Guide to the Woman's College Oral History Project records, 2003-2006.


Nine interviews with alumnae of the Duke University Woman's College conducted by Carolyn Murray Happer from 2003 to 2004. Also includes one recording of alumnae reminisces from the 75th anniversary celebration of the Woman's College Library in 2006.

Interviewees discuss their experiences and perceptions from their years at Duke University during the period of the co-ordinate college which existed from 1930 to 1972. Subjects interviewed include several class leaders, a member of the Duke family, and others who have had long established ties to the school after graduation. Also includes one recording of alumnae reminisces from the 75th anniversary celebration of the Woman's College Library in 2006.

Descriptive Summary

University Archives, Duke University
Happer, Carolyn Murray, 1938-
Woman's College Oral History Project records 2003-2006
Language of Material
26 Items
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Carolyn Murray Happer interviewed nine alumnae who graduated from the period of 1931 to 1947. Her goal was to document the experiences and perceptions of women who attended Duke University during this period. In particular she wanted to know why they selected and how the Woman’s College figured into that decision. She also explored her subject’s position and negative experiences at Duke. Her interviewees include several class leaders, a member of the Duke family, and others who have had long established ties to the school after graduation.

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.

Cassette reference copies are available for consultation in the Reading Room. Interviews without release form are available for information use only. Copying or other uses will require permission from the interviewee.

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

Buschman, Barbara Perkins, Class of 1946. Interviewed 29 September 2003. Buschman also worked at Duke from 1946 to 1993 in various positions. Her interview covers primarily her undergraduate years. A2003-45. One cassette.
Corbin, Charlotte, Class of 1935. Interviewed 2 July 2003. Former Duke Alumni Office employee. A2003-29. Two cassettes, 3 sides.
Crowell, Alice, Class of 1932. Interviewed 19 June 2003. A2003-29. One cassette.
Greenberg, Bluma, Class of 1947. Interviewed 23 September 2003. Greenberg discussed how she was treated as a Jewish student at Duke during WWII as well as soldiers returning from the war to school. A2003-45. Two cassettes, 3 sides.
Harris, Margaret A., Class of 1938 and Law School Class of 1940. Also served on the Board of Trustees, 1975-1987. Interviewed 18 July 2003. Harris discusses her decision to attend Duke and her time in Law School. A2003-45. One cassette.
Lanning, Elizabeth Williams, Class of 1931. Married Duke professor John Tate Lanning. Interviewed 17 July 2003. Lanning transferred to Duke from Queens and discusses social life, including her sorority and dances. A2003-45. One cassette, one side only.
Merritt, Gertrude, Class of 1931. Long-time Duke librarian. Interviewed 25 June 2003. Restricted. A2003-29. One cassette.
Semans, Mary Duke Biddle Trent, Class of 1939. Served on Board of Trustees, 1961-1981. Interviewed 6 February 2004. A2004-6. One cassette.
Smith, Margaret Taylor, Class of 1947. Interviewed 24 October 2003. A2004-6. One cassette.
Woman's College Library reminisces. 23 March 2006. UA2006-35. One cassette.

Historical Note

The Duke University Woman's College opened in the fall of 1930 as part of the expansion of Trinity College into Duke University. In 1924 James B. Duke established the Duke Endowment and gave funds to transform a small liberal arts college into a major university. From 1925 to 1927 the existing Trinity Campus (now Duke's East Campus) was rebuilt and transformed to become a residential campus for undergraduate women. From 1928 to 1930 Duke's new gothic West Campus and residential campus for undergraduate male students was constructed and known as Trinity College for Men. In 1972, the Men's and Women's colleges were merged to form Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.

In the Fall of 2002, the Woman's College marked the 30th anniversary of its merger with the Trinity College for Men with a reunion. Carolyn Murray Happer, Class of 1960, curated an exhibition on the history of Woman's College and decided to start an oral history interview project with alumnae for use in a proposed history of Woman's College.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Alice M. Baldwin papers. (Duke University. University Archives.)
  • Woman's College records. (Duke University. University Archives.)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Woman's College Oral History Project records, 2003-2006, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.


The Woman's College Oral History Project records were received by the University Archives as a gift in 2003-2004.

Processing Information

Processed by Tim Pyatt, October 2004; updated June 2006

Encoded by Sherrie Bowser, January 2007

Accessions A2003-29, A2003-45, A2004-6; UA2006-35 were merged into one collection, 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.