Preliminary Guide to the Elizabeth A. McMahan Papers, 1926-2010 and undated
The collection contains primarily correspondence and greeting cards, including correspondence with John Craig Wheeler (considered the father of “black holes” ) on parapsychology and its intersection with theoretical physics. Also includes news clippings and scrapbooks documenting McMahan's life; illustrations she made describing her travels aboard Pacific-traveling cargo ships; several of her self-published children's books; and compilations of her cartoons from The Meadowlark, a newsletter published by Carolina Meadows, a retirement community in Chapel Hill, N.C. Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.
Subsequent additions include materials relating to McMahan's termite research; book illustrations; her early life, including school materials and World War II ephemera; and personal correspondence with friends and relatives. Also includes a memorial tribute to her.
- Collection Number
- Elizabeth A. McMahan papers
- 1926-2010 and undated
- McMahan, Elizabeth A.
- 16.4 Linear Feet, 9105 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Accession 2003-0128
- Accession (2003-0270), 1926-2008
- Accession (2004-0334), 1972-2004
- Accession (2006-0012), 1940-2006
- Accession (2006-0034), 1967-2005
- Accession (2007-0016), 1999-2006
- Accession (2007-0076), 1934-2006
- Accession (2007-0203), 1950-2007
- Accession (2008-0264), 2007-2008
- Accessions (2009-0203 and 2009-0206)
- Accession (2009-0222)
- Accession (2010-0132)
- Accession (2011-0124)
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Elizabeth A. McMahan Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
[Technical Services staff may need to reformat brittle paper before use.]
[Attention: Contains rusty fasteners.]
[Technical Services staff may need to reformat newsprint and brittle paper before use.]
[Technical Services staff need to format for use copies of video tape before use.]
[Attention: Contains pictorial material.]
Includes letters and hand-made birthday cards to J.B. Rhine. Also contains letters to family from Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.
Includes original artwork, newspaper, and magazine clippings.
[Technical Services staff may need to process materials in envelopes before use.]
Addition consists of McMahan's artwork, correspondence (including with friend and colleague Howard T. Odum), photographs, journals, diplomas, and other ephemera.
Addition comprises correspondence, field notes, journals, and sketch books related to McMahan's termite research. Also includes newsletters, photographs, certificates, and awards.
Addition comprises primarily original illustrations by McMahan. Also includes correspondence, children's stories, cartoons, a sketchbook, postcards, poetry, lecture notes, travel journals, clippings and one VHS tape containing an interview with McMahan held in 2004.
Addition comprises primarily correspondence written by McMahan to Burke Smith; 6 photographs; clippings; and sketches of cartoons by the donor.
Addition (2009-0203) (100 items; 0.4 lin. ft.; dated 1946-1987) includes a Thematic Apperception Test, Duke parapsychology lab communications, color slides of Duke's campus (1957), UNC Department of Zoology correspondence, materials on Donald Costello and Burke Smith, and miscellaneous materials from McMahan's retirement in 1987. Addition (2009-0206) (1 item; 0.2 lin. ft.; dated 1950s-1960s) consists of a photo album with unlabelled photographs of the J.B. Rhine family and the Duke parapsychology laboratory.
Includes Department of Zoology correspondence, 1960s, and Nixon Library correspondence, 1981.
Addition (2009-0222) (700 items; 1.2 lin. ft.) includes subject files, correspondence, and other materials from McMahan's retirement. Subjects include Jamaica, freighter travel, UNC's Zoology Department, etc. Box 2 of this material is housed with Acc. 2010-0132.
Addition (2010-0132) (29 items; 0.1 lin. ft.; dated 1985-2009 and undated) contains flyers and email from the UNC biology dept. and library; McMahan's obituaries and memorial program; two articles she published on the Assassin bug;, newspaper clippings on her work; and copies of her cartoon works, including two of her children's books.
Addition (2011-0124) (2 items, 0.1 lin. ft.; dated 2010) comprises a journal copy of SOCIOBIOLOGY (2010 Vol. 56, no. 1) containing a memorial tribute to McMahan, along with a reprint of the piece.
Entomologist (termite biology), psychologist, cartoonist, writer of children's books, and ocean traveler. McMahan is credited with 59 publications, many under the name E. A. McMahan, including 11 children's books.
Born, Davie County, N.C.
A.B., Duke University, Major in Psychology
M.A. in Psychology, Duke University
Research Assistant, Parapsychology Laboratory, Duke University. Close friend of Rhine family.
Ph.D, Entomology, University of Hawaii
Post-doctoral work, Zoology, University of Chicago
Professor, Department of Biology, UNC-Chapel Hill. Received outstanding teaching award in 1970.
Peace Corps, College of Agriculture, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Received North Carolina Entomological Society's Award of Excellence for contributions to entomology.
Retired to Carolina Meadows, a retirement community in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Died, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- McMahan, Elizabeth A. -- Travel
- McMahan, Elizabeth A.
- McMahan, Elizabeth A.
- Rhine, J. B. (Joseph Banks), 1895-1980
- Wheeler, J. Craig
- Books and reading
- Caricatures and cartoons
- Cargo ships -- Passenger traffic
- Children's literature
- Duke University -- Alumni and alumnae
- Entomologists -- North Carolina
- Ocean travel
- Parapsychology and science
- Psychometry (Parapsychology)
- Pacific Ocean -- Description and travel
- Self-publishing -- United States
The Elizabeth A. McMahan Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2003-2011.
Processed by Stacey Clark
Completed September 30, 2003
Encoded by Stacey Clark, Elizabeth Arnold
Finding aid updated by Meghan Lyon, 2008 and 2009
Finding aid updated by Alice Poffinberger, 2010, 2011
This collection is unprocessed: materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.