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Collection
The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University teaches, engages in, and presents documentary work grounded in collaborative partnerships and extended fieldwork that uses photography, film/video, audio, and narrative writing to capture and convey contemporary memory, life, and culture. The collection houses work created by students enrolled in documentary studies courses at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), sponsored by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. The student projects focus primarily on exploring and documenting the social lives and experiences of people living in and around rural and urban areas of Durham, Chatham, and Orange counties, North Carolina, through photography or oral history. Subjects include but are not limited to local school environments; churches and religious life; ethnic communities and neighborhoods; war veterans; the 9/11 attacks; the labor and civil rights movements as experienced by local individuals; students at Duke University; farmers and their families; immigrant life; migrant workers; beauty pageants; local music scenes; and the built environment and culture of North Carolina towns, and cities. Audiovisual materials include sound recordings and moving images, and may require reformatting before contents can be accessed. Acquired by the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection houses photographs, interviews, essays, and other documentary works created by students enrolled in courses or thesis projects on documentary studies at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), from 1980 to 2011. Most of the student projects focus on the social life and customs of persons living in and around Durham, Chatham, and Orange counties, North Carolina. Themes include life in cities and towns, particularly in Durham; rural life; schools and other institutions such as churches and retirement homes, and charitable organizations such as soup kitchens and orphanages; community centers such as stores, daycares, and laundromats; African American communities and neighborhoods, particularly in Durham; beauty pageants; local music; farmers and their families; immigrant life; migrant workers; midwives; the 9/11 attacks in New York City; and Duke University students and campus life. One series of images portrays the Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble in Durham. Oral histories of N.C. civil rights and labor activists, American war veterans, and other individuals are associated with certain courses.

The majority of projects focus on Durham area locales, but other cities and towns in N.C. documented include Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Raleigh, Seagrove, Wanchese, Cane Creek, Oxford, Carrboro, Orange Factory, Rougemont, Saxapahaw, Salisbury, Northside, Corinth, and Cedar Grove. There are a few projects based in Virginia, and summer projects located in Massachusetts, Tennessee, Tel-Aviv, and France.

The collection also includes a few grant-supported projects by professional documentarians Eric Green, Kate Rhodenbaugh, Carolina Wang, and Donna Lennard, and photographic work by Bill Bamberger, a faculty member at Duke.

Black-and-white prints make up the majority of formats, but there are also many slides. The more recent additions increasingly include oral histories on audio cassettes and CD-ROMS and other project-related digital media. These are marked in the folder descriptions. Original audiovisual and electronic media are closed to use and may require the production of use copies before they can be accessed.

The courses were all sponsored by the Center for Documentary Photography, which in 1989 changed its name to the Center for Documentary Studies. Among the faculty teaching courses for the Center for Documentary Studies are noted documentarians Bill Bamberger, John Biewen, David Cecelski, Alex Harris, and Margaret Sartor, some of whom have contributed their own documentary work to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection

Christopher Sims photographs, 2005-2018 3 Linear Feet — 3 boxes — 71 prints — 17x22 inches

Christopher Sims is a documentary photographer from Atlanta, Georgia, currently on the faculty at Duke University, Durham, N.C. The 71 color digital photographs in this collection appear in his book, The Pretend Village: Inside the U.S. Military Training Grounds (2021). The photographs were taken by Sims from 2005-2018 at fictitious Iraqi and Afghan villages constructed on U.S. Army bases in remote areas of North Carolina and Louisiana, and in Death Valley, California. Images taken between military training exercises show actors, many of them real-life immigrant Afghans and Iraqis, playing police officers, doctors, craftspeople, farmers, and café owners. Images taken during training include American soldiers in motion or at rest, fictional civilians and insurgents, and simulations of dead or wounded soldiers and civilians. Other images are of buildings, streets, fake interiors, props, rubble, and graffiti and murals. The inkjet prints measure 17x22 inches. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

The 71 17x22-inch color digital photographic prints in this collection were created by Christopher Sims, author, academic, and documentary photographer based in Durham, North Carolina, and used to illustrate his book, The Pretend Village: Inside the U.S. Military Training Grounds, published in 2021. The photographs, taken between 2005-2018, document the landscapes, people, buildings, interiors, and daily activities at fictitious Iraqi and Afghan villages constructed on the training grounds of U.S. Army bases in remote areas of North Carolina and Louisiana, and in Death Valley, California.

Images taken between military training exercises show actors, many of them real-life immigrant Afghans and Iraqis hired by the U.S. Army, playing police officers, doctors, craftspeople, family members, religious leaders, farmers, and café owners. Images taken during training include American soldiers in motion or at rest, fictional civilians and insurgents, and simulations of dead or wounded soldiers and civilians. Other images are of buildings, streets, fake interiors, props, rubble, and graffiti and murals. The prints measure 17x22 inches.

