Guide to the Benjamin Newton Duke Papers, 1834-1969, bulk 1890-1929.
Benjamin Newton Duke (1855-1929) was a tobacco manufacturer, industrialist, and philanthropist of Durham, NC and New York, NY and a trustee and major benefactor of Trinity College (later Duke University). He was the son of Washington Duke, older brother of James B. Duke, husband of Sarah Pearson Angier Duke, and father of Angier Buchanan Duke and Mary Duke Biddle. The materials in this collection document the business, financial, philanthropic, and personal interests of Benjamin N. Duke and his family, especially Duke's involvement in the tobacco, textile, banking, and hydroelectric industries in North Carolina and New York and the Duke family's financial support of a variety of institutions, including educational institutions for African Americans and women, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and individual churches, orphanages, hospitals, and community organizations. The Richard B. Arrington series and Alexander H. Sands, Jr., series document the personal and financial interests of Benjamin N. Duke's private secretaries in New York, NY.
- Collection Number
- Benjamin Newton Duke papers
- 1834-1941, 1969 and undated
- Duke, Benjamin N. (Benjamin Newton)
- 102 Linear Feet
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English
- Correspondence, 1871-1941 and undated
- Financial, 1876-1878, 1884-1936, and undated
- Legal, 1834-1928 and undated
- Business, 1880, 1890-1919, and undated
- Personal, 1877-1937 and undated
- Pictures, circa 1877-1929, 1969, and undated
- Duke Farm, University Station, NC, 1891-1919
- Richard B. Arrington, 1905-1914
- Alexander H. Sands, Jr., 1910-1918
The papers of Benjamin Newton Duke have been collected from various sources over time and span the years 1834 to 1969, although the bulk of the material dates from 1890 to 1929. The materials in the collection document the business, financial, philanthropic, and personal interests of Benjamin N. Duke and his family in Durham, NC and New York, NY, especially Duke's involvement in the tobacco, textile, banking, and hydroelectric industries and the Duke family's financial support of a variety of institutions, including educational institutions for African Americans and women, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and individual churches, orphanages, hospitals, and community organizations. Types of material in the collection include correspondence, financial statements and ledgers, bills and receipts, architectural blueprints and drawings, land plats, deeds, photographs, photograph albums, scrapbooks, and a diary.
Family members represented include Sarah P. Duke, Angier Buchanan Duke, Mary Duke Biddle, Washington Duke, James B. Duke, Brodie L. Duke, Lida Duke Angier, and Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr. Other individuals represented include Julian S. Carr, William A. Erwin, John C. Kilgo, William P. Few, Daniel Lindsay Russell, James E. Shepard, and George W. Watts.
The Richard B. Arrington series and Alexander H. Sands, Jr. series document the personal and financial interests of Benjamin N. Duke's private secretaries in New York, NY.
The collection is organized into nine series: Correspondence, Financial, Business, Legal, Personal, Pictures, Duke Farm (University Station, NC), Richard B. Arrington, and Alexander H. Sands, Jr.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Includes fragile letterbooks and other volumes that require consultation with staff regarding safe handling.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Benjamin Newton Duke Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The letters, memoranda, telegrams, invoices, receipts, printed reports and other items comprising this series document the financial, philanthropic, and personal interests of Benjamin N. Duke and his family. Duke family members represented in the series include Sarah P. Duke, Washington Duke, Angier B. Duke, Mary L. Duke (Mary Duke Biddle), Lida Duke Angier, Brodie L. Duke, James B. Duke, and Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr. Other correspondents include John C. Angier, John S. Bassett, Warren A. Candler, Julian S. Carr, John F. Crowell, J. B. Cobb, Warren C. Coleman, Ceasar Cone, William A. Erwin, William P. Few, Robert L. Flowers, C. P. H. Gilbert, Jonathan R. Hawkins, L. L. Hobbs, Charles C. Hook, N. M. Jurney, J. C. Kilgo, W. S. Lee, John Merrick, Solomon Pool, Jeter C. Pritchard, Daniel Lindsay Russell, Thomas Settle, James E. Shepard, James H. Southgate, Andrew P. Tyer, and George W. Watts. Many of the letters were addressed to or written by Benjamin N. Duke's financial agents and secretaries in Durham, NC and New York, NY, including James E. Stagg, Richard B. Arrington, Elizabeth A. Childs, and Alexander H. Sands, Jr.
The series provides a particularly rich history of Benjamin Duke's relationship with Trinity College, documenting his role on the Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, and Building Committee as well as his financial support during and after the institution's relocation to Durham from Randolph County. There are letters to and from trustees, faculty, students, and representatives of the Methodist Church regarding the administration and financial support of the college; letters from students or their parents requesting financial assistance to attend the college; exchanges with architects and contractors regarding the design and construction of campus buildings; applications to teach for the college; and correspondence with faculty related to non-college topics, such as loans, investments, property transactions, and personal matters.
The series also documents Benjamin Duke and his family's other philanthropic activities, including their support of educational institutions for African-Americans and women, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and individual churches, and social welfare agencies and community organizations, including orphanages and hospitals. Individual institutions represented include Elon College, Greensboro Female College, Granbery College, Guilford College, Kittrell College, Lincoln Memorial University, Louisburg Female College, the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race, the New Bern Industrial and Collegiate Institute, the North Carolina College for Negroes (later North Carolina Central University), Rutherford College, Southern Conservatory of Music, Trinity College, the Bingham School, and Durham Graded Schools; Main Street Methodist Church, Duke Memorial Methodist Church, Trinity Methodist Church, and West Durham Methodist Church; North Carolina Children's Home, Oxford Orphan Asylum, Lincoln Hospital, Watts Hospital, the YMCA and YWCA of Durham, NC, and the Salvation Army.
