Preliminary Guide to the Douglas M. Knight Records, 1949 - 1970
Douglas M. Knight, born in 1921, served as president of Duke University from 1963 to 1969. Knight was educated at Yale and served as president of Lawrence University prior to becoming president of Duke. After leaving Duke in 1969, he worked as an industry executive at several firms. Records include correspondence, memoranda, proposals, surveys, reports, writings and speeches, minutes, audio-visual media, honorary citations, clippings, and printed matter. Major subjects include the administration of Duke University, the planning of a new art museum, university development, Duke's Fifth Decade Campaign and fundraising, the Duke Board of Trustees, Knight's inauguration, the School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Forestry, the Graduate School of Business, student protest, African-American students at Duke, the takeover of the Allen Building by members of the Afro-American Society, and student rights. Major correspondents include R. Taylor Cole, E.R. Latty, Lath Meriam, Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, R. Philip Hanes, Nancy Hanks, R. Patrick Ransom, George V. Allen, Charles B. Wade, Henry Rauch, Edwin L. Jones, Wright Tisdale, Les Brown, Ellen Huckabee Gobbel, Mark Pinsky, Graddon Rowlands, and Floyd B. McKissick.
- Record Group
- Douglas M. Knight records
- 1949 - 1970
- 60 Linear Feet, 60,000 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
The records from the Douglas M. Knight administration form part of the Duke University President Records and span the years between 1952 and 1971, with the bulk occurring between 1963 and 1969. Records created during the administrations of Hollis Edens, J. Deryl Hart, and Terry Sanford are included. The records are comprised of correspondence, memoranda, proposals, surveys, reports, writings and speeches, minutes, audio-visual media, honorary citations, clippings, and printed matter.
The records of the Knight administration are useful for the study of policies and actions regarding academic planning, student life, development and alumni affairs, campus planning, the university's interaction with both local and regional communities, faculty development, and athletics during the 1960s. With the exception of fund-raising and development, the records do not provide extensive documentation on the aforementioned areas of university life. Rather, the records often introduce the primary concerns in an issue or area as well as portray Knight's views and actions. Therefore, researchers may wish to consult an archivist about related record groups and papers, including records from the Deans of the Woman's College and Trinity College, the Provost, the Office of Student Affairs, the Graduate School, and the papers of Eddie Cameron, Athletic Director.
The Douglas M. Knight Papers comprise seven series. The first series, Subject Files, is alphabetically arranged by topic, and covers a broad range of issues during Knight's term. The next series, Development Files, are also arranged alphabetically, and pertain to university advancement. The third series, Correspondence, is arranged alphabetically by the last name of the correspondant. The Reports series is also arranged alphabetically, and consists primarily of annual reports. The fifth series, Surveys, includes a variety of Duke-related surveys on a variety of topics. The next series, Inauguration and Videorecordings, includes photographs and tapes. The last series, Student Files, includes restricted student information.
Some files are restricted and labeled as such. Please consult an archivist concerning these files.
Access to the Collection
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, such as search committee files or others pertaining to employment where individuals are identified, are closed for 70 years.
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.
Use & Permissions
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Douglas M. Knight Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The following two groups of files comprise this series: Boxes 1-26 and Boxes 27-29. Each group is alphabetically arranged. This arrangement reflects the fact that subject files from Knight's administration were transferred to the Archives in two separate bodies.
The President's role in the planning and development of several academic areas, particularly: engineering, the School of Law, the School of Forestry, and the Graduate School of Business is documented in the Subject Files series. To a lesser extent, planning in Afro-American studies; the Marine Laboratory and the construction of the research vessel, EASTWARD; and the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory is reflected in the series. Files pertaining to the above subjects contain communications between Knight and other senior administrators, including including R. Taylor Cole, Provost; E.R. Latty, Dean of the School of Law; and Lath Meriam, Engineering. Furthermore, files concerning search committees for the deans of Trinity College as well as the schools of nursing and forestry provide insights on executive planning for these schools.
In addition to planning in the above areas, development in the arts, especially the visual arts, was a major initiative of the Knight administration. The series contains files on the arts and art education. Correspondence and memoranda pertaining to acquisitions, including the Marshall Collection and the Brummer Collection of Medieval Art, reflects Knight's involvement in the negotiations. Furthermore, the series documents planning for the art museum, which was established in 1969. Supporters of the arts at Duke, including Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, R. Philip Hanes, and Nancy Hanks as well as art department faculty member, R. Patrick Ransom, are among the correspondents represented in the records.
During Knight's tenure the Fifth Decade Campaign was launched and fund-raising efforts are reflected throughout the Subject Files. The records reflect not only Knight's role in university development, but also the activities of the Office of Institutional Advancement and the Board of Trustees. Much of Knight's correspondence with individual trustees relates to donors and potential donors. Prominent correspondents among the trustees include George V. Allen, Charles B. Wade, Henry Rauch, and Edwin L. Jones, all who were on the Trustee Committee for Institutional Advancement, as well as Wright Tisdale and Nancy Hanks.
