Outrageous Ambitions: How a One-Room Schoolhouse Became a Research University

Beginnings

Duke traces its origins to the opening of a schoolhouse in 1838 under President Brantley York, but there are other important events that make up the foundations of the school. These include the name change to Trinity College and the adoption of the motto, “Eruditio et Religio” in 1859, and the move to Durham in 1892.

Photograph of a hand-carved, wooden seal featuring the motto of Trinity College.  The seal was carved by a member of the class of 1896, which was the first class to complete all four years of their education in Durham.

Hand-Carved Wooden Trinity College Seal

Hand-Carved Wooden Trinity College Seal

Wooden seal carved by a member of the class of 1896, the first class to complete all four years in Durham. The seal features the motto of Trinity College, "eruditio et religio."

Photograph of a hand-carved, wooden seal featuring the motto of Trinity College.  The seal was carved by a member of the class of 1896, which was the first class to complete all four years of their education in Durham.

Hand-Carved Wooden Trinity College Seal (back)

Hand-Carved Wooden Trinity College Seal (back)

Back of the wooden seal carved by J.F.B., a member of the class of 1896.

Photograph of the gates at the entrance of the Trinity College campus in Durham, North Carolina.  The original campus (now East Campus) featured double-gabled, iron gates at the entrance.

Trinity College Gates

Trinity College Gates

The gates outside of Trinity College were one of the first additions to campus after it moved from Randolph County to Durham in 1892.

Iron "T" that hung on the gates outside of Trinity College in Durham, North Carolina.  The original campus featured double-gable, iron gates at the entrance.

Trinity Gates T

Trinity Gates "T"

This iron "T" hung on the gates outside of Trinity College.

Given to society in 1895

White Beaver Hat

White Beaver Hat

This beaver skin hat was allegedly worn by John Brown at the 1838 opening of a new building at Brown's Schoolhouse in Randolph County.  The new building marked a new era for the school, with Brantley York at the helm.  This is considered the beginning of the period of continuous instruction that would lead to the creation of Duke University.

Constitution 1

Constitution 1

Constitution, Page 1

The first page of the constitution of the Union Institute, one of the names of the institution that became Duke.