Norris M. Durham Papers

Collection Overview

Title: Norris M. Durham Papers

Record Series: 12/04/02/01

Record Group:

12/04/02 Faculty & Staff Papers

Creator: Durham, Norris M.

Date: 1967-2002

Extent: 5 boxes (3.32 linear feet)

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives at Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language: Materials entirely in English.

Information for Users

Accessing the Collection:

Most materials are open for research. Materials related to the confidentiality of personnel, student, medical, and other legally protected records are CLOSED to researchers for 70 years from the date of creation. Consult the archivist with any questions or concerns.


Technical Access: Some content is recorded on 16mm film and reel-to-reel sound recordings and requires special playback equipment for access and use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The two albums were donated by Mark Grey, head of the UNI Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology, in October 2021.

Sensitive Materials Statement: Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code § 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], in the [Series Title] #[series number], [folder number or title when applicable], [Collection Name], Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

General Use, Reproduction, and Copyright Policies

  • Many items housed in the Rod Library Special Collections & University Archives, including unpublished images and manuscripts, may be protected by copyright, publication rights, trademarks, or model release rights which the library does not own and for which the library cannot grant permission or licensing. Materials currently under copyright are usually still available for research and limited reproduction under Fair Use laws. However, it is the sole responsibility of the patron to determine whether or not their use of a given material falls within Fair Use guidelines and to obtain permission for said use from the rightful copyright owner. If you are unsure where to begin, please consult the Copyright LibGuide. Please note that it is not the library's responsibility to locate or contact copyright holders for a patron, and neither the library nor library employees are responsible for copyright violations of the materials to which they facilitate research access.

  • Please see our full General Use and Service Policies for more information.

Historical Note

Norris M. Durham was born on March 13, 1936, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He married Louise Hackenberg in 1971. Durham also served in the United States Air Force.

Durham received his master's degree in anthropology from New York University in 1967 and his Ph.D. in biological anthropology from Pennsylvania State University in 1974. He was then a professor of anthropology at Wayne State University in Detroit from 1970-1974 and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay from 1974-1970, before coming to the University of Northern Iowa. He taught at UNI from 1980 until his retirement in 2002.

He was a biological anthropologist and lectured on such topics as the relationship between behavior and genetics, as well as his travels. His research topics included the study of dermatoglyphics and how they can help identify certain health conditions, as well as early notes about primate behavior.

Durham passed away in January 2011.


  • Series 1: Subject Files
  • Series 2: Photographs
  • Series 3: A/V materials
  • Series 4: 2021 acquisition

Scope and Content

The collection has been arranged into three series. Series 1, Subject Files, is organized into five groupings in alphabetical order. The biographical information folder consists of Durham's C/V as well as a photocopy of a plaque recognizing his service as chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for 21 years. Classroom Materials - Criminalistics, contains items from a criminalistics course including exams, documents describing and showing the human anatomy, and a crime scene forensic investigation exercise booklet. Also present are eight slides. The next folder, Human Subjects Review information includes materials pertaining to research involving the use of human subjects. While seemingly not containing any of Durham's own research, it more than likely reflects his role with the IRB. The Primate research journal contains Durham's work from the summer of 1967 when he was at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. The journal's tabs break it up into different sections, which include dated entries and observations. The final folder in this series Publications folders are comprised of pieces written or edited by Durham. Examples include the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology and articles related to his research, including dermatoglyphics and the use of cinematographic materials in undergraduate biological anthropology courses. Also included is the book The Record of the Past: An Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology.

Series 2, Photographs, represents the bulk of the collection and contains four sets of photographs from Norris' travels and research. There are nearly 100 photographs, plus negatives. Please consult the inventory for a complete list.

The third series in the collection, Audiovisual Materials, contains two items. The first is a 16mm film, Vervet Behavior, dated 1967. The second is a reel-to-reel sound recording that accompanies the Primate Research Center journal found in Series 1. Series 4 was acquired in 2021 and consists of two albums, which were more than likely created by Durham. They include correspondence, photographs, clippings, and notes.


Box 1

  • Folder 1: Biographical Information, [c. 2002?] [Series 1]
  • Folder 2: Classroom Materials - Criminalistics, 2000 [Series 1]
  • Folder 3: Human Subjects Review information, 1980s [Series 1]
  • Folder 4: Primate research journal, 1967 [Series 1]
  • Folder 5: Publications, 1969-1998 [Series 1]
  • Folder 6: Publications, 2000 [Series 1]
  • Folder 7: Battle Seattle Research Center, 1972 [Series 2]
  • Folder 8: Peru [Series 2]

Box 2

  • Folder 1: Peru - negatives [Series 2]
  • Folder 2: Peru, Bolivia, Nepal, 1962; 1969-1970 [Series 2]
  • Folder 3: Primates [Series 2]
  • 16mm film, Vervet Behavior [Series 3]
  • Reel-to-reel sound recording from Yerkes National Primate Research Center [Series 3]

Box 3

**Please note that materials in this box are restricted from their date of creation plus 70 years**

  • Folder 1: Student projects related to primate study, [c. early 2000s?] [Series 1]

Box 4 (oversize)

  • Album, 1959-1982

Box 5 (oversize)

  • Album, 1982-1989



  • The Waterloo Courier, January 31, 2011.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Library Associate Dave Hoing, July 2017. Updated by Dave Hoing, December 2017 and April 2018 and Archival Processor Tessa Wakefield, April 2019. New acquisition processed and finding aid written by Archival Processor Tessa Wakefield, October 2021. Linear feet updated August 28, 2017.