Major industries represented in the series include tobacco, cotton and textiles, hydroelectric power, banking, mining, railroads, and real estate. Much of the business-related correspondence concerns financial matters such as notices of dividend payments and requests for stockholder subscriptions. Individual companies include the American Tobacco Company, W. Duke, Sons & Company, Asheville Cotton Mills, Cannon Manufacturing Company, Coleman Manufacturing Company, Commonwealth Cotton Manufacturing Company, Durham Cotton Manufacturing Company, Erwin Cotton Mills, Leaksville Cotton Mills, Locke Cotton Mills, Odell Manufacturing Company, Proximity Manufacturing Company, Kerr Bag Manufacturing Company, Roxboro Cotton Mills, Spray Water and Power Company, Durham Electric Lighting Company, Southern Power Company, Fidelity Bank of Durham, Citizen's National Bank of Durham, Durham and Southern Railway, Cape Fear and Northern Railway, Cary Lumber Company, Alaska Power and Dredging Company, Jim Butler Tonopah Mining Company, Seward Dredging Company, Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company, Durham Realty Corporation, Trinity Land Company, and the National Drama Corporation.
Correspondence related to the tobacco industry includes letters from executives and directors of the American Tobacco Company and its subsidiaries, including W. Duke, Sons & Company. Also included are letters from department and branch managers, legal counsel, leaf brokers and dealers, investors, merchants and salespeople, and individuals seeking employment. There is extensive correspondence between 1892 and 1902 regarding the state of the tobacco markets in North Carolina and Virginia, as well as purchases of tobacco, cutters, wrappers, and other supplies. Correspondence related to official American Tobacco Company business consists mainly of arrangements for meetings of the Board of Directors and details of investments made on behalf of the company and its executives. Also included are general updates from W. W. Fuller on legal suits faced by the company and arrangements for the conversion of American Tobacco Company stock after the dissolution of the trust.
Letters related to the textiles and hydroelectric power industries include extensive correspondence with William A. Erwin regarding the establishment, funding, operations, and expansion of the Erwin Cotton Mills. Also present are letters related to the surveying of water power sites in North Carolina and South Carolina and purchases of properties and water rights prior to the establishment of the Southern Power Company.
The Correspondence series is arranged in two subseries according to format: Letters and Letterbooks.
Correspondence with financial brokers is found in the Financial series, Investments subseries.
Correspondence between Benjamin N. Duke and others regarding Duke's effort to identify and financially assist extended family members is located in the James Buchanan Duke papers, Correspondence series, 1924-1925.
The Letters subseries contains primarily inbound correspondence addressed to Benjamin N. Duke. After 1905, there is an increased volume of copies of outgoing correspondence written by Duke's secretaries, much of which duplicates the correspondence found in the Letterbook subseries.
The letters are arranged chronologically.
Includes a letter from Benjamin N. Duke to a New Garden School classmate and letters from George F. Wardle (agent for W. Duke, Sons & Company).
Includes correspondence with George S. Prichard regarding details of their tobacco purchasing agreement; a letter from Brodie L. Duke about his visit to England; a letter from Julian S. Carr discussing a proposal for an industrial school for girls in Durham; a letter from John Pope with a list of tobacco buyers and salaries for various markets of the American Tobacco Company for the year 1891.
Includes correspondence and statement regarding a dispute between Julian S. Carr and B.N. Duke over claims made about the American Tobacco Company; and a statement comparing cigarette sales for branches of the American Tobacco Company from April 1891 to April 1892.
Includes letters related to the death of Mary E. Lyon (Mary Duke Lyon) and the design and construction of the Duke family mausoleum.
Includes correspondence related to the "New Jersey suit" and labor and cigarette legislation.
Includes correspondence with Thomas Settle regarding cigarette and antitrust legislation and the need for a new public building in Durham; and letters from W. T. Blackwell seeking financial assistance and investment advice.
Includes James E. Shepard's proposal for building an African-American teaching college in Durham; letters from Daniel Lindsay Russell and others regarding 1896 Republican campaigns and the Fusion movement in North Carolina; and letters related to Washington Duke's endowment of Trinity College.
Includes correspondence related to the funding and construction of the [Mary E. Duke Lyon] Memorial Hall at Guilford College.
Includes letters from Governor Daniel Lindsay Russell about the Fusion movement, the 1898 election campaigns of North Carolina and their results, and personal and political troubles following the November 1898 Wilmington race riots; and a letter from Bishop W. A. Candler requesting aid for missionary work in Cuba (1898 August).
Includes letters regarding fundraising for the Braxton Craven Memorial Hall at Trinity College (1899 January); the rebuilding of the Durham Colored Graded School after a fire (1899 January-February); the construction of a Methodist church in Havana, Cuba; a letter from Julian S. Carr regarding the need for new management at the Durham Electric Lighting Company; and correspondence related to the debt of Daniel Lindsay Russell.
Includes correspondence related to the Southern Conservatory of Music (Durham, NC) building addition and the purchase of timber land in Florida.
Chas. C. Hook to J. E. Stagg, sketches of Southern Conservatory of Music addition.
Includes letters related to construction of B.N. Duke's stables (Durham, NC) and J. C. Kilgo residence; dedication of the Southern Conservatory of Music; Catawba River water power; Erwin Cotton Mills expansion; and state and national Republican campaigns; and a letter from J.S. Trice regarding the Soudan Mission in Sierra Leone (1900 March).
Includes correspondence related to the Gattis vs. Kilgo trial and appeal; Cooleemee Cotton Mills; Coleman Manufacturing Company; the endowment of Lincoln Hospital (Durham, NC); the Furches and Douglas impeachment trials (North Carolina legislature); the Guilford Battleground Commission; and the purchase of a house on 5th Ave. in New York, NY. Also includes letters (1900 December-1901 January) from Moses H. Cone regarding the sale of his finishing works; and a letter from W. B. Lee (1901 April) describing work at the Colégio Americano Granbery.
