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Tobacco Ephemera: The Effects of Public Health Education on Tobacco Advertising

The Devil's Tale - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 09:57

Post contributed by Steph Crowell, Trent History of Medicine Intern.

In 2019, it can be difficult to imagine living in a world where people were allowed to smoke on airplanes, in restaurants, or even in hospitals. Duke itself is doing its part to participate in the history of tobacco regulation these days, declaring that on July 1, 2020, Duke will be one among many universities to finally be a smoke-free campus. If this is news to you, I’m happy to say that the folks at Duke Health have put together an FAQ (and a countdown to July 1).

Because this is such a significant event in Duke’s own history of medicine, we decided to take a look in the Rubenstein’s stacks to see exactly what we had on the subject of tobacco. Below is one of our findings: trading cards.

Yes, trading cards. This set of champion dog trading cards from Ardath Tobacco Company in Great Britain dates back to 1934 and contains twenty-five unique, award-winning dogs. Each card has a colored picture of the featured dog on the front, as well as text telling the avid collector the name of the dog, the breed, and the owners.

Champion Dogs, 1934, 1-5 (front), Terence Mitchell Collection of Tobacco-Related Ephemera, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.


On the back are more detailed, informal anatomical diagrams of the dogs pointing out their trademark features. A favorite is No. 3, the cocker spaniel, whose eyes are described as “full, not prominent, bright and merry” (pictured below). Also included on the back are the card numbers and branding.

Champion Dogs, 1934, 1-5 (back), Terence Mitchell Collection of Tobacco-Related Ephemera, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Champion Dogs, 1934, 1-5 (back), Terence Mitchell Collection of Tobacco-Related Ephemera, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

The collection that houses these cards is massive- it contains multiple sets of trading cards, collectible fabrics, pins, cartons and packs of cigarettes. If you’re curious about the specifics, check out the collection guide. It can be intimidating to look at given the volume of items listed, but Terence Mitchell, the collector, was conscious of this and organized everything by type and topic. As far as trading cards go, there are assorted animals, famous people, famous art pieces, pirates, pieces of architecture, and much more all from a variety of companies in the United States and Great Britain.

The cards served a functional purpose in both the packaging of cigarettes and their marketing. According to the Museum of Obsolete Media, packaging for cigarettes was a bit flimsy from the 19th to early 20th century so these cards were inserted to help it keep its shape. As time went on, however, and the cards began to diversify, people began to be drawn to them because they provided a unique way to see images from around the world that would have been impossible for the average person to afford to go see. It was exciting, enticing, and, most of all, cheap.

These days, because of regulations and public awareness of the negative health impact that tobacco products have on the human body, the age of tobacco trading cards has passed. Companies are forced to be clear about these dangers in their ads, on their packaging, anywhere they might be engaging the public. In a relatively short period of time, this has profoundly affected the way we view tobacco and evaluate the extent to which we will tolerate it in public spaces.

Less than a hundred years after these trading cards were printed, the FDA is still finding its legs in legislating what kinds of warnings should be included on tobacco products. Warnings have been mandatory for only a few years now (to check out all of the FDA’s requirements, check here) and are still in flux.

As these things continue to happen, it can be a comfort to be able to see for oneself exactly why these regulations and initiatives have to be put in place to begin with. This collection of ephemera is available for Researchers to view in the Rubenstein’s reading room. If you’re interested but not sure how that process works, here’s a link to our FAQ, or feel free to contact us to ask any questions you may have!

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New Exhibit: “No One Can Suppress Archie Boston”

The Devil's Tale - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 11:38

Post contributed by Kasia Stempniak, John W. Hartman Center intern for 2018-2019 and Ph.D. student in Duke’s Romance Studies department. 

The Hartman Center’s new exhibit, “No One Can Suppress Archie Boston,” on display through October in the Stone Family Gallery, focuses on Archie Boston, a graphic designer whose innovative and socially-conscious designs shed valuable insight into the intersections of race and identity in the advertising world.

Raised in segregated St. Petersburg, Florida in the 1940s, Archie Boston moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s to pursue a career in graphic design. In 1963, Boston and his brother Brad started their own advertising agency, Boston & Boston. As one of the first African-American owned advertising agencies, Boston & Boston faced difficulties securing clients in an almost exclusively white industry. Rather than hide their identity, Boston and his brother confronted the industry with provocative self-promotional ads that made explicit references to slavery and racism. “We wanted our potential clients,” Boston remarked in an interview, “to know that we were a black firm.”

Boston later worked at the ad agency Botsford & Ketchum where he developed one of his most famous ads for Pentel that boasted the caption, “I told Pentel what to do with their pens.” By placing himself at the center of the ad, Boston subverted the usually invisible presence of the advertising executive. At a time when very few African-Americans worked in advertising, the ad also announced a subtle shift in the demographics of the industry.

In the late 1970s, Boston left the agency to pursue a career as a professor at California State University-Long Beach (CSULB) where he developed the design program for the next thirty years all while still operating his own graphic design firm, Archie Boston Graphic Design.

