Duke University Progress Pictures collection, 1925-1932
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- Duke Construction Company
- These photographs were taken during the initial construction of Duke University, 1925-1932. There is one set of pictures for East Campus and two sets for West, and modern copy prints and copy negatives of some images. The collection includes approximately 1000 mounted images in two bound sets (copy 1 and copy 2), along several file folders of mounted and unmounted prints.
- 3.5 Linear Feet
approximately 1000 Items
- Material in English
- Collection ID:
- University Archives Record Group:
- 01 -- General Information and University History
01 -- General Information and University History > 15 -- Audio/Video (A/V), Photographic, and Visual Materials
- Scope and content:
There is one set of pictures for East Campus and two sets for West, and modern copy prints and copy negatives of some images. One set of the West Campus images (#2) is not accessioned. The other (#1) was received from the estate of W.F. Lee, likely a son of Arthur C. Lee who was the chief engineer for the construction. It is the more complete set (A93-73: five volumes + 25 unbound prints).
Most of the prints are numbered and dated on the front in white ink, and many for West Campus have a number, date, and description of the verso. Some of the prints were made into glass slides; these slides are in the Frank Clyde Brown Papers.
The collection includes approximately 1000 mounted images in two bound sets (copy 1 and copy 2), along several file folders of mounted and unmounted prints. The images range in date from 1925-1932.
The work of at least three photographers is represented in the Progress Pictures. For the East Campus photos, there are prints having the same base number with an A or B suffix, but which were taken on different dates. Some are marked on the verso "from Ramsey Studio, Durham, N.C." and others "Whitney's Camera Craft Shop, 106 1/2 E. Main St., Durham". The "A" and "B" designations are not consistent, and we cannot say that Ramsey was photographer "A and Whitney "B". Ramsey's work predominates in the early photographs and Whitney's in the later. Whitney's work is also represented in the West Campus pictures.
Also in the West Campus mounted prints are pictures marked "C.W. Richardson, Photographer, Duke University" or "Richardson's Photo Serviceâ€¦" According to the Bulletin of Duke University, volume 24, no.7a "The first twenty years" a C.W. Richardson was a member of the staff of the medical art and illustration division, which was started in 1933 (p. 44) and which included photographers. There are also unmounted numbered and unnumbered prints taken by Richardson. Some of these prints are marked News Service or Alumni Affairs. Some mounted West Campus prints are not credited, or if they were stamped by the photographer, the stamp has been covered by the mounting linen. Among the unmounted numbered and unnumbered prints, some are stamped News Service or Alumni Affairs.
The Progress Pictures are offered in jpeg format but are also available as high resolution .tif files.
- Biographical / historical:
These photographs were taken during the initial construction of Duke University, 1925-1932. According to the specification books for individual buildings, the contractor was to "furnish to the Architect each month during the construction of the structure, three photographs in duplicate, showing the progress of the work during the preceding month, taken from three different points to be agreed upon and always from the same points. These photographs shall be 8 x 10 inch, mounted on linen, with a hinge on the left hand margin of the photograph."
The Duke Construction Company was formed in 1927 on the advisement of the Building Committee of the Duke Endowment. In a letter to Duke president R.L. Flowers, N.A. Cocke, Assistant Secretary of the Duke Endowment, wrote:
"It is hardly practicable to conduct the operations in the name of the trustees of The Duke Endowment for the reason that The Duke Endowment has no separate entity apart from the trustees, it not being a corporation. On the other hand while the title to the property is in Duke University the Will and Trust Indenture contemplate that the trustees shall erect the buildings for Duke University and turn same over when completed. With the idea, therefore, of establishing some medium for the purpose of carrying on this construction, it has occured to us that it would be wise to form a corporation, known as the "Duke Construction Company" for the sole purpose of constructing these buildings, with a nominal capital stock so that it will clearly appear that this corporation is merely an agency for carrying out this work."
The Duke Construction Company was active in the 1930s and into the 1940s, but it then became dormant and was officially dissolved in 1957.
- Acquisition information:
- The Duke University Progress Pictures Collection were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1975 and a gift in 1993.
- Processing information:
Processed by Thomas Harkins, September 2005
Encoded by Kimberly Sims, July 2007
Accession is described in this finding aid.
- Physical location:
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
- Rules or conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
- College campuses -- Design and construction
College campuses -- Photographs
Construction projects -- North Carolina -- 1920-1930 -- Photographs
- Black-and-white photographs
- Duke Construction Company
Duke University -- Buildings
Duke University -- East Campus
Duke University -- History -- 20th century
Duke University -- West Campus
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Collection is open for research.
- 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 University Progress Pictures Collection, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.