Guide to the Robert Lee Durham Papers, 1888-1946


Robert Lee Durham was a star athlete who graduated from Trinity College in 1891. His collection contains correspondence, manuscripts of orations and songs, clippings and other printed materials.

Descriptive Summary

Record Group
Robert Lee Durham papers
Durham, Robert Lee, 1870-1949
0.4 Linear Feet, 400 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

Contains correspondence, manuscripts of orations and songs composed for Trinity events, photographs, clippings, materials relating to plans for Duke University, a proposal submitted to the Duke family for a school of agriculture and for the choice of "Yale blue" as the school color. Some of Durham's correspondents include B. N. Duke, W. W. "Cap" Card, W. P. Few, R. L. Flowers, J. C. Kilgo as well as members of the Trinity football team. Also contains an inscribed copy of O Duke, Alma Mater from 1933.

Restrictions on Access & Use

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.

In off-site storage; 48 hours advance notice is required for use.

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

1. Container List

1 box
Correspondence, General, 1894-1946
Box 1
"9019" Correspondence
Box 1
Box 1
Football Clippings
Box 1
Football History, 1888-1946
Box 1
Box 1

Historical Note

Biographical/Historical note

Born in Shelby, NC in 1870, Robert Lee Durham was a member of the Trinity College championship football team of 1891, the same year of his graduation. He received a law degree in 1892 and subsequently practiced law until 1909, taking time out to fight in the Spanish-American War. During 1909-1919, he served as dean and mathematics instructor at various institutions including Davenport College, Centenary College, and Martha Washington College. In 1919, he became president of Southern Seminary, a school for girls in Buena Vista, VA. He was the brother of Stonewall and Plato Durham, and the father of Dr. Margaret Robey, all Trinity graduates. He died in 1948 after a brief illness.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • O Duke, alma mater, and other songs and verse of Trinity College and Duke University. (University Archives. Duke University.)
  • Bassett Affair collection, 1903-2003. (University Archives. Duke University.)
  • Flag and sunset bell. A class farewell at Trinity College, in North Carolina. (University Archives. Duke University.)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Robert Lee Durham Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.


The Robert Lee Durham Papers were received by the University Archives as a gift in 1982.

Processing Information

Processed by Jessica Wood, October 2006

Encoded by Sherrie Bowser, November 2006

Accessions 74-154, 83-56 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.