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CULANTH 347: University as Culture

Want $1000 for your research paper?

Submit it for consideration for the Chester P. Middlesworth Awards! 

To be eligible, your paper must be based on primary sources held by the Rubenstein Library.

Welcome to the University Archives!

Felt Blue Devil doll made by Steiff, ca. 1953-1954. The doll is worn and straw stuffing can be seen poking through holes in his clothingThe Duke University Archives is the part of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library that collects documentation about Duke University--and we define "documentation" broadly, including photos, videos, posters, scrapbooks, social media and websites, and even creepy Blue Devil dolls from the 1950s. Anyone in the Duke community--including students (and student groups), staff, alumni, faculty, administrators, and trustees--can have their Duke experiences represented in the University Archives.

I (Amy McDonald; email me) am here to help you understand and research with University Archives collections. During this pandemic, access to the Rubenstein Library reading room--where research with UA materials happens--is a little different; you can read more about how things are working here.

The main idea is that as we discuss your research, I'll help you first locate already-digitized archival materials (like the Chronicle) or archival materials that Rubenstein Library staff could easily digitize for you. If there's a lot of material that you need to look at (i.e., it's more than we can digitize), we'll talk about planning a reading room visit.


Searching Digitized Issues of the Duke Chronicle (1905-2000)

The full text of articles from 1994 to the present is available for searching on the Chronicle's own website. The Chronicle's website won't show ads that appeared in the newspaper, and photos accompanying articles may only be included in recent years

The University Archives has digitized issues of the Chronicle dating from 1905 to May 2000! There are two ways to search these issues: by date and by a full-text keyword search.

Searching the Chronicle by date: start here!

              A screencap pointing out the location of the date range slider on the website for the digitized issues of the Chronicle.

You can limit your search to the issues from a single year, decade, etc., and browse through them in chronological order.

Searching the Chronicle by keyword(s): start here!

The simple search box (purple arrow) is great for searching single keywords, fairly unique last names, etc. Or click on the "Advanced Search" link (green arrow).


The "Advanced Search" is your best option if you want to search for more complex keyword phrases, like full names or the names of student organizations, campus offices, academic programs, etc. Make sure to select "Exact phrase" from the dropdown box of search options at the right.


Searching for Archival Collections

The University Archives' archival collections gather and organize original, contemporaneous documentation from campus offices, student organizations, individuals, and more. Here's a couple of key things to know about archival collections:

  1. Collections are organized by creator: all of the President's records are kept together, all of Duke Dining's records are kept together, all of Diya's records are kept together. If you'd like to browse University Archives collections by campus office, organization, etc., you can do that here
  2. Archival collections can be big! We have many that are over 100 boxes. (You can see a photo of one of our rows of shelves here.) To spare you looking through 100+ boxes, archivists create collection guides, which are basically inventories of the contents of a collection. You can search through the collection guides of all of the University Archives collections from the Rubenstein Library's homepage. Below, you'll find an example of what a search on a student group's name might look like--you can also try keywords, people's names, the titles of campus reports, and so on!