The first African-American recipient of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Fellow Award, Boston served multiple terms as president of the Art Directors Club of Los Angeles where he was the first African-American elected to this position. In his final lecture at CSULB, Boston articulated how design, teaching, and social activism shaped his career: “I want to be remembered as a professor who cared about his students and did what he thought was best for them. I want to be remembered as someone who stood up against criticism and spoke out on controversial issues. And finally I want to be remembered as a designer and educator, someone who documented my experience as an African American.”

Book jacket image for Fly in the Buttermilk

The Archie Boston Papers offer a comprehensive view of Boston’s wide-ranging career including early student sketches, self-promotional ads for Boston & Boston, corporate ads for Lloyd Bank, Pentel, and Yamaha, awards and university materials related to Boston’s tenure at CSULB as well as Boston’s two published texts, his memoir Fly in the Buttermilk: Memoirs of an African American in Advertising, Design & Design Education (2001) and Lil’ Colored Rascals in the Sunshine City (2009).

Some of Boston’s most important designs, including Boston’s famous Pentel ad, are on display in the exhibit. Other highlights of the exhibit include Boston’s most recent work that engages directly with race and identity, including poetry and designs that Boston created after being inspired by Black Lives Matter, the 2014 events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the 2017 event in Charlottesville, Virginia. These recent works convey a growing sense of urgency and frustration with the treatment of African-American communities in the United States.

The Archie Boston Papers are available for the public research at the Rubenstein Library.

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Visitor car park arrangements for Saturday 14 September

National Archives - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 08:46

On Saturday 14 September we’ll be supporting Richmond Runfest by making a number of spaces in our visitor car park available for runners to park in.

Please be aware that any visitors to The National Archives arriving before 10:00 will be redirected to the staff car park, while visitors arriving after 10:00 will be able to park as normal in the visitor car park.

Blue badge holders remain unaffected. Normal parking charges will apply.

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Jeff James visits M&S

National Archives - Thu, 08/29/2019 - 05:50

Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives visited the M&S Company Archive at its home at the University of Leeds this week as part of a nationwide tour of archives in his position as Historical Manuscripts Commissioner.

The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts is celebrating its 150th anniversary after being appointed under Royal Warrant in 1869 to make enquiry as to the places where manuscripts and private papers of historical interest were located and to report on their contents. The terms of reference were extended in 1959 to include the commission’s current functions. With the creation of The National Archives in April 2003, the warrant was amended to allow the Keeper of Public Records to become the sole Historical Manuscripts Commissioner.

The M&S collection contains more than 71,000 items, dating from 1884 to the present day and comprises not only written, photographic and digital records of the company’s development, but also artefacts which represent key aspects of the company’s activities.

During his visit, Jeff met M&S General Counsel and Group Secretary Nick Folland, Company Archivist Katharine Carter and the archive team, and was shown highlights from the archive collection.

At the end of his visit, Jeff said: ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the M&S journey from Penny Bazaar to the present. It is the history of a business but also our wider social history, and I enjoyed seeing the clothing, food and homeware that I and many others grew up with.

‘I am particularly impressed by the way in which M&S opens up its archives to audiences today and works with different groups and communities to profile the company’s history and to highlight the importance of archives. This truly is an archive for everyone.’

The archive was awarded Archive Accreditation in March 2018.

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DCDC bursaries awarded

National Archives - Wed, 08/28/2019 - 10:00

Four bursaries have been awarded for this year’s Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities (DCDC) conference, following a competition funded by The National Archives. The competition was open to students and others who would not otherwise be able to attend the event in November.

DCDC is a partnership between The National Archives, Research Libraries UK and Jisc, and brings together a diverse range of experiences from across the academic, heritage, archives and library sectors. The bursary awards reflect this diversity, with recipients from the academic, archive and museum sectors at various stages of their careers.

The bursaries will cover attendance at DCDC19, including a welcome social and dinner, UK travel, and accommodation for the duration of the conference. Applicants were asked to submit a form detailing why they wished to attend the conference and explain how it would benefit them in their role.

Corinne Lewis, Archives Assistant at Gwent Archives and bursary recipient, said: ‘I applied for the bursary because I want to learn more about transitioning to digital. I feel that having the opportunity to learn from such experienced practitioners will be invaluable for my studies. I’m thrilled to have received the bursary and am looking forward to the conference.’

After the conference, the bursary recipients will be blogging about their experiences at DCDC19, so keep an eye on our research Twitter account for more information.

DCDC19 is being held between 12 – 14 November in Birmingham. For information on the programme and to book your ticket, visit the DCDC website.

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So Many Duke Handbooks

The Devil's Tale - Wed, 08/21/2019 - 11:20

Post contributed by Amy McDonald, Assistant University Archivist for the Duke University Archives.

Hello new friends who are arriving on campus this week! Duke is big and busy and multi-faceted and, well, sometimes you need a guidebook. (And there’s no shame in that; I’ve been here for 14 years and I sometimes still need a guidebook.)

First things first, it’s Orientation Week, so of course you need a guidebook to orientation week activities (for you and your parents), just like these 1971 orientation schedules for the Woman’s College and Trinity College/the School of Engineering (coincidentally, this would be the last year of the Woman’s College, which merged with Trinity College in 1972). That year, your orientation activities would have included a Union “Happening,” whatever that might have been, and a discussion of The Lord of the Flies.

