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Guide to the Alvin T. Parnell photographs of Durham, North Carolina, circa 1898-1986, bulk 1910-1960

Summary

Alvin T. Parnell was a commercial photographer based in Durham, N.C. Collection chiefly consists of 167 black-and-white photographs of the city and people of Durham, North Carolina. The majority, chiefly taken by Parnell from 1920 through the 1950s, are views of downtown streets, commercial and industrial buildings, churches, and infrastructure, especially transportation. Many sites are related to the tobacco manufacturing businesses based in Durham. A few are of African American tobacco workers posed in the field and female factory workers ending their shift. Other images range widely and include a Trinity College (later Duke University) reunion, war veterans at gatherings, a minstrel band, a cart advertising Bull Durham tobacco, and tobacco fields with posed workers, white and African American. In addition, there are portraits of prominent Durham individuals and families. Formats include 85 vintage and modern gelatin silver prints, chiefly 8x10 inches, 82 contact prints, and 12 safety negatives. Includes an information folder with 1986 obituary and collection information.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11373
Title
Alvin T. Parnell photographs of Durham, North Carolina
Date
circa 1898-1986
Creator
Parnell, Alvin T.
Extent
1.5 Linear Feet, 2 boxes; 183 items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English.

Collection Overview

Content Description

Collection comprises 167 early to mid-20th century black-and-white photographs of the city and people of Durham, North Carolina. The majority of the images were taken by Alvin T. Parnell, a commercial photographer with a studio in downtown Durham, from about 1920 to 1950; prints from 1898 to 1919 likely were from the Cole-Holladay studio, which Parnell took over around 1920. Formats include a few vintage mounted albumen and gelatin silver prints, unmounted vintage and modern gelatin silver prints, and small contact prints made from original nitrate negatives. There are also twelve safety film negatives present, from which some copy prints were made. Includes an information folder with Parnell's 1986 obituary and collection information.

The largest group of photographs, taken from the late 1910s through the early 1950s, features views of Durham's growing downtown, often commissioned by Parnell's business and City Hall clients. In the background of the many street scenes one can see the progression of small storefront businesses that made up life on Main Street in a 20th century Southern Piedmont city. Given Durham's role as a birthplace for the post-Civil War tobacco manufacturing industry, it is not surprising that there are numerous photographs of buildings and industrial sites belonging to American Tobacco, Blackwell Tobacco, and Liggett Myers. Parnell also photographed buses, trolleys, and other scenes for an early Durham power and transportation company, Durham Public Services.

Other images focus on people, and range widely in subject matter: men posed at a Trinity College (later Duke University) reunion, war veterans at gatherings, fraternities, children on a playground, and a minstrel band. A few are of African American tobacco workers posed in the field and female factory workers ending their shift. There are also portraits of prominent individuals and families: an elderly Bennehan Cameron with family members; John Ruffin Green (one of Durham's earliest tobacco entrepreneurs); Washington Duke and sons with associates at a barbeque; the Rosenstein family (optometrists from New York who came to Durham in 1904); William Umstead (U.S. Senator from northern Durham County); and various police chiefs and businessmen. There are also a few portraits of women, some with captions and some unidentified.

There are also twelve safety film negatives in the collection, sized 8x10 and 4x5 inches, from which a selection of copy prints were made after the collection was acquired. A few have no existing prints – these are noted in the collection guide.

In addition to photographs in this collection, some if not most of the earlier images of Durham in the Durham Chamber of Commerce collection in the Rubenstein Library are likely to have been taken by Parnell. His work is also likely to be found in other collections related to Durham residents containing photographs.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

Arranged in three series: Photographs, Contact Prints, and Negatives. The photographs are arranged in three groupings: places, people, and a few miscellaneous images; and in rough chronological order within.

