My love affair with Duke University Libraries started in 1978 at Lilly Library. My daughters and I had just moved back to Durham after two years as a Visiting Artist at Pamlico County Community College. For those two years we had no access to a library. In June of 1978 I accepted Durham Technical Instituteʼs Visiting Artist position and we bought a home in Trinity Park, a short walk to East Campus. My first visual memory of Lilly was the wonderful portrait of Mary Duke Biddle by the Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla, whose home studio/museum I had visited in Madrid.
Whenever I needed visual stimulation and inspiration for my paintings, I would sit in the stacks of Lilly Library, surrounded by art history books, reading for hours. At that time Duke Libraries offered free access to Durham community residents. When Duke started charging a fee for the card, my brother Alan Tuttle, who was the Research Librarian at the National Humanities Center, informed me that if I became a member of the Friends of Duke University Libraries, the donation would be tax deductible and I would have a library card!
A few years later, I was asked to join the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Duke University Libraries. I have served several terms and was co-chair for two years. The Friends of the Library annual dinners were the highlight of each year. ʻA few of my favorite thingsʼ: The Special Collections gallery, The Sallie Bingham Center for Womenʼs History and Culture, and the Trent Collection of Whitmaniana.
Nancy Tuttle May
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