Remember Yesteryear: When Duke University relocated to Durham, North Carolina

January 17, 2016


When Duke University relocated to Durham, North Carolina

We are sharing these newspaper articles looking back on when Duke University (once known as Trinity College) moved to Durham, North Carolina.

A schoolhouse in Randolph County, North Carolina opened in 1838 and launched an educational institution that grew to become today’s Duke University, one of the top research universities in the world.

Trinity College Relocation 1891 -01Trinity College Relocation 1891 -02

Duke University - 1892

Trinity College 1896
Video: Duke University


In 1838, Brantley York becomes principal of Brown’s Schoolhouse, a private subscription school in Randolph County.

Brown’s Schoolhouse is formally organized by the Union Institute Society, a group of Methodists and Quakers under the leadership of Reverend York.
Duke University - Randolph County

January 12, 1841
North Carolina charters the Union Institute Academy.

January 28, 1851
The Union Institute becomes Normal College.

The school is re-chartered by the Legislature of North Carolina as Normal College, and its graduates are licensed to teach in the public schools of the state. The following year, the state authorizes Normal College to grant degrees, and the first are awarded in 1853.

June 1, 1853
Normal College awards its first B.A. degrees.

February 18, 1859
Normal College becomes Trinity College.
The institution’s name is changed to Trinity College upon affiliation with the Methodist Church.

April 1, 1865 — January 1, 1866
Trinity closes due to war.
For the only time in its history, the Board of Trustees votes to suspend all activities. They took this extraordinary action due to the Civil War and resulting decreasing enrollment.

A new charter demands that one-third of the Board of Trustees be alumni.

Duke University - Randolph County

January 21, 1891
The state re-charters Trinity in order to allow its relocation to Durham.
By this time, there was a major effort to move the college to a larger city in North Carolina in the interest of attracting more students and faculty.

Trinity College moves to Durham.
Trinity College relocates to Durham after Washington Duke and Julian S. Carr persuade the Board of Trustees to move the college to their progressive “New South” city. Duke contributes $85,000 for buildings and endowment and Carr donates the site, which is now East Campus.

Washington Duke donates $100,000 to Trinity’s endowment.
He supplements this initial donation by the same amount in 1899 and 1900. As a condition of giving, Duke asked that women be admitted and treated equally at Trinity. A women-only dormitory was promptly built.

June 1, 1896
Trinity’s first Native American graduate receives his degree.
The graduate, Joseph S. Maytubby, was originally from Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

February 28, 1903
Trinity receives a new charter and bylaws.
Much of the charter and bylaws still remain intact. When Duke University was created in 1924, the only change that was made was to replace “Trinity College” with “Duke University.” The first article in the 1903 bylaws, “The Aims of Trinity [later Duke] University,” is reproduced on the plaque in the middle of the main quad on West.

December 11, 1924
Trinity college becomes Duke University.
Duke University is founded, named in honor of Washington Duke and his family. On December 11, James B. Duke signs the indenture of trust establishing The Duke Endowment, a family philanthropic foundation that supports education, religion, and health care in the Carolinas. Each fall, Founders’ Day commemorates the event. Trinity College would become the name of the new university’s undergraduate college for men.

October 25, 1925
James B. Duke dies.
James B. Duke, the founder of the Duke Endowment, died on October 25, 1925. His establishment of the Duke Endowment transformed Trinity College into Duke University, a world-class university in Durham.

1927 — 1930
Construction on West Campus gets underway.
A Gothic campus of native Hillsborough stone is built one mile west of the original campus to house the undergraduate college for men (Trinity College) and the professional schools.

Duke awards its first Ph.D. degrees

The Woman’s College opens on East Campus.

October 22, 1930
The Duke Chapel cornerstone is set.

Richard Nixon graduates.
Perhaps Duke’s most famous alumnus, President Richard Nixon received his juris doctorate.

November 1, 1938
Duke admitted to the Association of American Universities.
Its admission into this prestigious organization of research universities helped to cement Duke’s place among the top tier of America’s research universities.