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research. Original negatives are closed to general use; access only by permission of the Archive of Documentary Arts Curator. Viewing copies may be made for access to content.

warning 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.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Alvin T. Parnell photographs of Durham, North Carolina, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Photographs, circa 1898-1950s

85 items

Eight-five photographs make up the series, all black-and-white gelatin silver prints ranging in size from about 4x5 to 8x10 inches, with the great majority in the latter size category. There are also three larger prints roughly 11x14 inches. About a third are vintage prints, with the rest being modern copy prints made from negatives or contact prints. Many thus have a corresponding duplicate in the contact prints series, and though smaller, some contacts offer lighter, clearer images. There are a number of contact prints whose images are not found in the Photographs series. There are also images present in the Negatives series without a corresponding positive print in the collection.

Because Parnell took over the Cole-Holladay studio around 1919 or 1920, there are some pre-1919 prints that originated from Holladay; prints taken after 1920 were the Parnell studio's work. Credit for the Bennett place photograph has been given by the Library of Congress to a John Chapman Michie; it is not known how the print came to be in the Parnell's collection.

Written on the backs of the vintage prints are various captions and other remarks in Parnell's hand, and sometimes reproduction and layout markings, probably for use in the local newspaper. A few are signed by Parnell, or marked with his studio stamp.

The prints are in numerical order as assigned by library staff, in rough chronological order within subseries. Descriptions of subject content are found in the subseries notes and individual entries for each photograph.

Prints were formerly in random order; they have been organized into three series: Places, Transportation, People, and Other.

Places, circa 1910-1950s

47 items

These 47 images begin with one of the city of Durham's earliest sites, with the Bennitt farmstead - site of the largest Civil War surrender - photographed around 1904. Subsequent images chiefly document the 1910s and 1920s, as Durham grew into a busy manufacturing center based almost exclusively on the tobacco industry.

Because of Alvin Parnell's preference for outdoor work and his many commissions from city merchants, the photographs capture in great detail downtown development, doucmenting nearly every major commercial landmark and church in the town, as well as some of its most significant residences. Along the way, Parnell's lens also documented the passersby, traffic, storefronts, and advertising of those early decades.

All of the images are in black-and-white, and about half are modern copy prints made sometime in the 1980s from the original negatives or contact prints. The rest are vintage gelatin silver prints. When Parnell took over the Cole-Holladay studio around 1919 or 1920, following his World War I service, he inherited some pre-1919 prints that originated from the earlier studio (where he was also apprenticed before 1919).

Bennett [Bennitt] farm buildings and tree, Hillsborough Road, original image by John Chapman Michie (?), circa 1904

These buildings were gone by 1921. On back of print: "Parnell Studio, Al. Parnell, Photographer, 209 1/2 W. Main St...copyright secured." Library of Congress copy negative catalog record gives photographer's name as John Chapman Michie, circa 1904.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0001
Durham Loan and Trust building, W. Main St., before 1910

Electricity poles present in a 1910 photograph of Trust Building and new Post Office are absent in this image. One of two copies.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0002
Durham Loan and Trust building, W. Main St., before 1910

Duplicate.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0003
Temple Building, 302 W. Main St., headquarters for Home Savings Loan, Elks, and Odd Fellows, circa 1916
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0004
Four Acres, Benjamin N. Duke's residence, seen from the rear, circa 1920
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0005
Trinity Church, downtown Durham, before 1923

Building burned in January 1923.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0006
Bennett Place, Hillsborough Road, before 1923

Commemoration or other ceremony, with a large crowd; a single surviving chimney of Bennett farm is visible in background. A columned memorial was erected on the site in 1923.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0007
Bennett Place Unity monument, Hillsborough Road, after 1923

Memorial to Civil War surrender was erected in 1923.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0008
Bennett Place Unity monument, Hillsborough Road, after 1923
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0009
Five Points Drug Co., front view, with men informally posed in front, 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0010
Five Points Drug Co., 1920s (duplicate, reversed)
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0011
Five Points Drug Co., 1920s (duplicate, reversed)
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0012
Five Points Drug Co., 1920s, enlargement