Records pertaining to the Board of Trustees also include the President's annual report to the Board; memoranda stating the salaries of President Edens, Paul M. Gross, and other administrators; and minutes from a meeting of the trustees that took place after the takeover of the Allen Building by the Afro-American Society.
Student demonstrations and unrest as well as alumni and public criticism of the administration are prominently reflected throughout the series. Knight's actions and stance on the Afro-American Society's takeover of the Allen Building in 1969, the selection of an African-American as May Queen, and the Vigil following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. are especially reflected in Knight's correspondence. Furthermore, Knight's position on the freedom of speech is is documented in relation to the Speaker Ban Law, which was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly, and the invitation of controversial speakers, such as Stokely Carmichael and Herbert Apetheker.
Other controversial matters reflected in the records include organized labor disputes that involved non-academic employees and the arrest of several Duke professors involved in a civil rights demonstration that occurred in Chapel Hill, NC. An account of the incident by the some of the faculty members that were involved is extant.
The correspondence Knight received in reaction to the student demonstrations documents both the dissatisfaction with university administration's handling of campus race relations and attitudes towards African-Americans and the civil rights movement.
To a much lesser extent, the records reflect other facets of student life, including residential life and and intellectual life. Neither subject is extensively covered. Rather, printed matter from the Duke Symposia; letters by Professor Herman Salinger as well as Patricia Lane, an undergraduate; and printed matter from the Daedalus Program provide glimpses into the intellectual climate during the 1960s. (The Duke Symposia, which was sponsored by the University Union, included lectures and seminars by distinguished leaders in various fields. The Daedalus Program sponsored colloquia in which both undergraduates and faculty members participated.) Correspondence from Professor Robert Krueger of the Residential Life Committee relates to the the restructuring of the residential plan that was outlined in a 1969 report. Also related to residential life are records which document the PanHellenic Council's efforts to obtain a building for sororities after the closing of the PanHellenic Commons in 1959.
The records also reflect the evolution of social regulations and policies on campus. Of particular interest are the issues of marriage, open dormitories, curfews, and off-campus apartments. Furthermore, reports from the security division for scattered years between 1963 and 1969 indicate organized efforts to control behavior on campus, including homosexuality. The incidences of sexual assaults and other violent crimes as well as theft and traffic violations are also reported.
Town and gown matters, or the relationship between Duke and Durham as well as North Carolina, are also reflected in the Subject Files Series. Cooperative efforts in elementary and secondary education are documented, especially in files pertaining to the Learning Institute of North Carolina (LINC), which Duke University participated in along with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Similarly, files are included that pertain to Operation Breakthrough, a Durham community action program in which Duke students participated; the Education Initiative Program; and Duke's collaboration in nursing education at Chowan College. Public opinion on the sale of the university's married student housing to the Durham Housing Authority is also documented in the series.
Miscellaneous topics and items of interest in the Subject Files include logs, in which some Woman's College students recorded their daily diets; contractual disagreements between Duke and William Frank of the Horace Trumbauer firm; and Doris Duke's relationship with the university. Likewise, the coordinate college system, the admission of black students as well as the establishment of a coffee house on East Campus are subjects that are represented in the series. Several files containing organizational charts and other materials which document the structure of the administration and personnel management are included. Architectural plans of the auditorium on East Campus (now Baldwin Auditorium), which were prepared by Horace Trumbauer, and correspondence between Knight and Alden Dow, the architect who designed the University House, are present.
Additionally, included in the Subject Files is a report titled "Duke Press at the Crossroads" (1964); a memorandum by Paul M. Gross, in which he stated his views on long-range planning and the Fifth Decade Campaign; correspondence relating to the hiring of Samuel Cook, who taught in the political science department and was the first black faculty member at Duke; and letters from Anne Firor Scott, a professor of history, in which she states her views on teaching and learning as well as the education of women.
Alphabetically arranged by the name of the foundation, corporation, or individual.
Comprised of files primarily related to the Fifth Decade Campaign, the Development Files series is a group of working files that were used by the President's Office in ongoing institutional advancement efforts. The files contain memoranda, letters to and from Knight, and documents defining the terms of the gifts. Some files are useful for ascertaining specific information on gifts and grants.
Duke University's efforts to attract underprivileged and black students is, in part, documented in records that relate to the Rockefeller Foundation. Development efforts in international studies are demonstrated through grant proposals and reports to the Ford Foundation. Edwin L. Jones, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and the Hanes family are among the donors and potential donors represented in the records.
Also of significance are statistics on scholarships, particularly the ratio of athletic scholarships to non-athletic scholarships. The file on the Lilly Research Program in Christianity and Politics contains letters from Professor Waldo Beach and the black theologian, Deotis Roberts, which focus upon the issue of Roberts's enrollment in a Lilly seminar during the late 1950s, when the campus was segregated.