If those events were signs of their times, then so too was the “Welcome to Personal Computing at Duke” session you would have taken as part of the 1989 Orientation Week. You’d also have taken part in the inaugural annual address to the first-year class by poet, author, Wake Forest University professor, activist, and legend Maya Angelou, which is pretty enviable in my opinion.

Starting with the class of 1970, you’d also receive a class directory (sometimes referred to as a “pic book,” since its main feature was photographs of your new classmates). Initially published by the Associated Students of Duke University (Duke’s student government until 1993, also known as ASDU), they’ve more recently been a gift from the Duke Alumni Association. This page from the Class of 1992’s directory includes a now-famous alum. Let us know if you spot her!

We’ve digitized these, if you’d like to browse through a few decades of hairstyle trends.

As with any community, there are policies and rules meant to ensure that everyone has a safe and positive experience. These were outlined in The Duke Handbook (admonishingly titled The Duke Gentleman from 1965-1968) and the Woman’s College Handbook.

Woman’s College students took a two and a half page “exam” about the regulations outlined in their handbook as part of their Orientation Week activities. A question from the 1964 exam reads: “What procedure would a student [follow] if she wishes her brother to carry her record player to her room?” and yes, I’ve asked most of my colleagues this question this past week. I don’t actually know the correct answer—any alums reading this who can help us out in the comments?

But wait! If you were a student at the Woman’s College, one handbook wasn’t enough. The Social Standards Committee of your Woman’s Student Government Association provided you with a guide to proper campus etiquette called “It’s Not in the Handbook” (late 1940s-mid-1950s) or “Design for a Duchess” (mid-1950s-early 1960s).

This 1954 edition promises “frowns unlimited” to students who “wear socks to the Union for Sunday dinner” or “use the phone as if it were a personal possession.” (You were to wear hose to Sunday dinner and yeah, there was one phone for your entire dorm.) Design for a Duchess did also advise you to keep up with studying so you don’t have to cram, get plenty of sleep, and eat breakfast, which is still pretty sound advice.

In the late 1960s-1970s, progressive students appropriated the handbook concept to create an “unofficial” guide to Duke called The University Experience. In addition to some fantastically psychedelic covers, the table of contents from the 1974-1975 edition below shows some of the voices that were beginning to speak out and claim space on campus, with articles titled “Duke’s History of Feminism,” “Being Black and This Being Duke,” and “Being Gay and Proud.” (There’s also an article titled “Journey through the Archives,” which I’m fond of.) You can browse through digitized copies of all of the issues here.

(And this type of handbook is alive and well in the recent Duke Disorientation Guides; here’s the 2018 issue!)

There are stacks of guides to student organizations, including guides to Religious Life groups on campus and to club sports and recreational activities, but let’s just focus on one of my favorites: this 1930s handbook from Duke’s Young Women’s Christian Association. Yes! The spinner on the cover really spins!

Of course there’s a guide to the Libraries.

And a 1982 guide from ASDU—titled Bull on Bull: Duke’s Guide to Durham—reminding first-year students that they should get off campus and explore Durham! It’s also digitized, if you’d like to see where Duke students hung out in 1982.

Hmmmmm. Do I love these handbooks so much that I found it difficult to choose which ones to share and just . . . included way too many here? Yes, and I apologize. Please don’t feel overwhelmed, new friends. You’ll figure all of this out more quickly than you think you will—and until then? Just ask anyone on campus! We’re the best guides around! Good luck this year and come visit us at the Duke University Archives!

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Emancipation from the Cook Stove and Getting Boys into the Kitchen: Early 20th Century Cookbooks

The Devil's Tale - Tue, 08/20/2019 - 13:47

Post contributed by Stephanie Fell, Rare Materials Project Cataloger

When the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection was packed and shipped to Duke in early 2015, many of the materials were boxed thematically. Therefore, as we have been cataloging the collection, the materials tend to come in waves of various themes and subject matter. Lately a number of cookbooks and monographs relating to domestic arts have been coming across my desk. Some have been traditional cookbooks and domestic arts manuals, offering recipes, menus, and nutrition information, as well as advice to the home maker, from cooking, cleaning, and child care tips to household budgeting and how to decorate the home. I wanted to point out a couple of items in particular that caught my attention.

An example of the typical publisher’s binding cookbook from the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection

These particular books, at first glance, are traditional cookbooks or domestic arts manuals for women to help them maintain a healthy and happy home through cooking and good housekeeping. Looking more closely, however, they contain a subversive message that rejects traditional gender roles and encourages the reader to emancipate herself from the kitchen.

Foods and home making by Carlotta C. Greer

Foods and Home Making by Carlotta C. Greer, published in 1938, was intended to be used by teachers to train boys and girls to do household tasks better. This text looks typical of the genre and time period; it includes “many suggestions and devices to stimulate pupils to participate in home activities and to do their share in making their homes attractive and happy” (page iii-iv). Upon closer examination, the “To the teacher” note includes the following advice: “Much of the material of Foods and Home Making is suitable for boys as well as girls. Knowledge of food selection is necessary for boys. Stimulation of boys’ interest in home making contributes to their appreciation of home life” (page v). The author encourages the reader to get her sons involved (and appreciate!) the work involved with sustaining and maintaining a household.