Enlargement showing detail of front of building.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0013
Central downtown, 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0014
Jordan Building, West Main St., with Sears Roebuck, Rosenstein's clothing, and Lipscomb-Gattis, 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0015
Masonic Building, later known as Eligibility Building, East Main St., after 1924

Housed several organizations, including Elks and Freemasons.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0016
Downtown, white men in suits and African American workers standing on truck behind brick buildings, with pile of cartons on ground marked "Chesterfield," circa 1920
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0017
Paschall Bakery buildings, Duke and Morgan Sts., after 1924
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0018
Bull-drawn wagon at curbside, hung with advertising placards, and announcement of "Man Buried Alive" show for "Benefit Community Relief Committee," circa 1920

Original print.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0019
Bull-drawn wagon at curbside, hung with advertising placards, and announcement of "Man Buried Alive" show for "Benefit Community Relief Committee," circa 1920

Modern copy print.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0020
Jourdan Transfer Company trucks and African American and white workers, back of buildings on Main St. (?), circa 1920
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0021
West Main St. (?), 100 block, with Jourdan Transfer Company, 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0022
Hackney Block buildings, with Plaza Café and drugstore, 1925 April 5

Date from paper slip.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0023
West Main St., with Whelan Drugstore, Tipton's, late 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0024
Durham Ice Cream building, Duke Street (?), 1920s

"Durham Ice Cream" written on back of print.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0025
The Salvation Army Citadel, Morris St., early 1920s

Information from paper slip.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0026
H. M Kramer Tobacco Company Wholesale, Holland St., 1920s

Now Holland Alley.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0027
Durham County Courthouse, second iteration, E. Main St., early 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0028
E.H. and M.V. Wholesale Millers building on fire, Peabody St., after 1924
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0029
Corner of Hunt and Mangum Streets, 1928 January 20
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0030
Durham Morning Herald buildings, Market St., probably 1929

The Durham Morning Herald acquired the Durham Sun in 1929. The buildings were demolished in 1930.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0031
Unidentified Art Deco building, Main St. (?), with Christmas light decorations, 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0032
Two Lakewood/Mangum Streets buses stop for passengers on W. Main St., looking west, with Salvation Army and Elliott Furniture Company buildings in background, circa 1920

Note poster advertising a Charlie Chaplin movie. Print is very dark; contact print offers a lighter, clearer image.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0033
Garage, power plant, downtown, unknown street, circa 1920

Dark print; contact print, if present in collection, may be clearer.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0034
Old-style stoplight and directional signs for cities, unknown intersection, circa 1920
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0035
Aerial view of large complex of low tobacco warehouses, Broad St. Extension, with farms surrounding it and Durham in distance, circa late 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0036
Unidentified large one-story warehouse, with long line of chauffeurs and cars waiting in front, late 1920s

May be warehouse complex on Broad St. Extension, north Durham.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0037
Unidentified large brick building, Durham, with ivy on it, 1926?

On back of print: "Holladay 26."

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0038
Beavers and Montgomery Standard Oil service station with tiled roof, Mangum and Chapel Hill Sts., 1925 July 25

Information from paper slip.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0039
Standard Oil service station with tiled roof, from further away, with "--Ty Transfer Co.," and "Happy Feed Store," unknown location in Durham, 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0040
Carolina Theater (Durham Auditorium), Morgan St., 1930
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0041
Aerial view of Four Acres, Duke Memorial Methodist Church, West Chapel Hill St., 1930s?
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0042
Fayetteville St. bus stopped at the Liggett and Myers factory at a shift change, women workers and Fire Station #2 are visible, circa 1930
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0043
Lucky Strike tower and American Tobacco complex, additional construction completion, circa 1930
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0044
Looking west-northwest down Seminary St. towards the Roycroft Warehouse tobacco auction complex on Rigsbee, 1940s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0045
Durham aerial view by Charles Doherty of Greensboro, 1930s?
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0046
Durham aerial view, 1930s?
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0047
Durham County Courthouse, second iteration, E. Main St., early 1920s

Larger, lighter version of smaller print in collection, sized 9 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches.

