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The Duke Family

This guide is a starting point for learning about the Duke family, their role in the founding of Duke University, and their papers and collections housed at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Rubenstein Library

Rubenstein Library Entrance

David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

General Contact Information:

Rubenstein Library, Main Floor
Box 90185
Durham, NC 27708
919-660-5822
special-collections@duke.edu
http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/

Topic Librarian:

Amy McDonald, Assistant University Archivist
E-mail: amy.mcdonald@duke.edu

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Historical Archives

Born on November 22, 1912, Doris Duke was the only child of James Buchanan Duke and Nanaline Holt Duke. For additional biographical information, view a detailed timeline of her life. Archival collections pertaining to her personal life and philanthropies are listed below.

Doris Duke's Personal Papers

  • Doris Duke Papers, 1798-2003 and undated (bulk 1930-1999): The Doris Duke Papers were created by combining materials maintained by staff at the Duke Business Office and/or household staff of the Main Residence, on Doris Duke's behalf. It mostly contains the personal papers generated by or about Doris Duke throughout her lifetime. Portions of this collection are restricted to users with prior written permission from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
  • Doris Duke Photograph Collection, 1870-2006: The Doris Duke Photograph Collection was created by combining color and black and white photographs, slides, negatives, and other photographic formats contained in albums, boxes, picture frames, and envelopes. Portions of this collection are restricted to users with prior written permission from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
  • Doris Duke Audiovisual Collection, 1919-2012 and undated: The Doris Duke Audio Visual Collection was created by combining 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm film reels, vinyl recordings, audiocassettes, and associated manuscript materials relating to Doris Duke’s travels, her various estates, and her interests in jazz and gospel music, dance, history, and culture.
  • Doris Duke Memorabilia Collection, 1898-2011 and undated: The Doris Duke Memorabilia Collection contains personal artifacts belonging to Doris Duke. The artifacts widely vary, yet tend to reflect what was important to Miss Duke including travel, philanthropy, growing orchids, and music. Of particular interest are those items from Doris Duke's childhood including scrapbooks, yearbooks, and homework assignments. Portions of this collection are restricted to users with prior written permission from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
  • Doris Duke Papers on the Rough Point Residence, 1922-1997: Rough Point was purchased by J.B. Duke in 1922. When Duke passed away in 1925, he left the home to his 12-year-old daughter Doris, subject to Mrs. (Nanaline) Duke's life interest. Portions of this collection are restricted to users with prior written permission from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
  • Doris Duke Papers on the Shangri La Residence, 1932-2003 and undated: Traveling through many Muslim countries and parts of India during her honeymoon, Doris Duke was fascinated by Islamic cultural traditions, art and architecture. A visit to the Taj Mahal inspired Duke to eventually commission plans for Shangri La, the most intimate of her residences, to be built in Hawaii.
  • Doris Duke Papers on the Falcon Lair Residence, 1937-1999: The Falcon Lair residence was purchased by Doris Duke in April, 1953 primarily for use on her occasional visits to California and for use while she was in transit to or from her residence in Honolulu. Compared to her other estates, the residence was not large, however, being located in the hills above Benedict Canyon overlooking Beverly Hills, it served as a retreat from public life.
  • Duke Family New York Apartments Collection, 1908-1997: J.B. Duke acquired a lot on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 78th Street and commissioned Horace Trumbauer to draw the plans for a new residence in 1909. It was in this mansion that his daughter Doris was born and raised. After J.B.'s death in 1925, Nanaline continued to live in the mansion until January, 1958 when she and Doris donated the house to New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. Throughout her adulthood Doris continued to live in New York City, residing in a penthouse located at 3 E. 84th Street and a penthouse at 475 Park Avenue, which was her last New York City residence when she died in 1993.

Doris Duke's Philanthropic Papers

See the "Related Websites & Online Resources" tab above for the websites of her many philanthropies.

