Philanthropist, Environmentalist, Collector: Doris Duke and Her Estates


In 1968, Doris Duke created the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF), a non-profit organization for the express purpose of preserving, interpreting, and maintaining Newport, R.I.'s 18th- and 19th- century architectural culture.

Her approach to restoration was bold, unique, and at times unconventional. In some cases, renovation plans included moving structures from one part of town to another. Doris was meticulous in her attention to detail and research, and was personally involved in every aspect of the restoration process. To authentically reflect the time period, she donated several personal items, including a Chippendale Block and Shell Carved Chest-on-Chest valued at $65,000. As sole financial contributor, Doris gave $21.9 million to the NRF.

Never one to publically draw attention to her efforts, it was unusual for Doris to be photographed and even rarer for her to grant interviews. One those occasions where an interview was granted, Doris tended to downplay her role.

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