Duke Chapel records, 1920-2024

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Access restricted. Some materials in this collection are Duke University administrative materials. For a period of twenty-five years from the origin of the material, permission in writing from the...
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Duke University. Chapel
Construction on Duke University Chapel began in 1930, and the building was dedicated in 1935. The Chapel hosts worship services, concerts, festivals, seminars, study groups, and retreats. The collection contains records relating to the operations and activities of Duke Chapel including administrative records, printed exercise programs and bulletins, transcripts of sermons, marriage and baptismal registries, carillon and carillonneur material, and published material relating to Duke University and the Chapel. University Archives staff must be consulted in order to determine what material is covered by the administrative restriction.
56.5 Linear Feet
0.23 Gigabytes
Material in English
Collection ID:
University Archives Record Group:
17 -- Duke Chapel
17 -- Duke Chapel > 01 -- Duke Chapel


Scope and content:

Contains material pertaining to the operation and activities of the Duke University Chapel. The records are arranged in nine series: administrative records; carillon/carilloneur; exercise programs and bulletins; sermons; registers and logbooks; general files; ministers, committees, and subject files; The Congregation at Duke Chapel newsletter; and Director of Chapel Music.

The Administrative records contain material created and accumulated by the Chapel Development Officer as well as the records of various committees including Chapel renovation and organ. Carillon material includes program logbooks created by the University Carillonneur and a special carillon program in honor of Terry Sanford. The exercise programs series is composed of printed programs from various services and exercises held in the Chapel: Sunday Service of Worship, Elementary Service, Faculty Service, Service for Elected Officials, various recitals, and Easter, Lenten, and Christmas services. The sermons series contains transcripts of sermons performed in the Chapel by various ministers, faculty, and guests of the University including William H. Willimon, James T. Cleland, Howard C. Wilkinson, and Waldo Beach. Registers and logbooks contains oversize bound volumes documenting Chapel attendance and weddings, baptisms, and funerals held in the Chapel. General files primarily consists of reference material used by Chapel staff: informal histories, information about chapel windows and exterior sculpture, informal patron inquiries, and various printed material. Major subjects include building and grounds, organ (Flentrop and Aeolian), tower and elevator, Chapel policies, weddings, and Chapel photo albums. Also present in the collection are programs for special services held in the Chapel observing V-E and V-J Days and the Chapel's dedication ceremony in 1935.

Biographical / historical:

History adopted from Duke Chapel website: http://www.chapel.duke.edu/home/.

When James B. Duke selected the site for Duke University's West Campus, in 1925, he chose to locate the Chapel on the site's highest ridge. The Chapel was the first building planned for the new campus, but the last one to be completed. Construction started in 1930, was completed in 1935, and cost nearly $2.3 million. The Chapel began to be used before its stained-glass windows and other details were finished; commencement was held in the Chapel in 1932. The Chapel was officially dedicated in 1935.

The Chapel fulfills James B. Duke's desire that the building exert a profound influence on the lives of the young women and men who attend the University. Duke Chapel is a nationally recognized pulpit, an acclaimed center of sacred music, and a place of learning and interfaith cooperation. Duke University Chapel's ever-widening ministry includes worship through prayer, word, and music; service within the University and community; celebration through concerts, special services, and festivals; and learning seminars, study groups, and retreats. The day-to-day ministry of the Chapel is shared with a wide and diverse community: students, faculty, staff, and the community; tourists and travelers; and patients, their families, and caregivers. Chapel life encompasses a va riety of groups including Religious Life, Friends of the Chapel, Congregation, and Student Ministry. Duke Chapel is also the site of various concerts, voice and organ recitals, choir and carillon programs, and vesper ensembles.

Acquisition information:
The Duke Chapel Records were received by the University Archives as a series of transfers from 1948 to 2024.
Processing information:

Processed by Joshua Larkin Rowley, November 2008

Encoded by Joshua Larkin Rowley, November 2008

Updated by Rosemary K. J. Davis, May 2012

Updated by Kimberly Sims, May 2013

Updated by Tracy M. Jackson, June 2015, January 2016, March 2017 (UA2015-0035, UA2016-0004, UA2016-0031, UA2017-0007), August 2017 (UA2017-0039), September 2018 (UA2018-0066), January 2019 (UA2019-0001, UA2019-0005), July 2019 (UA2019-0011, UA2019-0045).

Updated by Leah M. Kerr, April 2021 (UA2019-0072, UA2019-0115).

Updated by Leah Tams, December 2021 (UA2020-0008).

Accessions added by April Blevins: UA2023-0007, April 2023; UA2023-0058, November 2023; UA2023-0066, February 2024.

Accessions were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Access restricted. Some materials in this collection are Duke University administrative materials. For a period of twenty-five years from the origin of the material, permission in writing from the director of the office of origin and the University Archivist is required for use. After twenty-five years, records that have been processed may be consulted with the permission of the University Archivist.

Access restricted. Some materials in this collection require additional arrangement, description, and/or screening. Contact Research Services for more information.

Access note. Some materials in this collection are fragile audiovisual formats that may need to be reformatted before use. Contact Research Services for access.

Terms of access:

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Duke Chapel Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.