Includes letters regarding the Duke family's relocation to New York; the construction of the Trinity College library; the Gattis vs. Kilgo case; correspondence from W. A. Erwin regarding expenses from water power surveys in North Carolina; and a letter from Ceasar Cone relating his interest in establishing a cotton mill in South Carolina.
Includes correspondence related to water power surveys in North Carolina and South Carolina and a letter from James B. Duke to B.N. Duke regarding his trip to Russia (1902 January).
Includes letters related to the Erwin Mill No. 2 site in Harnett County, NC; NC and SC water power surveys; and a letter from Minnie Duke concerning her husband Brodie L. Duke (1902 April).
Includes letters related to the funding needs of Watts Hospital and Kittrell College; letters from W. A. Erwin about the new Erwin Cotton Mills sites in Cooleemee, NC and Harnett County, NC; letters from William A. Blair, Lindsay Patterson, and Jeter C. Pritchard on 1902 political campaigns; and letters related to Benjamin N. Duke's purchase of property on 5th Avenue and 76th Street, New York, NY.
B. F. Taylor to B. N. Duke: land plat for property at 5th Avenue and East 76th Street, New York, NY (Frank E. Forbes, surveyor).
Includes letters from Jonathan C. Kilgo and Greensboro Female College Alumnae Association members regarding the school's funding crisis and possible closure; and correspondence with J. B. Cobb and A. B. Carrington related to American Tobacco Company's southern tobacco markets, including sales statements for the 1902 tobacco crop.
Mary Davis Allen to B.N. Duke: ground plan for Louisburg Female College pantry.
Includes letters from Walter H. Page and Trinity College trustees regarding the John S. Bassett affair; correspondence related to the Coleman Manufacturing Company; the smallpox outbreak in Durham; Brodie L. Duke's divorce and child custody case; and fundraising for Kittrell College.
Includes letters related to Brodie L. Duke's divorce and child custody case; letters from J. M. Currin regarding tobacco operations in Australia; and a letter from George W. Watts about the establishment of the Durham Loan & Trust Company.
Includes letters from Walter H. Page and Trinity College trustees regarding the John S. Bassett affair.
Smith-Courtney to J. E. Stagg: floor plan for proposed addition to Washington Duke's residence, Durham, NC.
Includes correspondence related to the chartering of Citizen's National Bank of Durham and the illness and death of Washington Duke.
Includes proposal to enlarge the Southern Conservatory of Music (Durham, NC).
Includes correspondence related to Angier B. Duke's accident at Carteret Lodge; letter from Condé Nast describing an investment opportunity in the Home Pattern Company; and a letter from Bishop W. A. Candler regarding mission in Cuba.
Includes correspondence regarding the sale of the Coleman Manufacturing Company property (Concord, NC) and funding for a "Duke Memorial Hall" at Kittrell College.
Rosa Parrish to Sarah P. Duke, sent from Japan.
Fragile—please ask for staff assistance in handling this item.
Includes correspondence related to pledges to the Durham, NC, YMCA building.
Includes letters from Charles C. Hook regarding construction plans for Duke's new Durham home (Four Acres) and correspondence related to the dedication of the Washington Duke statue at Trinity College.
Includes letters related to the debt of Daniel Lindsay Russell, and letters concerning the purchase of the Odell Manufacturing Company property and founding of Locke Cotton Mills in Concord, NC.
H. Buckenham to B. N. Duke: blueprint proposal for new athletic grounds at Trinity College.
Includes correspondence and plans related to the relocation of "The Terrace" (former Duke residence, Durham, NC).
N. Underwood to B. N. Duke: plans for new porch for relocated Durham, NC house ("The Terrace"); C. P. H. Gilbert to B. N. Duke: land plat of B. N. Duke property at 5th Avenue and E. 89th Street, New York, NY.
Includes a letter from the Tuskeegee Institute, signed by Booker T. Washington, soliciting donations to support students.
Includes correspondence with John Merrick, James E. Shepard and others related to contributions by James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke to Lincoln Hospital and the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race; letters regarding the Main Building (Washington Duke Building) fire at Trinity College; and letters and statements related to the Trinity College building fund and campus construction.
Includes correspondence with Ceasar Cone and others regarding Cone's buyout of Asheville Cotton Mills stock and ensuing dispute with B. Frank Mebane (1911 April-June); letters and invoices related to Duke family portraits by Joaquin Sorolla (1911 June); and letters and statements related to the Trinity College building fund and campus construction.
Includes correspondence about the death and estate of John C. Angier; letters regarding the heating system for Lincoln Hospital (Durham, NC); and correspondence related to the Trinity College building fund and construction of new dormitories.
Includes correspondence with C. W. Toms and W. W. Flowers related to the construction of Memorial Methodist Church (Durham, NC); and letters from James A. Thomas regarding the conversion of his American Tobacco Company securities, with some observations on events in China.
Includes correspondence related to the construction of Memorial Methodist Church (Durham, NC) and the Administration Building and new dormitory at Trinity College.
Includes correspondence with William P. Few regarding the naming of new Trinity College dormitories after Thomas Jarvis and Charles Aycock.
Includes letter from W. A. Erwin discussing proposed legislation of the Child Labor Committee.
Hornor & Company to B. N. Duke: map of Long Island Sound, New York (Pell & Chambers, Real Estate).
W. S. Lee to B. N. Duke: land plats of Charlotte and Dilworth, NC and the A.C. Springs & Company property, Charlotte, NC.
D. M. Barringer to B. N. Duke: curves of pig iron production for the world and the United States (from Manufacturers Record); Texas Iron Association iron ore deposits diagram; blueprint map showing districts with iron ore deposits in Cass County, Texas
Includes correspondence related to a contribution by James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke to the endowment of Trinity College.
Includes correspondence with John C. Kilgo and others regarding the official relationship of Trinity College with the Methodist Church (1914 April).
