box 3
Opera/Theater Personalities, 1900-1920
Box 3
Baby book ( Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans), 1920
Box 3
Baby book ( Nicholas Benjamin Duke Biddle), 1921
Box 4
Family, 1928-1932
Box 4
Biddle, Mary Duke (2 diascopes), ca. 1910
Box 5
Duke, Sarah P. (2 diascopes), ca. 1910
Box 5
Photograph albums, ca. 1938-1956
(6 folders)
Box 6
Address books, 1950,undated
Box 7
Printed, 1927
Box 7
School notes, 1903,undated
Box 7
School publications: Biddle, Nicholas Benjamin Duke, 1938-1939,undated
Box 7
Wedding, 1915
Box 7
Phonograph records: Piano performances of Mary Duke Biddle, undated
Box 7a
Thomas B. Semans and descendants, 1892-1953,undated
Box 8
1878-1925
Box 8
1934-1947, Dec.
(12 folders)
Box 8
1948-1953
(11 folders)
Box 9
Thomas B. Semans, 1884-1921
Box 10
Thomas B. Semans, 1941-1948
(3 folders)
Box 10
Virginia B. Semans, undated
Box 10
Diary, 1946-1951
Box 10
Medical, 1941-1952,undated
Box 10
Medical notes, 1940-1951,undated
Box 10
Annotation by J.H. Semans, 1910-1952
Box 11
Pages 1-20
(9 folders)
Box 11
Uniontown, Pa., ca. 1911-1920
Box 11
Friends, undated
Box 11
James H. Semans, ca. 1947-1953
Box 11
Francis M. Semans family, Uniontown, Pa.
Box 11
Thomas B. Semans family, Uniontown, Pa., undated
Box 11
Thomas B. and Virginia Belle (Smith) Semans, 1912, 1922,undated
Box 11
Semans family, Uniontown, Pa., ca. 1860-1918
(5 folders)
Box 11
Hilltop School (near Uniontown, Pa.), ca. 1916
Box 11
Pierre, S.D., 1930s
Box 11
Thomas B. Semans family, undated
Box 93-A
Calendars, 1947
Box 11
Calendars, 1947-1953
(3 folders)
Box 12
Certificates and Awards, 1944, 1952
Box 12
Clippings, 1940s-1952
Box 12
Memberships, 1947-1955,undated
Box 12
Printed, 1910
Box 12
School related, 1927, 1932,undated
Box 12
Biddle family, 1950-1987,undated
Box 13
Drexel family, 1970, 1975, 1983
Box 13
Duke family, 1958-1988,undated
Box 13
Roney family, 1941,undated
(4 folders)
Box 13
James H. Semans family, 1956-1990
Box 13
Mary D.B.T. Semans family, 1972-1980s
Box 13
Josiah C. Trent family, 1928-1983,undated
Box 13
1927-1949, Apr.
(16 folders)
Box 14
1949, May-1954
(16 folders)
Box 15
1955-1959,undated
(15 folders)
Box 16
1960, May-1961
(12 folders)
Box 17
1962, Jan.-1964, Dec.
(11 folders)
Box 18
1965, Jan.-1966, Dec.
(9 folders)
Box 19
1967, Jan.-Dec.
(8 folders)
Box 20
1968
(11 folders)
Box 21
1969
(12 folders)
Box 22
1970
(13 folders)
Box 23
1971
(13 folders)
Box 24
1972
(13 folders)
Box 25
1973
(13 folders)
Box 26
1975
(8 folders)
Box 27
1976
(12 folders)
Box 28
1977-1978, Oct.
(14 folders)
Box 29
1978, Nov.-1979, Dec.and undated
(15 folders)
Box 30
1980
(12 folders)
Box 31
1981
(13 folders)
Box 32
1982
(11 folders)
Box 33
1983
(9 folders)
Box 34
1984
(11 folders)
Box 35
1985
(11 folders)
Box 36
1986
(12 folders)
Box 37
1987
(12 folders)
Box 38
1988, Jan.-1989, May
(17 folders)
Box 39
1989, June-1991, May
(13 folders)
Box 40
undated
(8 folders)
Box 41
1948, Dec. 10-30,undated
(6 folders)
Box 42
Telegrams, 1948, Dec.
Box 42
Funeral, 1948, Dec.
Box 42
1960, June 15-Aug.,undated
Box 43
Telegrams, 1960, June
Box 43
Funeral, 1960, June 16
Box 43
Appointment, Service, 1961, Mar.-Sept.
Box 43
Illness and death, 1961, Oct.-Dec.
(2 folders)
Box 43
Telegrams, 1961, Nov.
Box 43
General, 1948-1990
Box 44
Cash receipts/disbursement statements, 1946-1990
(3 folders)
Box 44
Trial balance, 1964, 1976-1982
Box 44
1960, 1967-1990
(5 folders)
Box 44
Restoration Contract, 1982
Box 44
History and Architecture of 82nd St. from Fifth Ave. to Madison Ave., 1975
Box 44
Duke University,Trent/Semans Gifts to, 1949-1965
Box 45
Biddle, Mary Duke, 1960-1967
(3 folders)
Box 45
Duke, Sarah P., 1937-1984
Box 45
Gotham, Elizabeth L., 1961-1987
Box 45
Trent, Josiah C., 1949-1950, 1967
Box 45