Box 2
Image RL-11373-P-0086
View of Durham downtown, looking south, 1920s

Visible in background are the American Tobacco complex and the Blackwell Old Bull building. On back of print: "looking S by E from hotel / Uptown [banking?] district." 9 1/4 x 12 1/2 inches.

Box 2
Image RL-11373-P-0087

Transportation, 1920s

11 items

Parnell received a commission from an early Durham utility and transportation company, Durham Public Services (DPS), to photograph their fleets of vehicles and city power and transportation infrastructure. Thus, these 11 images chiefly show DPS trolleys, ice trucks, and buses parked at the car barn and on city streets. A few include people: conductors and DPS officials posing by a bus, and passengers getting on or off a trolley. One image is of the Gulf Refining Company property in 1925, with a group of three tanker trucks. Another 1920s photograph is of Durham's Alexander Motor Company's display of new Ford models at a trade show.

Durham Public Service work truck No. 3 on an unpaved city street, late 1910s or early 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0048
Hospital and Country Club trolley car near car barn, E. Main St., before 1930
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0049
Close-up of Hospital and Country Club trolley car near car barn, E. Main St., before 1930
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0050
Hope Valley line bus with conductors and men in suits posing in front, Five Points/Main St., late 1920s

Second-story shops visible in background: C.D. Kenny Co., Warrenetta Hair Shop; Durham Art Shop; Bluefield Coal and Coke Co.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0051
City trolley with advertisement for a show at City Auditorium, picking up passengers, unknown location, 1920s

One of two copies. Very dark prints; contact print offers a lighter and clearer image.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0052
City trolley with advertisement for a show at City Auditorium, picking up passengers, unknown location, 1920s (duplicate)
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0053
Line of eight Durham Public Service buses, seen from front angle, parked on East Main with Carpenter Motor Co. in background, late 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0054
Line of eight Durham Public Service buses, seen from rear angle, parked on East Main, late 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0055
Lakewood Park bus, parked on side of wide street, unknown location, late 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0056
Gulf Refining Company, three tanker trucks parked in industrial location, water tower in distance, 1925 May 30

Information from paper slip.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0057
Alexander Motor Company, Ford automobile showcase at trade show or fair, circa 1920

Printed on heavy fabric-backed photographic paper.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0084

People, circa 1898-1940s

25 items

The earliest photograph in the collection is housed in this series; taken in 1898, it shows a group of young women belonging to the Trinity Church Sunday School class. After another early image of prominent citizen Julian Shakespeare Carr reviewing Confederate veterans in front of the Carrolina Hotel, circa 1903, the rest of the photographs date chiefly from the 1920s through the 1940s, and show Durham citizens in both casual and posed settings.

Subjects range widely, and include: children playing in an early playground field across from two tobacco warehouses; the dark interior of a bank with customer and tellers; two scenes from a Trinity College reunion; a large musical band advertising a minstrel show, a group of World War I veterans; and portraits of Bennehan Cameron as an elderly man, John Ruffin Green (one of Durham's earliest tobacco entrepreneurs), the Rosenstein family (early Durham optometrists), and several men affiliated with the Durham Police Department. Some are photographs of portraits. Only a few individuals are unidentified.

Two of the photographs are film or television stills: one was labeled as a scene from the 1925 movie "Durham's Hero," filmed in the city (there are several contact prints from this same movie), and one is from an unidentified set featuring a scene in a Mexican-style cantina from about the early 1940s.

Trinity Church Sunday School class, circa 1898

All young women; names include: Whitaker, Bradsher, Ella Peay, Daisy Cox, Mary Cole. Albumen on card mount.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0058
Julian Carr reviewing his Confederate regiment in front of Carolina Hotel, circa 1903
(4 items)

Three modern copies. Original is in Durham Chamber of Commerce collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0059
Children on playground field across from two tobacco warehouses, circa 1920

Stamped on photo: "Halladay Studio, Durham N.C." (Holladay is mis-spelled.)