Includes correspondence regarding the Trinity Land Company's sale of timber rights in Carteret County, NC; letter from James E. Shepard seeking assistance with the debt of the National Training School (1914 October); and a letter from Laura Drake Gill regarding a proposal for the establishment of a coordinate college for women at Trinity College (1914 November).
Includes letter from Julian S. Carr regarding the North Carolina Children's Home (1914 December); and a letter from James E. Shepard seeking assistance with the debt of the National Training School (1915 February).
Includes letters related to travel arrangements for Angier B. Duke and Cordelia Biddle Duke (1915 April), and Mary Duke Biddle and Anthony J. Duke Biddle, Jr. (1915 May) after the couples' weddings; letters from James E. Shepard regarding mortgage payments for the National Training School (1915 June); and letters regarding the Lincoln Hospital Nurses' Home and Kittrell College (1915 July).
Includes letters from W. R. Perkins and P. D. Gold regarding The National Drama Corporation and Thomas Dixon, Jr.'s film "The Fall of a Nation"; correspondence from Jonathan R. Hawkins regarding funding for Kittrell College and the African Methodist Episcopal Church; and letters regarding the construction of the stone wall around Trinity College.
Includes correspondence related to the National Drama Corporation and "The Fall of a Nation"; letters from J. C. Thorn regarding the Durham Realty Corporation; a letter from James H. Southgate discussing land in Orange County, NC; and a letter from John Merrick discussing property for a new Lincoln Hospital site.
Includes several letters from Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr. to B. N. Duke, some of which express Biddle's opinions on the League of Nations (1918 May, 1918 December-1919 February); and a typescript copy of a personal letter from James B. Duke to B. N. Duke (February 1919).
Includes correspondence between Duke and William P. Few regarding the construction of Southgate Residence Hall and Alumni Memorial Gymnasium at Trinity College.
Includes correspondence related to Duke's health and financial contributions to various institutions, including Buies Creek Academy (later Campbell University), Duke's Chapel (Braggtown, Durham, NC), Kittrell College, Limestone College, Lincoln Hospital Nurses' Home, Lincoln Memorial University, North Carolina College for Negroes, Wofford College, and the YWCA (Durham, NC). Also includes Duke's letter of resignation as president of the Erwin Cotton Mills and endorsement of William A. Erwin as his replacement (1927 January 10).
Includes a typescript notice of funeral for Benjamin N. Duke, arrangements for train chartered to bring mourners to Durham from New York, contributions to Lincoln Memorial University in Duke's memory by Sarah P. Duke and Mary Duke Biddle, and copy of a memorial resolution from the Board of Trustees of Elon College.
Letters dated 1932 and later are primarily solicitatons made by North Carolina institutions that Benjamin N. Duke supported during his lifetime, including Kittrell College, the North Carolina College for Negroes, Lincoln Hospital, and West Durham Methodist Church. Also included is a letter from Ora J. Swing to Doris Duke Cromwell, describing the friendship of Kate Reynolds, Swing's mother, with Benjamin and Mary Duke at New Garden School in 1871-1872. Swing enclosed a letter written by Benjamin to Kate dated June 24, 1872, the original of which is filed chronologically in the Correspondence series, folder "1872, 1877, 1879."
These folders contain a disbound volume of typescript copies of condolences sent to Benjamin and Sarah Duke on the death of Angier B. Duke. An alphabetical index of correspondents is included.
The fragile letterbooks consist of bound carbon-copies of outgoing correspondence as well as scattered financial statements. Most letterbooks include alphabetical indexes of correspondents. Letters from Duke's Durham and New York offices are bound separately, with some overlap in time periods covered. As correspondents directed letters to city in which Duke was thought to presently inhabit, correspondence issued by either office of origin was not limited to topics particular to that location.
There are also occasional outgoing letters from Angier B. Duke and Washington Duke, with the latter correspondence mainly concerning responses to requests for financial assistance.
Fragile—please ask for staff assistance in handling these items.
The letterbooks are arranged chronologically for each office of origin, with Durham office letterbooks listed first.
The materials in the Financial series reflect the personal, business and philanthropic interests of Benjamin Newton Duke. Types of records present include bills, charitable contributions, check stubs, invoices, statements of accounts, tax statements, receipts, stock transactions, trial balances, household and petty cash accounts, brokerage account statements and correspondence. Materials related to the finances of James B. Duke include financial statements and correspondence of the Southern Investment Company of Canada and scattered, miscellaneous statements.
B. N. Duke's financial ledgers and official bookkeeping responsibilities were transferred from his Durham office to his New York office in May 1901.
The materials in this series are arranged into three subseries: General, Banking, and Investments.
The General subseries contains materials related to the general financial transactions of Benjamin N. Duke and his family. The bills, invoices, receipts, and invoice books at the beginning of the subseries are primarily related to household and personal expenditures in Durham, NC and New York, NY. Also represented in the General subseries are transactions involving domestic and international travel for personal and business purposes; medical expenses; automobile purchases and maintenance; art and personal photograph purchases; loans to and from B.N. Duke, including repayments and interest payments; construction of and improvements to residences in Durham and New York; construction of and improvements to Trinity College buildings and grounds; agricultural and construction supplies for Duke's farm in Orange County, NC; and financial contributions to Trinity College and other philanthropic interests of the Duke family.
Commissary charges, Pullman Car Company (1906); Rolls Royce automobile order form (Angier B. Duke) (1912).
The list of total charitable contributions from 1892 through 1928 is arranged by category of institution: schools, churches, hospitals, orphanages and miscellaneous. The list of annual charitable contributions for the years 1925-1928 is arranged alphabetically by institution name. Also included is a list of dividends for investments made on behalf of North Carolina institutions, acquaintances and family members.
