William Kenneth Boyd
Professor of Legal and Constitutional History, 1906-1929

William Boyd was a professor of history at Trinity College and later Duke University for 32 years.  For over two decades of those years Boyd also served as the Professor of Legal and Constitutional History at the College’s Law School.

Boyd also served as the faculty leader of the Trinity College Historical Society.  The Society maintained a small museum which displayed various artifacts and memorabilia.  Boyd guided the Society’s acquisitions more towards manuscripts and printed material concerning the history of the region.  In 1930 Boyd became the first Director of Duke University Libraries.  In this role he oversaw the curation of the George Washington Flowers Collection of Southern Americana Records.  The collection was named after a trustee of Trinity College and supported by donations from his children.  This material was the foundation of what would eventually become the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Boyd completed bachelor and master’s degrees at Trinity in 1897 and 1898.  After completing a Ph.D. at Columbia in 1906, he became a tenured member of the College faculty.  Boyd published several acclaimed works on North Carolina and Southern history and was involved with the creation of the North Carolina Historical Review.  Boyd stepped down from the Libraries Director position in 1934.  However he remained active with teaching and curating the Flowers Collection until his death in 1938.


Historical Note, Guide to the William Kenneth Boyd Papers, 1851-1956, Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library [perma.cc/XBL3-GC6A] (last viewed May 5, 2015)

Robert H. Woody, Boyd, William Kenneth, NCPedia.org [perma.cc/P4EU-NAGR] (last viewed May 5, 2015)

Trinity College (Durham, N.C.), Annual Catalogue of Trinity College [serial]

William Kenneth Boyd image provided by Duke University Archives

William Kenneth Boyd
Historic Faculty