Skip to main content
Access Collections

Finding Collections

Catalog Search: All materials acquired by the Franklin Researech Center are tagged as the collecting repository in the Duke University Library's online catalog. Researchers are encouraged to search the Rubenstein Library catalog to search the print and archival collections more broadly for additional materials outside of the Franklin Research Center.

Digital Collections: Some collections materials related to Black history and culture have been digitzed and are available in the Duke Digital Collections.

Digital Timeline: Selected collections created by people of African descent in the United States can be browsed chronologically through these digital timelines:


Register and Request Materials

Register as a researcher and request materials online before visiting the Rubenstein Library Reading Room.

The John Hope Franklin Research Center was founded in 1995 as a repository focused on collecting primary sources documenting the history and culture of Africa and people of African descent in the Americas. The center's collections are housed in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library and build upon the library's history of directly and indirectly acquiring materials related to the Black experience which began in the 1920s and 1930s.

Nearly four centuries of the Black experience are documented in a range of formats including:

  • Manuscripts (published and unpublished personal, family and organizational papers)
  • Ephemera
  • Visual Materials (photography and film)
  • Oral Histories
  • Print Culture (rare books, pamphlets, newspapers, serials, and published works)

Research Guides

These research guides highlight the print, manuscript, and multimedia collections in the Franklin Research Center and broader Rubenstein Library holdings. These guides are representative of particular subject areas of strength but are not comprehensive listings of all our collections.

Guide to Resources on African History and Culture in the Rubenstein Library



Newspapers and Serials



Guide to African American History Manuscript Collections in the Rubenstein Library 

African American Genealogy

African Americans and Military Service 

African American Women 

Black Intellectual/Scholar Papers

Black Life in the Bull City: African Americans in Durham 

Black Voices: African American Autobiography and Biography 

Civil Rights/Social Justice

Colonial and Antebellum Records

Family Papers


Oral Histories


Popular Culture (Film, Theatre, Music and Iconography)

Racial Violence

Religion/Sacred Rites