These materials are related to Benjamin N. Duke's effort in the mid-1920s to identify and provide financial gifts to relatives on the Duke and Roney sides of the family. They include tables of disbursments made to family members and correspondence with Alexander H. Sands, Jr. related to the project. As the family research was later used to settle claims against the James B. Duke estate, related correspondence can found in the James Buchanan Duke Papers: Correspondence and Estate series.
Entities covered by these policies include Benjamin N. Duke, Angier B. Duke, and the Fidelity Bank of Durham.
The church documents include Building Committee minutes, bylaws, and correspondence related to the construction of the new church (completed 1887) and a 1911 condensed financial statement. The correspondence includes two June 1888 letters between Julian S. Carr and Benjamin N. Duke regarding subscriptions from the Trinity Methodist Church congregation.
The financial statements include statements of accounts with Benjamin N. Duke and condensed cash statements for the company's New York office.
The statement details the receipts and disbursements for academic building, administrative building, and East Dormitory in March 1911.
The Banking subseries contains deposit slips, check stubs, and other banking records for the accounts of Benjamin N. Duke and his family.
A related deposit slip register is located in the James Buchanan Duke papers, Financial series.
The Investments subseries contains account statements, correspondence, ledgers, stock certificates, and other materials documenting the financial investments of Benjamin N. Duke and family. It includes monthly financial statements from the numerous New York brokerage firms that Duke engaged to manage his investments, including Dominick and Dickerman, Moore and Schley, Halsted and Harrison, Newberger, Henderson and Loeb, and Daniel O'Dell and Company. To a lesser extent, the subseries includes statements for investments made through Duke's brokerage accounts by family, friends, and business associates.
The brokerage account correspondence includes discussion of stock market trends and the financial impact of world events, such as the Spanish American War and World War I. Also included are letters from Joseph Catlin, who negotiated stock sales on behalf of the Riverside Cotton Mills. Southern Investment Company of Canada materials include correspondence related to the incorporation of the company and activities in the Saguenay River area of Quebec.
Outgoing brokerage account and other financial correspondence is located in the Correspondence series, Letterbooks subseries.
Dominick to B. N. Duke: Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway prospectus.
These documents include statements of rental receipts for account of B. N. Duke, income statements, and other accounting materials related to the management of Duke's rental properties in New York. The properties represented include Marc Antony Apartments, Prince Humbert Apartments, The Paterno, and 200 West 58th Street apartments.
Statements are included for each tenant of Marc Antony Apartments, New York, NY, showing rents and utilities paid for each month.
Includes the investments of Angier B.Duke, Mary Duke Biddle, Sarah P. Duke, Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr., and Cordelia Biddle Duke.
Account sheets for James B. Duke and Southern Investment Company [of Canada?]
A majority of the documents in the Legal series pertain to property transactions of Benjamin Newton Duke and other individuals in Orange County, NC and Durham, NC. Property deeds dating from 1838 show changes in ownership of land that Duke eventually purchased. Other papers include architectural contracts, plans and specifications, trust indentures, a legal brief, copies of the wills of Benjamin N. Duke and Washington Duke, and materials related to the execution of the estates of Angier B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke.
Materials related to properties owned by Benjamin Duke appear first and are grouped according to geographic location. The rest of the series is arranged alphabetically by major individual or entity involved.
Includes an abstract of title and notes of attornies W. W. Fuller and Cobb & Merrimon.
Includes an 1892 trust agreement among Duke family members for the use and maintenance of the mausoleum in Durham (now Maplewood) Cemetery.
The estate documents include an appraisal of real and personal property at 2 East 89th Street, 1009 5th Avenue, and 535 5th Avenue in New York, NY; a power of attorney from Sarah P. Duke to Mary Duke Biddle; and a memorandum written by Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr.
Legal documents include a printed copy of "Complaint and Summons, Richard H. Wright against James B. Duke, Benjamin N. Duke, Brodie L. Duke, George W. Watts" (New York Supreme Court).
Beneficiaries of this agreement include Albert Armstrong (coachman), Caroline Barnes (servant), Joseph Bynum (butler), Frank Davis (yardman), and Addie Evans (cook).
The bulk of the Business series consists of published and unpublished periodic financial reports from businesses in which Benjamin N. Duke had a financial interest, as well as investment prospectuses and circulars. A limited number of corporate records, such as acts of incorporation, bylaws and meeting minutes, also appear and are noted in the contents list. The industries represented include banking, cotton and textiles, railroads, power and utilities, and tobacco.
The materials are arranged alphabetically by industry, with miscellaneous businesses listed alphabetically by name at the end of the series.
The map is labeled in pencil on back: "Lookout Shoals."
This series contains material related to the personal interests of Benjamin N. Duke and his immediate family. It includes Sarah P. Duke's diary (1927-1929) and recipes; genealogical material; honorary degree certificates; a B. N. Duke suit pattern; a scrapbook of the condolences sent to the Duke family upon the death of B. N. Duke; and other material pertaining to funerals, memorials, and tributes to B. N. Duke, Sarah P. Duke, James B. Duke, and Angier B. Duke. The series also contains printed materials, including a bible, cookbook, poetry volumes, and pamphlets and resolutions related to Benjamin N. Duke's philanthropic activities.
The Personal series is arranged alphabetically by subject or type of material.
Includes report of Virginia Delta Chapter (University of Virginia) to Plato T. Durham, Provincial Chief, and approved applications by students for membership in the Beta Xi (College of Charleston, SC), Alpha Delta (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), and Xi (Trinity College) chapters of the fraternity.
Clippings of articles related to the Duke family and their acquaintences as well as domestic advice columns and articles about Trinity College. Includes wedding and anniversary announcements for Benjamin N. Duke and Sarah P. Duke, a wedding announcement for Brodie L. Duke, and obituaries for Mary E. Lyon and George Washington Duke.
