Recently the world has been made a smaller place for those in the grassroots. Despite the challenges and road block-esque situation that we face in attempting to preserve a legacy here in South Somerville, there has been resonance across our allies. Most recently, Philanthropy Daily’s writer, Martin Morse Wooster published his latest work titled, How Great Philanthropists Failed & How you Can Succeed at Protecting Your Legacy. We do not find it ironic or coincidental that this book has been published after Wooster’s input was given to the tragic case of the Duke Mansion’s demolition, which began its trials in Summer 2015. His article from March 31st, 2016 sheds a clear light on his position toward the proprietors of the estate as he asks in rhetoric, “How do you honor your founder’s memory by tearing down her house? That’s a question the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has to answer.” Wooster continues his monologue to include what can be learned from Duke Farms’ shameful example citing that, “the case of Doris Duke’s house reminds donors to put all restrictions in writing. ” (Wooster, 2016).
The answer to his rhetoric is simple. Tearing down the childhood home and countryside endeavor of the benefactors of Duke Farms is not any appropriate way of honoring the Dukes themselves. If anything, it translates to a rude, shameless ‘screw you’. The mission statement of Duke Farms can arguably have been lost in translation as well. Anyone can observe its modifications since established around 2003.
Fast forward to January 16th, 2018: Wooster takes to the press again in a small press run of his most recent book. In its pages he cites articulately how the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has succeeded in failing its benefactors. He cites DORIS and how the public attempted to remedy the issues that plague the foundation through their attack on Duke Mansion. He even honors The Duchess of South Somerville, a memoir collection and brief history of Duke’s recent past in footnote 98.
Despite the narrow outreach that ORCHID currently has, the message is heard loud and clear across a spectrum of different audiences: the removal of Duke Mansion and the systemic neglect across the property is not acceptable.
So let’s get educated and share in the historic revolution that has begun to erupt in New Jersey. For purchasing information on either piece of literature, please visit the following links:
Click Here for Martin Wooster’s Book