Posted in The Trials of Doris

The Magnitude of the Dukes

Certainly, it is fact that the DORIS group has made international headlines on several occasions since July of last year when their fight to save Duke Mansion began. From seeking the aid of the Monet house to the friends and colleague’s support in Hawaii and the other great States, the DORIS group may not have succeeded in their initial mission to save the historic house but they sure have accomplished more.

The house is rubble. The estate qualifies as a national historic landmark for recognition across the USA. There are so many more facets of wrongdoing or lackluster conduct that pervade this Gilded Age, 2,700-acre, lavish, and gorgeous estate. The DORIS group will be continuing their efforts to seek transparency and #JusticeForDoris.

Recently, The RetroRevival Blog received a beautifully written letter from a student in the Carolinas, the land of JB Duke’s roots. We wanted to take the opportunity to share his message with you. It is important to remember that this fight is not limited in its demographic, and that the generations to follow will feel the destructive aftermath of every decision that those in charge are allowed to make.


Doris Duke Charitable Foundation,

In the world we live in today it’s hard to see the beauty in things. Through a stroll through the Duke Estate would bring you back to a time of opulence, elegance, and industrial power like no other. Now while these times are long gone and have now been taken over by banking and software tycoons, there is still history to be shared and seen of this now-forgotten decade. Parallels of the conservation of this amazing history can be seen at places like the Biltmore and Newport. These places only bring dreams of grandeur like nowhere else can. We imagine ourselves as dignitaries strolling these homes and attending their grandest parties. The imagination, excitement, and awe this creates in people ages 5 to 95 is unparalleled. This history creates something among generations like nothing else can: they fuel imagination and wonder. When properly conserved and displayed these landmarks become hot spots for tourism and learning. The towns and cities where these illustrious manors lie are lucky to have such a critical piece of history in their bounds. This of course brings me back to the Duke estates in Hillsborough New Jersey. A prime example, I would even say it’s one of the grandest. While the full grandeur of the estate was  never realized to due several reasons within the Duke family and business, a quick stroll around one can imagine what it would have been like if fully completed. From the old foundation to the grand lakes, bridges, fountains, and gardens oh how grand it could have been, that to the likes of the Biltmore.

What many don’t know and fail to realize is that there was a grand homeon the estate, one tucked away; hidden from the eye of the public for many years, and allowed to fall into disrepair. Why hide such a wealth of history and knowledge from the public. Why not display the litany of antiques and artifacts collected by Doris Duke and her father? That is a question I cannot even begin to rationalize an answer for.

Entrusted with millions of dollars to provide a learning experience to better the world, the people willed this money failed miserable to fulfill a dying heiress wishes. Instead they sold all of her possessions and allowed her beloved home to fall into disrepair, or so they claim it to have become. The few that were able to tour this home shortly after Doris’ death have nothing but great things to say about it.

Again fueling imagination and wonder of the family and its great past. It has been nothing short of a failure by the Duke Farms organization; the town of Hillsborough, and state of New Jersey to let such an interesting piece of history get erased forever. How can one argue this place was not able to be a registered landmark? It was amazing! What is even more surprising is the lack of respect for a family and person who left nearly all she had in the hands of an organization she hoped to only better her family’s name. Arrogance, greed, and utter disrespect have demolished on of the greatest attractions that never was. For this, we should not only apologize to Doris herself but to the world as everyone has been robbed of a golden opportunity at an amazing look into the past and one of the most known families of this time.



For over 8 amazing years, it has been an experience, a pleasure, and a journey to be a revivalist. I love all things retro and antique. Writing has been a passion of mine since middle school and throughout my professional career. For all those who are inspired to be vintage, challenge the norms in the name of tradition! We write for a better, more inspired tomorrow <3

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