Durham County

A History of Durham County, North Carolina

Durham County

Book Pages: 624 Illustrations: 75 photos, 16 tables, 2 maps Published: May 2011

General Interest > NC and Regional U.S., History > U.S. History

In this revised and expanded second edition of Durham County, Jean Bradley Anderson extends her sweeping history of Durham from the seventeenth century to the end of the twentieth. Moving beyond traditional local histories, which tend to focus on powerful families, Anderson integrates the stories of well-known figures with those of ordinary men and women, blacks and whites, to create a complex and fascinating portrait of Durham’s economic, political, social, and labor history. Drawing on extensive primary research, she examines the origins of the town of Durham and recounts the growth of communities around mills, stores, taverns, and churches in the century before the rise of tobacco manufacturing. A historical narrative encompassing the coming of the railroad; the connection between the Civil War and the rise of the tobacco industry; the Confederate surrender at Bennett Place; the relocation of Trinity College to Durham and, later, its renaming as Duke University; and the growth of health-service and high-technology industries in the decades after the development of Research Triangle Park, this second edition of Durham County is a remarkably comprehensive work.


Durham County deserves the widest possible readership. It offers an engaging perspective on familiar New South themes and an object lesson in bridging the enormous gulf that too often separates academic historians and lay readers.” — James L. Leloudis, Journal of Southern History

“Destined to be the definitive history of Durham County for years to come.” — North Carolina Libraries

“Originally published in 1990 and now reissued as a revised and expanded second edition, Durham County: A History of Durham County, North Carolina, is local history in the best sense: it offers an intensive and comprehensive focus on a single place and its varied people and institutions over time. The second edition includes a new final chapter that brings Durham’s story up-to-date in the twenty-first century, as the county moved further away from its tobacco roots into a revitalizing economy based on health care, medical research, and technology.... The extensive notes and bibliography are a treasure trove of local sources, and the updated appendix tallying population statistics and listing local officeholders of all sorts will be a handy reference for researchers.” — Journal of Southern History

“Jean Anderson’s Durham County is a monumental history in every way. A vast and impressive piece of work, it not only supersedes all previous efforts but will hold a proud and lasting place among county histories in North Carolina. The solid research, the encyclopedic coverage, the lavish detail, the lucid exposition will make the book a rich mine of information and a touchstone for further research for the next generation and beyond.” — Sydney Nathans, author of The Quest for Progress: The Way We Lived in North Carolina, 1870-1920

“Jean Bradley Anderson’s Durham County has long been the authoritative source for those seeking to learn more about the history of our community. The second edition brings the last two decades into sharp focus, providing a bridge between Durham’s recent post-industrial evolution and many of the themes Ms. Anderson covered so well in her original work. From the growth of Duke and Research Triangle Park to the economic inequities and hardships arising when tobacco and textiles receded, Anderson clearly connects many of the latest developments in Durham to the history that preceded them. This latest edition is a must-read for anyone who lives here, loves it here, or just wants to better understand our unique community.” — Kevin Davis, editor of the blog Bull City Rising

“Splendidly comprehensive and carefully researched, this book is unusual among county histories that I know in its sophisticated attention to national context and its sensitivity to all segments of the population. A superb book.” — Robert Durden, author of The Dukes of Durham, 1865-1929 (praise for the first edition)

“The first edition of Jean Bradley Anderson’s Durham County, published in 1990, set the standard for excellence in local history, and the wait for her new edition has been richly rewarded. With meticulous research and insightful writing, the original has proven a singularly invaluable source for both researchers and general readers interested in Durham, city and county. This new edition carries the reader ahead with the same depth and precision, through two more transformative decades, adding context and import to the past while capturing Durham’s cosmopolitan place in the twenty-first century. Anderson closes with a somber but accurate and insightful assessment of the county, leaving the reader challenged as well as informed.” — Jim Wise, author of Durham Tales: The Morris Street Maple, the Plastic Cow, the Durham Day That Was & More


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Price: $29.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jean Bradley Anderson is the author of Carolinian on the Hudson: The Life of Robert Donaldson, The Kirklands of Ayr Mount, and Piedmont Plantation: The Bennehan-Cameron Family and Lands in North Carolina. A professional genealogist and freelance contract researcher, Anderson formerly conducted research for the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, contributing to the prize-winning multivolume The Way We Lived in North Carolina.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface to the Second Edition ix

Preface to the First Edition xi

Abbreviations xv

1. Land for the Taking: Prehistory–1740s 1

2. Moving In, 1740s–1771 15

3. The American Revolution 29

4. Eighteenth-Century Orange County, 1752–1800 38

5. The Rip Van Winkle Era, 1801–1840 51

6. Improvement Fever, 1840–1861 69

7. Origins of the Town of Durham, 1819–1861 85

8. From Victory to Defeat, 1861–1865 97

9. From Bust to Boom, 1865–1880 108

10. A House Divided: An Independent Black Culture, 1865–1880 130

11. A County at Last, 1880–1890 140

12. The Apogee of an Era, 1890–1903 169

13. Social Challenges, 1900–1917 203

14. The Face of Change, 1903–1917 223

15. Joining the World, 1917–1924 248

16. Elation and Depression, 1925–1941 281

17. World War II and the End of an Era, 1941–1945 321

18. The Old Order Changeth, 1946–1969 332

19. Civil Rights, 1954–1978 360

20. Rounding Out a Century, 1960–1981 379

21. City and County to Century's End 403

Appendix: Population Statistics and Officeholders 449

Notes 461

Bibliography 537

Index 561
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4983-9
Publicity material