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Preliminary Guide to the Robert Lee Flowers Records, 1891 - 1968

Abstract

Robert Lee Flowers, born in 1870, spent his entire professional career at Duke University. From 1891 to 1951, Flowers served in a variety of capacities, including professor (1891-1924), vice president of the business division (1925-1941), president (1941-1948), and chancellor (1948-1951). Types of material in the collection include correspondence, memoranda, reports, clippings, bound volumes, and other printed material. Major subjects include higher education in the United States, the role of universities during World War II, the assistance of displaced scholars during World War II, the Methodist Episcopal Church, and organizations in which Flowers served, including the Duke Endowment, the Durham Chamber of Commerce, the Durham and Southern Railway Company, Greensboro College, North Carolina Central University, the Methodist Orphanage, the Oxford Orphanage, and the Lincoln Hospital. Major correspondents include William Hayes Ackland, George Garland Allen, Alexander Boyd Andrews, John Fletcher Bruton, Homer Hasenlue Dubs, Benjamin Newton Duke, William Washington Flowers, Allen Howard Godbey, Edward R. Murrow, Edward Hines Page, William Robertson Perkins, Alexander Hamilton Sands, Jr., James Augustus Thomas, and Horace Trumbauer.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Robert Lee Flowers records, 1891 - 1968
Creator
Flowers, Robert Lee. Duke University. President. Duke University. Office of the Vice President.
Extent
22.5 Linear Feet , 21,000 Items
Repository
University Archives, Duke University
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult University Archives, Duke University.
Language
English.

Collection Overview

Collection includes office files of the vice president and president of Duke University. The position of vice president included duties as secretary and treasurer. The official files consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, printed matter and other materials received or generated by these offices. The first series, Correspondence is arranged chronologically, and the second series, Subject Files alphabetically. Besides University records, the subject files include material on higher education in America, the role of colleges and universities during World War II, the committee to assist displaced scholars, Methodist Church activities and administration, and records of the various organizations for which Flowers served as a trustee. Also included in the collection is a series of several Volumes focused on Flowers, and a series of Oversize Materials from the Subject Files.

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.

For a period of twenty-five years from the origin of the material, permission in writing from the office of origin and the University Archivist is required for use. After twenty-five years, records that have been processed may be consulted with the permission of the University Archivist.

Records of the University's Board of Trustees which have been existence for at least fifty years are available for scholarly research with the permission of the University Archivist. Access to records which have been in existence for less than fifty years shall be granted only by special permission, in writing, from the Board of Trustees.

In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended, Duke University permits students to inspect their education records and limits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records.

