On Doris Duke

I enjoyed reading the article about Doris Duke (U.S. 1, February 1). However, the statement “One place that did not get her money was Duke University” is not correct. During her life Miss Duke gave almost $3 million to the university. According to a document we have here, she started in 1946 with a gift of $15,000 to the Medical Social Service Unit, presumably a division of the Medical School. She continued to give in the five-figure range to the university for about 15 years. She gave a half-million to the Medical Center in 1972. The largest single gift she made during her lifetime was $2 million in 1993 for AIDS research. This was made just a few months before her death. After her death the university received $10 million by the terms of her will.

In addition, the Doris Duke Chair in Conservation Ecology at the Nicholas School of the Environment was funded by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in 1998.

But all in all, a balanced article about a complex life.

Thomas Harkins

Associate University Archivist, Duke University Archives

On Christie Whitman

Re the letter by Alan Goldsmith on the “Whitman legacy” published in the February 22 issue of U. S. 1. Mr. Goldsmith closed his letter with; “… , she might try taking responsibility for her own official misdeeds. Then she might be worthy of our attention.”

A continuing problem for governors succeeding her is the deficit she left behind — 30-year bonds she floated to cover deficit created by her irresponsible tax cuts.

James R. Bird


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