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0060
Portrait of Abraham Rosenstein and family, early optometrist, circa 1920

Information from caption on back of print: 25th wedding anniversary photo of Mr. and Mrs. Rosenstein, with four children, left to right: Florence, Ricky Ray, Eva, and Abraham Jr.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0061
Interior of bank [?], with male customer and two female tellers, 1920s

Bank manager can be seen in background through open office door.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0062
Large "Traveling Men's Minstrel Band," posed in front of Shepherd Furniture Co. in downtown Durham, 1922 April 17

Screatched into negative is "Parnell, Durham, NC, 4-17-22."

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0063
Portrait of Bennehan Cameron (d. 1925), with three others, likely daughter and son-in-laws, early 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0064
Eleven men from Trinity College class of 1896 at a reunion, 1926?
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0065
Trinity College classes of 1901 and 1906 posed in front of sign, "Plaza of Year, Reunion Class Headquarters," 1926?
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0066
Portrait of Duke May Queen Beryl Jones and her attendant, Marie Tyler, 1928

On back of print: "Miss Jones later married Dr. Runyon Tyler of Durham and Miss Tyler, Mr. Lindsey Gudger of Asheville."

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0067
Dougherty Men's Fraternity, 13 men posted in group, May 10, 1939

On back of print: "May 10 1939, Durham Public Services, Vandiner" [?].

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0068
[Works Progress Administration?] Posed portrait of group of men in similar khaki-style uniforms, 1930s?

Shirt fronts have stamped letters "W," "P," and perhaps an "A," in various combinations.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0069
Portrait of William Umstead (1895-1954), U.S. Senator from Bahama, 1930s?
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0070
Portrait of man reportedly affiliated with Police Department, "Dillard," 1930s?
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0071
Portrait of "Mr. Wilson," man in uniform, reportedly affiliated with Police Department, 1939

Date and name from back of print.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0072
Studio portrait of Charlotte Ford, unretouched proof, damaged, late 1930s?

Possibly a high school portrait of daughter of Walter S. Ford, Durham.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0073
Portrait of Mrs. E. Griffin, early 1940s?
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0074
Portrait of Victor Bryant, 1930s?

Probably Victor Bryant Jr., prominent attorney and son of Durham lawyer and city attorney Victor Bryant.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0075
Portrait of Durham Police Chief H. E. King, circa 1940
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0076
Portrait of unidentified bride, 1920s
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0077
World War I veterans of the American Legion at a ceremony at Convention Center, Raleigh, N.C.

Caption from back of print.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0078
Six unidentified women posed around a buffet table with punch bowl, 1940s?
Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0079
Young man and woman at elaborate trade show booth for American Tobacco Company, 1925 February 28

Paper slip found with contact print reads: "2-28-25 / Durham Morning Herald's movie. / Durham's Hero? / Stills for Mr. Newland." Notes were taken by library staff from original negative sleeves.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0080
Still from unidentified movie or tv set featuring a Mexican-style "cantina," with four unidentified actors performing a scene, early 1940s?

Two large cameras are visible on left and right frame edges; they appear to be television cameras. The actors are three men (one may be Latino), two in Mexican-style dress, and one woman of color also in Mexican-style dress.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0081
Large dinner gathering (approx. 800 people), unknown location, 1940s

British flag along with U.S. flag may indicate a World War II-related event. 9 x 14 inches.

Box 2
Image RL-11373-P-0085

Other Images, 1920s

2 items

Two images of a large and elaborate secretary desk by Wooton Desk Manufacturing Company.

Carved cabinet secretary or postal desk, by Wooton Desk Manufacturing Company, swinging doors open, circa 1920s

Wooton Desk Manufacturing, based in Indianapolis, went out of business around 1884. Printed on heavy fabric-backed photographic paper.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0082
Carved cabinet secretary or postal desk, by Wooton Desk Manufacturing Company, swinging doors closed, circa 1920s

Printed on heavy fabric-backed photographic paper.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-P-0083

2. Contact Prints, circa 1910-1961

82 items

Sometime in the 1980s, library staff had 82 small contact prints printed from Parnell's nitrate negatives, which were then discarded. Many are duplicates of larger prints in the photographs series, but there are also images not found elsewhere in the collection. Captions and dates accompany about half of them, copied from their original sleeves. Arranged in numerical order applied by library staff.

