Archives staff, services, and resources are available online. Building access is closed for on-site research. We are happy to assist in answering questions or locating materials if possible. Please use our online request form or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also discover some digital research options from this blog post: https://archives.mc.duke.edu/blog/digital-research-resources
Archives contain many stories. Departmental records, photographs, scrapbooks, and old brochures all trace the historical record in different and occasionally surprising ways. Former faculty papers can show the process of scientific discovery. Oral histories can reveal past institutional knowledge. Old memos provide a glimpse into working conditions. Sometimes the stories are painful. The original sketches of the hospital floor plans show segregated wings. Sometimes the stories are incomplete. We certainly have not saved every document from the history of Duke Health. Sometimes the stories are just simple and fun. That’s the type of story that we’d like to share on the blog today.
When browsing through old issues of the Intercom, Duke Medicine’s primary news publication from 1953 to 1986, it is clear that the writers and editors of the publication definitely had a sense of humor. For example, in a 1972 issue, they published a discharge summary for Santa Claus. It seems they had a problem with people not turning in stories on time in 1976, but instead of a general announcement they published an article entitled “TV Show Seemed Realistic”. Click on the image to the right to read the full story.
One particularly memorable story comes from page 5 of the June 1, 1967 issue of Intercom. Nestled between two typical articles about a visiting scholar and about employees of the year is a humorous story about a mysterious noise on the Strudwick ward. We won’t give away the ending, but the story includes an unidentified noise, a fuzzy face, mistaken identities and a cupcake! What more could you want? Read the full story below by clicking on the image.
While this story is undoubtedly silly, it is a great reminder of all the fun and lighthearted moments that happen every day at Duke and just one example of the many hidden gems that can be found in the archives. To learn more about our collections, please contact the archives. Or explore past digitized versions of Intercom and let us know if you find anymore humorous stories in the newsletter!