Another noteworthy feature of the Rubenstein Library’s copy is that it contains manuscript annotations indicating the owner was using the volume to prepare for an exam. Part of my work as a rare materials cataloger is to include provenance-related information such as this in the library’s catalog record in copy-specific notes. This kind of information about the book is important to include in the bibliographic record, because it shows not only how a former owner used the item, but also helps to differentiate this copy from copies at other institutions.

Manuscript annotations show a former owner’s use of the item.

Another volume I cataloged recently is Uncooked Foods & How to Use Them by Mrs. & Mrs. Eugene Christian. Published in 1904, it is dedicated to “the women of America on whom depend the future greatness of our glorious country”. This unassuming volume includes more than just recipes and housekeeping advice. Scrolling through the table of contents, the reader will find that chapter 8 is entitled “Emancipation of Woman”. The authors advocate a raw food diet — one reason for this being simplicity: “There is nothing more complicated–more laborious and more nerve-destroying, than the preparation of the alleged good dinner. There is nothing simpler, easier and more entertaining than the preparation of an uncooked dinner” (page [39]). The authors argue that eating raw foods is healthier and will “emancipate [the reader] from the slavery of the kitchen and the cook stove” (page [49]). They continue, “… the use of uncooked or natural foods will surely bring relief and freedom” (page 52). Mr. and Mrs. Christian were admittedly ahead of their time in more than one regard.

Uncooked Foods & How to Use Them by Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Christian

As I’m cataloging the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, which documents the work of women over the last 500 years, I’m not just describing the materials bibliographically, but I’m also trying to provide relevant access points and descriptive information for researchers. In addition to these items, the Rubenstein Library holds many other volumes related to cooking and domestic life. One can find other examples of domestic arts advice for women both inside and outside of this collection through Duke University Library’s online catalog. A genre term search for “Cookbooks” will return many items in that category and a keyword search for “prescriptive literature” may yield broader results.

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Peterloo remembered in free online course

National Archives - Mon, 08/05/2019 - 05:30

Original records held by The National Archives will feature in a free-to-join online course examining the Peterloo Massacre.

Registration is now open for ‘Peterloo to the Pankhursts: Radicalism and Reform in the 19th Century’. The course will uncover a century-long struggle for rights and representation, from the Peterloo Massacre to the campaign for women’s suffrage in Britain.

Launching on 12 August, the course will take four weeks to complete and requires four hours of study a week. Learners will have the opportunity to see original artefacts and documents as well as compelling historical testimony and speeches. Resources will be accompanied by expert guidance from historians, archivists and curators.

The project has been developed by People’s History Museum and Royal Holloway, University of London and as well as material from The National Archives, it also features material from collections held by the History of Parliament Trust and Parliamentary Archives. It has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

To join the course, please visit FutureLearn.

If you would like to hear more about the Peterloo Massacre, join Dr Jaqueline Riding, historian for Mike Leigh’s film Peterloo, and records specialists Dr George Hay and Chris Day for a talk at The National Archives on 13 August. Tickets are available here.

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New learning spaces for the historians of tomorrow

National Archives - Fri, 08/02/2019 - 09:47

We will shortly begin construction of two major new learning spaces within our first floor reading rooms.

One space will be located next to the library, while the other will occupy part of the existing document reading room here at Kew.

Caroline Ottaway-Searle, Director of Public Engagement at The National Archives, said ‘This project is part of our ongoing programme to re-imagine and reconfigure our site to become a more vibrant and welcoming environment, better equipped to deliver services and events for a wider range of visitors.

‘These new spaces will provide us with improved facilities for children, young people, students and learners of all ages to engage with and learn about our collection.’

Visitors may experience some disruption over the next few weeks as we carry out preparatory works, continuing as construction begins in the autumn. We will try to keep this to a minimum, but some disturbance is inevitable. The works are due to be completed by spring 2020.

Library users may experience some disruption to services from early August while the collection is re-arranged in preparation for the construction works.

Some books, journals and resources may be temporarily relocated but will remain available upon request. Other collections, such as the National Register of Archives paper lists, will be unavailable during this period although the register remains available to search through our catalogue Discovery.

More detailed updates on the affected collections will be available on our library page throughout the project.

In the document reading room, 72 seats (nine tables) will be temporarily removed, along with some camera stands. Almost 300 seats will remain available in this area.

Several phases of the programme have already been completed, including the redevelopment of the public restaurant and the creation of a large multi-purpose events space.

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Collaborate and Innovate archive fund launched

National Archives - Thu, 08/01/2019 - 05:56

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new funding programme for the archive sector titled Collaborate and Innovate.

The programme will empower archives to develop creative ideas and collaborative approaches through two funding schemes. The first scheme, the Archive Testbed Fund, will provide micro grants of up to £5,000 to archives who want to explore, pilot or evolve an innovative idea that may lead to positive change for the archive. Importantly, the funded archives will be able to experiment without fear of failure and their learning outcomes will be shared for the wider sector to use.

The second scheme is the Networks for Change Fund, which will award grants of up to £15,000 to groups of archives wanting to start a new network, strengthen an existing partnership or undertake a network development project. Strong networks contribute to an efficient and resilient archive sector and help archives improve many aspects of their service, including skills, access, engagement and value for money.

