Comic book collection preserved at the Rubenstein Library

A unique gift from Edwin ’72 and Terry Murray will remain a marvel for years to come

Brothers Edwin ’72 and Terry Murray began collecting comic books during the 1950s when they were young boys.  Every week they would pick up a new comic book from Durham’s Westside Pharmacy and would add it to their small collection.  As they grew older, their hobby strengthened and their collection continued to expand.  Eventually, boxes and bags of comic books found their way into every room of their home.

In 2003, Edwin and Terry, then in their 50s, decided it was time to give the collection a new home and knew Duke was the right place to keep their treasure.  More than 55,000 comic books (yes, really) collected over four decades were given as an outright gift to Duke Libraries.  The Edwin and Terry Murray Comic Book Collection now resides in Duke University’s Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections in the Rubenstein Library.

Thanks to the brothers’ generous gift, Duke now owns the largest archival comics collection in the Southeast and one of the largest in the country.

Edwin and Terry have always had deep connections to Duke.  Their father was employed by the university for more than 30 years. Edwin graduated in 1972 with a degree in psychology; Terry attended classes for two years.  Yet perhaps even more importantly, the brothers knew that Duke would preserve their collection as one in its entirety.  Plus, they wanted to keep the collection close by.  The brothers still reside in Durham and visit their comics from time-to-time.

The collection contains comics from the 1930s to 2000s and is especially rich in Marvel and DC superhero comics, but contains examples of almost every genre, publisher, and comic style.  Most major American sub-genres are represented, and there are several hundred alternative comics from the late 1960s and early 1970s.  About one-third of the issues date from before 1970.

Edwin and Terry also have an extensive collection of science fiction magazines, which includes almost every one ever published in the United States.  They would eventually like to add these to the pulp culture collection at Duke Libraries.

To read more about the Murray brothers and their gift to Duke, be sure to check out the article on Duke Today.

Gifts of personal property, such as the Murrays’ comic book collection, can be a unique way to leave a lasting impression at Duke.  Our team is happy to work with you to develop a creative gift plan that satisfies your personal and charitable goals.  Please keep in mind that gifts-in-kind require an appraisal or advance approval in order to be accepted by Duke University.  Examples of these gifts may include rare books, art, computers, and musical instruments.  If property has been held for more than a year and can be put to a use related to the “charitable purpose” of the university, you may be eligible for a deduction based on the asset’s full fair market value.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about gifts of personal property to Duke.

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