Collection

Hugh Mangum photographs, circa 1890-1922 10 Linear Feet — 38 boxes; 2 oversize folders — 1141 items

Online
Hugh Mangum was a commercial portrait photographer from Durham, North Carolina. Collection comprises 937 glass plate negatives and printed black-and-white photographs taken by Hugh Mangum from about 1890 to 1922 as he traveled a rail circuit through North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia and in photography studios he and partners established in Durham, N.C., and Roanoke, Pulaski, and East Radford, Virginia. Localities known to have been visited by Mangum in N.C. include Winston-Salem, High Point, Raleigh, Reidsville, Lexington, Durham, and Greensboro; in Virginia, Christiansburg, Martinsville, East Radford, and Pulaski. The images are chiefly individual and group portraits of mostly unidentified women, children, and men, either in unidentified studio settings or outdoors. Most are white men and women, but there are also many African Americans and others who may be multi-racial. Hugh Mangum and his wife are present in several images. There are several street scenes identified as Radford, Virginia, as well as Warrenton (probably N.C.), and Christiansburg, Virginia. Some images feature houses, barns, mills, outdoor social gatherings, and animals. The last dated photograph in the collection is a mounted print of Mangum's body in an open casket, 1922. Of the photographic prints, there are 55 prints made from selected negatives, and 50 inkjet digital prints from a 2012 exhibit. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

The collection dates from approximately 1890 through 1922, and comprises 937 glass plate negatives and a selection of black-and-white prints, of portraits and scenes taken by Hugh Mangum, a portrait photographer based in Durham, North Carolina. There is also a set of 25 exhibit prints and 25 smaller viewing prints from a 2012 Center for Documentary Studies exhibit curated by a Duke University student.

The images were taken as Mangum traveled a rail circuit through North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. He also likely took some of these images in the photography studios he and partners established in Roanoke, Pulaski, and East Radford, Virginia. Communities marked on a few of the plates include Warrenton (probably North Carolina rather than Virginia), and Christiansburg, Virginia. Localities known to have been visited by Mangum in N.C. include Winston-Salem, High Point, Raleigh, Reidsville, Lexington, Durham, and Greensboro; in Virginia, Martinsville, East Radford, and Pulaski. From an annotated trunk lid found in the collection it seems he also visited Texas but it is unknown if any of the images in the collection were taken there.

The images are chiefly individual and group portraits of local residents, although there are several town scenes with landmark buildings. There are women, children, and men, either in a studio setting or outdoors; the majority are white but there are many African Americans and people who may be multi-racial. There are buildings such as barns, mills, schools, and houses often present in outdoor group portraits, and dogs, chickens, cats, and horses appear. Sometimes the individual poses with a possession such as a bicycle or musical instrument. One image is of a train accident with a large group of bystanders.

Identification numbers are often stamped or written on the plate. The library staff has assigned unique numbers to each image and plate. There are multiple images of Hugh Mangum and the Mangum and Carden families; see the glass plate negative notes for more details. The last dated print in the collection is a mounted print of Mangum's body in an open casket, 1922.

Mangum photographs are distinctive for the level of comfort exhibited by his subjects in front of the camera. This ease in front of the camera is readily noted due to the large quantity of "penny picture camera" negatives in the collection that contain multiple images of numerous subjects. Often the first picture of a subject appears rather stiff and formal as in traditional nineteenth century photographs. In the second and subsequent pictures, the subject often visibly relaxes, assumes different poses, uses props, removes or adds a hat, and may smile broadly at the camera. This progressive transition in poses from formal to very informal is a hallmark of the Mangum collection. The collection may be of particular interest to researchers studying late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century fashion trends.

The glass plate negatives are closed to use, but researchers may use online digitized images which represent the entirety of the collection of negatives. In addition, the collection also makes available for research use original contact prints, contact sheets, one panoramic print, and print reproductions created for exhibition and other purposes.

Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection

Jesse Pyrant Andrews photographs and oral histories, 1973-2021 14.5 Linear Feet — 17 boxes — 274 photographic prints; 98 optical compact disks — 47.44 Gigabytes — 196 audio files — 98 .wav preservation files (43.5 gigabytes); 98 .mp3 use copy files (3.94 gigabytes) — Photographs are arranged in order as received. Original negative identifiers and titles assigned by the photographer have been retained. The original identifier on the back of each print typically comprises codes for the body of work, negative file, and negative number. There are a few unnumbered prints. Each print also has been given a Rubenstein Library identifier. In the case of untitled works, descriptions in brackets have been supplied by library staff.

