Guide to the Duke Ambassadors records, 1947-2004
The Duke Ambassadors were an independent, student run, thirteen piece dance band founded by Sonny Burke '37 that was a staple of the Duke University social scene for thirty years. This collection is one compiled artificially by the Office of Alumni Affairs and contains material pertaining to the music and the origination of the Duke Ambassadors including one folder of background information and four CDs. Materials in the collection date from 1947-2004, bulk 1947-1957.
- Record Group
- Duke Ambassadors records
- Duke University. Office of Alumni Affairs
- 0.25 Linear Feet, 7 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
This is an artificial collection compiled by the Office of Alumni Affairs and contains material pertaining to the music and the origination of the Duke Ambassadors including one folder of background information and four CDs. Information about individual arrangers and performers on the CDs can be found in the Collection Control File. Reference copies of the CDs will need to be made for patron use. Materials in the collection date from 1947-2004, bulk 1947-1957.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
Collection is open for research.
Contains audio materials, use copies will need to be made for patron use.
Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
The Duke Ambassadors were an independent, student run, thirteen piece dance band founded by Sonny Burke '37 that was a staple of the Duke University social scene for thirty years. They were fixtures at the "Sunday Night Sings" in Baldwin Auditorium leading the students in group sings like "follow the bouncing ball," and audience participation events like "So you want to be a Band Leader."
The Duke Ambassadors also had a presence off-campus traveling to locations such as Tantilla Gardens in Virginia Beach, Palisades Park in New Jersey, and even to Reykjavik, Iceland. At the outbreak of the United States involvement in WWII the music halted while men signed up and were called up to promote the war effort. The first post war performance of the Duke Ambassadors found them back at a "Sunday Night Sing" on East Campus in 1947.
During the 1950s at the request of the U.S. State Department the Duke Ambassadors made several overseas appearances in places such as the Azores, Bermuda, and Panama. They were also a fixture during this time throughout North Carolina performing annually at the Governor's Ball, and at Fort Bragg, Cherry Point Naval Base, as well as at nearly every college and university in the region. The Duke Ambassadors disbanded in 1964. Band leaders included Sonny Burke '37, Vince Courtney (killed in WWII), Sammy Fletcher '47, James "Benny" Steele '53, and William R. "Bill" Pape, Jr. '57.
- Photograph Collection. (University Archives, Duke University.)
[Identification of item], Duke Ambassadors Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The Duke Ambassadors records were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 2004-2005.
Processed by Sherrie Bowser, December, 2006
Encoded by Sherrie Bowser, January, 2007
Accessions A2004-82, UA2005-0006 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.