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

1891-1924
Box 1
January-September 1925
Box 2
October 1925-June 1926
Box 3
July 1926-April 1927
Box 4
May 1927-May 1928
Box 5
June 1928-April 1929
Box 6
May 1929-August 1930
Box 7
September 1930-March 1932
Box 8
April 1932-October 1933
Box 9
November 1933-January 1935
Box 10
February 1935-August 1936
Box 11
September 1936-March 1938
Box 12
April 1938-November 1939
Box 13
December 1939-January 1941
Box 14
February-September 1941
Box 15
October 1941-February 17, 1942
Box 16
February 18, 1942-July 1942
Box 17
August-December 1942
Box 18
January-July 1943
Box 19
August 1943-February 1944
Box 20
March-September 1944
Box 21
October 1944-April 1945
Box 22
May-November 1945
Box 23
December 1945-May 1946
Box 24
June-October 1946
Box 25
November 1946-June 1947
Box 26
July 1947-March 1948
Box 27
April 1948-n.d.
Box 28
Ackland, William Hayes
Box 29
American Association of University Professors
Box 29
American Association of University Women
Box 29
American Council--Institute of Pacific Relations
Box 29
American Council on Education
[3 folders]
Box 29
American Historical Association
Box 29
Andrews, Alexander Boyd
Box 29
Annual Reports to the President - Department Reports
Box 29
Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, 1933-1941
Box 29
Association of American Universities
Box 30
Citizens' Emergency Committee on Nondefense Expenditures
Box 30
Cowpen, C. C.
Box 30
Dubs, Homer Hasenlue
Box 30
Duke, James Buchanan -- Will
Box 30
Hospital and Orphan Section
[6 folders]
Box 30
Hospital and Orphan Section
[1 folder]
Box 31
Report of the Secretary
Box 31
Rural Church Section
Box 31
Superannuate Fund, 1940-1947
[8 folders]
Box 31
Superannuate Fund, 1948
[1 folder]
Box 32
Duke Family
Box 32
Duke Homestead -- Durham, NC
Box 32
Duke Memorial, The
Box 32
Duke Memorial United Methodist Church -- Durham, NC
Box 32
Admissions
Box 32
Alumni Association
Box 32
Angier B. Duke Memorial Student Loan Fund
Box 32
Alumni Killed in World War II
Box 32
Board of Trustees
Box 32
Brown, Frank Clyde Collection of Folklore
Box 32
Budget
Box 32
Bus Service
Box 32
Carillon
Box 32
Centennial Celebration
Box 32
Central Purchasing Department
Box 32
Chapel
Box 32
Clippings
Box 32
Commencement
Box 32
Debate
Box 32
Committee for Investigation and Recommendation on Student . . .
Box 32
Defense Council
Box 32
Divinity School
Box 33
Duke University Church
Box 33
Educational Research Committee
Box 33
Endowment
Box 33
Engineering School
Box 33
Enrollment Statistics, 1849-1937
Box 33
Exhibitions
Box 33
Faculty Apartments
Box 33
Faculty Committees
Box 33
Faculty Housing
Box 33
July 1941-August 1946
Box 33
July 1941-August 1949
[4 folders]
Box 33
Forestry School
Box 33
"Four Acres"
Box 34
Fraternities and Sororities
Box 34
Gifts and Bequests
Box 34
Gifts and Bequests, 1936-1939
Box 34
Graduate School
Box 34
Historical Material
Box 34
Insurance
Box 34
Insurance [Oversize Material]
Box 34
King Paucus Affair
Box 34
Laundry
Box 34
Law School
Box 34
Lawsuits
Box 34
Libraries -- Flowers Collection
Box 34
Libraries
Box 34
Mathematics Department
Box 34
School of Medicine
Box 34
National Recovery Administration
Box 34
Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps
Box 34
Parapsychology Laboratory
[2 folders]
Box 35
Phi Beta Kappa
Box 35
Philosophy Department
Box 35
Program of Cooperation with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Box 35
Public Lectures, 1934-1935
Box 35
Physics Department
Box 35
Quadrangle Pictures
Box 35
Research Corporation
Box 35
Retirement Schedule
Box 35
Sabbatical Leave
Box 35
South Atlantic Inter-American Workshop, 1944
Box 35
Statistics
Box 35
Student Publications
Box 35
Student Union
Box 35
Taxes
Box 35
Trinity College Historical Society
Box 36
Tuition
Box 36
Undergraduate Teaching Council
Box 36
Veteran Students
Box 36
Woman's College
Box 36
Young Men's Christian Association
Box 36
Duke University Press
Box 36
Chamber of Commerce
Box 36
Government
Box 36
Young Men's Christian Association
Box 36
Durham and Southern Railway
Box 36
Durham County Civil Defense Council
Box 36
Durham Methodist Society -- Durham, N.C.
Box 36
Education, Higher
Box 36
Few, William Preston
Box 36
Letters of Congratulation on Assuming the Presidency of Duke University
Box 36
Speeches and Writings
Box 37
Personal Papers
Box 37
Flowers, William Washington
Box 37
Freak Letters
Box 37
Godbey, Allen Howard
[2 folders]
Box 37
Greensboro College -- Greensboro, N.C.
[2 folders]
Box 37
Highland Hospital -- Asheville, N.C.
Box 37
Highlands Biological Research Laboratory
Box 37
Kittrell College -- Kittrell, N.C.
Box 37
Lake Junaluska Methodist Assembly
Box 38
Lincoln Hospital -- Durham, N.C.
Box 38
Livingstone College -- Salisbury, N.C.
Box 38
Louisburg College -- Louisburg, N.C.
Box 38
Association of Schools and Colleges
Box 38
Board of Education
[8 folders]
Box 38
Board of Education
[4 folders]
Box 39
North Carolina Conference, 1939-1941
Box 39
Board of Education
Box 39
General Board of Lay Activities
Box 39
Golden Cross
Box 39
Judicial Council
Box 39
North Carolina Conference, 1931
Box 39
Union with Northern Church
Box 39
Union with Northern Church [Oversize Material]
Box 39
Methodist Orphanage -- Raleigh, N.C.
Box 40
National Conference of Christians and Jews
Box 40
National Orphans Home -- Lexington, N.C.
Box 40
National Policy Committee -- Washington, D.C.
Box 40
New Duke University [Construction Costs], 1931 [Oversize Material]
Box 40
Newcomen Society
Box 40
North Carolina Bar Association, 1938
Box 40
North Carolina Central University -- Durham, N.C.
[4 folders]
Box 40
North Carolina College Conference
Box 41
North Carolina Commission on Interracial Cooperation
Box 41
North Carolina Division of Cooperation in Education and Race Relations
Box 41
Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies
Box 41
Oxford Orphanage -- Oxford, N.C.
[7 folders]
Box 41
Oxford Orphanage -- Oxford, N.C.
[2 folders]
Box 42
Page, Walter Hines
Box 42
Perkins, William Robertson
Box 42
Pineland College -- Salemburg, N.C.
Box 42
Seeman, Ernest Albright
Box 42
Simmons, Furnifold McLendel
Box 42
Smith, Johnson C., University -- Charlotte, N.C.
Box 42
South Atlantic Publishing Company
Box 42
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Box 42
Trinity College -- Randolph Co., N.C. -- Historical Material
Box 42
United States Naval Academy -- Annapolis, M.D.
Box 42
War, Students and
Box 42
Trinity College, 1892-1893
Trinity College, 1894
Autograph Album of Distinguished People
Clippings and Autographs
[Letters of Tribute on Robert Flowers's 79th Birthday], 1949
Insurance
Box 43
Union with Northern Church
Box 43
New Duke University [Construction Costs], 1931
Box 43

