Pieces of the Puzzle


Duke University archivists are discovering materials in the Doris Duke collection that provide new insights into her life. The five items here illustrate her devotion to her father, her concerns about personal safety, her sly sense of humor, and her passion for design, art, and restoration.

The Horace Trumbauer sketch proposal for the country estate of JB Duke

What Might Have Been:
The Horace Trumbauer architecture firm prepared this proposal for the “Country Estate of J.B. Duke,” to be built at Duke Farms. This watercolor schema is one of three designs proposed but never built.



Scrapbook of James B. Duke articles

Painful Loss:
Doris was only twelve when her father, James B. Duke, died. In her grief, she put together a scrapbook of clippings about his life and death.
Chris Hildreth

Record from Cover Records

Music Lover:
In the early 1960s, Doris launched Clover Records for her jazz musician friends. Her Falcon Lair home was the site of many impromptu jam sessions.

Chris Hildreth


Doris Duke at home in Newport

Humble Humor:
Doris Duke has been credited with saving Newport, a Rhode Island coastal town with the highest concentration of colonial homes in the country. In 1968, she created the Newport Restoration Foundation. In addition to funding the bulk of the ambitious project, she was directly involved in every phase of the work, making site visits, choosing paint colors, and overseeing landscape decisions. In 1981, a journalist asked Duke to describe her role as NRF founder and president. “Chief cook and bottle washer,” she replied.
Above, Duke at her home, Rough Point, in Newport.

Doris Duke at home in Newport

Playing It Safe:
Handwritten entries in the Duke Farms security journals provide detailed documentation of activities at the Hillsborough, New Jersey, estate. Doris received weekly summaries of the reports, an example of how closely she monitored her various properties.

Chris Hildreth

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