At Home and Abroad with Doris Duke

Date: 13 January – 3 April 2011
Location and Time: Perkins Library Gallery during library hours
Contact Information: Mary Samouelian, 919-660-5912 or mary.samouelian(at)

From 1944-1945, Doris Duke was a war correspondent in Europe for the International News Service.

Who was Doris Duke? Her public persona was that of the glamorous, yet eccentric, heiress who named her butler the executor of her estate, but privately she was determined not to be defined by social expectations or her vast wealth.

The materials on display in “Philanthropist, Environmentalist, Collector: Doris Duke and Her Estates” reveal a much different and more complex story of James Buchanan Duke’s only child. On the surface these artifacts are seemingly unassuming—inventories of furniture, a security ledger, and architectural drawings are amongst the objects in the exhibit—but in fact they paint a picture of an adventurous, intelligent and independent woman, who in many ways was considered ahead of her time. Throughout her life, Doris Duke continued her family’s quiet but innovative pattern of philanthropy, eagerly advocated for the protection of the environment, and pursued her lifelong passion as both a collector and patron of Islamic art.

During your next visit to Perkins-Bostock Library, be sure to stop by the Perkins Library Gallery to see the exhibit on display. Also featured in this exhibit are Doris Duke’s home movies and an interactive map of a journey she made to the Middle East in 1938. If you can’t visit in person, you can enjoy the online exhibit!

Also, please join curators Mary Samouelian and Molly Bragg for a gallery talk and screening of Doris Duke’s home movies on Thursday, February 24th from 4:00-5:00 PM in the Rare Book Room. Stay tuned to The Devil’s Tale for more details about this event!

Update: Listen to Duke Today’s podcast featuring the exhibit curators!

Post contributed by Mary Samouelian, Doris Duke Collection Archivist.