  • Independent Aid, Inc. Records, 1934-1954: Independent Aid, Inc. was the first charitable foundation established by Doris Duke. It was incorporated in Delaware in October, 1934. Although Miss Duke had limited direct involvement with Independent Aid, its disbursements reflected her persistent interests in the welfare of women and children, education, social work and mental health, and early family planning efforts.
  • Doris Duke Foundation Records, 1934-2009 (bulk 1948-1982): The Doris Duke Foundation, Inc., formerly known as Independent Aid, Inc., was incorporated in 1934 as a philanthropic organization to operate for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes. In October 1951, the officers of Independent Aid, Inc. voted to change its name to the Doris Duke Foundation. At the time of this change, the foundation's interests were primarily in the fields of education and welfare. Portions of this collection are restricted to users with prior written permission from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
  • Duke Gardens Foundation Records, 1912-2002 and undated: On October 15, 1958 the Duke Gardens Foundation was incorporated with the purpose of "developing thereon agricultural, botanical & horticultural exhibits for the purpose of scientific experiments and of public inspection, instruction, education & enjoyment." The Duke Gardens Foundation was officially dissolved November 13, 2001 and the gardens closed to the public in 2008. Portions of this collection are restricted to users with prior written permission from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
  • Newport Restoration Foundation Records, 1968-1999 (bulk 1968-1982): In 1968, Doris Duke established the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) with the express purpose of preserving, interpreting, and maintaining landscape and objects reflecting the 18th- and 19th-century architectural culture of Aquidneck Island (Newport, R.I.). In creating the foundation, Doris Duke had a simple plan: to purchase dilapidated 18th century homes and meticulously restore them so that every detail was as historically accurate as possible.
  • Foundation for Southeast Asian Art and Culture Records, 1954-2002 and undated: On a 1957 trip to India and China, Doris Duke stopped in Thailand, and it is likely that the exploration of Bangkok and its art and architecture she saw on that visit inspired her to dream of creating a Thai village in Hawaii with houses similar to those she had seen. In December of 1960, she formally hired François Duhau de Berenx to help bring it to pass. The Thai House Foundation was established on January 30, 1961; the name was changed to the Foundation for Southeast Asian Art and Culture (SEAAC) in June of that same year.
  • Duke Family Papers on the Duke Farms Residence, 1859-2004 and undated: Duke Farms, a 2,700 acre estate located in Hillsborough, New Jersey, was developed by J.B. Duke beginning in 1893. After Mr. Duke's death in 1925, Doris Duke inherited the property. Over the course of nearly seven decades she worked to continue the legacy of Duke Farms and introduced environmentally-friendly and innovative farming methods into the operations of Duke Farms and purchased and restored farms and farmstead structures in order to forestall the rapid loss of farmland to urban development. Portions of this collection are restricted to users with prior written permission from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
  • Doris Duke Papers on the Duke Endowment, 1925-2001 (bulk 1956-1993): J.B. Duke established the Duke Endowment as a perpetual charitable trust in 1924. Mr. Duke designed the fund to be both flexible and enduring, but limited its efforts to the Carolinas and to four program areas: non-profit hospitals; child care institutions; higher education; and rural churches of the Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (now the United Methodist Church). Miss Duke became a trustee of the Endowment in 1933. Portions of this collection are restricted to trustees, officers, and staff of The Endowment and to researchers who have received prior written permission from The Endowment's president, chairman, or their designated representative.

Collections Related to Doris Duke

See the "Duke Family Manuscripts Collections" tab above for information about Doris Duke's relatives.

  • Doris Duke Oral History Collection, 1998-2009: Established in September 2003, the Doris Duke Oral History Collection documents the testimonies of staff at Duke Farms, at Shangri La, and of close, personal friends of Doris Duke. This collection is currently restricted and requires prior approval by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to use.
  • Bernard Lafferty Papers, 1952-1999 (bulk 1993-1996): Bernard Lafferty was hired as Doris Duke's butler in 1987 and he remained in that position until her death in 1993. Portions of this collection are restricted to users with prior written permission from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
  • Harry W. Cox Papers, 1948-1977 (bulk 1962-1976): Harry W. Cox was the accountant to Duke Farms throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Portions of this collection are restricted to users with prior written permission from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
  • Duke Family Papers, 1885-1992 (bulk 1892-1927): This collection primarily documents James B. Duke's business and personal activities. Materials include business and personal correspondence, invoices and receipts for both business and personal purchases, financial and legal reports, the last will and testaments of both James B. and Nanaline Duke, and materials documenting the divorce proceedings of J.B. and Lillian McCredy Duke. Miscellaneous records include a booklet tracing the Duke family genealogy.
  • Duke Endowment Archives, 1902-2008 and undated (bulk 1925-2006): J.B. Duke established the Duke Endowment as a perpetual charitable trust in 1924. Mr. Duke designed the fund to be both flexible and enduring, but limited its efforts to the Carolinas and to four program areas: non-profit hospitals; child care institutions; higher education; and rural churches of the Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (now the United Methodist Church). The collection consists of the following types of materials: correspondence; minutes of meetings; financial records; applications for assistance from hospitals, child care institutions, and churches; statistics; publications; oral history tapes and transcripts; architectural drawings and blueprints; photographs; audio cassettes; and miscellaneous records and papers. Access to most of this collection is restricted to trustees, officers, and staff of The Endowment and to researchers who have received prior written permission from The Endowment's president, chairman, or their designated representative.