Includes Plato Tracy Durham poem dedicated to A. B. Duke and excerpts from letters written to B. N. Duke in reaction to the poem.
Includes a church service program, lists of pallbearers and other funeral service participants, and a list of individuals who sent condolences to the family.
Honorary degrees awarded to Benjamin N. Duke by Oglethorpe University and Lincoln Memorial University.
Telegrams and letters of condolence to family members, calling cards, and clippings on the death and legacy of Benjamin Newton Duke.
Includes program of exercises, prayer by Dr. M. Bradshaw, address by university president W. P. Few, resolution of the faculty, and 5 photographs from the funeral procession of B.N. Duke.
A Morning Prayer and Other Beautiful Prayers by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dodge Publishing Company, New York, circa 1907. The inscription by Kilgo is dated Christmas 1907.
Impressions of and programs for twenty plays attended by Mary L. Duke (Mary Duke Biddle) with family and friends. Duke recorded information for each play according to the forms provided by the scrapbook publisher, with varying levels of completeness. The forms include fields for theater name, companions, seats, impressions of the play, criticism of the performance, and criticism of individual actors.
Sarah P. Duke's diary is "A Line A Day" notebook with very brief notes about activities, visitors, travel plans, weather, health of family members and friends, and other aspects of daily life.
Copies of eulogy delivered by Dr. Ralph W. Sockman; typed and written lists of individuals who sent sympathy notes and flowers.
1887 edition of "Whitehead's family recipes." There are handwritten recipes inscribed at the front and back of the volume, presumably by Sarah P. Duke.
Pamphlets, circulars, and other materials related to the social, religious, philanthropic and political interests of the Duke family.
Pamphlets, circulars, and other materials related to the social, religious, philanthropic and political interests of the Duke family.
Pamphlets, circulars, and other materials related to the social, religious, philanthropic and political interests of the Duke family.
Vol. 1 contains a table of contents and congratulatory letters from Duke's friends and acquaintances.
The Pictures series contains bound and disbound albums, photographs, and one mirror with attached photographs. Photographs of individuals and groups include Benjamin N. Duke, Sarah P. Duke, Angier B. Duke, Mary Duke Biddle, members of the extended family, and acquaintances. The series also contains photographs of buildings and places connected with the Duke family and its philanthropic efforts, including the Benjamin N. Duke and Sarah P. Duke family residence at Four Acres, Durham, NC, and structures and property connected to Trinity College.
The series begins with bound photograph albums, followed by images of people, and ends with images of places and buildings. The materials arranged alphabetically within each category.
Album I includes cabinet cards, mainly of individuals, with an index of known and probable photograph subjects. Individuals represented in the album include Woodward W. Duke (son of Brodie L. Duke), Angier Buchanan Duke, Sarah P. Duke, James Buchanan Duke, Sally Angier Duke, Lillie Irene Duke, James Edward Stagg, Benjamin Newton Duke, Mary E. (Duke) Lyon, Robert E. Lyon, Arthur H. Merritt, Malbourn Addison Angier, John Cicero Angier, Mary Angier Stokes, Inez Duke Angier (Stokes), Washington Duke (circa 1870s), Brodie L. Duke, and several other unidentified individuals, many of them infants and young children.
Album II contains cabinet cards, mainly of individuals, with an index of known and probable photograph subjects. Individuals represented include Bishop Charles Betts Galloway, Reverend William S. Black, Grover Cleveland, Frances Folsom Cleveland, Lida Duke Angier, Samuel Jones Angier, H. J. Bass (tobacconist), Benjamin Newton Duke, James Buchanan Duke, Angier Buchanan Duke, Mary E. (Duke) Lyon, Malbourn Addison Angier, Mary Lillian Duke (Biddle), Maude Duke (Karnes), and several unidentified individuals.
Loose photographs were removed from the album and placed in a separate folder.
This album includes pictures of Cordelia Drexel Biddle Duke and her children, Angier Biddle Duke and Anthony Drexel Duke, and various unidentified individuals.
Cabinet card prints by Anderson's of New York, NY.
Possibly an anniversary portrait.
Fragile--please ask for staff assistance in handling this item.
Group photograph of Benjamin N. Duke, Sarah P. Duke, James B. Duke, Angier B. Duke, Mary L. Duke (Mary Duke Biddle), and unidentified woman in front of a house.
Individuals pictured include James Buchanan Duke, Benjamin Newton Duke, Mary Duke Biddle, Robert Lee Flowers, and Lily Parrish Flowers. The notes on back of photographs were written by Dr. Lenox Baker (son-in-law of R. and L. Flowers).
These photographs were taken at Point Lookout and Sunset Rock. See Correspondence series: J. J. Ingalls to B. N. Duke, November 9, 1892.
The photographs depict the funeral procession from Duke Memorial Church and its spectators along Chapel Hill Street, Durham, North Carolina; students and faculty honoring Duke at Duke University (East Campus); and the Duke family mausoleum in Maplewood Cemetery. The program of exercises includes the address by President W. P. Few, resolutions of the faculty of Duke University, and a prayer by Dr. M. Bradshaw.
Individuals pictured include Benjamin N. Duke, Sarah P. Duke, Anthony Drexel Biddle, and various unidentified adults and children. According to note accompanying photograph, the picture was taken inside the house at 2 E. 82nd Street, New York, NY.
Includes a photograph of Sarah P. Duke in a coach with children Angier B. Duke and Mary L. Duke (Mary Duke Biddle), circa 1888-1890.
Possibly an anniversary portrait.
Fragile--please ask for staff assistance in handling this item.
Full-length photographs, possibly taken for the fifteenth wedding anniversary of Benjamin N. Duke and Sarah P. Duke (1892).
Portrait by the Halladay Studio, Durham, NC (1906), and an undated portrait by the Lafayette studio in London.
