Then and Now: Bells

October 4, 2012

1876: The original Trinity College Bell is cast. When Trinity College moved to Durham in 1892, the original bell was placed in storage and later relocated to a museum of university history in the Duke University Chapel tower. A second Trinity bell was hung in the Washington Duke Building’s bell tower.

July 22, 1911: Following a fire that destroyed the Washington Duke Building and its bell, Benjamin N. Duke gives funding for a new campus bell, which was dedicated on this date. The bell was christened “Marse Jack,” after recently elected Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (and former Trinity College President) John C. Kilgo. Marse Jack has hung in the Bell Tower Residence Hall since it opened in 2005. LISTEN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTsllHkW0N8

April 28, 1930: Duke Endowment trustees George G. Allen and William R. Perkins pledge funding to purchase a carillon for the chapel, then under construction. President William Preston Few accepted the gift, writing that the carillon would be “the voice of the University.” Anton Brees, the first university carillonneur, performed the fiftybell carillon’s inaugural concert—to an audience of 10,000—on June 5, 1932, as part of Duke’s commencement events.

November 20, 1948: The Victory Bell—a spirit-boosting idea of Duke head cheerleader Loring Jones ’50 and UNC head cheerleader Norman Speer—makes its debut at the Duke-UNC football game.

1986: J. Samuel Hammond ’68, M.A.T.S. ’96 is designated second university carillonneur by President H. Keith H. Brodie. Hammond, who began as student carillonneur in 1965, is still playing the carillon on weekdays and after chapel services.