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Robert Blake photographs

Identifier: NCC-0007

Scope and Contents

This collection includes over 1,000 photographs taken by Blake between 1945 and 1998 for inspiration for his drawings and paintings. Most of the photographs are black and white and feature rural scenes in Durham County, particularly tobacco barns in various stages of decay. There are also photographs of locations around downtown Durham, as well as images of tobacco being harvested, prepared for curing, and sold at the Liberty Warehouse auctions.


  • Creation: 1944-2001, undated

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical / Historical

Robert (Bob) Blake was born on December 24, 1916, in New Jersey and moved to Durham in 1942. A Duke Hospital employee for 42 years, his last position was as head of medical illustration in the Division of Audio-Visual Education. His illustrations appear in over 50 textbooks and approximately 500 scientific articles in medical journals. He was also a well-known watercolor artist and a founding member of the Durham Allied Art Guild, averaging 60 paintings a year until 2008. He died in Durham on December 30, 2014, at the age of 98.


7 Linear Feet (7 album boxes, 1 file folder)

Language of Materials



The collection is organized into two main, format-based series: Artwork and Photographs. The Photograph series is further divided into subseries based on the topics of Downtown Durham, Eno River, Rural Durham, Tobacco, and Unknown locations.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Kennard Blake

Related Materials

Jean Bradley Anderson Papers (NCC.0002)

Stephen M. Cruse Papers (NCC.0026)

Durham Historic Photographic Archive (NCC.0055)

Louise Hall Slide Collection (NCC.0093)

Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church Archives (

Finding Aid for the Robert Blake Photographs
Kristen Merryman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Kristen Merryman
  • Gift Agreement

Repository Details

Part of the North Carolina Collection Repository

300 N. Roxboro Street
Durham NC 27701 United States