Cut-out images of Washington Duke, Brodie L. Duke, James B. Duke, Benjamin N. Duke, and Mary E. Duke (Mary Duke Lyon) under glass layer of framed mirror. Photographs circa 1870s.
Fragile--please ask for staff assistance in handling this item.
The children pictured are likely those of Mary Washington Lyon Stagg and James Edward Stagg.
Individuals represented include Reuben Oscar Everett and others outside the White House, Washington, DC; James Acero Angier, circa 1880s; James Haywood Southgate, circa 1890s; and other unidentified persons.
Lockwood was a Physics and Biology professor who experimented with photography. His "trick" photographs include "Frog Pond," Professor Jerome Dowd playing chess with himself, and a composite of four views of Mary Lillian Duke (Mary Duke Biddle). Also included is a photograph of the Moses Hester church [Berea Christian Church] and house in Durham, NC.
The house, located on N. Buchanan Blvd., was first occupied by Professor J. S. Bassett and later by Frank C. Brown
The photographs depict the partially-built structure of the church (designed by the firm of Horace Trumbauer) and construction workers in the foreground.
These prints related to the construction of Duke University West Campus were sent by Frank C. Brown to Benjamin N. Duke, with an accompanying letter. They include photographs of the site for the "new buildings" (Duke University West Campus?) and the site of new highway through Duke University property.
These photographs depict the excavation, grading, and tree removal related to construction of new East Campus buildings. Individuals pictured include Robert L. Flowers and Frank C. Brown, laborers and various onlookers. Also pictured are the original library and Alspaugh residence hall, which were relocated to Kittrell College, North Carolina.
These photographs depict a parade celebrating Benjamin N. Duke's endowment gift to the college.
These photographs include views of "The Terrace" (the former Duke residence that was relocated for the construction of Four Acres), the Southgate Jones House, and other buildings, workers and equipment.
Materials in the Duke Farm series include correspondence, financial documents, a hand-colored land plat, and photographs related to the farm that Benjamin N. Duke owned in Orange County, NC. The letters are mainly between the successive farm superintendents employed by Duke, including J.T. Hogan, I. A. Hogan, and Weldon Riley, and J. E. Stagg and E. A. Childs, Duke's financial agents in Durham, NC. Other correspondents include equipment and agricultural suppliers and contractors.
Topics represented in the series include requests for money and instructions on farm management; the purchase of implements, machinery and livestock; the construction of barns and other farm improvements; and requests for farm products to be delivered to Duke's Durham house and other locations. There is also scattered correspondence related to the finances and health of the Hogan family.
Deeds and blueprint land plats of Orange County, NC property owned by Benjamin N. Duke are located in the Legal Series.
The Richard B. Arrington series is composed of the personal papers of Benjamin Newton Duke's personal secretary and business agent, who worked in the New York office. This series includes letters, letterbook, accounts, check stubs, and receipts. The correspondence covers two periods: 1903-1907 and 1911-1914. From 1903 to 1907 the major focus is building and furnishing a house on Ridgeview Road in White Plains, N.Y. From 1911 the emphasis is on Arrington's business interests, including stock transactions and insurance. Since Arrington died April 17, 1913, the remainder of the correspondence (1913-1914) concerns his estate. His wife, Ethel Lewis Arrington, carried on much of the estate's business. The accounts, check stubs and receipts pertain to Arrington's general business activities; the major focus is on stock transactions especially of the Piedmont Syndicate. Much of his business parallels his work for Benjamin Newton Duke.
The correspondence is arranged chronologically, followed by the letterbook and finanical papers.
The materials in this series document the personal and financial interests of Alexander H. Sands, Jr., a secretary and business agent for Benjamin N. Duke in New York, NY. The series includes letters, letterbooks, account book, check registers, check stubs, a daybook, ledger and receipts. The correspondence, 1910-1918, primarily concerns Sands's family matters and personal business interests. He also supported both his parents, Mary Harvey Sands and Tucker K. Sands. The remainder of Sands's papers details stock transactions and other business activities, including those of the Southern Audit Company of New York, Inc., of which Sands was a partner.
The correspondence is arranged chronologically, followed by the letterbooks and finanical papers.
|1855 April 27||
Benjamin Newton Duke is born to Washington and Artelia Roney Duke in Orange
County, North Carolina.
Benjamin's mother Artelia and half-brother Sidney Taylor Duke die of
Benjamin and his sister Mary enroll in New Garden School (later Guilford
College), near Greensboro, North Carolina.
Washington Duke moves his family to Durham proper.
|1877 February 21||
Benjamin marries Sarah Pearson Angier of Durham, North Carolina.
W. Duke, Sons and Company is established. Benjamin is a director of the new
company, along with brother James B. Duke, father Washington Duke, George W.
Watts, and Richard Wright.
|1882 or 1883? October 3||
George Washington Duke, Benjamin and Sarah's first child, is born.
|1884 December 8||
Angier Buchanan Duke, Benjamin and Sarah's second child, is born.
George Washington Duke dies at age 2 or 3.
|1887 November 16||
Mary Lillian Duke (later Mary Duke Biddle), Benjamin and Sarah's third
child, is born.
Benjamin is elected to the Board of Trustees of Trinity College, Randolph
County, North Carolina.
Benjamin becomes a director of the newly-formed American Tobacco
Benjamin becomes a director of the Oxford Orphan Asylum in Oxford, North
Erwin Cotton Mills is established, with Benjamin N. Duke as president and
William A. Erwin as manager.
|1893 April 6||
Mary E. Lyon (Mary Duke Lyon), Benjamin's sister, dies at age 39 in New
Benjamin becomes president of The Fidelity Bank of Durham, North
Benjamin serves as a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Benjamin becomes president of the Cape Fear and Northern Railway
Benjamin resigns from the board of directors of the Oxford Orphan
Benjamin and Sarah purchase their first home in New York, NY. The family divides time between New York and Durham.
