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Durham Potpourri

A selection of books and audio-visual materials about Durham.


Anderson, Jean Bradley. A History of Durham County, North Carolina. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991.

Boyd, William Kenneth. The Story of Durham: City of the New South. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1925.

Davidson, Osha Gray. The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South. New York: Scribner, 1996.

Dixon, Wyatt. How Times Do Change: a Series of Sketches of Durham and Her Citizens. Durham, NC: Central Carolina Publishing Inc., 1987.
A collection of newspaper columns that appeared in the Durham Sun.

Dula, W.C. Durham and Her People: Combining History and Who’s Who in Durham of 1949 and 1950. Durham, NC: Citizen Press, 1951.

Flowers, John B. Bull Durham and Beyond: a Touring Guide to City and County. Durham, NC: Durham Bicentennial Commission, 1976.
A short guide to historic buildings in Durham and Durham County.

Kostyu, Joel A. and Frank A. Durham: a Pictorial History. Norfolk, VA: Donning, 1978.

Lougee, George. Durham My Home Town. Carolina Academic Press, 1990.
A collection of newspaper columns that appeared in the Durham Morning Herald.

Massengill, Stephen E. Durham, North Carolina: a Postcard History. Dover, NH: Arcadia, 1997.

Roberts, Claudia P., et al. The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory. Durham, NC: City of Durham, 1982. (720.975 R).

Contains histories of Durham neighborhoods as well as profiles of architecturally significant pre-1940 structures within the Durham City limits ca. 1982.

Growing Up In Durham

Evans, Eli. The Provincials: a Personal History of Jews in the South. New York: Atheneum, 1997.
The son of former mayor E.J. Evans devotes several chapters to the history of the Jewish community in Durham.

Holloway, Betsy. Heaven for Beginners: Recollections of a Southern Town. Orlando, FL: Persimmon Press, 1986.
Betsy Holloway lived near Duke’s East campus and describes growing up in Durham in the 1950’s.

_____. Unfinished Heaven.Continues her story and concentrates on Carr Jr. High and Durham High School.

Leyburn, James G. The Way We Lived-Durham 1900-1920. Elliston, VA: Northcross House, 1989.

The son of the minister of the First Presbyterian Church describes life in Durham, 1900-1920.

Mebane, Mary E. Mary. New York: Viking Press, 1981.

Mary Mebane writes about growing up in rural Durham County in the 1940’s and 1950’s. She compares the rural African American Culture with that of the urban, university community near NCCU.

Murray, Pauli. Proud Shoes: The Story of a Family. New York: Harper and Row, 1978.
Pauli Murray, lawyer and first African American woman to become an Episcopal priest, grew up in Durham 1915-1925.

______. Proud Shoes is also about the Fitzgerald family.

______.Song in a Weary Throat. The first chapters provide additional glimpses into Murray’s family and childhood in Durham.

Famous Families/Business

Anderson, Jean Bradley. Piedmont Plantation: The Benneham-Cameron Family and Lands in North Carolina. Durham, NC: Historic Preservation Society of Durham, 1985
About the families who owned and worked the Stagville and Fairntosh plantations.

Durden, Robert F. Dukes of Durham, 1865-1929. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1975

Weare, Walter B. Black Business in the New South: A Social History of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1973.

Webb, Mena. Jule Carr: General Without an Army. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987.


Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce. Economic Summary, Durham, Durham County.

Annual compilation of statistics and information on Durham and Durham County. Ask for the latest year at the Reference Desk (this item may not be checked out).

Directory of Community Resources.

Compiled by Durham County Library staff. Copies are available for a fee.

Durham Official Visitors Guide.

May be obtained from the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Haagen, Lucy E. Kidplaces: A Guide to Family Activities in the Triangle. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 1989.

Herget, J. Barlow. Insider’s Guide to the Triangle.

Fiction Set in Durham

Cannon, Taffy. Convictions: A Novel of the Sixties, 1985. Set at Duke.

Edgerton, Clyde. Raney, 1985. Walking Across Egypt, 1987. Floatplane Notebooks, 1988. Edgerton grew up in the Bethesda area of Durham County.

Ehle, John. Move Over Mountain, 1957. Chronicles a black family’s successful struggle to rise into the middle class.

FitzSimmons, Foster. Bright Leaf, 1948. The main characters of the novel are based on the Duke family.

Kremen, Barbara H. Tree Trove, 1985. Two children experience a series of strange experiences that take them inside the world of the flora and fauna that inhabit Forest Hills Park.

McKay, Amanda. Death is Academic, 1976. Death on the Eno, 1981. Amanda Smith has used Duke and the countryside near her home as setting for these mysteries.

Parker, Gwendolyn M. These Same Long Bones, 1994. Set in Hayti in the late 1940’s.

Patton, Frances Gray. Good Morning Miss Dove, 1954. The setting for this charming book is Watts Street School. You will enjoy her short stories too.

Rogers, Gloree. Love, or a Reasonable Facsimile, 1989. About a young African American woman growing up with multiple handicaps. Winner of the 1988 Carolina Wren-Obsidian II Minority Book Award.

Seeman, Ernest. American Gold, 1978. This novel is set in Durham around the turn of the century.

Sharp, Paula. The Woman Who Was Not All There, 1988. A wise and witty single mother raises her children in a working class neighborhood during the 1960’s.

Slaughter, Jane M. Espy and the Catnappers, 1975. A delightful children’s book about a cat with unusual powers.


Applewhite, James. River Writing: an Eno Journal. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988.

Audio-Visual Materials

The Best of the Festival for the Eno, 1986-1987. (AV 784.4973 B). Tape of folk and popular music.

Bull Durham. (AV 791.435 B). Popular baseball movie set in Durham.

Durham, 1939-1943. (AV 975.6563 D). Videotape of 16mm film made by H. Lee Waters depicting people and scenes in Durham.

N>egro Durham Marches On. (AV 975.6563 N). Videotape from 16mm film of Hayti business ca. 1950 produced by the Durham Business and Professional Chain.

New Hope Creek. (AV 917.56565 N). Video produced by the Triangle Land Conservation to encourage the preservation of New Hope Creek.

Pride of Durham. (AV 975.6563 P). Videotape of centennial film made in 1981.