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Durham and Local History: Finding Primary Sources

General guides to materials on Durham


The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library contains many resources on Durham beginning in the 19th century. For example,

To identify other collections, search the Library catalog


City Directories and Telephone Books

The Perkins Library System  has telephone directories and city directories throughout the twentieth century.  Ask at the Perkins Research Services Desk.


  • DigitalNC
    Online home for materials presented by the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.
  • Open Durham
    An archive/inventory of information about people, places, and history in Durham, NC. It grew out of the blog "Endangered Durham."
  • Durham Civil Rights Heritage Project
    The project's main focus has been to collect photographs depicting the movement in Durham. Oral histories of Durham's civil rights era have also been gathered by the project.
  • Digital Durham
    Provides a wide range of manuscript and printed materials from the 1870s through the 1920s with which to investigate the economic, social, cultural, and political history of post-bellum Durham.