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MAY 2010


Reflections on the Reunion and being a “Duke” Dear members of the Duke family, President of the Duke Family Association, Charlie Lucas, was kind of enough to remind us in his remarks Saturday evening at the October family reunion that I am co-president of the association. I confess to leaving Charlie with all the work, so with great plans for my half of the presidency yet ahead, I would like to thank you all for a terrific weekend and share some reflections. It was wonderful to reconnect with many of you and to connect for the first time with others. To have Coach K and President Brodhead among us was a particular privilege and compliment. Special thanks to Charlie, association and reunion website originator and manager Henry Nicholson, Jon Angier, Beth Semans, Tony Duke, Mary Semans and University Associate VP of Alumni Affairs Sterly Wilder, all of whom were instrumental in making the weekend a success.

Biddle Duke

The centerpiece, of course, was the university itself, which never stops growing and improving and challenging its students and faculty. It is a remarkable institution. And an amazing story. I can’t be alone among us — particularly among those of us who attended Duke — in having told and retold our versions of the story. As a Duke undergrad 25 years ago (Trinity, 1981) I learned how to tell it in a few seconds in noisy, crowded, beer-puddled West Campus parties. “Washington Duke, my great grandfather, was the founder. Tobacco money. His son, Buck, later grew the family business in energy. They loved North Carolina, believed in education, so they started a university…” This was usually followed by “no, the Dukes were not slave owners. It all happened in the reconstruction,” and “yes, yes, I had to apply,” and “yes, well, I suppose you could say I’m rich. You wouldn’t believe me anyway if I said I wasn’t.” Awkward, for sure. Imagine my poor cousin, Washington Duke, who was about 15 years behind me at Duke. When he introduced himself in the admission office to the other candidates waiting for their interviews one of his fellow applicants replied, “Your name’s Washington Duke? Yeah, and I’m Abraham Lincoln.” “Washy,” it’s worth noting, went on to have a stellar career at Duke as, among other things, a music student. It’s fair to say that Duke informed the direction of his life: he’s now a music producer and musician.

Mary D.B.T. Semans & Coach K Duke Family Reunion 2009 picture courtesy of Duke University Photography

My strategy for survival as an undergraduate was to downplay my Dukeness. But I had a relative at the school at the same time — my nephew who was a Trinity senior when I was a freshman (unbelievable, but yes: George, a few years older than I, is the oldest son of my half brother, Pony) — who would literally blow up my efforts at modesty. George Duke was a huge and scary Wyoming kid, friends with all the football and basketball players. Always seemed to have tons of girlfriends. A hellion, whose legendary escapades were (continued on page 3)


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May 2010

Duke Family & University History 101 Editor’s Note: We thought you would enjoy some information on the Duke family’s role in the founding and development of Duke University. Duke Archivist Tim Pyatt has created a presentation that he gives to groups who want to know more about the Dukes and the University. We publish, here, excerpts of that presentation with Tim’s permission. WASHINGTON DUKE & THE MOVE TO DURHAM Washington Duke, a Confederate veteran who lived from 1820 to 1905 played an influential role in bringing Trinity College to Durham. In 1887, John Crowell was elected president of Trinity College. During Reconstruction, the new South saw a shift from agriculture to industry. These industries were centered around towns such as Raleigh and Durham. Crowell saw Trinity’s future in one of these towns.


At Crowell’s urging, Methodist ministers approached Washington Duke, a prominent Methodist layman, to see if he would help finance a move. Washington Duke gave $85,000 for buildings that was later followed by a $300,000 endowment. He also persuaded his business competitor and fellow Methodist and UNC graduate, Julian Carr, to donate the 62 acres of land known as Blackwell’s Fairgrounds that is now East Campus. (Carr was manufacturer of the famous “Bull Durham” tobacco). The move to Durham was completed in 1892 and the link to the Dukes had begun.

Prior to Duke family involvement, the school was founded as Union Institute Academy in 1838 in Randolph Co. (south of High Point) by Methodists & Quakers who wanted school for their children. Following a period in the 1850s when it was called Normal College, financial support by the Methodist church in 1859 led to the name change to Trinity College. The school adopted the motto “Eruditio et Religio” which means “Knowledge & Religion.” The images below are of Trinity College in Randolph County circa 1891 and today.

Washington Duke’s support extended beyond the move. His 1896 gift also illustrated his philosophy on education. The gift was contingent on women students being admitted on equal footings with men. Prior to this time, women were day students only. Below: Celebration outside Washington Duke’s home in Durham celebrating one of his many gifts to the College.


