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Guide to the Columbian and Hesperian Literary Society Records, 1848-1942

Abstract

The Columbian Literary Society was founded in 1846. The Hesperian Literary Society was founded in 1851.

Records of both the Columbian Literary Society and Hesperian Literary Society documenting their activities. Included are numerous minute books, roll books, treasurer's books, book lists, constitutions and bylaws as well as some correspondence and programs for events co-hosted by the societies.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
University Archives, Duke University
Creator
Trinity College (Durham, N.C.)
Title
Columbian and Hesperian Literary Society records 1848-1942
Language of Material
English
Extent
8.5 Linear Feet, 350 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Contains correspondence, reports, financial information, roll books, record books, and minute books of the Columbian and Hesperian Literary Societies. The two societies conducted many joint debates so their papers are in one collection. Most of the collection is in oversize boxes. The collection ranges in date from 1848-1942.

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

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Collection is open for research.

warning Use Restrictions

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.

Contents of the Collection

HOLY BIBLEundated
Box 1
Minutes1848-1850
Box 2
Minutes1850-1852
Box 2
Minutes1860-1870
Box 2
Minutes1870-1875
Box 2
W.H. Wannamaker Papers Correspondence File, 1942
Box 3
Columbian Literary Society Constitution Revision,1860-1873
Box 3
Account of Books Borrowed,1886-1887
Box 3
Account of Loans from the Society Library, 1883-1884
Box 3
Record of Society’s Library, 1866
Box 3
Honorary Members List,1851-1881
Box 3
Minutes1876-1882
Box 4
Minutes1882-1891
Box 4
Minutes1891-1898
Box 5
Minutes1927-1930
Box 5
Minutes of the Executive Committee1913-1933
Box 5
Constitution and Bylawscirca 1912
Box 6
Constitution and Bylaws1901
Box 6
Constitution and Bylawscirca 1860s
Box 6
Book List1871, undated
Box 6
Treasurer's Book1855-1859
Box 6
Treasurer's Book1861-1869
Box 6
Treasurer's Book1872-1875
Box 6
Treasurer's Book1875-1877
Box 6
Treasurer's Book1892-1896
Box 6
Minute Book1911-1920
Box 7
Executive Committee's Book1896-1902
Box 8
Censor's Book1890-1892
Box 8
Constitution1887 May
Box 8
Roll Book1910-1921
Box 8
Book Record1877-1879
Box 8
Treasurer's Book1860-1864
Box 8
Constitution and Bylaws1873-1888, 1901-1916
Box 8
Fact Sheet, History1937
Box 8
Constitution and Bylaws1895
Box 8
Executive Committee's Book1898-1901
Box 8
Minutes1867-1868
Box 8
Minutes1851-1853
Box 9
Minutes1854-1866
Box 9
Minutes1866-1879
Box 9
Minutes1874-1879
Box 9
Constitution and Bylaws, 19281899
Box 9
Constitution and Bylaws, 19281928
Box 9
Minutes1879-1883
Box 10
Minutes1883-1888
Box 10
Minutes1888-1890
Box 10
Minutes1891-1892
Box 10
Minutes1892-1893
Box 10
Minutes1893-1898
Box 11
Minutes1899-1917
Box 11
Treasurer's Book1875-1878
Box 12
Treasurer's Book1891-1895
Box 12
Treasurer's Book1896-1903
Box 12
Treasurer’s Book1903-1913
Box 13
Roll Book1919-1926
Box 13
Treasurer's Book1870-1874
Box 14
Treasurer's Book1881-1885
Box 14
Librarian's Account Book1854-1858
Box 14
Librarian's Account Book1882
Box 14
Librarian's Account Book1884
Box 14
Book Record1853-1873
Box 14
Roll Book1914-1920
Box 15
Treasurer's Account Book1912-1921
Box 15
Minutes1917-1930
Box 16
Book Record1876
Box 17
List of Bookscirca 1900
Box 17
Debate Council Minutes1911-1923
Box 17
Debate Council Minutes1928-1929
Box 17
Invitation1890
Box 17
Events Annoucements, Programs1870-1930
Box 17
College Herald1882 June
Box 17
Society Correspondence1886-1911
Box 17
Society Correspondence, offical business1887-1890
Box 17
Trinity Chronicle Correspondence1909-1914
Box 17
Rules, Regulations and Minutes1891-1905
Box 17
Executive Committee Materials1916-1920
Box 17
Constitutions and Bylaws1928, undated
Box 17
Cover of Trinity Magazine1883
Box 17
Address Delivered for both Societies1860
Box 17
Trinity Chronicle Bylaws1908
Box 15
Ervin A. Thompson Address1860
Box 15

Historical Note

The Columbia Literary Society was first organized in 1846 at Union Institute. The Society grew with the school, witnessing the founding of Trinity College and its development into Duke University. In 1881, the CLS started the College Herald, forerunner of the Chronicle.

The Hesperian Literary Society was founded in 1851 at the suggestion of President Craven, because in his opinion, all first class colleges had two societies. According to tradition, it was called "Hesperian" because it was originally intended to be joined by boys from Western North Carolina.

The two societies are the only student organizations known to have existed when Normal College became Trinity College in 1859. They each had libraries and competed in acquiring books. The joint efforts of both societies led to the creation of The Archive and The Chronicle publications. Additionally, they both accumulated larger number of books than the college library.

According to the Trinity College Catalogue, by 1860 each society held 2,200 volumes, while the school itself held only 650. In 1887, new president John Franklin Crowell persuaded the literary societies to merge their collections with that of the college, creating a combined library of 10,000 volumes. The new library was housed on the second floor of the old Trinity College chapel, and Crowell claimed to have catalogued each of the books himself.

After Trinity moved to Durham in 1892, the library occupied a large single room in the Washington Duke Building, the main building of the campus. One student from each of the two literary societies served as librarians.

Both societies continued to co-exist until the Hesperian Literary Society dissolved in 1931-1932, although a similar organization, the Hesperian Union, organized in 1937. The Columbian Literary Society ended in 1938.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Trinity College Library records, 1892-1924 (Duke University Archives)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Columbian and Hesperian Literary Society Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Columbian and Hesperian Literary Society Records were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1971.

Processing Information

Processed by Jessica Wood, June 2006

Encoded by Kimberly Sims, July 2006

Accession A71-67 is described in this finding aid.

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

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.