Non-family, 1967-1986
Box 45
Property: Pinecrest,1936-1980,undated
Box 45
Children, 1964-1984,undated
Box 45
Duke, Doris, 1924-1925
Box 45
Semans, James H., 1964-1986
Box 45
Semans, James H., 1954, 1959-1960
Box 45
1940-1987
(4 folders)
Box 46
Appraisals, 1979-1985,undated
Box 46
Codicils, inserts, 1977-1986
Box 46
Index, undated
Box 46
American Dance Festival, 1980-1987
Box 47
Arts (general), 1966-1990
(4 folders)
Box 47
Arts Advocates of North Carolina, 1984-1990
Box 47
British/American Festival, 1982-1984
Box 47
Bull Durham Movie Premiere, 1988, Apr.
Box 47
Community Chest,1949-1952,undated
(2 folders)
Box 47
The Cooperative School for Pregnant School Girls, 1970-1971
Box 47
Cornish Institute, 1984
Box 47
Cosmos Club, 1956-1966
Box 47
The Duke Endowment, 1963-1986
(13 folders)
Box 48
1987-1990,undated
(3 folders)
Box 49
Angier B. Duke Memorial, Inc., 1973-1989
Box 49
B.N. Duke Leadership Fund, 1985-1988, 1990
Box 49
The Doris Duke Trust, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1979-1990
(3 folders)
Box 49
Educational Affairs (self-study), 1976
Box 49
Hospital and Child Care Division, 1960, 1980-1989
Box 49
Job descriptions, undated
Box 49
The Nanaline H. Duke Fund, 1982, 1985
Box 49
Salary study, 1981
Box 49
Duke Family Association, 1989
Box 50
Duke Homestead, 1968-1982
Box 50
Duke University, 1958-1979,undated
(12 folders)
Box 50
Duke University, 1980-1990,undated
(13 folders)
Box 51
Art Department, 1967-1988
(5 folders)
Box 52
Art Museum, 1965-1989,undated
(2 folders)
Box 52
Chapel, 1961-1983,undated
Box 52
Board of Visitors, 1971-1972
Box 52
Drama Program, 1980-1990
Box 52
Duke Media Center/N.C. Film Institute, 1974
Box 52
Duke-Semans Fine Arts Foundation, 1981-1988
Box 52
East Campus Parlors, 1979-1986
Box 52
Gothic Bookshop, 1986
Box 52
Harriet C. Carter Lectureship Committee, 1968-1969
Box 52
Institute of Art, 1980-1989
(2 folders)
Box 52
Library, ca. 1943, 1960-1985
Box 53
Mary Lou Williams Memorial, 1980-1981
Box 53
Music Department, 1972-1989,undated
(6 folders)
Box 53
Translation Service, 1976-1985,undated
Box 53
University Planning Committee/Fine Arts Subcommittee, 1971-1973
Box 53
Vigil: Martin Luther King,1968, Apr. 8
Box 53
Organization correspondence, 1947-1948
Box 53
Alumnae (Reorganization)/Questionaire, By-laws, ballots, 1947
Box 53
The Lucky Number, 1947, 1949
Box 53
Board of Visitors, 1964-1971
Box 53
Dean of Women, Search Committee, 1968
Box 53
Memorial rooms, 1972
Box 53
1955-1990
(9 folders)
Box 54
Davison Symposium, 1961
Box 54
Library Committee, 1958-1962,undated
Box 54
Trent Collection in the History of Medicine, ca. 1940-1966
Box 54
1955-1985
(2 folders)
Box 55
Mayor's Committee on Human Relations, 1958-1959
Box 55
Race Relations, 1950s-1960s
Box 55
Durham Arts Council, 1983-1990
(2 folders)
Box 55
Durham Homes, Inc., 1968-1981
Box 55
Durham Homes, Inc., Financial Statements, 1969-1978
Box 55
Durham Social Planning Council, 1955-1958
Box 55
Elizabeth City State University Foundation, 1968-1975
Box 55
Executive Mansion Fine Arts Committee, 1965-1990,undated
(10 folders)
Box 56
Josiah Charles Trent Fund,1974-1980,undated
Box 56
Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation, Inc., 1977-1988
Box 56
Kittrell College,1968,undated
Box 57
Linden Court [Irvington-on-the-Hudson], Tarrytown, N.Y. (renovations), undated
Box 57
Louisburg College,1955-1985,undated
Box 57
Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, 1963-1982
(11 folders)
Box 57
1983-1990,undated
Box 58
Annual Report, 1970-1985
Box 58
Mary D.B.T. Semans Foundation, 1982-1983
Box 58
National Institute of Musical Theater, 1984-1985
Box 58
National Paraplegia Foundation, 1955-1970
(3 folders)
Box 58
North Carolina Civil Liberties Union, 1965-1969