Dr Valerie Johnson, Director of Collections and Research at The National Archives, said: ‘I am delighted with the launch of the Collaborate and Innovate funding programme which will provide archives with the crucial freedom to explore innovative ideas and work together in new ways. This ability to be bold will lead to outcomes that will make a real difference to archives in the UK.’

Both the Archive Testbed Fund and Networks for Change Fund will work on a rolling basis so applications can be submitted at any time.

• To find out more, visit the Collaborate and Innovate webpages.

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Summer at The National Archives

National Archives - Thu, 07/25/2019 - 12:44

This Summer at The National Archives you might be surprised by what you discover.

Just 10 minutes’ walk from Kew Gardens station, our beautiful wildlife, free Cold War exhibition, fun-packed family activities, BBQs and ice cream await.

First Sundays

We are free to visit and open Tuesday to Saturday and the first Sunday of the month. Join us on Sunday 4 August and Sunday 1 September for our next Sunday openings, from 11.00 – 16.00 Please note that the reading rooms and library are closed on First Sundays.

Family activities

School’s out and we’re here all summer with a fun-packed programme of family-friendly activities.

Check out the Time Travel Club events, drop in to a creative Craft Club session or pick up a free activity pack when you visit.

Free family trail – My Grandad: The Spy

Find clues, break codes and keep undercover in this secret mission, suitable for the whole family.

This interactive game requires a smart phone to take part. Booking essential.


Our Cold War exhibition provides an immersive and fascinating take on life in Britain during a turbulent era. Free to visit and open until 9 November 2019 #ColdWarSeason


Our What’s On programme features an exciting line-up of talks and events that showcase over 1,000 years of historic records.

Dine al fresco

With an outdoor terrace and balcony seating, enjoy coffee and lunch in a peaceful setting. We’ll be firing up the BBQ every Thursday this summer (weather permitting!) or you can opt for a cooler treat from our ice cream cart instead.

Share what you discover:


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Documenting Radio Haïti Inter’s Time in Exile (1981-1986) Using L’Heure Haïtienne’s Archive

The Devil's Tale - Thu, 07/25/2019 - 09:28

Post contributed by Ayanna Legros Doctoral Student in the History Department at Duke

In New York City, Radio Haïti-Inter staff joined musicians, writers, professionals, and other Haitian exiles who had fled the Duvalier regime about two decades earlier. Barbershops, cafés, bookstores, churches and street corners became stages for Haitians to passionately debate politics and the future of the nation. While newspapers such as Haïti Observateur circulated around the Upper West Side of Manhattan, offering exiles space to present opinions, radio provided members of the Haitian community a sonic space to grapple with the realities of their homeland while also discussing strategies for combatting racism, xenophobia, sexism, classism, and the linguistic privileging of the French language over Kreyòl. Some radio programs operated with proper licensing, while others bypassed institutional confines, using creative strategies to avoid surveillance and regulation.

One radio station that rose to prominence was L’Heure Haïtienne (also known as L’Ayisyen and Lè Ayisyen), a Haitian Creole radio show run out of Columbia University between 1969 – 2002. Like Radio Haïti Inter, L’Heure Haïtienne staffers and volunteers understood that Haiti’s issues had to be interconnected with the democratic struggles of Caribbean, Latin American, and African nations. Conflict in nations ranging from Nicaragua to Eritrea were documented and shared with the community. The founder of the program, my father Lionel Legros, explained to me in an oral history interview that he wanted listeners to understand “The United States was not going to save Haiti.”[2]

In November 1981, one year after living in New York in exile, Jean Dominique participated in an interview with Daniel Huttinot on Lè Ayisyen. Huttinot asked Dominique about his silence, the state of Haiti, and his perception of democratic movements. Dominique replied with messages of hope in the diaspora while also expressing frustration in lacking his own station. After two years, Jean Dominique came back on the air, on a program called Radio Haiti in New York (Radyo Ayiti nan Nouyòk) on WNYE 91.5FM. a non-commercial independent radio station licensed through City University of New York (CUNY). Co-hosted by Jean Dominique and Konpè Filo, the program surveyed issues impacting the everyday lives of Haitians in the early 1980s such as immigration, HIV/AIDS stigma, and the murder of Firmin Joseph, founder of the weekly newspaper Tribune d’Haïti.

Photograph of Jean Dominique and Konpè Filo from the Radio Haiti Archives

Daniel Huttinot many years later recalls the impact of L’Heure Haïtienne on the Haitian community in New York stating that they had “loyal listeners” for years and would regularly host Haitian exiles on their program seeking to share about their experiences back home.[3] Further discussion about the collection with researcher Jennifer Garcon, PhD, as well as Radio Haïti-Inter archivist, Laura Wagner, PhD, demonstrate the force of radio within the Caribbean and the diaspora. Laura and I for several Saturdays went through the L’Heure Haïtienne collection and unbeknowest to us discovered many Radio Haïti in New York cassettes, adding to the robust collection already housed at Duke. These cassettes offer valuable information about the painfully repressive Reagan years and the enormous contributions of exile voices to the ousting of Jean-Claude Duvalier 7 February 1986.