Online
Jesse Pyrant Andrews is an American photographer based in rural southern Virginia. Collection comprises 274 black-and-white photographs and 46 oral history interviews by photographer Jesse Pyrant Andrews, documenting rural and small-town life in the Piedmont region of Virginia and North Carolina. Major themes center on the landscapes and people of the region; tobacco cultivation; the lives of farmers, war veterans, small business owners, and laid-off workers; local architecture and historic sites; traditional crafts and music; and new patterns of economics and society in rural Virginia. Andrews's Veterans Project has become a larger focus over the years; it now comprises 29 portraits and 27 in-depth audio interviews, chiefly with veterans of the Vietnam and Gulf Wars. Additional projects include materials related to the Carter-Wooding families of southern Virginia; views from an Amtrak train; and street scenes and portraits taken in New York City, California, and Massachusetts. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection comprises 274 black-and-white photographs and 46 oral history recordings by Jesse Pyrant Andrews documenting rural and small-town life in the Piedmont plateau of central southern Virginia and northern North Carolina. Most of the images are portraits of local people, along with scenes from homesteads, small towns, farms, and grave sites. Major themes include tobacco cultivation; the lives of farmers, migrant workers, war veterans, small business owners, and laid-off textile workers; regional architecture; historic sites; and traditional activities such as music-making, constructing handmade firearms, and working with leather. Together, the images and interviews speak to significant changes in this rural Piedmont region's cultures and economies as it has transitioned into the 20th and then the 21st centuries.

The Veterans series documents through portraits and in-depth audio interviews the experiences of U.S. military veterans, primarily during the Vietnam and Gulf Wars, but also in World War II. The series includes a Vietnam War veteran's manuscript memoir and a tribute essay to one veteran, written by Andrews. Some of these resources may contain disturbing content.

The Carter-Wooding Project, also comprising photographs and several oral histories, documents two Halifax County, Virginia families, the Carters and the Woodings, and their rural property dating back to an 18th-century Huguenot land grant. This project forms part of the Portraits series in this collection. Interior and exterior shots of a former plantation, "Mountain View," are featured in the series Life At Large.

Photographs from the series 13-Month Crop, documenting tobacco farming, were featured in a solo exhibit of Andrews' work hosted by the Rubenstein Library at Duke University in 2002. Portraits and oral histories in the Burlington Mills series document the experiences of former southern Virginia textile workers. Other images document a trip on an Amtrak train, and street life and people in New York City, California, and Massachusetts.

Most of the photographs are accompanied by captions written by the photographer, commenting on the individuals, their life experiences, and aspects of local culture and society. Captions for the Veterans series include biographies as well as historical details related to several wars in which the U.S. was involved.

A large selection of photographs from the Andrews collection has been digitized and is available on the Duke Digital Collections website.

Collection

Lynn Saville photographs, 1972-2015 and undated 21.5 Linear Feet — 20 boxes — 295 items

The collection dates from 1972 to 2015 and consists of over 200 large color and black-and-white photographic prints of nighttime scenes selected from the work of photographer Lynn Saville in urban centers such as Paris, Rome, Venice, New York City, Durham, North Carolina, Los Angeles, Vermont, and other locations. The collection also includes 30 portraits of artists, feminists, writers, family members, and other individuals, as well as self-portraits. Supplemental materials such as book reviews and book maquettes round out the collection. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

The collection consists of selections of work from photographer Lynn Saville's portraiture and night photography from urban America, dating from 1972-2015. Formats include traditional darkroom gelatin silver prints, color prints, and a small number of digital prints. Sizes range from 11x14 to 20x24 inches.

The Portraits series includes 30 images of poets, photographers, family members, friends, and prominent women such as Barbara Jordan, Adrienne Rich and Bella Abzug. The collection's primary focus, however, is Saville's more recent work, housed in the Nocturnal Photography and Dark City series, containing 205 photographs of night scenes in the United States and Europe, particularly New York City (with a focus on Brooklyn) and Paris. Other locations include Los Angeles, North Carolina, Vermont, Paris, Rome, and Venice.

Selected images are also available online as part of a Duke University Libraries digital exhibit.

There is also a Supplemental Materials series which includes printed matter such as articles and book reviews, and a documentary film directed by Anna Borden about Saville's career and photography (2003).

Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection

Rachel Boillot photographs, 2014-2018 6.5 Linear Feet — 4 boxes — 116 prints — 116 prints; 4 boxes and 1 oversize folder

Collection comprises two portfolios by documentary photographer Rachel Boillot: "Después del dia: Migrant Farmworkers in North Carolina," portraits of farmworkers from across the state of North Carolina, their families, and their residences, and a few shots of workers in the field; and "Moon Shine," portraits of traditional musicians and their families from the eastern Tennessee Cumberland Mountains region, along with images of their residences, interior settings, towns, and natural landscapes. The "Después del dia" work forms part of the multi-artist project "Where we live: a North Carolina portrait." There are 116 color pigment inkjet prints in the collection as a whole, ranging in size from 23x27 to 14x19 inches. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection comprises two portfolios by documentary photographer Rachel Boillot: "Después del dia: migrant farmworkers in North Carolina," and "Moon Shine," formerly titled "Silent Ballad," an exploration of Tennessee Appalachian mountain life, culture, and musical traditions. The two series comprise 116 color pigment inkjet prints, 54 in "Después del dia" and 62 in "Moon Shine," scanned from 4x5 inch and 120mm negatives. They range in size from 14x19 to 23x27 inches, with the majority measuring 20x24 or 21x25 inches.

