James Buchanan Duke

James Buchanan Duke

James Buchanan Duke (December 23, 1856 – October 10, 1925) was a U.S. tobacco and electric power industrialist best known for his involvement with Duke University.

Personal life

James Buchanan Duke, known by the nickname "Buck", was born near Durham, North Carolina, on December 23, 1856 to Washington Duke and his second wife, Artelia Roney Duke. [cite web| url=http://www.dukeendowment.org/about/history|title=The Duke Family and its Legacy| publisher=Duke Endowment|accessdate=2008-06-02] Duke was married twice, the first in 1904 to Lillian Fletcher McCredy, but they divorced in 1906 and had no children. In 1907 he married the widow Nanaline Holt Inman, with whom he had his only child, a daughter, Doris, born November 22, 1912. Doris was raised at Duke Farms, where her father had worked with landscapers such as James Greenleaf (a member of the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted), and Horatio Buckenham to transform more than convert|2000|acre|km2|0 of farmland and woodlots into an extraordinary landscape. containing 2 conservatories, 9 lakes, 35 fountains, 45 buildings, countless pieces of sculpture, over convert|2|mi|km|0 of stone walls and more than convert|18|mi|km of roadway [cite web| url=http://www.dukefarms.org/page.asp?pageId=4|title=History | publisher=Duke Farms|accessdate=2008-02-11] . James Buchanan Duke died in New York City on October 10, 1925 and is interred with his father and brother in the Memorial Chapel on the campus of Duke University.

Business career

Washington Duke (1820-1905), had owned a tobacco company which his sons James Buchanan Duke and Benjamin Newton Duke (1855-1929) took over in the 1880s.In 1885, James Buchanan Duke acquired a license to use the first automated cigarette making machine (invented by James Albert Bonsack), and by 1890, Duke supplied 40% of the American cigarette market (then known as pre-rolled tobacco). In that year, Duke consolidated control of his four major competitors under one corporate entity, the American Tobacco Company, which was a monopoly in the American cigarette market.

In the 1890s, he forged an agreement with his British competitors to divide the market, with Duke controlling the American trade, the British companies controlling the trade in British territories, and a third, cooperative venture between the two - the British-American Tobacco Company - controlling the sale of tobacco to the rest of the world. During this time, Duke was repeatedly sued by business partners and shareholders. In 1906, the American Tobacco Company was found guilty of antitrust violations, and was ordered to be split into three separate companies: American Tobacco Company, Ligget and Myers, and the P. Lorillard Company.

In 1892, the Dukes had opened their first textile firm in Durham, North Carolina that was run by Benjamin Duke. At the turn of the century, Buck Duke organized the American Development Company to acquire land and water rights on the Catawba River. In 1904, he established the Catawba Power Company and the following year he and his brother founded the Southern Power Company which became known as Duke Power, one of the companies making up the Duke Energy, Inc. conglomerate. The company supplied electrical power to the Duke's textile factory and within two decades, their power facilities had been greatly expanded and they were supplying electricity to more than 300 cotton mills and other industrial companies. Duke Power established an electrical grid that supplied cities and towns in the Piedmont Region of North and South Carolina. Lake James, a power-generating reservoir in Western North Carolina, was created by the company in 1928 and named in Duke's honor.

In 1911, the United States Supreme Court upheld an order breaking up the American Tobacco Company's monopoly. The company was then divided into several smaller enterprises, of which only the British-American Tobacco Company remained in Duke's control. After his death in 1925, there was a great deal of controversy, and some historians suspect that some resentful Imperial Tobacco executives were feeling some anger at Duke for having lost the Tobacco War between Duke's company and Imperial Tobacco.

Philanthropy and Wills

In December 1924, Duke established The Duke Endowment, a $40 million trust fund (about $430 million in 2005), some of which was to go to Trinity College. The University was renamed "Duke University" in honor of his father.

On his death, he left approximately half of his huge estate to The Duke Endowment which gave another $67 million (about $725 million in 2005) to the trust fund. In the Indenture of Trust, Duke specified that he wanted the Endowment to support Duke University, Davidson College, Furman University, Johnson C. Smith University; not-for-profit hospitals and children's homes in the two Carolinas; and rural United Methodist churches in North Carolina, retired pastors, and their surviving families.

The remainder of Duke's estate, estimated at approximately $100 million (about $1 billion in 2005), went to his twelve-year-old daughter, Doris, making her literally "the richest girl in the world" [Cite news
last = Pace
first = Eric
title = Doris Duke, 80, Heiress Whose Great Wealth Couldn't Buy Happiness, Is Dead
publisher= New York Times
date = 1993-10-29
pages =
accessdate = 2008-05-07
url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE1DB153CF93AA15753C1A965958260
] . Doris sued her mother for control of the Duke Farms estate and won. Associating Duke Farms with fond memories of her father, Doris Duke made few major changes to the property other than the adaptation of her father’s Conservatory to create Display Gardens in his honor [cite web| url=http://www.njskylands.com/atdukgar.htm|title=The Gardens at Duke Farms| publisher=Skylands Visitor Guide|accessdate=2008-06-02] . These Gardens showcased her father's extensive sculpture collection and were open to the public from 1964 until closed by her Foundation Trustees in May 2008 [cite press release |title=Duke Farms Promotes “Greener” Future |publisher=Duke Farms |date=2008-03-02 |url=http://www.dukefarms.org/page.asp?pageId=523 |format= |language= |accessdate=2008-04-14 |quote= it’s the final months of the gardens being on display in the greenhouses that have enchanted visitors since 1964] .


Further reading

*Robert Sobel "The Entrepreneurs: Explorations Within the American Business Tradition"

*(Weybright & Talley 1974), Chapter 5, "James Buchanan Duke: Opportunism Is the Spur"

*Robert F. Durden "Bold Entrepreneur: A Life of James B. Duke" (Carolina Academic Press, 2003)

*John Wilber Jenkins "James B. Duke: Master Builder" (George H. Doran Company 1927)

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