Benjamin becomes treasurer of the American Tobacco Company
Benjamin resigns as treasurer of the American Tobacco Company
|1905 May 8||
Washington Duke dies at age 84 in Durham, North Carolina.
Angier B. Duke graduates from Trinity College, Durham, North
Southern Power Company (later Duke Power Company) is established by Benjamin N. and brother James B. Duke in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Benjamin becomes president of the Durham and Southern Railway.
Benjamin resigns as a director of the American Tobacco Company.
Mary L. Duke graduates from Trinity College, Durham, North
Benjamin and Sarah's "Four Acres" house is built in Durham, North
Richard B. Arrington, Benjamin and James's private secretary and financial
agent dies in White Plains, New York.
Alexander H. Sands, Jr., is hired as Benjamin and James's private secretary and financial agent in New York, New York.
Angier B. Duke marries Cordelia Biddle.
Mary L. Duke marries Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr.
Benjamin resigns from the presidency of The Fidelity Bank of Durham,
|1923 September 3||
Angier B. Duke dies in a boating accident on Long Island Sound at the age
Benjamin and Sarah establish the Angier B. Duke Memorial to support
scholarship at Duke University.
|1925 October 10||
James B. Duke dies at the age of 68 in New York, New York.
Benjamin resigns from the presidency of Erwin Cotton Mills
Benjamin resigns from the presidency of Durham and Southern Railway
|1927 January 8||
Benjamin dies in New York, New York at the age of 71 and is interred in the
Duke family mausoleum in Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, North Carolina
The remains of Benjamin, James B. Duke, and Washington Duke are removed
from Maplewood Cemetery to the Memorial Chapel of Duke University
|1936 September 3||
Sarah P. Duke dies at the age of 80 in Blowing Rock, North
Benjamin Newton Duke (1855-1929) was a tobacco manufacturer, industrialist, and philanthropist of Durham, NC and New York, NY and a trustee and major benefactor of Trinity College (later Duke University). He was the son of Washington Duke, older brother of James B. Duke, husband of Sarah Pearson Angier Duke, and father of Angier Buchanan Duke and Mary Duke Biddle.
Benjamin Newton Duke held a leadership position in several North Carolina and New York businesses, including the American Tobacco Company, W. Duke, Sons & Company, Erwin Cotton Mills, Fidelity Bank of Durham, Citizens' National Bank of Durham, Trinity Land Company, Durham Realty Corporation, Durham and Southern Railway Company, and Southern Power Company. Along with James B. Duke and their partner, George Washington Watts, Benjamin Duke held substantial investments in a variety of enterprises throughout the United States.
Duke was also the primary agent for the Duke family's philanthropic activities from the late 1880s until his death.
Board of Trustees Records, 1860-ongoing, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Duke Family papers, 1885-1992 (bulk 1892-1927), David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
James Buchanan Duke Papers, 1777-1999 and undated, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Washington Duke Papers, 1764-1987, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Erwin Cotton Mills Records, 1832-1976, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
William Preston Few Records and Papers, 1814-1971 and undated (bulk 1911-1940), Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Robert Lee Flowers Records, 1891-1968, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
John C. Kilgo Records and Papers, 1888-1970 (bulk 1894-1920), Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
W. Duke, Sons & Co. Advertising Materials, 1880-1910, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Semans Family Papers, 1878-2008 and undated, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- American Tobacco Company
- Arrington, Richard B., d. 1913
- Biddle, Anthony Joseph Drexel, 1896-1961
- Biddle, Mary Duke, 1887-1960
- Duke family
- Duke, Sarah Pearson Angier, 1856-1936
- Duke University
- Duke, Washington, 1820-1905
- Duke, James Buchanan, 1856-1925
- Duke, Angier Buchanan, 1884-1923
- Duke, Benjamin N. (Benjamin Newton)
- Erwin Cotton Mills
- Methodist Episcopal Church, South
- Sands, Alexander H., 1891-1960
- Trinity College (Durham, N.C.)
- W. Duke, Sons & Co.
- Businessmen -- North Carolina -- Durham
- Banks and banking -- North Carolina
- Capitalists and financiers -- United States
- Electric utilities -- North Carolina
- Industries -- North Carolina
- Orphanages -- North Carolina
- Philanthropists -- North Carolina
- Railroads -- North Carolina
- Textile industry -- North Carolina
- Tobacco industry -- North Carolina
- Universities and colleges -- North Carolina
- Women's colleges -- North Carolina
- Water-power -- South Carolina
- Water-power -- North Carolina
The papers of Benjamin Newton Duke have been received from a variety of sources over an extended period of time. While acquisition information about the bulk of the collection is unrecorded, it is believed that it was given by his daughter, Mary Duke Biddle. Additions to the collection were made by Mary Duke Biddle, 1939; Alexander H. Sands, Jr., 1940- 1941, 1953; R.D. Graham, 1950; Mrs. Lucy Cole Durham, 1951; Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, 1961-1972, 2019; Bud Alexander, 1970; Duke University Archives, 1980; and Julia Wightman, 1990.
Processed by Madeleine Bagwell Perez
Completed June 30, 1991
Encoded by Rachel Pottinger
Processing Note: In 1991 the Benjamin Newton Duke Papers were reprocessed through the support of The Duke Endowment. At that time the collection was arranged by distinct series and the papers reboxed and refoldered. While much of the Correspondence and Financial Papers Series follow their original order, some rearrangement has been done throughout the collection.
Volumes, once shelved separately, have been integrated into the collection. Examples include: letterbooks, check stubs, stock ledgers, oversized memorials, etc.
During the reprocessing, duplicate printed material was removed. Additionally, three hymn books, once belonging to Benjamin and Sarah Duke, have been transferred to the Rare Book Collection. These hymnals are for the worship services of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and date from 1878 and 1889.
Reprocessed by Mary Mellon, March 2015.