January 1, 1942
The Rose Bowl is moved to Duke Stadium, the only time it has been played outside of Pasadena.
Due to wartime fears, the Rose Bowl game is at first canceled, but then is rescheduled and played in Duke Stadium on New Year’s Day. Durham is the only city other than Pasadena to have hosted the Rose Bowl.

March 8, 1961
Duke desegregates.
The admissions policy is amended to affirm equality of opportunity regardless of race, creed, or national origin. This was accomplished in a two-step process with graduate and professional schools first and the undergraduate colleges following in 1962.

September 1, 1963
The first five African-American undergraduates enroll.
Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, Mary Mitchell Harris, Cassandra Smith Rush, Gene Kendall and Nathaniel White Jr. formally desegregated Duke’s undergraduate classes.

The Woman’s College and Trinity College merge.
The merger of the Woman’s College and Trinity College forms the Duke University – Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.

Freshmen move to East Campus.
This was the first major residential change to go into effect in 20 years. Living groups in the dorms are named Randolph, in honor of Trinity’s birthplace, Randolph County, and Blackwell, after Blackwell Park, the old Durham fairground that Julian S. Carr donated as the site for the college’s new home.

April 6, 2015
Duke Men’s Basketball team wins National Championship.
The team has 5 championship wins: 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, and 2015.

Source: Duke University
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina

Duke University Duke University Campus

Duke University Campus

Duke University Campus

Duke University Campus

Duke University Campus

Duke University -Cameron Indoor Stadium

Duke University Campus

Duke University Campus

Duke University


Trinity College
Duke University started in 1838 as Brown’s Schoolhouse. It later became the Union Institute Academy in 1841. The academy was renamed Normal College in 1851 and then Trinity College in 1859. In 1892 Trinity College relocated the campus from Randolph County NC to the city of Durham due to Washington Duke and Julian S. Carr.In 1924 Washington Duke’s son, James B. Duke, established The Duke Endowment and Trinity College would be renamed Duke University to honor the family’s generosity.

Duke University -Trinity College

Architectural Renderings of Duke University by African American architect Julian Abele (Chief Designer of Duke University)

Julian Abele-Architect of Duke University

Julian Abele, an African American architect, was the primary designer for the campus of Duke University. Julian Abele was the first black student to enroll in the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, and became the department’s first black graduate in 1902.

The original architectural drawings for the proposed campuses of Duke University are true works of art, grand in scale and exquisite in detail. As was common they are unsigned with the only credit being in the name of the Philadelphia firm of Horace Trumbauer, Architect. The chief designer of the firm and draftsman, architect Julian F. Abele, in discussing the unique style of the drawings, once proudly proclaimed, “The shadows are all mine.” With that statement Abele unknowingly articulated a central fact of his life. As an African American, he lived in the shadows as time and circumstance conspired to conceal his considerable professional talent.

Julian Abele died at home in Philadelphia on April 23, 1950.

It was Susan Cook, while a student at Duke University during the 1986 student protests against apartheid in South Africa, who wrote the letter to the student newspaper which made public Julian Abele’s role in the creation of the Duke campus. His portrait now hangs in one of the buildings he designed, and the Duke University Web site proudly acknowledges his work.

Source: Duke University

Duke University -architectural rendering

Duke University -architectural rendering

Julian Abele-Architect of Duke University Indoor Stadium

Duke University -Cameron Indoor Stadium


The rise of Duke wealth

Doris Duke
Doris Duke
Doris Duke was born on November 22, 1912 and was the only child of James Buchanan (J.B.) Duke, a founder of the American Tobacco Company and Duke Energy Company and a benefactor of Duke University, and Nanaline Holt Duke. Inheriting a bulk of her father’s estate in 1925, which included Duke Farms in New Jersey, Rough Point in Newport, R.I., and a mansion in New York City, Doris was soon dubbed by the press as “the richest girl in the world.” Although Doris did her best to live a private life, she contributed to a number of public causes and was an active supporter of the arts, historic preservation, and the environment. Doris Duke died in October 1993 at the age of 80. In her will she left the majority of her estate (estimated $1.3 billion) to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Duke Homestead -Durham, North Carolina
Duke Homestead -House of Washington Duke 1890

Duke Homestead. House of Washington Duke. ca. 1890, Durham, North Carolina
Brodie L. Duke house- Durham, North Carolina
Brodie L Duke house Durham NC 1883
House of Brodie L. Duke. 1883 Durham, North Carolina. Brodle L. Duke, was the son of Washington Duke founder of the Duke tobacco in rests, and brother of James Buchanan Duke and Benjamin N. Duke of New York City.