May 2010

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THE PRESIDENT’S LETTER.....continued from page 1

often confused as mine. How I feared having George spot me at parties. Hands as big as baseball mitts, he’d throw an arm around me, palming my shoulder, and, loudly so all could hear, say things like, “Hey everyone, this is my uncle Biddle! What’re the chances of this? Two Dukes together at a party at Duke! Let’s go meet some cheerleaders!” My mouth still goes dry at the memory. George is out in Montana these days wildcatting and raising hogs. He should come back home sometime. We’re scattered all over the place, but Duke is home. Busy with life away from North Carolina I forget that fact, and then I visit the campus and Durham. Every time it seems bigger and smarter than the last. This time there was also the experience of seeing it through my son’s eyes. As T.S. Elliot wrote: “We shall not cease exploring. And the end of all exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

We Need Your Support! We need your support to keep the Duke Family Association alive and moving forward. We had over 150 family members at our October reunion and we have over 450 family members in our database. We want to be able to publish a semi-annual newsletter and develop a robust, informational and fun website. In order to offset postal costs for those who choose to receive it by paper mail, we are asking that each member make a minimum donation of $10 per year. Please send your donation with the contact information form on the last page of this newsletter to: Duke Family Assn. of NC, PO Box 96642, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708

In addition to catching up with many of you, I gobbled up the opportunities, in a way that I did not as a student. Two and a half days with my 13 year old looked like this: three athletic contests (Duke football and soccer, and women’s soccer), a Picasso exhibit at the Nasher, lemurs at the Lemur Center, a visit to the new Sanford Public Policy School and a Chapel sermon on Sunday morning about how the university, which is also a community of faith, reconciles its tradition of religion and faith with its pursuit of new ideas, free speech, knowledge, and the ultimate empirical truths. It was a dizzying visit. When I returned home I confess to having two connected regrets: that my father, Angier Biddle Duke, was not there with us, and that I was not moved by his example to shake everyone’s hand and seamlessly getting us all to do the same. Next time. If that sounds like a promise, I remind you that I’m a shifty journalist. I’ll take it up with Charlie and others to see who will do the lion’s share of the work. But I sure do look forward to seeing everyone and Duke again. Biddle Duke President, Duke Family Asssociation of NC

Duke’s Mixture and the Duke Family Association, Inc of N.C. Duke’s Mixture is the official newsletter of the Duke Family Association of North Carolina, Inc., a non-profit North Carolina corporation chartered in 1990, by the descendents of Taylor Duke of North Carolina with the purpose of encouraging association with, attendance at and support for Duke University by members of the family; to preserve Duke family records and memorabilia and to promote brotherhood and the overall mental, social, moral, educational and fraternal welfare of its members. Duke’s Mixture is published periodically by the Association. No portion of this publication may be reprinted without the express written consent of the Duke Family Association of N. C.

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May 2010

Duke Family Association Reunion 2009, (Photo Courtesy of Duke University Photography - Copies may be purch

May 2005


Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Duke University

ased at, password: Duk3 (That's correct, no "e")

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May 2010

DUKE HISTORY 101.....continued from page 2 While most folks associate the Duke family wealth with tobacco, the bulk of James B. Duke’s fortunes were made in the new technology of electric power. Southern Power Company (now Duke Energy, Inc.) was founded by James B. Duke, his brother Benjamin N. Duke, and George W. Watts.

Tobacco manufacturing was the foundation of Washington Duke’s wealth. Above: His first “factory” started after he returned from the Civil War and his expanded factory in 1888 (inset).

The Duke Brothers: Influential in the growth of Trinity to become Duke Benjamin N. Duke, 1855-1929 Tobacco and textile entrepreneur and philanthropist, Benjamin Duke was the principal link between the Duke family and the college and university after it relocated to Durham in 1892. In 1887, he married Sarah Pearson Angier, for whom the Sarah P. Duke Gardens are named. Sarah was the sister of Jonathan C. Angier who married Lida Duke, J. B. and Ben’s first cousin and daughter of John Taylor Duke. In 1889 he was elected to the Trinity College Board of Trustees, a position he held for the rest of his life. James B. Duke, 1856-1925 At the age of twenty eight, Duke opened a branch of his family's factory in New York City, which within five years was furnishing half the country's total production of cigarettes. Through numerous foreign and domestic combinations, Duke interests controlled the manufacture of a variety of tobacco products until the United States Supreme Court in 1911 ruled that the tobacco trust was in violation of anti-trust law and ordered the dissolution of the American Tobacco Co. James B., together with his older brother, Benjamin, and George Watts, founded the Southern Power Company in 1905. Later it was known as Duke Power, one of the companies making up Duke Energy, Inc. Within two decades the company was supplying electricity to more than 300 cotton mills and various other factories, cities, and towns primarily in the Piedmont region of North and South Carolina. In December 1924, James B., who was by far the wealthiest member of the family, established The Duke Endowment as a permanent trust fund with designated beneficiaries. In so doing, he was following the family's long-standing patterns of philanthropy. Trinity College was to be the prime beneficiary of the Duke Endowment, and, at the insistence of Trinity President William Preston Few, the college was renamed Duke University in honor of Washington Duke and his family. James B. Duke died in New York City on October 10, 1925.

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Contact Information We need to update our records. Our website is “under construction” and will be unveiled later this summer, but for now, we don’t have an online form for you to fill out. Please send us updated contact information with your financial contribuition using this form to:

Duke Family Association of NC Box 96642 Duke University Durham, NC 27708

Name:__________________________________ E-mail address:___________________________


Phone #:____________________________ Donation check enclosed $ _____________________

Name of Taylor Duke’s child from whom you are descended________________________________

DFA Newsletter May 2010  
DFA Newsletter May 2010  

A newsletter published by the Duke Family Association of NC