Prints 1-20
(20 items)
Box 1
Prints 21-40
(20 items)
Box 1
Prints 41-60
(20 items)
Box 1
Prints 61-82
(22 items)
Box 1

3. Negatives, circa 1902-1950s

12 items

Safety negatives on sheet film in 8x10 and 4x5 inch sizes. Some have prints already in collection; some are without accompanying prints. These are noted in the item listings.

Original negative are closed to general use; access only by permission of Rubenstein staff. Some copy prints are available. Please contact the Rubenstein Library before coming to use these materials.

Amoco gas station on unidentified wide city street, early 1950s

No print in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0001
Walker's Esso and a Texaco gas station, Holloway and Miami, looking east, early 1950s

No print in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0002
Walker's Esso gas station, looking west down Holloway St., early 1950s

No print in collection. One of two copies.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0003
Walker's Esso gas station, looking west down Holloway St., early 1950s

No print in collection. Copy of previous negative 0003, same frame.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0004
Walker's Esso and a Texaco gas stations, Holloway, looking east, with Moose Lodge in right foreground, early 1950s

Also visible is advertising billboard for Kenan Oil Company. No print in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0005
Walker's Esso gas station, another view, looking west down Holloway St., early 1950s

No print in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0006
Ellis, Stone & Co. dry goods store, horse-drawn wagon with two women in driver's seat and store window in background (Main St.?), circa 1905

The store was located at 109 W. Main St. No print in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0007
Washington Duke and sons with associates at barbecue in Erwin, N.C. (then known as Duke), group portrait, circa 1902-1904

From print also in Duke University Archives: front row, L to R: B.N. Duke, Washington Duke, J.B. Duke, T.J. Walker, A.B. Carrington, J.S. Cobb, and John Angier. Back row, L to R: Dr. A.G. Carr, W.A. Erwin, J. E. Stagg, Frank Tate, E.S. Yarbrough, Captain Lemon, and F.L. Fuller. No print in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0008
John R. (Ruffin) Green (1840-1869) (photograph of portrait), undated

No print in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0009
Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Victor Bryant [Jr.?]

No print in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0010
Portraits of [George] Watts Carr, Jr. (1918-2006), circa 1936

High school portraits? Two takes on one negative sheet. No print in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0011
Trinity Church, downtown Durham, before 1923

Print is present in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0012
Hospital and Country Club trolley near car barn, E. Main St., before 1930

Print is present in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0013
Old-style stoplight and pole with directional signs for cities, unknown intersection, circa 1920

Print is present in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0014
Five Points Drug Company, 1920s

Print is present in collection.

Box 1
Image RL-11373-N-0015
 

Historical Note

Alvin Talmadge Parnell (1899-1986) was born in Horry County, South Carolina. He became an apprentice in the Walter Holladay photography studio in Durham, N.C., located on Main Street (often spelled Halladay or Holloday). When he returned from World War I service, he took over the Holladay studio from a Mr. Ramsey, and operated it under his name until the 1950s, when he left Durham to live in Lumberton, N.C. His wife took over the business, renaming it the Overton-Parnell Studio. It is likely that in addition to providing photographs for business clients, Parnell also acted as photographer for Durham City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, and local newspapers. Parnell died in 1986 and is buried in Lumberton.

Separated Material

Separated Materials

After contact prints were made at acquisition, nitrate negatives were discarded.

Related Material


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The Alvin T. Parnell photographs of Durham, North Carolina were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 1975.

Processing Information

Processed by Paula Jeannet, Justin Baez, and Ben Saalfeld, March 2017.

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 1975-0001.