Some recovered Radio Haïti New York tapes found in L’Heure Haïtienne’s Collection
Labeled: Jan ak Filo (Jean and Filo) or Radio Haïti Nan Nouyòk (Radio Haïti in New York)

Radio Haiti in New York tapes will soon be digitized and made available. The vast majority of L’Heure Haïtienne’s collection remains independent and unprocessed. Both  collections will offer researchers access to an important chapter in New York City Haitian migration history. Bridging the L’Heure Haïtienne archive with Radio Haïti Inter’s fills an important gap in the Radio Haiti Archive. Values such as tèt ansanm (literally putting your heads together) and collaborative working practices in archival preservation and academic work are continued necessities particularly in the rapidly paced digital age in which data collection and digitization present libraries and researchers a new set of challenges.[4] The practice of tèt ansanm by historians, archivists, and data collectors will continue to be necessary in order to create solutions for the impending challenges of the digital age.

Patrick Elie, Lionel Legros, Jean Dominique
New York City Early 1980s



[1] Demme, Jonathan, director. The Agronomist. 2003.

[2] Legros, Lionel, phone interview, April 20, 2019

[3] Huttinot, Daniel, interview, August 2, 2017

[4] Lara Putnam, The Transnational and the Text-Searchable: Digitized Sources and the Shadows They Cast, The American Historical Review, Volume 121, Issue 2, April 2016, Pages 377–402, https://doi-org.proxy.lib.duke.edu/10.1093/ahr/121.2.377

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Read our annual report and accounts 2018-19

National Archives - Thu, 07/25/2019 - 06:07

The 16th annual report and accounts for The National Archives are now available online, where you can read about our highlights during 2018-19 and the completion of our four-year strategy.


Read more in the full report

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Prime Minister’s papers from 1995 released

National Archives - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 09:05

Today we have released files from the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office, predominantly covering the years 1994 – 1995 but with some files from the 1950s and 1960s.

The newly released Cabinet Office files (CAB and PREM) shed light on a range of subjects both at home and abroad under John Major’s leadership.

The files are available to view in the public reading rooms at The National Archives, Kew. A selection of files have been digitised and can be viewed and downloaded using our catalogue, Discovery.

Domestically, the files cover issues such as metrication (PREM 19/5119), the refurbishment and reconstruction of No. 10 Downing Street in the 1950s and 60s (PREM 11/5226 and PREM 11/5231) and the launch of the National Lottery (PREM 19/5082 and PREM 19/5083)

Internationally, there are various files relating to UK relations with Romania (PREM 19/4952), Russia (PREM 19/4970), Sierra Leone (PREM 19/4988) and South Africa (PREM 19/4996 – 5000).

You can also find out more about our previous file releases.

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Newly accredited archive services

National Archives - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 04:46

The UK Archive Service Accreditation Committee is pleased to announce that the following archive services were awarded Archive Service Accreditation at a recent panel meeting, meaning there are now over 150 accredited archive services:

  • Brent Museum Archives
  • Historic England Archive
  • Modern Records Centre: Warwick University
  • The National Library of Scotland

Accredited archive services have successfully demonstrated that they meet the UK standard around resourcing, collections management and providing access to collections. They include business archives, specialist repositories, university archives, and local authority archive services.

Archive Sector Accreditation is supported by a partnership of the Archives and Records Association (UK), Archives and Records Council Wales, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Scottish Council on Archives, The National Archives and the Welsh Government through its Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales division.

Find out more about Archive Service Accreditation here and see the full list of accredited archive services here.

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The National Archives announces first Artist in Residence

National Archives - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 08:54

We are delighted to announce that Michael Takeo Magruder will be our first ever Artist in Residence. A renowned artist and researcher, Michael will be tasked with translating The National Archives’ rich digital data sources into thought-provoking and beautiful artworks and installations.

With a vast portfolio of innovative art projects and proven track record in working with digital collections, Michael is well placed to highlight our ongoing work in digital development, as outlined in our new strategy Archives for Everyone. His work involves real-time data, digital archives and immersive environments and has been showcased in over 290 exhibitions in 35 countries.

Caroline Ottaway-Searle, Director of Public Engagement at The National Archives, said: “We look forward to working with Michael to illustrate our digital assets in a way that has never been done before. As our first Artist in Residence, Michael will create a bespoke piece of art that anyone can engage with, inspiring conversations around what makes a 21st century archive.”

The initial artist residency will start in August 2019, with Michael developing the installation concept. This will be followed by a six month art exhibition running from March 2020.

More details will be announced later this year.

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Eleanor C. Pressly: A Duke Alumna at NASA

The Devil's Tale - Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:20

Post contributed by Val Gillispie, University Archivist.

With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing right around the corner, I’ve been researching Duke’s history with NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I’ve found a number of interesting stories, but I’ve been struck by the work of one Duke alumna whom I had not known about previously—and she’s a woman who deserves our recognition and thanks.

Eleanor C. Pressly, originally from the Charlotte area, received a master’s degree in mathematics at Duke in 1944. After working at Harvard, she served as an aeronautical research engineer at the United States Naval Research Library. She quickly became a specialist in rockets, particularly sounding rockets, which are unpiloted rockets that collect atmospheric data. Responsible for more than two dozen launches at the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico, she was thought to have been the first woman to fire a rocket.