Box 58
1961-1989,undated
(6 folders)
Box 59
Director (selection), 1969-1970
Box 59
1972-1975
Box 59
Analysis, 1972
Box 59
North Carolina School of the Arts, 1961-1970
(8 folders)
Box 60
North Carolina School of the Arts, 1971-1977
(10 folders)
Box 61
North Carolina School of the Arts, 1978-1985
(13 folders)
Box 62
1986-1990,undated
(7 folders)
Box 63
Minutes, 1964-1989
Box 63
Notes, undated
Box 63
Board of Visitors, 1984-1985
Box 63
Hipp, William E., III: Bust of James Semans,1980-1986
Box 64
International Music Program, 1971-1991
(7 folders)
Box 64
Search Committee, 1967-1990
(4 folders)
Box 64
Semans Art Fund, 1977-1990
Box 65
1967-1977
Box 65
Histories, 1974-1976
Box 65
Clippings, 1964-1987
Box 65
North Carolina School of the Arts Twenty-fifth Anniversary, 1991
Box 66
North Carolina School of the Arts Foundation, Inc., 1964-1984
(4 folders)
Box 66
1975-1986,undated
(3 folders)
Box 67
International Music Program (IMP), 1983, 1991
Box 67
Concerts, 1967-1968
Box 67
Audience with the Pope, 1968
Box 67
Siena, 1967-1968
(2 folders)
Box 67
North Carolina Symphony, 1969-1983
(2 folders)
Box 68
Southern Railway Company, 1963-1964
Box 68
Vocational Rehabilitation, 1955-1986
(7 folders)
Box 68
Volunteer Services Bureau of Durham, 1971
Box 68
Warren Wilson College, 1971-1985
Box 68
Women in Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc., 1968-1981
Box 68
Children's Writings/Drawings, 1929,undated
Box 69
Diary, 1930
Box 69
1947-1977
(9 folders)
Box 69
Mary D.B.T. Semans, 1978-1991
(7 folders)
Box 70
Mary D.B.T. Semans, undated
(13 folders)
Box 71
Mary D.B.T. Semans, undated
(13 folders)
Box 72
undated
(4 folders)
Box 73
Fragments
(9 folders)
Box 73
1955-1977
(5 folders)
Box 74
European trip, 1958
Box 74
Greece, 1963
Box 74
Norway, 1960
Box 74
1978-1990
(6 folders)
Box 75
undated
(4 folders)
Box 75
Background information, 1957-1982
Box 76
Correspondence (re: publication), 1984-1986
Box 76
Curriculum Vitae information, 1985
Box 76
Expenses, 1985
Box 76
Family emblem, 1985
Box 76
Family tree, notes, chart, 1985
Box 76
Langston Hughes quote source, 1985
Box 76
Mailing lists, 1985
Box 76
“New” scrapbook subtitles, 1985
Box 76
Photographs, subtitles, 1985
Box 76
Clippings, 1985
Box 76
Preface, 1985
Box 76
Acknowledgements, 1985
Box 76
Table of contents, 1985
Box 76
Bibliography, 1985
Box 76
Index, 1985
Box 76
Interviews, 1981-1983
(3 folders)
Box 76
Transcripts, 1984, Jan.-July
(4 folders)
Box 77
Manuscripts, 1984, June-Nov.
(2 folders)
Box 77
Corrections, 1984, Nov.
(3 folders)
Box 77
Manuscript, 1985, Mar.-Apr.
(2 folders)
Box 78
Corrections, 1985, June-1986
(4 folders)
Box 78
Blueline copy, 1985
Box 78
Published copy, 1985
Box 78
Reminiscences, 1990-
Box 78
1934-1935(photocopy)
(2 folders)
Box 79
ca. 1936
Box 79
ca. 1937
(3 folders)
Box 79
1934-1935(original, moldy; see container 79 for photocopy)
Box 80
ca. 1914-1920
Box 81
ca. 1920s
(7 folders)
Box 81
ca. 1912
Box 82
ca. 1921-1922
Box 82
Angier, Malbourn Addison (engraving), undated
Box 83
ca. mid-1910s-1940s
Box 83
ca. 1917,World War I
Box 83
ca. 1920s (snapshots)
Box 83
ca. 1920s-1930s, Palm Beach, Fla.
Box 83
and children, ca. 1920s-1930s
Box 83
Biddle, Anthony J. Drexel and Biddle, Mary Duke, ca. mid-1910s-1930s
Box 83
Biddle, Livingston, ca. 1915, undated
Box 83
Biddle, Margaret Atkinson Loughborough and children, 1960-1987
Box 83
ca. 1890s-1950s
(8 folders)
Box 83
1920s-1930s, with children
Box 83
ca. 1940s-1960s, with Semans, Mary D.B.T. and grandchildren
Box 83
1949,Dedication Mary Duke Biddle Room
Box 83
Biddle, Nicholas Benjamin Duke, ca. 1925-1952,undated
(5 folders)
Box 83
Duke, Angier Biddle and Duke, Anthony Drexel, ca. 1920s, undated
Box 84
ca. 1890s-1920
Box 84
1910s-1923 (with family and friends)
