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Because food probably isn't the first topic that comes to mind when thinking of medical archives, you might be surprised to find out that the Duke University Medical Center Archives has many materials related to food and nutrition. In honor of the 2013 North Carolina Archives Week’s (October 21-27) theme, “Home Grown! A Celebration of N.C. Food Culture & History,” we're highlighting a few of these items below.
To the right is an image of Duke medical students at Turnage’s Barbecue, circa 1955. A popular destination during the 1950's, Turnage’s was often the location of Duke Medicine's special events and dinners. The first School of Medicine Dean Wilburt Davison noted in his memoir that the restaurant had been “an important factor in good student-faculty relations because of the many happy and warm occasions there.”
Below is the pamphlet, With the compliments of the Walter Kempner Foundation. Dr. Walter Kempner was interested in the effect of diet on various diseases and health problems. Observing that these illnesses were relatively rare where rice was a staple food, in the 1940's Kempner devised the Rice Diet, a low-sodium nutrition plan based on rice and fruit, to treat kidney and high blood-pressure patients. The Archives has many publications related to the Rice Diet program, such as this undated brochure. On the pages shown here, the text acknowledges the tedium of eating rice, but encourages dieters to instead focus on the positive impact the diet will have on their health and that this food will “now give them a chance to recover…and become strong again.”
To the right is a 1965 brochure about Duke’s dietetic internship. Dietetic interns gained experience in menu planning, overseeing sanitation, personnel management, and purchasing food and equipment. In the undated photo below, a dietetic intern teaches diabetic patients about nutrition and healthy eating.
Interested in seeing more? You can see additional food-related images and publications in the display case on Level 2 of the Medical Center Library.