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Trudi Abel, Senior Fellow of Duke University Libraries and Information Science + Studies

Trudi Abel is a cultural historian and archivist at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library and Senior Fellow in Information Science & Studies at Duke University. She founded the Digital Durham Project ( in 1999. This digital repository provides a range of maps, photographs, manuscript letters, printed matter, ephemera and 1880 census data for Durham, North Carolina.

She currently directs the Archives Alive initiative at the Rubenstein Library and “Teaching with Archives,” a Duke Summer Doctoral Academy seminar.  She frequently teaches the Digital Durham seminar with Victoria Szabo.

Abel's scholarship focuses on the history of the book in America--particularly the rise of juvenile popular fiction in the early twentieth century and e-books and price fixing in the early twenty-first century.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  166 Rubenstein Library, Box 90185, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  +1 919 660 5933
Email Address: send me a message
Web Pages:


PhDRutgers University1993
Areas of Interest:

Digital Humanities
Southern History
African American History
Mapping Technologies
Cultural History


African Americans--north Carolina--durham--19th Century • African Americans--north Carolina--durham--20th Century • Books--History--18th century • Digital History • Digital Humanities • Durham (n.c.)--history • Education--History • Education--north Carolina--social Aspects--history--19th Century • Education--north Carolina--social Aspects--history--20th Century • History • United States--History--20th century

Recent Publications

  1. T.J. Abel, The Digital Durham Project: Creating Community through History, Technology, and Service Learning, Perspectives on History (May, 2009) [cfm]  [abs]
  2. T.J. Abel, "The Power and the Poverty of Written Records: Constructing an Authentic Research Experience for Undergraduates (Winter, 2000) ( [swf]
  3. T.J. Abel, Students as Historians: Lessons from an `Interactive' Census Database Project (March, 1997) [CFM]
  4. Abel, T, Needles and Penury in 19th Century London: The Diary of a Poor Quaker Seamstress, Quaker History, vol. 75 no. 2 (1986), pp. 102-114, Friends Historical Association

NC JUKEBOX This project is focused on transforming an inaccessible audio archive of historic North Carolina folk music into a vital, publicly accessible digital archive and museum exhibition. Nearly 97 years ago and into the 1930s, Frank C. Brown, a Duke scholar, began recording North Carolina folk music and archiving it for posterity. Most of those recordings are still housed on glass disks in Rubenstein Library, but we already have about 400 songs for which we have digitized audio and handwritten metadata with which we can work on the initial version of what we are calling the proof-of-concept NC Jukebox project.

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