Her work was highly technical and time-sensitive. A 1956 article syndicated by the Newspaper Enterprise Association described her at White Sands: “With one eye on an anemometer, the other on wind reports coming in from balloons and on a crew of computers, she keeps a constant watch six hours previous to firing.” She was responsible for ensuring that the angle of the launch was appropriately calibrated to the weather, and if anything were to go wrong when it was in the air, she would pull the switch that would cause the rocket to self-destruct. Despite her serious scientific bona fides, the reporter could not resist describing her appearance in the article, too, referring to “… this youthful looking woman who gives the appearance of a happy housewife set for a round of afternoon bridge. She has bright blue eyes, blonde hair, and an infectious laugh.”

A 1957 article in the Washington Post and Times Herald claimed she was called “Uncle Sam’s Blonde Rocketeer.” It also connected Pressly to future developments in the space program: “Later this year, if the earth satellite is launched as planned and the world applauds the first ‘man-made’ moon, remember that a woman had a finger in it too. Eleanor helped on the original research to determine how long the satellite could be expected to remain aloft.”

When the Goddard Space Flight Center opened in 1958, Pressley became the head of the Vehicles Section of the Spacecraft Integration and Sounding Rocket Division. She continued to make improvements to the sounding rockets, developing several models of Aerobee rockets, and collecting atmospheric data.

The recipients of the 1963 Federal Woman’s Award for outstanding contributions to government with President John F. Kennedy. Eleanor Pressly is second from the right. Photo from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

In 1963, Pressly was one of six women, selected from nearly 600,000 female federal workers, whose “high achievement, outstanding contributions, and influence on major programs” deserved special recognition. The award was presented by President John F. Kennedy at the White House. Duke President Daryl Hart sent a letter of congratulations, to which Pressly sent a handwritten note. “Of course it was exciting, personally, to win such an award. But my big hope is that more girls in schools such as Duke can be made aware of the tremendous opportunities open to them. We need them.”

Letter from Duke President J. Deryl Hart to Eleanor Pressly, April 22, 1963. From the J. Deryl Hart records. The text of this letter is readable in the image’s alt text. Letter from Eleanor Pressly to Duke President J. Deryl Hart, May 12, 1963. From the J. Deryl Hart records. The text of this letter is readable in the image’s alt text.

Pressly remained connected to Duke through giving, and even served as a class agent for the 1971-1972 Loyalty Fund. Pressly continued her work at Goddard, eventually retired from NASA, and she passed away in 2003. As we reflect on the fifty years since the moon landing, it is humbling to think about the massive amounts of research and testing that led to the fateful moonwalk—and the work that a woman educated at Duke contributed to that effort.

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TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame award

National Archives - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 10:03

We are pleased to announce that The National Archives has achieved TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame award.

The TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence honours hospitality businesses and cultural sites that deliver consistently great service. This designation is presented to businesses that maintain a rating of at least four out of five – approximately 10% of total businesses on the site.

Organisations that have received a Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years qualify for the Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame.

This means we have consistently been rated in the top 10% of all TripAdvisor businesses over the last five years.

We are open to the public from Tuesday – Saturday and on the first Sunday of every month.

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11 of My Favorite Haitian Creole Expressions from the Radio Haiti Archive

The Devil's Tale - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 11:08

Post contributed by Laura Wagner, Ph.D., Radio Haiti Project Archivist

Processing the archive of Radio Haïti-Inter can be difficult work. The collection is filled with human rights violations, suffering, injustice, and death — including both the repression that the station’s journalists covered and the repression they personally endured. Yet despite the heaviness of the subject matter, listening to Radio Haiti is often joyful. Jean Dominique is the single most expressive person I have ever had the privilege of spending time with. (He was, in the words of his friend Jonathan Demme, “an absolute theater superstar waiting to happen.”)  In French, he’d quote Henri de Montherlant and La Rochefoucauld. In Haitian Creole, he’d draw on the language’s evocative proverbs and expressions. Creole is a language of poetry and double meanings, of metaphor and dissembling, of mawonaj.

As I head into my last week on the Radio Haiti project, I wanted to emphasize a lighter side of the project and share some wonderful Haitian Creole phrases. I’ve also learned some fantastic French terms over the course of this project (like scélérat – a villain! often paired with mediocre, because to Jean Dominique, mediocre was one of the worst things a person could be. Or histrion, a buffoon; scribouillard, a penpusher; or crêpage de chignons, a catfight!). But, as I said, in this list I’m going to concentrate on the Creole expressions that I’ve picked up along the way, not only from Jean Dominique, but also from Michèle Montas, J.J. Dominique, Konpè Filo, and other members of the Radio Haiti team, as well as some of the people they interviewed.