Box 84
1915,Wedding
Box 84
ca. 1920-1925, with sons
Box 84
ca. 1890s, undated
Box 84
ca. 1890s, engraving, portraits
(2 folders)
Box 84
ca. 1890s, 1920s, with family
Box 84
undated, sculpture
Box 84
Duke, Benjamin Newton and Duke, James Buchanan, ca. early 1900s
Box 84
ca. 1910-1920,with others
Box 84
ca. 1920-1925,with family
Box 84
ca. 1925, Atlantic City
Box 84
Duke, Cordelia Drexel Biddle, ca. 1915
Box 84
Duke, James Buchanan, ca. 1875-1925,undated
Box 84
Duke, Sarah Pearson Angier, ca. 1930s
Box 84
ca. 1880s-1890s (portrait)
Box 84
ca. 1890s, with grandchildren
Box 84
1904, Erwin Mills Associates
Box 84
Duke family, undated, unidentified
Box 84
Harris, Sally Elizabeth Trent and family, 1942-1986
(2 folders)
Box 85
Jones, Mary Duke Trent and family, 1941-1980s
(4 folders)
Box 85
Kimbrell, Barbara Biddle Trent, ca. 1950s-1980s
Box 85
Kirkland, Rebecca Gray Trent, 1943-1983
Box 85
Koortbojian, Jenny Lillian Semans, 1950s-1979
Box 85
Bull Durham Movie Premiere, 1988
Box 85
Semans, James Duke Biddle Trent, 1957-1970s
(2 folders)
Box 85
1950s-1980s
Box 86
Oak Grove Cemetery, Uniontown, Pa. ( Semans family graves), 1980s
Box 86
UniontownSemans relatives, 1950s-1980s
Box 86
ca. 1920-1980s
(9 folders)
Box 86
ca. 1926-1930,with Biddle, Nicholas B.D.
Box 86
1932,with Schelling, Ernest
Box 86
1938,with Trent, Josiah Charles
Box 86
1940,with Trent, Josiah Charles and daughter, Mary
Box 86
1945,undated, with Trent, Josiah Charles
Box 86
1940s-1950s, with daughters
Box 86
1940s, with Trent, Josiah Charles and daughters
Box 86
1930s, Duke University
Box 86
ca. 1920-1929, Palm Beach, Fla.
(3 folders)
Box 86
Arts, 1971-1988
Box 87
The Duke Endowment,1979,undated
Box 87
Duke Homestead Dedication, 1968
Box 87
undated (2 folders) (unidentified)
Box 87
Commencement, 1983, 1986
(2 folders)
Box 87
Durham City/County, 1950s
Box 87
Elon College, 1965
Box 87
Executive Mansion Fine Arts Committee, undated
Box 87
Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C., 1968
Box 87
Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, 1979
Box 87
National Conference of Christians and Jews--Award, 1969
Box 87
North Carolina Museum of Art, 1964, 1967
Box 87
North Carolina (State of),1976-1982,undated
(2 folders)
Box 87
Yale University School of Music, 1981
Box 87
Portraits, 1977
Box 87
Snapshots, 1950s-1980s
Box 87
ca. 1950s-1980s
(2 folders)
Box 87
Children, ca. 1940s-1956, undated
(4 folders)
Box 87
1938-1988
(11 folders)
Box 88
1940-1965,prints of photographs used as Christmas cards
Box 88
1920s-1940s
(2 folders)
Box 88
Medical school/internship/residency, 1930s-1940s
Box 88
Trent, Mary Simpson, 1940s-1950s
Box 88
Trent family, 1940s-1980s
Box 88
Duke family mausoleum, Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, N.C., ca. 1960
Box 89
Duke Farms, Somerville, N.J., undated
Box 89
Four Acres, Durham, N.C., undated
Box 89
Houses, miscellaneous, undated
Box 89
Linden Court [Irvington-on-the-Hudson], Tarrytown, N.Y.,1956,undated
(2 folders)
Box 89
Palm Beach, Fla., 1920s-1930s
Box 89
Pinecrest, Durham, N.C., 1960
Box 89
Pinecrest and Les Terrasses, Durham, N.C., undated
Box 89
1009 5th Avenue, New York, N.Y.1929, 1990,undated
Box 89
Sarmiento, Palm Beach, Fla., ca. 1920s-1930s
Box 89
Sepulchral Chapel, Duke University, undated
Box 89
Naval Ships: U.S. Battleships, ca. 1930s-1940s
Box 89
Medical school (students/staff), 1941-1950s
Box 89
Vigil for Martin Luther King,1968
Box 89
Related pictures, undated
Box 89
Identified, 1941, 1984,undated
Box 89
Unidentified, undated
Box 89
In Palm Beach, Fla., 1930s (unidentified)
Box 89
Identified, undated
Box 89
Unidentified, 1900- 1940s, undated
(2 folders)
Box 89
Identified, 1930s-1980s
(2 folders)
Box 89
Unidentified, 1931, 1954,undated
