Manuscript Collection Development Policy

General Purpose

Among institutions of the age and stature of Duke Health, there are many faculty and alumni who have made a significant impact upon, or contribution to American society. It is one of the aims and purposes of the Manuscript Collection of the DUMC Archives to develop its holdings by gathering, processing, preserving and making available to students and scholars the papers of selected Faculty and Alumni.

Because it is neither possible nor desirable to collect the papers of all Faculty and Alumni, a determination must be made as to which papers will be of value to students and scholars in the future. Papers will be included of those Faculty and Alumni who have made a significant impact upon or contribution to society. The defining factor for inclusion of faculty, administrator, and alumni papers will be the significance of impact upon, or contribution to, the practice or science of medicine, medical research, and changing the way society, or a portion of society, thinks, believes, acts or operates. It is thus the goal of the Archives to identify, collect, and preserve those materials which fall within this definition. At the same time, is not the policy of the Archives to acquire by purchase the papers of living Faculty and Alumni of Duke Health.

The manuscript collection exists to complement the official holdings of institutions records housed in the DUMC Archives.

Duke University Medical Center Archives Manuscript Program

The collection supports the teaching and research activities of administrators, faculty, and students on all levels. Materials are made available for student assignments, teaching and research needs of the faculty, and administration and development. Use of the collection is broadly based; there is no one single constituency that is supported by the materials. Materials are used by the faculty and students in the arts and sciences, researchers interested in the history and development of medical education and hospital development, and Duke Health administrators in the conduct of official business.

Alumni Memoirs

Alumni collections include club memorabilia, diaries, photographs, reunion books, and scrapbooks.

Oral Histories

The defining factor for conducting oral history interviews with faculty, administrator, and alumni will be the significance of impact upon, or contribution to, changing the way society, or a portion of society, thinks, believes, acts or operates. Oral history interviews will be conducted in order to support existing archival and manuscript collections on file in the DUMC Archives.

General Subject Boundaries

While the collection is not strictly restricted by subject, manuscript collections will usually concern the following broad subject matter: The practice and science of medicine;

  • Biomedical research;
  • Healthcare delivery, economics, and administration;
  • Bioethics, pastoral care and other related disciplines;
  • Health professions education; and,
  • Operations and history of Duke Health, its schools, programs, and affiliated partners as appropriate.


English is the primary language of the collection. However, language is not a criterion for inclusion or exclusion.

Geographical Boundaries

There are no geographical boundaries. However, the vast majority of the collection is from within the United States.

Chronological Boundaries

The collection dates from the late 19th Century to the present.

Format And Types Of Material Collected

Manuscripts may be defined for our purposes as any original, written materials that are created as unique items as opposed to reproduced items. This would include holographs, typescripts, computer tapes and similar original materials. Original manuscripts only are collected. This would include correspondence; drafts and final "working" version of published materials; financial records; other personal papers; diaries; laboratory notebooks; photographs; scrapbooks; reunion books, as referenced in "Alumni Memoirs"; and any other unique materials that would assist in defining and delineating a person's life and accomplishments. Facsimiles are not collected although these may be added to the reference collection in the Medical Center Archives. The Archives does not collect photocopies or duplicates of materials filed in other repositories.

Other Resources Available

The History of Medicine Collections at Duke University’s David. M. Rubenstein Library Rare Book & Manuscript Library is comprised of 20,000 rare books and journals, as well as manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, medical instruments, medals, and a variety of medical artifacts. For more information about this collection, please visit the History of Medicine website.

The Rubenstein Library at Duke University preserves rare and historical materials, which include monographs, serials, photographs and illustrations, medical advertisements, and various realia. While the library's holdings are developed in relation to instructional and research interests in the University, they are available for use by visiting scholars and the general public as well as Duke faculty and students.

Duke Health Faculty and Alumni are often found in the forefront of their fields and, as a result, are of interest to many repositories. It is not surprising, then, that their papers may be found in institutions throughout the world.

Creation Date

September 2003