Benjamin N. Duke home  in Durham, North Carolina
Benjamin N Duke-House Durham NC

Benjamin N Duke-House Durham NC

Benjamin N. Duke home in Durham, North Carolina seen in 1910.
‘Four Acres’ -Duke Mansion Durham, North Carolina
Duke Mansion -Four Acres Durham NC

Duke Mansion -Four Acres Durham NC

Four_Acres Duke_Mansion_-Durham, NC
‘Four Acres’ was a large, Chateauesque Revival mansion constructed of granite and brick. After Benjamin N. Duke and his wife died in the late 1920s-1930s, the house passed to Duke University, who used the house as a guesthouse and reception area for 30 years. In 1960, Duke University decided to sell the property and building, and it was demolished soon thereafter for the construction of the African American owned North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance headquarters highrise office building.

Duke Mansion- Charlotte, North Carolina
Duke Mansion -Charlotte NC
Built in 1915  James Buchanan “Buck” Duke purchases the home and triples it in size.

Doris Duke’s 2,740-acre estate Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey
Doris Duke -Duke Farms

Doris’s father, James Buchanan Duke, known as Buck, starting in 1893 he tried to reshape Duke Farms in the image of his native North Carolina, digging nine lakes and using the fill to make hills out of flat land. Three times the size of Central Park, the estate has 22 miles of trails winding past fountains, lagoons and sculptures; 810 acres of woodlands; and 464 acres of a grassland bird habitat.

The Benjamin N. Duke House – 1009 Fifth Avenue

Benjamin Duke Mansion Upper East Side NYC
The Benjamin N. Duke House – 1009 Fifth Avenue
5th Avenue and 78th Street, Manhattan, New York City
Benjamin N. Duke and his wife Sarah Duke, purchased the former Henry H. Cook mansion at 5th Avenue and 78th Street. His brother James B. Duke set about demolishing the Cook house and having a new mansion built on the site. Benjamin Duke and his family left No. 1009 Fifth Avenue and moved to the Plaza Hotel in 1909.  James and his wife Nanaline and her son moved into No. 1009 5th Avenue. The new house at No. 1 East 78th Street was completed in 1912. By 1922 the house was again occupied by Dukes,this time Benjamin’s daughter Mary Duke Biddle and her husband Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr. Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans and her husband purchased the house from her mother’s estate. Benjamin Duke’s 20,000 square-foot mansion sold in July 2010 for $44 million.

James B. Duke house at 4 East 78th Street -New York City
Duke Mansion NYC
James B. Duke house at 4 East 78th Street, Manhattan, New York, NY was the childhood home of Doris Duke. She gave the house to NYU in 1958.

Mary Duke Biddle House – Durham, NC

Rough Point (Duke Mansion)- Newport, Rhode Island

Doris Duke -Newport Rhode Island estate
Vanderbilt sold the property to William B. Leeds in 1906, and Leeds’ widow sold it to James B. Duke (benefactor of Duke University) in 1922.  Frederick W. Vanderbilt, the 6th son of William H. Vanderbilt. Frederick’s older brothers, Cornelius Vanderbilt and William K. Vanderbilt had “summer cottages” of their own just up the street. Just one year after completing renovations in 1924, James B. Duke passed away. He left the home and his fortune  to his 12 year old daughter Doris Duke. Doris continued to use the home up until her death in 1993 at the age of 80.

Shangri La -Honolulu, Hawaii
Doris Duke -Shangri La
Doris Duke’s Shangri La is near Diamond Head just outside Honolulu, Hawaii.

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