Box 89
Political, 1960s, undated
Box 89
Recreational scenes, 1920s (unidentified)
Box 89
India,Japan (Yagi family), American West, 1910s-1930s
Box 89
1953-1986
(4 folders)
Box 89
Drawings, 1916-1954
Box 90
1930s
(2 folders)
Box 90
ca. 1944-1945,World War II
Box 90
With Biddle, Mary Duke, mid-1910s-1930s
Box 90
With son, Biddle, Nicholas Benjamin Duke, 1920-1930s
Box 90
Biddle, Cordelia Rundell Bradley, ca. 1920
Box 90
ca. 1920-1939
(2 folders)
Box 90
With Biddle, Anthony J. Drexel, ca. 1920s
Box 90
With Biddle, Anthony J. Drexel and children, 1921-1926
Box 90
Biddle, Nicholas Benjamin Duke, ca. 1920s-1932
Box 90
Duke, Anthony Drexel, ca. 1920s
Box 90
ca. 1915-1920,with Duke, Angier Buchanan and his family
Box 90
ca. 1920-1925,with grandchildren Mary and Nicholas Biddle
Box 90
Duke, James Buchanan, 1900s, undated
Box 90
Duke, Washington, 1900s (portrait)
Box 90
Jones, Mary Duke Trent, 1940
Box 91
ca. 1920s-1936
(4 folders)
Box 91
Alone; with Biddle, Nicholas B.D., ca. 1932-1935
Box 91
Pencil drawing, 1937
Box 91
School plays, 1930s
Box 91
With daughter, Mary, 1940
Box 91
With Trent, Josiah Charles and daughters, 1943
Box 91
With Trent, Josiah Charles, 1938
Box 91
Semans family, children, undated (unidentified)
Box 91
Family Christmas cards, transparencies and prints, 1978-1981
(2 folders)
Box 91
Trent, Josiah Charles, 1920-1940s
Box 91
Duke family mausoleum, Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, N.C., ca. 1900
Box 91
Duke University. Etchings by Louis Orr, 1930s
Box 91
Four Acres (?), undated
Box 91
Sarmiento, Palm Beach, Fla., 1920s-1930s
Box 91
Men (unidentified), undated
Box 92
Palm Beach, Fla., 1930s (unidentified)
Box 92
Women (unidentified), 1902
Box 92
1930s, unidentified children
Box 92
Identified, n.d
Box 92
The Duke Endowment Presentation Album, 40th Anniversary, 1964
Box 92
Mary Duke Biddle, 1920s
Box 93
Angier Buchanan Duke, 1880s
Box 93
Benjamin N. Duke and Sarah P. Duke, 1880s
Box 93
Benjamin N. Duke, ca. 1900
Box 93
Balls/Parties, 1950s
Box 94
Biddle, Anthony J. Drexel, ca. 1915-1930s
Box 94
Biddle, Mary Duke and Biddle, Anthony J. Drexel, and daughter, 1920
Box 94
Duke, Benjamin N. and Duke, Sarah P., undated
Box 94
Duke family mausoleum, undated
Box 94
Duke University Medical Center,Josiah C. Trent Library, Room Dedication, 1956
Box 94
Christmas cards, 1949-1968
(2 folders)
Box 94
Christmas holiday, 1956-1957
Box 94
Harris, Sally Elizabeth Trent, 1960,undated
(2 folders)
Box 94
House: Miscellaneous, 1950s, undated
Box 94
Jones, Mary Duke Trent, 1941-1959
(2 folders)
Box 94
Semans, J.H. and M.D.B.T., 1970s
Box 94
Semans, Mary D.B.T. with daughters, ca. 1949-1950
Box 94
Semans/Trent family, ca. 1947-1948
Box 94
Semans family and Elizabeth Gotham, 1954-1955
Box 94
Semans family, ca. 1955-1960, June
(10 folders)
Box 94
Before 1953,undated
(2 folders)
Box 94
And James H. Semans, ca. 1954-1955
Box 94
Travel: Miscellaneous, 1935-1960,undated
Box 94
Trent, Josiah C., undated
Box 94
Trent boat, undated
Box 94
Miscellaneous, 1950s, 1980s
Box 94
Cassette: Memoirs, Semans, Mary D.B.T., 1977, Jan. 15
Box 95
Newcomer: Duke Makes a Difference, 1964, Jan. 16
Box 95
Rehabilitation in Jerusalem,Semans, Mary D.B.T., 1965, Aug. 8
Box 95
John Riley,Sept. 16(?)
Box 95
Breakfast, 1975[?] Unused [label difficult to read]
Box 95
Music (?), undated (partial reel)
Box 95
Wedding of Rebecca Trent and John Kirkland, 1965, June 26
Box 95
National Conference of Christians and Jews Awards Dinner, 1969, Sept. 9(2 tapes)
Box 95
Mr. Riley #2 Nova Scotia, undated
Box 96
Target: Artistic Oasis at Winston-Salem, undated (2 tapes)
Box 96
1968(7 inch reel)
Box 96
Fanfani: alla Accademia Chigiana, undated (5 inch reel)
Box 96
Unlabeled, undated (3 inch reel)
