Aden Field papers, 1940s-2015

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Field, Aden
Aden Field is an author and poet from Durham, North Carolina, who co-founded the Regulator along with other Durham community organizations. This collection consists of his journals, writings, postcard collections, community projects and files, and his collection of correspondence and writings from friends and family. It documents his friendships and relationships, Durham community events and activities, and his career as a writer and teacher in North Carolina.
48 Linear Feet
Materials in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

This collection includes Field's correspondence, writings, journals, postcard binders, and files from his management and work at The Regulator, Collaborations, Black Mountain Project, Urban Hiker, and several local arts councils and youth writing programs. Materials have been sorted into series but largely remain labeled and foldered according to Field's own arrangement scheme.

Field's Journals Series contain incredibly detailed chapters of his life, which were created and re-typed by Field as a project in the 1990s. Early journals are volumes 1-4; he began titling them in the 1980s. Entries include his daily activities, Durham news, horoscope (I Ching), financial spending, and introspective analysis of his thoughts, writings, and relationships. Binders are dated and sorted by date, YYMMDD.

Field's postcard binders project began in the 1990s to assemble a Book of Men, featuring postcards of images of men in art from art galleries around the world. Other binders he created included postcards documenting American society and culture from the nineteenth century through the 1990s. He also created a Book of Women and collected assorted postcards that remain unassembled into binders, all held in this series.

Field's writings range from poetry to plays to prose, and the Writings Series includes drafts and published versions arranged in both chronological and alphabetical files. The chron files are dated YYMMDD. The alphabetical files are arranged by title.

Field's many businesses and projects are sorted by group name, with some groups' files containing only one or two items and some groups filling an entire box (see especially Collaborations, The Regulator, and Urban Hiker). These files include correspondence, publications, board minutes, notes by Field, and account ledgers. Field served as treasurer for many Durham organizations. Personal tax and investment information has been removed when identified.

The Name and Correspondence Files document Field's personal relationships and his communications as an author and community activist. Files are not strictly correspondence; some include artwork, writings, and publications, including zines and newsletters. Materials are filed by author/creator.

Finally, Field's personal materials include childhood and adolescent scrapbooks and yearbooks; photographs and snapshots with friends and family; headshots and portraits of Field; and personal accounting and financial ledgers.

Biographical / historical:

Aden Field is an author, playwright, and poet based in Durham, North Carolina. He was born in 1938 in McKenzie, Tennessee, and graduated from Harvard University in 1959. Field attended Duke University until 1966, when he withdrew from courses but stayed in Durham. He and several friends co-founded The Regulator bookshop in 1976, located on Ninth Street in Durham. Field also helped found and manage groups and publications such as Urban Hiker, WDBS Guide, Black Mountain Project, and Collaborations of the Creative and the Sacred, Inc.

Acquisition information:
The Aden Field Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 2016.
Processing information:

Processed by Ben Saalfeld and Meghan Lyon, Dec. 2016

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2016-0114


Collection is arranged into series: Journals, Postcard Binders, Writings, Businesses and Projects, Name and Correspondence Files, and Personal Materials.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Aden Field Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.