The images in "Después del dia" were taken from 2014-2015 as part of the "Where We Live: A North Carolina Portrait" project. They document the lives of migrant farmworkers and their families across the state of North Carolina. Most were taken at their homes, and feature interior as well as exterior settings, but there are a few images of workers in the field. As the photographer writes, "This look at the dwelling places of migrant farmworkers is ultimately my exploration of how one creates a home while residing in a transient state of being." The "Where We Live" Photographic Fellowship was funded by the Annenberg Foundation and directed by photographer Alex Harris.

In "Moon Shine," Boillot turns her focus to traditional musicians living in Tennessee's Cumberland Mountains region. The original title of this project was "Silent Ballad." While the majority of the images are portraits of fiddlers, banjo players, guitarists, ballad singers, and their families, there are also images of towns, roads, theaters, markets, cabins and houses, interiors of rooms, and natural landscapes, including some taken in state parks. Most of the images were taken in Tennessee, but there is one portrait of noted fiddler Clyde Davenport taken in Monticello, Kentucky, near the Tennessee border, and several taken near the Virginia border.

"Moon Shine" was supported by a post-graduate fellowship by the Riverview Foundation of Chattanooga, Tennessee, in partnership with Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies, the Friends of the Cumberland Trail, and Cumberland Trail State Park's Music Heritage Project. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection

Rob Amberg photographs and papers, 1975-2009 15 Linear Feet — 457 Items

The photographs and papers of documentarian Rob Amberg span the years 1975-2009. The gelatin silver prints and pigmented inkjet color prints in the collection represent three bodies of work: The New Road: I-26 and the Footprints of Progress; The Sodom Laurel Album; and The Vanishing Culture of Agriculture. Amberg focuses primarily on the social life and customs of the rural South, especially in the mountains of his home state of North Carolina. Images range from landscape shots taken before and during construction of an interstate highway in the N.C. mountains, to portraits of individuals and families affected by the changes in rural culture. Images also depict agricultural activies such as tobacco cultivation and dairy cattle farming, as well as work in the poultry industry. He has a special concern for documenting the way in which industrial and economic progress seems to be erasing many aspects of rural culture at the turn of the twenty-first century. Amberg's papers account for the rest of the collection and are organized into five series: Correspondence, Printed Materials, Subject Files, and Writings and Research, and Audio. Acquired as part of the Archives of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

The Rob Amberg Photographs and Papers span the years 1975-2009. The photographs consist of 8x10 and 11x14 inch gelatin silver prints and pigmented inkjet color prints. Amberg's focus as a photographer is primarily the social customs of the rural South, especially in his home state of North Carolina. He has a special concern for documenting the way in which industrial and economic progress seems to be erasing many aspects of rural culture at the turn of the twenty-first century.

The collection is arranged into three project series: The New Road: I-26 and the Footprints of Progress ; The Sodom Laurel Album; and The Vanishing Culture of Agriculture.

Images range from landscape shots taken before and during construction of an interstate highway in the N.C. mountains, to portraits of individuals and families affected by the changes in rural culture. Images also depict agricultural activies such as tobacco cultivation and dairy cattle farming, as well as work in the poultry industry. Many of Amberg's images in this last series were funded by the Rural Advancement Fund to document the rural Carolinas, and by the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. Captions and numbering are taken from original notes on the back of each print. Series are arranged in alphabetical order by title of project.

Amberg's papers are organized into five series. The Correspondence Series contains incoming messages regarding exhibits and the publication of Amberg's books as well as photographic work in other published materials.

The Printed Material Series consists of publications which include or feature his images. Publications in the series are both national and local, including The New York Times and Harper's.

Amberg worked and contributed to a number of non-profit organizations dealing with farm worker's rights and other social issues. Collections of materials relating to these non-profits are housed in the Subject Files Series. Printed materials in this series include annual reports and publications by each organization. Most of the materials include photography work by Amberg.

Included in Amberg's papers is the Writings and Research Series. Content includes multiple versions of the manuscripts to The New Road: I-26 and the Footprints of Progress and Sodom Laurel Album, a publisher's draft of Quartet: Four North Carolina Photographers, a number of interview transcripts, and other writings by Amberg and others.

The final grouping in the collection is the Audio Series which includes a piece entitled Interstate 26 produced by Leda Hartman and a copy of the musical recording which accompanies Sodom Laurel Album.