Box 96
Address Books: Semans family, undated
(3 folders)
Box 97
Awards, 1951-1987
(4 folders)
Box 97
Beta Rho Sorority minutes, 1938, Apr.
Box 97
Births: Announcements/certificates, 1914-1962
Box 97
Calendars, 1952-1957
(5 folders)
Box 97
Calendars, 1957-1970
(11 folders)
Box 98
Calendars, 1972-1985
(8 folders)
Box 99
Calendars, 1973-1975(3 books)
Box 100
Calendars, 1976-1978(3 books)
Box 101
Calendars, 1979-1981(3 books)
Box 102
Clippings, 1915-1990,undated
(13 folders)
Box 103
Lichen Flora: Parmelia Seman Siana, 1980
Box 104
Piano Recitals ( Mary D.B.T. Semans),1930-1934
Box 104
( Miss Hewitt's School), 1928-1935;( Woman's College, Duke University), 1936
Box 104
Semans, Elizabeth Gotham, 1968-1980,undated
Box 104
Semans, James D.B.T., 1965-1976
Box 104
Semans, Jenny Lillian, 1966-1972,undated
Box 104
Trent, Barbara Biddle, 1949-1964,undated
Box 104
Trent, Mary Duke, 1951-1957
Box 104
Trent, Rebecca Grey, 1955-1964
Box 104
Trent, Sally Elizabeth, 1956-1959
Box 104
Trent, Josiah C., 1929-1970,undated
Box 104
Trent, Sally Elizabeth, Diary, 1958(trip to Europe)
Box 104
1938-1953
(2 folders)
Box 105
Announcements, Semans family, 1961-1987
Box 105
1902-1968
(5 folders)
Box 106
Clippings, 1918-1971,undated
Box 107
ca. 1880s-1960s
(5 folders)
Box 107
ca. 1900-1940(women)
Box 107
ca. 1900-1920(men)
Box 107
ca. 1900-1940s (weddings, births, groups, miscellaneous)
Box 107
ca. 1900-1964(mostly children)
Box 107
1930s-1950s Trent/Semans family
Box 107
ca. 1920s-1967 (Duke and Biddle family members)
Box 107
1880s-1930s (miscellaneous buildings)
Box 107
ca. 1905Nursing school or hospital, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Box 107
undated
Box 107
Angier B. Duke, B.N. Duke, 1923-1931
Ovsz. Box 108
Family, early 1930s
Ovsz. Box 108
Biddle divorce, 1930-1931
Ovsz. Box 108
Francis Marion Semans and family, 1902, 1938,undated
Box 112
Awards, 1932-1943
Ovsz. Box 108
Duke Homestead, 1968
Ovsz. Box 108
Community Chest speech given by Mary D.B.T. Semans, 1952
Ovsz. Box 108
Voting tallies, 1950s
Ovsz. Box 108
Campaign poster, 1950s
Ovsz. Box 108
Biddle, Anthony Joseph Drexel, 1914-1920
Ovsz. Box 109
Biddle, Mary Duke, 1910-1930s
Ovsz. Box 109
ca. 1880-1923
Ovsz. Box 109
With sister, Mary Lillian Duke, 1890
Ovsz. Box 109
Duke, Benjamin Newton, ca. 1890-1926
Ovsz. Box 109
Duke, Doris, 1920,undated
Ovsz. Box 109
alone, undated
Ovsz. Box 109
funeral, 1936
Ovsz. Box 109
Duke, Washington, 1870-1880
(2 folders)
Ovsz. Box 109
Duke/Biddle family, Durham, N.C.,1910-1920
Ovsz. Box 109
ca. 1920-1933
(3 folders)
Ovsz. Box 110
With Biddle, Nicholas Benjamin Duke, ca. 1930s
Ovsz. Box 110
Semans, Mary D.B.T. and James H., Events: The Duke Endowment,1973
Ovsz. Box 110
Semans family: Children, undated
Ovsz. Box 110
Trent, Josiah Charles, 1930
Ovsz. Box 110
Duke Homestead,1920,undated
Ovsz. Box 110
Durham Homes, Inc., Unity Village, ca. 1970
Ovsz. Box 110
Newport, R.I.: Chetwold (Storrs Wells/Astor Home), undated
Ovsz. Box 110
Bath and Tennis Club, ca. 1920
Ovsz. Box 110
Everglades Club(?), ca. 1920
Ovsz. Box 110
Sarmiento, ca. 1920
Ovsz. Box 110
1009 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y., undated
Ovsz. Box 110
Miscellaneous (identified), 1960,undated
Ovsz. Box 110
Mary Duke Biddle Foundation/The Duke Endowment: Publicity Shots, ca. 1970
Ovsz. Box 110
Pictures-fragile (shelved out-of-sequence)
Ovsz. Box 111
1915(wedding)
Box 112
ca. 1930s
Box 112
Semans, James H. and Mary D.B.T., 1953(wedding)
Box 112
Phonograph record, Mary D.B.T. Semans, ca. 1931,undated
Ovsz. Box 108
Awards, 1947-1982
Box 112
Diploma for Mary Lillian Duke, 1897
Box 112
Floor Plans and Plats for properties in N.Y. and N.C.,1948-1975
Oversize Folder 1
Paper Dolls, 1920s
Box 112

