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Disability History at Duke University

"Care Webs as Resistance to Ableism"

Page from (In)Visible Covid-19 at Duke entitled Care Webs as Resistance to Ableism

Page entitled "Care Webs as Resistance to Ableism" from the (In)visible Covid-19 at Duke (2021) booklet from the Duke Disability Alliance Records.

Contact the Duke University Archives

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at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

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Using this Research Guide

This guide is designed to help begin research on the history of Disability at Duke using the collections of the Duke University Archives. For the parameters of this research guide, the focus is on physical impairments and forms of neurodivergence like learning disabilities and mental health conditions. It is not intended to be a comprehensive bibliography, though University Archives staff periodically review and update it as our collections expand.

The information in this guide is separated into five sections. Please use the tabs at the left to navigate to each section.

  • Secondary Sources: Research papers and publications. The resources here are specific to Duke (rather than, say, a general scholarly work about students with disabilities in US higher education).
  • Archival Collections: A selection of archival collections that are likely to be central to your research. This list isn't a substitute for a thorough catalog and collection guide database search, but these collections will probably become familiar territory.
  • Duke Publications: Key publications produced for Duke students, faculty, staff, and alumni, which provide excellent contemporaneous accounts of campus events and dialogues.
  • Photographs, Audio Records, & Film / Video This section gives you a general introduction to the photographic and audio-visual materials we have. While there are not specific collections related to Disability history at Duke, it will give you directions on how to search these materials.
  • Related Websites & Online Resources: A selection of Duke produced related websites and resources, student created projects related to Disability at Duke, and student groups and campus organizations. 
Potentially Harmful Language Warning: Please be advised that our collection guides and other catalog descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by original creators or former holders of the materials. We strive to place any outdated or offensive terminology in context. We recognize that we may not always make the right decision, and welcome feedback from all sources so we can listen, learn, and adjust our practices.

Accessing Duke University Archives Materials

The Duke University Archives, part of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, is the official repository for the historical records of Duke University. Visit our website to learn more about us!

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.

Helpful Links:

Finding People

Whether you're looking for students, faculty, or staff, the Chronicle is always a great first place to search! Be aware that faculty and staff members' position titles may change over time, so browse through your search results list for an article from roughly the same time period you're researching--that way, you'll know exactly what role the faculty or staff member served in at that time.

If you're looking for a faculty or staff member, there are some other things you might try:

  1. Search on their name in the Rubenstein Library's collection guide database. You may find a mention of them in a collection guide that'll explain who they are. Or if we have their papers, the collection guide will include a biographical note about them--and you can also see if there's anything in their papers that might be relevant to your research!
  2. Googling is totally fine! They may have a wikipedia page or scholarly journals may include obituaries when they die--those often come up in google searches.
  3. If you really want to know all about the person, check and see if they have a folder in the News Service Biographical Files or the Biographical Reference Collection.

For faculty, staff, or students/alums, you can also use Ancestry to locate census records, immigration documentation, and more.