Guide to the Trinity College Library records, 1892-1924
In 1887 the Trinity College Library was created when two rival literary societies combined their book collections and added them to the few books already owned by the school. Records kept by the librarians and staff of the Trinity College Library documenting its operations. Included are records of accessions, book orders, circulation, periodicals, and reference books. The records also contain a short history of the Library by Joseph Penn Breedlove as well as the brochure for the opening of the new library building in 1903.
- Record Group
- Trinity College Library records
- Trinity College (Durham, N.C.). Library
- 5.2 Linear Feet, 2,250 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
Records kept by the librarians and staff of the Trinity College Library documenting its operations. Included are records of accessions, book orders, circulation, periodicals, and reference books. The records also contain a short history of the Library by Joseph Penn Breedlove as well as the brochure for the opening of the new library building in 1903.
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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], Trinity College Library Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
In 1887 the Trinity College Library was created when two rival literary societies combined their book collections and added them to the few books already owned by the school. The Columbian Society, founded in 1846, and the Hesperian Society, founded in 1851, maintained libraries for their members and competed in acquiring books. 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. The Washington Duke Building burned in 1911, but by that time, the library had moved to a new location.
In 1900, James B. Duke donated money to create a separate free standing library building. Ground was broken in 1901, and the Trinity College Library building was completed in December, 1902, with a formal opening taking place the following February. During construction, Duke donated an additional $10,000 for the purchase of books.
After the creation of the Duke Endowment in December 1924, a new building was constructed, seventy-five yards northwest from the old library, to serve as the library for the university during the construction of West Campus and the transformation of Trinity College into Duke University. After the new library was completed 1927, 100,000 books were moved from the old to the new library, a feat that was accomplished by arranging a competition among fraternities to see which could move the most books.
The expansion plans for East Campus called for the demolition of the old library. It was dismantled, moved to Kittrell College in Kittrell, North Carolina, and rebuilt as the B. N. Duke Library. It remained there, looking almost exactly the same as it had at Trinity, until 1972 when it was destroyed by fire.
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The Trinity College Library records were received by the University Archives as transfers over a period of time.
Processed by Tim Pyatt, July 2006
Encoded by Kimberly Sims, October 2006
Accessions were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.