Historical Note

Robert Lee Flowers was born at York Collegiate Institute, Alexander County, North Carolina, on November 6, 1870, the son of George Washington and Sarah Haynes Flowers. A graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy in 1891, Flowers was first employed as an instructor in mathematics and electrical engineering when Trinity was still in Randolph County. He moved with the college to Durham in 1892. As an engineer, one of his first responsibilities was to wire the new buildings in Durham for electricity.

He served as a professor from 1891 to 1924 and as vice-president of the business division of Duke University from 1925-1941. Following the death of President Few in 1941, Flowers was named president of Duke University. In 1948, he stepped down as president and served as chancellor until 1951. Dr. Flowers was a trustee of the Duke Endowment, a director of the Durham and Southern Railway Company, a director of the Fidelity Bank of Durham, and a trustee of Greensboro College, of the Oxford Orphanage, of Lincoln Hospital, and of the North Carolina College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University).

He married Lily Virginia Parrish on June 22, 1905. They had two daughters, Virginia and Sybil Parrish. Mrs. Flowers died on May 22, 1948. Robert Flowers died on August 24, 1951. He is buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • [Forms part of:] Duke University President records. (University Archives. Duke University.)
  • [Forms part of:] Duke University Office of the Vice President records. (University Archives. Duke University.)
  • Horace Trumbauer Architectural Drawings Collection. (University Archives. Duke University.)

Preferred Citation

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

Provenance

The Robert Lee Flowers Records were received by the University Archives as transfers in 1953 (A48-309), 1964 (A64-62), 1971 (A71-70), 1975 (A75-114), and 1982 (A82-133).

Processing Information

This collection is unprocessed: materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.

Encoded by Valerie Gillispie, June 18, 2003

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.