Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations Reference collection, 1939-1998

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Duke University. University Archives
The Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations Reference Collection contains files of memoranda, clippings, publications, and reports relating to the Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations and its predecessors. This collection was compiled from a variety of sources by the University Archives for use in reference and research.
0.5 Linear Feet
300 Items
Material in English
Collection ID:
University Archives Record Group:
01 -- General Information and University History
01 -- General Information and University History > 11 -- Reference Collections


Scope and content:

The collection includes newsletters, brochures, memoranda, clippings, statistics, reports, forms, printed matter, and other material concerning the University's public image and its management. The bulk dates are the 1960s to the 1990s. Among the items are blank reporting forms sent to faculty and staff to submit information for publicity; "Leads and Angles, Slants and Features: a handbook prepared for newspaper, magazine, and feature writers visiting Duke University," (April 1939); "Whom, Me?" a complication of national publicity following Professor A.C. Jordan's comments about Americans' poor grammar (1966); a series of publicity cards and statistics sheets, circa 1971, about the University and its various attractions including the Chapel, Gardens, Medical Center, and Art Museum; and "Duke Information Places Outside the Library Systems", a pamphlet apparently produced by the East Campus Library staff in 1980. Subjects include news staff assignments and facts and statistics about the University. In December of 1972, the News Service's director, Don Seaver, asked his staff to contribute items to a "Duke Facts" binder notebook. This binder included statistics, brief write-ups of the University and selected departments, class profiles, brochures, lists of several kinds, and other sorts of information. The binder was kept updated through the early 1980s. It is now stored in two file folders.

Biographical / historical:

Around January of 1922, Henry Belk, Class of 1923, was named director of the Trinity College News Service. Apparently Belk was the College's first staff member hired for a public relations position. For 1927/28, the Bulletin of the University lists Albert Alexander Wilkinson, Class of 1927, as Director of Publicity. In 1935, the news service became part of the Department of Public Relations and Alumni Affairs which was directed by Henry R. Dwire. Wilkinson managed the News Service until 1945. The Bureau of Public Information succeeded the News Service in 1947/48. In 1948, Charles E. Jordan was named Vice President in the Division of Public Relations; he served in that capacity until 1966. In 1956, Clarence Whitfield became director of the Bureau of Public Information reporting to Jordan. The office was responsible for the University's news, radio, and television publicity. Personnel included a news director, a radio-TV director, and several writers. The Office of Information Services succeeded the Bureau in 1963/64. A 1963 report by the Barton Gillet Company titled "Analysis and appraisal of communications, Duke University" probably played a role in the reorganization of the University's strategies in this area. Now (2010), the Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations coordinates and manages communications strategies with the university's many audiences. It includes the offices responsible for federal, state and local government relations, local community affairs, campus news and communications and audiovisual services: Office of News and Communication; University Photography; Federal Relations; Office of Community Affairs; Government Relations. The Duke Medicine Office of News and Communications handles this function for the Duke University Medical Center.

Acquisition information:
The Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations Reference Collection was compiled by University Archives staff from a variety of sources.
Processing information:

Processed by Tom Harkins, April 2010

Encoded by Molly Bragg, July 2011

Accessions were merged into one collection, 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.

Duke University -- Public relations
Duke University. Office of News and Communications


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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], Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations Reference Collection, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.