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Visual Materials in the University Archives

This guide will help researchers find a variety of visual materials within the holdings of the University Archives. Created by Rosemary K. J. Davis, Drill Intern in University Archives.

Photographs & Films

President Brantley York, 1875President Brantley York, 1875

The University Archives has an rich array of photography and film that documents historical Duke events, people associated with Duke University, and Duke University's campus. The links below will take you to the online finding aids for collections containing photographs, photographic negatives, slides, and films.

Photographs and Photographic Materials

  • University Archives Photograph Collection, 1861-ongoing: Contains images documenting students, faculty, events, administrators, university presidents, buildings, construction, and daily life at Duke University dating from 1861 to the mid-1980s. The majority of images in the collection are black-and-white.
  • University Archives Photographic Negative Collection, 1855-1995: Contains negatives and some matching prints of University-related subjects. The collection contains roughly half original negatives and half copy negatives. In the case of the copy negatives, the user should be aware that some of the corresponding dates refer to when the copy negative was made, not when the original picture was taken.
  • Chanticleer Photograph Collection, 1998-ongoing: Contains more recent photographs (produced by the staff of the Chanticleer) of Duke University-related subjects including sporting events, buildings, sororities and fraternities, athletes and sporting events, campus events, and general student life.
  • Duke University Anniversaries Collection, 1937 - 2000: Contains photographs, ephemera, and documentation pertaining to celebrations for Duke University's founding anniversaries including images of ceremonies, printed promotional materials, and commemorative plaques.


  • Duke Sports Film: This database contains information about over sixteen hundred sports films for Duke Football (1935-1994) and Men's Basketball games (1947-1996). Collection is searchable by date, venue in which the event was played, and opponent. A small number of the films have been digitized, though many do not contain audio and lack continuity since these films were to be used for coaching purposes.
  • Freewater Production Films and Records, 1967-2003: This collection contains documentaries, shorts, and feature films made by this student group. Subject files and publicity materials relating to the organization and the films are also included.

Online Collections and Digital Resources

The links below will take you to online finding aids and websites for digital collections, exhibitions, and resources containing photographs, negatives, slides, and digital images that document and capture student events, faculty members, buildings on campus, and the Duke family.

Duke Yearlook on Flickr: Duke Yearlook is produced by the Duke University Archives to provide alumni and friends of Duke with a virtual yearbook of campus scenes from different campus eras. Photographs can be browsed generally or via multiple topical groups (e.g. Duke Student Life, Duke Athletics, Trinity College, etc). New images are being added on a regular basis.

Construction of Duke University, 1924-1932: This Duke Digital Collection contains 605 photographs documenting the construction of Duke University's East and West Campuses.

Online Exhibitions by the Duke University Archives: The University Archives maintains a collection of online exhibitions that highlight photography, documents, and objects pertaining to various aspects of life at Duke University including sports, student activism, university architecture, and institutional history.

Digital Durham: This online collection contains a selection of digitzed primary sources that help illuminate the economic, social, cultural, and political history of a post-bellum southern community. Contains photographs, maps, correspondence, personal papers, and audio files.

Copyright and Use Policy

Images found in these collections may be made available for scholarly or commerical use. Please contact us to discuss use permissions for these materials.

Fees will apply for commercial uses of Duke University Archives materials.