The papers of Benjamin Newton Duke have been collected from various sources over time and span the years 1834 to 1969, although the bulk of the material dates from 1890 to 1929. The materials in the collection document the business, financial, philanthropic, and personal interests of Benjamin N. Duke and his family in Durham, NC and New York, NY, especially Duke's involvement in the tobacco, textile, banking, and hydroelectric industries and the Duke family's financial support of a variety of institutions, including educational institutions for African Americans and women, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and individual churches, orphanages, hospitals, and community organizations. Types of material in the collection include correspondence, financial statements and ledgers, bills and receipts, architectural blueprints and drawings, land plats, deeds, photographs, photograph albums, scrapbooks, and a diary.
Family members represented include Sarah P. Duke, Angier Buchanan Duke, Mary Duke Biddle, Washington Duke, James B. Duke, Brodie L. Duke, Lida Duke Angier, and Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr. Other individuals represented include Julian S. Carr, William A. Erwin, John C. Kilgo, William P. Few, Daniel Lindsay Russell, James E. Shepard, and George W. Watts.
The Richard B. Arrington series and Alexander H. Sands, Jr. series document the personal and financial interests of Benjamin N. Duke's private secretaries in New York, NY.