Historical Note

Mary Duke Biddle

DateEvent(s)
1887, Nov. 16Born, Durham, N.C.
1907A.B., Trinity College, Durham, N.C.
ca. 1914Presented at the Court of St. James, London, England
1915, June 16Married Anthony J. Drexel Biddle (divorced 1931)
1931Presented Duke Homestead to Duke University
1936Supported expansion of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Duke University
1946Supported expansion of the Duke University Library, including its Rare Book Room
1956Established Mary Duke Biddle Foundation
1960, June 1Died, Durham, N.C.

James H. Semans

DateEvent(s)
1910, May 30Born, Uniontown, Pa.
1928Graduated, Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, N.J.
1932A.B., Princeton University
1936M.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
1936-1943Medical resident: Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md.; St. Mary's Hospital, Pierre, S.D.; Ancker Hospital, St. Paul, Minn.
1944-1946U.S. Army, various stateside military base hospitals
1947-1953Private practice in urology, Atlanta, Ga.
1953, Oct. 17Married Mary Duke Biddle Trent
1953-1980Duke University Medical Center, (Assoc. Professor of Urology 1953-1960, Professor 1960-1980, Emeritus 1980- )
1954-1963Duke University Medical Center, Rehabilitation Program
1964-1981North Carolina School of the Arts, Board of Trustees, Chairman (Honorary Trustee 1981- )
1964-North Carolina School of the Arts Foundation, Inc., ex-officio Chairman

Dr. Semans's extensive commitment to the areas of vocational and physical rehabilitation began while he was in the Army and developed into an interest in local, state, and national programs. He served on the boards of the United Medical Research Foundation of North Carolina (1956); the National Rehabilitation Association, N.C. Chapter (1955-1958) [Life Member of the national organization]; the National Paraplegia Foundation (1955-1972); the Board of Directors of Operation Breakthrough [a Durham vocational rehabilitation program] (1965-1967); and the Governor's Executive Committee on Employment of the Handicapped (1965-1971). He was named Mary Switzer Scholar at New York University in 1984. He lectured worldwide on the subject of urology.

