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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

Southgate Jones Family Papers (1794-2008)

Mattie Logan Southgate Jones was the president of the Durham Equal Suffrage League and Chair of the 5th District of the Equal Suffrage Association of NC.

Mary Cowper Papers (1895-1969)

Collection documents Cowper's life as an active suffragist and as instrumental in the formation and early years of the NC League of Women Voters.

Carolina Wren Press Records (1972-2004) 
Small press founded by Judy Hogan in Carrboro, NC. Includes the records of Lollipop Power, Inc. a collective in Chapel Hill during the 70s that published non-sexist, non-racist children's literature. Collective minutes, statement of purpose, lists of manuscript submission, and books. 

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).

Minnie Bruce Pratt Papers, 1870-2005

Award-winning poet, professor and activist; partner of transgender activist and author Leslie Feinberg. Pratt was actively involved in Feminary, an editorial collective based in Durham that published a local feminist newsletter that evolved into into the quarterly journal Feminary, as well as the group Triangle Area Lesbian Feminists (of Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh, NC) which published The Newsletter.

Mab Segrest Papers, 1967-2002

Author, teacher, feminist, gay activist, publisher, editor, and leader of various social justice and activist organizations. Segrest received her MA and PhD from Duke University in the late 1970s and during this time became active in lesbian-feminist political and cultural work in North Carolina and nationally. During her time in North Carolina, she was on the editorial board of Feminary, the feminist literary collective founded in the Triangle in 1969. She also worked with a group called North Carolinians against Racist and Religious Violence (NCRRV).

Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South Records,  1977-1990 

NGO founded in Greensboro, NC, in 1977, and now based in Durham, to provide support for women in ministry, persons of faith working for justice in the South, and religious organizations that address women's needs. Primarily printed material, correspondence, writings, clippings, account books, grant proposals, minutes, newsletters, photographs, audio tapes, filmstrips, and videocassette tapes. 17.8 linear ft.

Cookie Teer Papers (1971-2000)

Durham native and radical feminist. The collection dates primarily between 1983-1997, providing thorough documentation of the social, cultural, and political debates over pornography in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. She also co-founded Southern Sisters Bookstore, a Durham, N.C. bookstore "by, for, and about women." Materials related to her ownership of the Southern Sisters includes promotional materials, newsletters, events fliers, and calendars.

Miriam Slifkin Papers, 1961-1994

Miriam Slifkin was a feminist leader in Chapel Hill who was active from the 1960's-2000's. Slifkin founded the Chapel Hill chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. This collection contains NOW operational files including correspondence, newsletters, chapter organization records, speeches, fund raising, budget files, files on related organizations, and files related to sexual discrimination and sexual discrimination lawsuits. Other materials document the founding and early history of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.