What we now call Duke University traces its origins back to Brown's Schoolhouse, opened in Randolph County in 1838. Duke has been through many iterations and a few locations (a notable move to Durham happened in 1892). On December 11, 1924, James B. Duke signs the indenture to create The Duke Endowment, which has contributed funding to Duke University. As a result of this, on December 29, 1924, the Trinity College Board of Trustees changed the name to Duke University.
1838: Brown's Schoolhouse begins in Randolph County
1839: Brown's Schoolhouse becomes Union Institute
1851: Union Institute becomes Normal College
1859: Normal College's name changes to Trinity College due to the affiliation with the Methodist Church
1892: Trinity College moves from Randolph County to Durham
1924: Trinity College becomes Duke University
This timeline comes from this larger timeline created by the University Archives.
What is the University Archives? The Duke University Archives identifies and preserves administrative, fiscal, historical and legal records that have enduring value for the Duke community and makes those records available in accordance with policies approved by the university's administration, board of trustees and faculty. We are located in the Rubenstein Library.
Some places to begin your search (other than this guide, of course):
The materials described in this guide may be used in the Rubenstein Library's reading room.
Please note that university administrative records are restricted for 25 years, except with written permission from the office that created the records. Board of Trustees records are restricted for 50 years, except with written permission from the Board of Trustees. Find more information about University Archives access policies.
This guide is designed to introduce researchers to resources on Duke University history, as a guide to doing research for the Centennial.
The information in this guide is separated into six sections. Please use the tabs at left to navigate to each section. Links to relevant digitized materials are included in each section.
After reviewing this guide, please contact a University Archives staff member if you need further assistance in locating additional resources.
The subject headings below will gather together Duke Libraries resources that may be relevant to your research. Clicking on these subject headings will search the entire Duke Libraries catalog.
To narrow the list of results to materials located in the Duke University Archives, select "University Archives" under the Location menu on the lefthand side of the page.