    1. Sòt pa touye w, men li fè w swè – Literally, stupidity won’t kill you, but it’ll make you sweat. My personal mantra every time I made a mistake while processing the Radio Haiti collection. It’s pretty much what it sounds like: stupidity isn’t fatal, but it creates a lot more work for you.
    2. Sezi kou berejèn – Very surprised; literally, surprised as an eggplant. I have no idea why.
    3. Depi djab te kaporal – Literally, “ever since the Devil was a corporal.” Figuratively, since the beginning of time. I’m told that’s because the Devil has been a general for a long time, so if he was a low-ranking officer, that must have been a very long time ago.
    4. Mare sòsis – Literally, to tie your sausage together with someone else’s. Figuratively, to be in cahoots with someone.
    5. M a di w sa Kasayòl te di bèf la – Literally, “I’m going to tell you what Cassagnol told the cow.” When you want to curse someone out without doing it directly. No one knows who Cassagnol was, or what he told the cow, but we can only imagine that it was very bad indeed.
    6. Pitit trannde dan – Literally, “a child with thirty-two teeth.” In a report from 1979 by Konpè Filo, sex workers from Port-au-Prince explained that they referred to their pimps as “children with thirty-two teeth” because they were all grown up but still depended on women for everything.
    7. Benyen san kache lonbrit – Literally, bathing without hiding your belly button. Letting it all hang out, not having any secrets.
    8. Panzou – Traditionally, a children’s game in which you slap someone’s hand, often to make them drop something. Panzou came to mean coup d’état, referring to the way the army seized power from Haiti’s democratically-elected government in 1991. The perpetrators of the coup, accordingly, were panzouyis (panzouists).
    9. Mete absè sou klou – Literally, putting an abcess on top of a boil. Figuratively, making a bad situation worse.
    10. Nou se lanmè, nou pa kenbe kras – A proverb, and of Radio Haiti’s slogans. Literally “We are like the sea, we wash away the dirt.” It means “we reveal the truth, we don’t keep secrets.”
    11. Nou pa manje lajan Chango, nou pa manje manje bliye – Literally, “we don’t consume Chango’s money, we don’t eat the food of forgetfulness.” Figuratively, “we’re not taking part in corruption and we never forget.” Chango is a Vodou lwa known for his anger. If you take Chango’s money, you have to be prepared to do something in exchange. The original expression is Lè w manje lajan Chango, fò w peye Chango (“When you use Chango’s money, you better pay Chango back.”)
    12. Degi – A small bonus, like a baker’s dozen. (This twelfth entry on a list of eleven is your degi!) I knew this word before, from every time I’ve bought rice or beans in a Haitian market, but I did not know that degi comes from the Fon language of West Africa, as Jean Dominique learned when he interviewed the ambassador from Benin, Patrice Houngavou, in 1978.

A Note from Rubenstein Staff: Laura, we will miss you! Thank you for your incredible and invaluable work on this massive and complicated project.  We are so lucky to have pote kole with you these past few years. Because of your hard work, expertise, and passion, the Radio Haiti Archive  is accessible to people all over the world. How amazing is that?! We wish you all the best and look forward to hearing about your future endeavors.

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Archives Revealed grant awards announced

National Archives - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 06:03

The Archives Revealed funding programme has awarded a total of £300,000 to nine archives across the UK for cataloguing projects.

The scheme, which we support with The Pilgrim Trust and the Wolfson Foundation, provides cataloguing grants of up to £40,000 allowing archives to open up their collections to researchers and communities.

Three additional archives were also awarded £3,000 grants for scoping studies with the aim of increasing public engagement with the UK’s rich documentary history. These scoping grants allow organisations to understand the significance of their archive and to take the first steps towards making their collection accessible through an assessment report incorporating expert advice on a range of areas relating to collections management and development.

Dr Valerie Johnson, Director of Research and Collections at The National Archives, said: ‘Cataloguing is the key to revealing archival material that can be used in countless ways by individuals and communities.

‘Today we are delighted to announce funding for the cataloguing of nine highly significant and diverse collections, enabling greater access to our collective heritage and allowing people to gain a deeper insight into the past.’

Georgina Nayler, Director of The Pilgrim Trust, said: ‘The Pilgrim Trust is proud to support the cataloguing of nine inspiring archive collections through the Archives Revealed programme.

‘The archival material that they contain will be valuable to both researchers and the public and we are looking forward to seeing wider audiences engage with these newly available collections.’

The successful cataloguing grant applicants are:

  • Barnsley Archives and Local Studies for ‘All manner of  ‘All manner of wickedness’ £29,500
  • Glamorgan Archives for ‘Time and Tide: Revealing the history of Cardiff’ £37,996
  • Durham County Record Office for ‘Durham Light Infantry  – The Whole Story’ £38,734
  • Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives for ‘The Aberdeen Harbour Board Collection: Navigating Aberdeen’s History’ £39,145
  • The University of Sheffield for ‘The Blunkett Archives’ £20,178
  • Berkshire Records Office for ‘Liquid Assets’ £38,866
  • Wiltshire and Swindon Archives, Heritage Services, Wiltshire Council for ‘Breaking the Mould: The Spencer Moulton and Dr Alex Moulton Archives’ £39,000
  • Leeds University Library Special Collections for ‘The figure in the carpet: Discovering Herbert Read and his cultural networks’ £31,580
  • The National Trust for ‘The Edward Chambre Hardman Photographic Archive – Cataloguing, Conservation and Digitisation’ £25,000

The successful scoping grant applicants are:

  • New Contemporaries
  • The Union Chapel
  • Museum of London Docklands

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