Guide to the Quadrangle Pictures records, 1932-1991


Quadrangle Pictures, also informally known as Q.P, Quad Pics, and Quad Flix, formed in 1928 to screen films on campus. It quickly became the central source of campus entertainment. Materials in the collection range from 1932 to 1991 and include programs, printed matter, annual reports, financial statements, and advertising campaign materials.

Collection Details

Record Group
Quadrangle Pictures records
Duke University. Quadrangle Pictures
1.5 Linear Feet, 1000 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

Materials range from 1932 to 1991 and include subject files, arranged alphabetically, relating to the work and programming of Quadrangle Pictures. The files on advertising campaigns detail the types of advertising done for numerous Quad Pics events, including their annual birthday parties at which famous bands frequently played. These files describe visits by bands such as Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman. Also included are annual reports by manager Walter M. Upchurch, most of which date from the 1930s. Files of financial statements include budgets, film costs, and some attendance figures. The policies and procedures governing ushers, doormen, and other staff are well documented. Flyers, schedules, and programs including song programs of the organlogues and community sings held at Quadrangle Pictures events are also present.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

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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.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Quadrangle Pictures Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Advertising Campaign, Eight Birthday Party, 1936
Box 1
Advertising Campaign, Dean Hudson and His Orchestra, 1937
Box 1
Advertising Campaign, Ninth Birthday Party, 1937
Box 1
Advertising Campaign, Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra, 1938
Box 1
Advertising Campaign, "Trial by Jury", 1938
Box 1
Advertising Campaign, Tenth Birthday Party, 1938
Box 1
Advertising Campaign, The Graff Ballet, 1939
Box 1
Advertising Campaign, Eleventh Birthday Party, 1939
Box 1
Advertising Campaign, Thirteenth Birthday Party, 1941
Box 1
Annual Report, 1931-1932
Box 1
Annual Report, 1932-1933
Box 1
Annual Report, 1933-1934
Box 1
Articles, 1982-1986
Box 1
Community Sing, 1930s-1940
Box 1
Correspondence, 1947-1965
Box 1
Correspondence, 1969-1975
Box 1
Financial Statement, 1973-1974
Box 1
Financial Statement, 1974-1975
Box 1
Financial Statement, 1975-1976
Box 1
Financial Statement, 1976-1977
Box 1
Financial Statement, 1977-1978
Box 1
Financial Statement, 1978-1979
Box 1
Financial Statement, 1979-1980
Box 1
Financial Statement, 1980-1984
Box 1
Financial Statement, 1985-1986
Box 1
Historical Articles, 1986-1988
Box 1
Organ and Organlogues, 1936-1939
Box 1
Policies and Procedures, ca. 1939-1942
Box 1
Printed Matter, 1932-1949
Box 1
Printed Matter, 1950-1967
Box 1
Printed Matter, 1971-1991
Box 1
Schedules, 1971-1985,
Box 1
Schedules, Office of Cultural Affairs, 1981-1989
Box 1
Suggestions for Improvement, 1941-1942
Box 1
Summer Pictures, 1971-1985
Box 1

Historical Note

Quadrangle Pictures, also informally known as Q.P, Quad Pics, and Quad Flix, formed in 1928 to screen films on campus. It quickly became the central source of campus entertainment. Sponsored through the YMCA, it made annual reports to the University Motion Pictures Committee. Walter M. Upchurch, '31, who as a student originally began the film screenings, managed the program from 1931 to 1941.

The program encompassed much more than just films. In its early days, films would be accompanied by newsreels, cartoons, organ concerts, and community sings. On special occasions such as the annual birthday parties, entertainers such as Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman brought their musicians and singers to play. Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra even did a live CBS radio broadcast during the tenth birthday event.

In 1933, Upchurch, now also serving as Director of Student Activities, opened "A School of Movie Palace Operation," a non-credit course that allowed students to earn some money while learning the concepts of theater operation. At its height, Quadrangle Pictures had forty uniformed ushers, who marched, drilled, and memorized daily schedules. The "School" closed in 1941.

Page Auditorium was equipped with an organ used to lead organlogues and community sings. The program also sponsored a record lending library that provided to students a large selection of classical recordings. After World War II, there were significant changes in Quadrangle Pictures. Film screenings moved to the weekends, ushers lost their uniforms, and live performances ended. More of the entertainment programming on campus was organized by the Duke University Union, created in 1954.

Quadrangle Pictures became a staff-administered program of the Union, advised by the Duke Film Society, an independent group founded to encourage film appreciation. Screenings of films moved to the Griffith Theater in 1988. In 1991, administration of Quadrangle Pictures passed to Freewater Films, which shows popular films on weekends under the Quad Flix name.

Related Material

  • Division of Student Affairs. Office of Student Activities Records, 1939-1993 (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • Katherine M. Banham papers, 1910-1995 (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • Motion Pictures Committee, Duke University (small collections) (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • Walter M. Upchurch papers, 1927-1988 (University Archives, Duke University.)

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


The Quadrangle Pictures records were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1975-2000.

Processing Information

Processed by Alyssa Reichardt, October 2007

Encoded by Sherrie Bowser, October 2007

Accessions 75-81; A88-0012; A2000-63 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.