May 24, 2022

Duke University Libraries: "Doris Duke Papers Now Available"

From a DU Libraries Announcement:

In 1923, James B. Duke, founder of the American Tobacco Company, co-founder of Duke Energy, and benefactor of Duke University, wrote a letter to his ten-year-old daughter, Doris, outlining his hopes and wishes for the woman she would become. Written in pencil and signed “Daddy,” it is the only known letter Duke ever wrote to his daughter, offering a rare glimpse of the relationship between the reticent businessman and the daughter he adored.

The letter is part of a trove of materials recently opened to researchers that document the life and personal activities of noted philanthropist, environmentalist, and patron of the arts Doris Duke. The papers were donated by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in 2009 and are now housed in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.


Over the past two years, nearly 800 linear feet of materials have been processed for research use. The records include letters, architectural drawings, photographs, design proposals, and inventories of the furnishings, artwork, jewelry, and clothing in each of Doris Duke’s seven homes.

Some of the more notable items include Doris Duke’s personal income taxes, which show how and why her wealth grew over her lifetime; correspondence related to personal loans Doris Duke made to various individuals including strangers; original dress designs from the House of Paquin and jewelry designs by Cartier; and Doris Duke’s grade school compositions, homework assignments, and sketches from her youth.


The Doris Duke papers are open to researchers, students, and the general public in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University. A finding aid for the collection is available online.

Read the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.