Picture File, 1700s-1970s and undated

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Source Collection

This digital collection comprises selected materials from the following archival collection at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library:

Picture File 1700s-1980s, bulk 1814-1950

Collection #RL.01025 | 50 Linear Feet

The Picture File was created and maintained beginning in the 1950s by the Duke University Manuscript Department staff and its institutional successors as a vertical file of pictorial works separated from manuscript collections as well as acquired individually. The collection is large and diverse, with images dating from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Engravings feature prominently, with photographs a close second. The predominant genre is portraits of political and military leaders, authors, artists, physicians, scientists, and others. Members of the Duke family and others from Durham, N.C. are also present. In the Socialist Party Series there are numerous images of leader Eugene Debs. Topics range widely, with a focus on American history, including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars; history and culture of the southern U.S.; and U.S. and European politics. A significant number of individuals in the People Series are African Americans, ranging from individual studio portraits to groups of individuals and racist caricatures and cartoons; a smaller number are of Native Americans.

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