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Durham and Local History at the Rubenstein Library

This guide will help you research Durham history using primary source materials held at the Rubenstein Library

Manuscript Collections

Charles H. Lewis Scrapbooks, 1934-1948

Manager of the Carolina Theatre in Durham (Durham Co.), N.C. Three scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings advertising movies, stage shows, musicals, and dramas presented at the Carolina Theatre. 

Buck Roberts Papers, 1935-1965

Scripts, photographs, scrapbooks, correspondence, announcements, bills, clippings, playbills, and press releases, concerning Charles "Buck" Roberts' career as playwright in Durham, N.C. Scripts for the plays include: "The Dukes"; "The Last Place"; "A Lost Day is Hard to Find"; and "Tomorrow and Today." Scrapbooks contain photos of actors in the plays, clippings, playbills, and press releases. Many of the clippings and one of the scrapbooks concern the Triangle Repertory Theater, where many of the plays were produced, and the attempt to establish a permanent professional theater in Durham, N.C. 

Durham Theatre Guild Records, 1946-1994

Community theatre of Durham County, North Carolina. Established in 1947 and disbanded in 1994. The collection includes account books; tax and insurance records; board meeting minutes (dating from 1946-1994); scrapbooks and scrapbook files, arranged alphabetically (dating from 1950-1994); posters and handbills of the Durham Theatre Guild; audio and videocassettes; news clippings and photographs; and various ephemera, including buttons and t-shirts (dating from 1950-1993).

Catherine Nicholson Papers, 1897-2005 

Lesbian feminist writer and magazine publisher, resident of Durham, N.C.; co-founder of SINISTER WISDOM, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal. The Catherine Nicholson papers contain materials dating from 1897 to 2005, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1974 to 2005. Materials in the collection primarily document Nicholson's directing and theatre related activities, her work on Sinister Wisdom, and her membership in the group Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC).

Yusuf Salim Collection, circa 1982-1987

Yusuf Salim (1929-2008) was a jazz musician and composer who began his career in Baltimore in the 1940s. He moved to Durham, North Carolina in the 1970s where he taught jazz workshops through the Salaam Cultural Center and hosted a series on WUNC-TV. The collection contains manuscripts of 36 lead sheets for Salim's jazz compositions, a piece of prose by Salim, and a photocopy of an article about him from the Raleigh News and Observer.

Full Frame Archive Film Collection, 1998-2012

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is the largest film festival in the United States entirely devoted to documentary film. Originally the DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival, it is an international event dedicated to the theatrical exhibition of non-fiction cinema, held annually since 1998 in downtown Durham, North Carolina. The Full Frame Archive Film Collection comprises preservation masters of documentary films that won awards at the Full Frame Film Festival between 1998 and 2012.  In addition, there is a complete set of festival program books. 

Durham Traditional Arts Survey Project records, 2000-2002

The Durham Traditional Arts Survey was conducted in the early 2000s as part of the Document Durham project within the Community Programs department at the Center for Documentary Studies. Participants consisted of folklorists and photographers who traveled through Durham County, attempting to document the diversity of various communities by focusing on traditional artists within those communities. Durham communities and artists represented in the project include African American, African immigrants, Latino, Middle Eastern, Jewish, South Indian, and Asian, as well as occupational traditions and rural community traditions.