Angier Biddle Duke papers, 1915-1990s and undated, bulk 1950-1995 94 Linear Feet — Approx. 46,000 Items
The collection chiefly consists of correspondence; scrapbooks and diaries; photographs; diplomatic papers; sound recordings and films; interviews, appointment books; clippings; printed material; and business papers, all documenting Angier Biddle Duke's life and career, especially his role in United States politics and diplomacy during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, as well as his philanthropic activities and his leadership roles in non-profit institutions. The materials also document the social and political activities of members of the Duke, Drexel, and Biddle families, and their residences in New York City and Long Island. In addition, the papers contain information on economic and social conditions in post-war Europe during Duke's ambassadorship to Spain, and information on Pakistani refugees and other international crises. Other topics include civil rights and desegregation (especially in Washington, DC).
Details on Angier Biddle Duke's life as well as information on the Duke, Biddle, and Drexel families can be found in the Biographical Data Series. These materials include some of A.B. Duke's military records; articles on A.B. Duke; articles and biographical entries on A.B. Duke; "in memoriam" booklets from his first wife's funeral and the funeral of Angier Buchanan Duke, A.B. Duke's father; and genealogical materials on the families. Selected condolences out of the hundreds sent to Robin Chandler Duke after her husband's death in 1995 also reveal much about the personality and life of A.B. Duke. In addition, the narratives in the Diaries Series offer a great deal of material concerning the personalities of A.B. Duke and his family and acquaintances throughout his life.
The Correspondence Series also offers information on the Duke, Biddle, Semans, and Trent families, though correspondence between immediate family members makes up a small percentage of this large series. The correspondence files are most useful for the documentation they provide about A.B. Duke's career. Additional biographical data on A.B. Duke and family members, particularly useful for information on Robin Chandler Duke's social and political activities, can be found in the Clippings Series.
The Photograph Albums and Photographs Series contains hundreds of photographs of the Duke, Semans, and Biddle families. Some early photographs of Angier Biddle Duke were taken during his enlistment in the Army from 1940-1945. An album entitled "A celebration of the life of Benjamin Newton Duke, 1979" can be found in the Scrapbooks Series. Finally, as A.B. Duke served as president of the Duke Family Association of NC from 1988-1995, there are a number of items related to the meetings of this genealogical association found in the Correspondence Series.
Angier Biddle Duke was best known for his ambassadorial skills and his political acumen beginning with his appointment to the office of Ambassador to El Salvador in 1952 as the youngest ambassador ever appointed to a post. His subsequent career in diplomacy and politics, including his appointment as Chief of Protocol under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, is well-documented throughout the majority of the series. A series of written and taped diaries entitled the "Ambassador's Diary" are especially interesting for A.B. Duke's candid reflections on his experiences.
The political and social events of the 1960s and 1970s are well-represented in the papers in the multimedia formats associated with the Audio, Film, and Videotape Series, containing numerous recordings of speeches, toasts, and visits of foreign dignitaries; the Scrapbooks and Photograph Albums and Photographs Series, which hold many candid and formal photographs of politicians, diplomats, celebrities, and artists; and the Clippings Series. One scrapbook covers President Kennedy's trip to Berlin, West Germany; another oversize scrapbook covers an international incident at Palomares, Spain (1966): while Duke was that country's ambassador, an undetonated U.S. nuclear bomb was lost off the coast of Spain, then recovered after an increased international outcry against nuclear weapons. Materials in the Protocol Papers Series also concern Kennedy's assassination and the transition to a Johnson White House during the period when A.B. Duke was Chief of Protocol. As Jacqueline Kennedy had already become a good friend of A.B. Duke's family, there are items in the Correspondence Series reflecting her close relationship with them in the difficult years after her husband's assassination.
The head of the State Department Office of Protocol serves as principal adviser to the President and Secretary of State on matters of diplomatic procedures governed by law or international customs and practice. Angier Biddle Duke's responsibilities as Chief of Protocol from 1961-1965 and 1968, including his role in the arrangements for the Kennedy funeral, are best represented by materials in the Protocol Papers Series, arranged alphabetically by country, and by many valuable letters and telegrams in the Correspondence Series, and in the Writings and Speeches Series. In addition, a great deal of relevant information, both contemporary and retrospective in nature, can be found in the Interviews Series. Several important volumes in the Scrapbooks and Diaries Series are also were created as records of his tenure as Chief of Protocol, and the Pictures Series contains many candid and formal photographs during this period. Finally, events relating to the Office of Protocol are found in audio or film format in the Audio, Film, and Video Series. Memorabilia from this period such as invitations, dinner menus, guest lists, and souvenir programs from inaugurations abroad can also be found in the Miscellaneous Series.
A.B. Duke's extensive organizational activities in later decades are documented in the Correspondence, Subject Files, Interviews, Printed Materials, and Writings and Speeches Series. A large number of materials reflect A.B. Duke's long involvement in the administration of Long Island University as well as in other institutions such as the International Rescue Commission, various Democratic committees, CARE, the NYC Dept. of Civic Affairs and Public Events, the Spanish Institute, the Appeal to Conscience Foundation, the Japan-American Institute, the World Affairs Council, and the American Council of Ambassadors, and many others. The Subject Files and other series also illustrate A.B. Duke's later involvement in organizations attempting to establish more democratic structures in countries such as El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guyana.
Some materials also reflect Robin Chandler Duke's later involvement in politics, including her unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination to fill Koch's congressional seat in 1978, and her role as chairwoman of Population Action International.
Although they contain relatively few documents, the Legal and Financial Papers provide some information on A.B. Duke's income and financial activities, and on the Doris Duke Trust; also in the legal papers is a publisher's contract for the biography of Doris Duke and a copy of Angier Buchanan Duke's will. Other legal and financial matters related to the Duke and Biddle families, particularly the Doris Duke estate (1995) are referred to on a regular basis in the Correspondence Series. Very little is to be found in the collection on the administration, maintenance, or acquisition of Angier Biddle Duke's residences in Washington, NYC, or Long Island, though some illustrations of residences can be found in the Clippings and Pictures Series.
Collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library which contain information relevant to the Angier Biddle Duke Papers include the James Buchanan Duke Papers and especially the Semans Family Papers. The Duke University Living History Program collection, also in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, contains an interview with Angier Biddle Duke recorded in the 1970s.