Office of Cultural Affairs, 1931-2019, bulk 1958-2002 16.25 Linear Feet
The Office of Cultural Affairs Records, 1931-2019 (bulk 1958-2002), consist of budgets and financial reports, calendars, contracts, correspondence, meeting minutes, photographs, and printed materials that document the Office's administration and scheduling of concerts and other performing arts events, arts festivals, and certain performance venues and buildings on the campus of Duke University. The majority of these records span the years of the OCA's official existence, 1969-1993; but there are also older materials that stem from the earlier Duke career of the OCA's initial director, Ella Fountain Pratt, as well as later records created under the Office of University Life, which superceded the OCA in 1993. Audiovisual material in the collection include more than 500 black-and-white, color, and 35mm photographs; additionally, there are several videocassettes, audiocassettes, and digital audio tapes. The collection is arranged in five series beginning with the most general, Subject Files, followed in alphabetical order by four smaller and more specific series that document the history of various concert series or arts organizations.
The Subject Files are not only the largest series but also give the broadest overview of the OCA's activities. Several large folder groups exist within the series, including one that contains early correspondence and negotiations between Duke University and the American Dance Festival, which moved to Duke in 1977. The series also contains correspondence and other records that span Pratt's entire career at Duke, from the late 1950s through her retirement in 1984. The next four series document the history of various concert series or artistic groups that were either administrated by or collaborated with the OCA. The first and largest of these series is the Chamber Arts Society. Founded in 1945 to promote chamber music performance in Durham , this group eventually came under the aegis of Duke University and the Office of Cultural Affairs in 1975. Although files here tell a little of that early history, they primarily document some fifteen years of concerts on campus from the mid-1980s through 2002. Following this are the records of the Duke Artists Series, a concert series that began in 1930. When the OCA was created in 1969, management and oversight of the Duke Artists Series was made one of its primary responsibilities. The files here mainly document several seasons of concerts in the late 1980s and late 1990s. Much like the Duke Artists Series, cultural programming for the University's Summer Session Series also became a primary responsibility of the OCA upon its creation. This series covers more than forty years of summer session history, including programming that continued under the Office of University Life. The final series contains the history of the Triangle Dance Guild. Independent of Duke, this group existed from 1976-1984 and coordinated with the OCA to promote dance performance on campus and in Durham and other local venues.