Alphabetically arranged, primarily by the last name of the correspondent. Contains both letters received as well as copies of letters sent from President Knight's office.
Notable correspondents in the Correspondence Series include Les Brown; Ellen Huckabee Gobbel, a former dean in the Woman's College; and Mark Pinsky, a former editor of the Chronicle. Other correspondents include Graddon Rowlands, whose correspondence with Knight provides insights on the history of the Duke Rugby Club, and Floyd B. McKissick, a Durham attorney who represented the Duke Employees Benevolent Society.
Alphabetically arranged by school, department, or office. Primarily annual reports submitted to the President's Office. The Reports Series is a useful source of institutional data.
Includes miscellaneous studies and surveys, which report on various aspects of the University, including faculty salaries, placement of doctoral students, departmental enrollment between 1935 and 1965, progress at Duke between 1940 and 1961, and a 1962 origin study of Duke graduate students.
Includes clippings, citations and formal greetings, and printed matter from the inauguration of Douglas Knight. Also includes a videotape recording of the inaugural ceremonies, which was recorded and broadcast by WUNC-TV, as well as interview with Knight that was recorded on April 21, 1969. The interview is titled "The Office of the President".
Includes correspondence about individual students' problems and concerns. These materials are closed except by permission of the University Archivist.
Born June 8, 1921, in Cambridge, MA, Douglas M. Knight was educated at Yale University and received an A.B. in 1942, an M.A. in 1944, and a Ph.D. in 1946. He served as an instructor and assistant professor of English from 1947 to 1953 at Yale University. Knight then became president of Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1953.
In 1963, Knight was persuaded to come to Duke University. New beginnings and unique building projects characterized his tenure. The conversion of a science building into an Art Museum, construction of a hyperbaric chamber, a phytotron, and the largest nuclear structure laboratory in the Southeast added new dimensions to research at the University, as did the launching of the first ship built specifically for oceanographic research. In addition, new undergraduate and medical school curricula, interdisciplinary programs in biomedical engineering and forestry management, joint M.D.-J.D. and M.D.-PhD. degrees, and a new School of Business Administration were started. Most significantly the major Perkins Library addition made it possible to double every library service and increase capacity some five times over. That so much was accomplished in a time of increasing national conflict and student confrontation at Duke was remarkable.
In 1969, Knight left Duke to become vice-president of the Educational Development Division of RCA Corporation. He later became president of SEED in 1973, and then president of the Questar Corporation in 1976.
These oversize items were seperated from the collection and are located in Map Cabinet drawer 20: Blueprints, Auditorium, Horace Trumbauer
- [Forms part of:] Duke University President records. (University Archives, Duke University)
- Allen Building Takeover, 1969 Collection (University Archives, Duke University)
- Cameron, Edmund McCullough "Eddie" Papers, 1941-1972 (University Archives, Duke University)
- Division of Student Affairs, Administration Records, 1923- (University Archives, Duke University)
- Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Records, 1927-1968 (University Archives, Duke University)
- Provost, Office of Records, 1960-1970 (University Archives, Duke University)
- Trinity College of Arts and Sciences Records (University Archives, Duke University)
- Women's College Records (University Archives, Duke University)
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Allen, George V. (George Venable), 1903-1970
- Brown, Les, 1912-2001
- Cole, Taylor, 1905-
- Duke University. School of Law
- Duke University. School of Forestry
- Duke University. School of Engineering
- Duke University. Presidents
- Duke University. Presidents
- Duke University. Graduate School of Business Administration
- Duke University. Museum of Art
- Duke University. Afro-American Society
- Duke University. Board of Trustees
- Duke University -- Presidents
- Duke University -- Students -- Political activity
- Duke University -- Administration
- Hanes, R. Philip, 1926-2011
- Huckabee, Ellen Harris
- Hanks, Nancy, 1927-1983
- Jones, Edwin Lee
- Knight, Douglas M., 1921-2005
- Knight, Douglas M., 1921-2005
- Latty, Elvin R. (Elvin Remus), 1903-
- McKissick, Floyd B. (Floyd Bixler), 1922-
- Rowlands, Graddon, 1937-
- Rauch, Henry E.
- Semans, Mary Duke Biddle Trent
- Wade, Charles B. (Charles Byrd), 1915-
The Douglas M. Knight Papers were received by the University Archives as transfers in 1964 (64-64 and 64-96); 1971 (71-398); 1972 (72-11); 1973 (73-66); 1976 (76-8 and A92-63); 1977 (77-57); 1978 (78-18); 1987 (86-98); and 1992 (A92-69).
Processed by University Archives Staff
Completed August 9, 1995
Encoded by Valerie Gillispie, June 12, 2003
Updated by Sherrie Bowser, July 2007