The primary institutional focus of Dr. Semans's support of the arts is the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C., and activities extending from that commitment, including the promotion of artists of all types. His position with the school involves him in many other arts-related activities including the North Carolina Arts Council (1982?). Dr. Semans was a trustee of Louisburg and Warren Wilson colleges and is on the Board of Trustees of the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation (1960-).

Many organizations have recognized Dr. Semans's achievements with awards. These include the National Conference of Christians and Jews National Brotherhood Award (1969); the North Carolina Award for Significant Contributions to the Arts (1972); and the North Carolina Society Award (1986). Each of these awards was received jointly with Mary D.B.T. Semans.

Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans

DateEvent(s)
1920, Feb. 21Born, New York City, N.Y.
1938, June 24Married Josiah Charles Trent (died Dec. 1948)
1939A.B., Duke University (diploma received 1951)
1951-1955Durham City Council member
1953, Oct. 17Married James H. Semans
1960-The Duke Endowment (Trustee 1960-1970, Vice-Chairman 1970-1981, Chairman 1982- )
1960-Mary Duke Biddle Foundation (Chairman 1960-1983)
1961-1981Duke University Board of Trustees (Emeritus 1981- )
1981-1985 (?)North Carolina School of the Arts, Board of Trustees

Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans lived her early years in Tarrytown and New York City, N.Y. She attended the Hewitt School in New York. She moved to Durham, N.C., in 1934. After marrying physician Josiah Charles Trent, she moved between Michigan and Durham while Dr. Trent participated in several hospital residency programs. They returned to Durham around 1947 when Dr. Trent established the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Duke University Hospital.

Mary D.B.T. Semans is active in administrative development and academic and artistic programs of Duke University and is on the Board of The Duke Endowment. Since the 1950s Mrs. Semans served on boards of numerous civic, academic, and social welfare organizations in Durham and the state of North Carolina. She was Durham Mayor Pro-Tem (1953-1955) and President of Durham Homes, Inc. (1968). She served on the North Carolina Museum of Art Committee (1961-1983); the Executive Mansion Fine Arts Committee [Chairman] (1965-); and the North Carolina Symphony Board of Trustees (1972-1983).

In the area of vocational rehabilitation, Mrs. Semans served on the National Advisory Council on Vocational Rehabilitation (1961-1965); the National Citizens Advisory Commission on Vocational Rehabilitation (1966) [appointed by President Johnson]; the Governor's Study Committee on Vocational Rehabilitation [Chairman] (1967-1969); and the Special National Subcommittee on Vocational Rehabilitation (1968).

She was a trustee of several colleges and universities including Louisburg (1959-1965), Shaw (1962-1974), Converse (1964-1967), and Davidson, and a member of various boards of visitors and committees of other educational institutions, including Wake Forest University. She received honorary degrees from universities and colleges including North Carolina Central (1963), Elon (1965), Campbell (1971), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1977), Davidson (1980), Pfeiffer (1984), and North Carolina Wesleyan (1982).

Many organizations have recognized Mrs. Semans's achievements with awards. These include the National Conference of Christians and Jews National Brotherhood Award (1969); the North Carolina Award for Significant Contributions to the Arts (1972); and the North Carolina Society Award (1986). These awards were received jointly with James H. Semans. She also received the North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry Citation for Distinguished Public Service (1984) and the North Carolina Distinguished Service Award for Women (1985). Duke University presented her the Distinguished Alumni Award (1986) and the University Medal for Meritorious Service (1986).

Elizabeth Lucina Gotham

DateEvent(s)
1887Born, Pierpoint, N.Y.
ca. 1912Graduated as nurse from St. Margaret's Baby Hospital, Albany, N.Y.
ca. 1917-1920Baby nurse for families and in a hospital [St. Christopher's?], Brooklyn, N.Y.
1920, Oct. 25Employed by Biddle family as baby nurse for Mary Duke Biddle (Trent Semans), New York, N.Y.
1968Died, Durham, N.C.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Papers of the Semans Family, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Semans Family Papers were donated to the library by James Hustead and Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans beginning in 1969 through 2010. The collection includes the papers of Mary Duke Biddle and Elizabeth Lucina Gotham. Funds from The Duke Endowment supported the processing of the collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Madeleine Bagwell Perez and Donna Longo DiMichele

Date Completed: April 19, 1991

Encoded by Alvin Pollock

Updated because of addition, January 2009 and April 2010

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.