Guide to the Woman's College Library records, 1930-1994, bulk 1930-1970.


The Woman's College Library dates from the 1927 construction of the Woman's College campus. During the three years required to build the library on West Campus, this was the library for the entire university. In 1930 the Woman's College Library opened officially with a collection of 4,000 books. The collection contains material pertaining to the operations of the Woman's College Library including clippings, correspondence, and periodical subscriptions. The major topic in the collection is art exhibits. Materials date from 1930-1994, bulk 1930-1970.

Collection Details

Record Group
Woman's College Library records
1930-1994, bulk 1930-1970.
Duke University. Woman’s College. Library
1 Linear Feet, 1,000 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

Collection contains material pertaining to the operations of the Woman's College Library including clippings, correspondence, and periodical subscriptions. The major topic in the collection is art exhibits including: announcements of art exhibitions; booklets on works of art; biographical sketches of artists; and schedules of exhibitions. Materials date from 1930-1994, bulk 1930-1970.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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 »

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Collection is open for research.

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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], Woman's College Library Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Container List

2 boxes
Clippings, 1935-1983, bulk 1978-1979
Box 1
Correspondence, General, 1936-1951
Box 1
Correspondence, Martins Nijhoff Modern and Antiquarian Bookseller, 1939-1940
Box 1
Correspondence, Joseph Ruzicka Bookbinder, Greensboro, NC 1941-1951
Box 1
General, 1934-1978

The General folder includes the Woman College's Library buying policy, proposed budgets, correspondence, committee records, study guides for students, and a student paper (1971) examining the operations of the Woman's College Library.

Box 1
Joseph Ruzicka, Price Quotations for binding, 1947-1960
Box 1
Periodicals, subscription binding, 1949-1970
Box 1
Periodical Subscriptions Lists, 1930-1946 (2 folders)
Box 1
Periodical Selection, suggestions of committees, 1934-1940
Box 1
Periodicals, volumes needed for completion, 1946-1947
Box 1
Psychology Periodicals, 1936-1961
Box 1
Exhibits, 1930-1973 (7 folders)
Box 2
Library/Study Guides, 1957-1994
Box 2

Historical Note

from The Library of the Woman's College, Duke University, 1930-1972 by Betty Irene Young.

The Woman's College Library began its operations on September 24, 1930. Designed primarily for the new coordinate college, the new library on East Campus (completed in March 1927) served as the interim university library until 1930 when the main library on West Campus was completed. While serving as the main Duke library the future Woman's College Library housed over one hundred thousand volumes transferred from the previous library; a number that would more than double over the next three years as the collection grew to meet the demands of the developing university. When the main collection transferred over to West Campus in 1930 the number of volumes dramatically dwindled as the Woman's College Library was left with approximately 4,000 new books "selected with special reference to the needs of the Coordinate College for Women."

The first librarian of the Woman's College Library, Lillian Baker Griggs (1930-1949), believed that a college library should promote "the love of books and libraries in the heart of the average student to such an extent that a library will be necessary to a contented life." She began by making the library an inviting place citing a plan "to give the library certain distinctly feminine touches which have hitherto been lacking on campus." The Woman's College Library became known for its Booklover Room with its browsable collection, and informal atmosphere which later led the way to regular teas and evening talks by professors.

The librarians worked hard during the first couple of years to triple the holdings, and soon the collection numbered over twelve thousand. They also devised collection strengths in education, art, juvenile literature, literature, music, history, and psychology through both buying new material and recalling back volumes that had previously been transferred to the main library. Over the forty-two years that the coordinated college for women existed at Duke, art and the Woman's College Library became inextricably linked. Art objects were displayed throughout the building, and the library hosted numerous exhibitions.

In 1972 the Board of Trustees approved the merger of the Woman's College and Trinity College. The Woman's College Library became known as the East Campus Library. The library was renamed Lilly Library in 1990 in recognition of a generous gift from Miss Ruth Lilly. The library underwent extensive renovations in 1993, and today (2007) houses the collections for the visual arts, art history, philosophy, and theater studies, and has services geared especially to the first-year experience.

Related Material

  • Art Association Records, bulk 1930 - 1938. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • Arts Council Records, 1950 - 1970. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • Lillian Baker Griggs Papers, 1930-1949 (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • William R. Perkins Library of Duke University. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • Woman’s College records, 1928-1974. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • The Library of the Woman’s College, Duke University, 1930-1972. (University Archives, Duke University.)

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


The Woman's College Library records were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1966-1993.

Processing Information

Processed by Sherrie Bowser, December 2007

Encoded by Sherrie Bowser, December 2007

Accessions were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.