So what happens to her house?

It’s not the saddest thing that has happened to the legacy of Doris Duke. That dishonor belongs to the tell-all books and movies. But it’s still sad that the contents of her Hillsborough home, “Duke Farm,” suddenly are up on the auction block, and not even at Sotheby’s. Both the art and the domestic items will be on sale in Morristown on Friday, May 1.

I had two pangs of sadness when I saw it. I’ve written about her for U.S. 1, and have visited two of her three houses — in Hillsborough and Hawaii. I’m not sure I agree with the trustees’ decision to close the one in Hillsborough and devote it to outdoor education. More on that later.

The other pang was because I learned about it today in the pages of U.S. 1 Newspaper, where I worked for 22 years. If I had been in the office, I would have seen the press release and the photo of Doris’s bedroom come in.

But I rejoice that the savvy folks there spotted it and were able to run the picture that caught my eye. And that I had time to page through today’s edition and see it. So maybe I can change my plans and get there, just for curiosity.

It’s ironic that I am torn between the Duke auction and an all-day seminar on the potential demise of newspapers, both on the same day. I had not heard of either event until I found them, today, by reading U.S. 1 Newspaper.

5 thoughts on “So what happens to her house?

  1. Dear Anonymous — There is a Figge family in Princeton but that's not me. Figge is my maiden name and I grew up in Baltimore. It is actually the name of my grandfather's adoptive family so I'm REALLY not connected. Thanks for your interest. If you want to reach me I'm emailable…

  2. Hello Barbara, I noticed your blog while searching for auction venues to deal with my furniture from the sale of my home last year. I wonder, are you related to the Figges who bought my home on Brearly?

  3. Now why can’t they let the outdoor sculpture stay at the farm to be appreciated as part of the nature education plan? Perhaps because it will sell for $12k. If all the outdoor sculptures sell at the minimum price, the estate will net more than $100,000. One example: Lot 827: Antique cast iron doe and fawn group attributed to Val d’Osne foundries 19th Century, life size, modeled in a grazing pose with faun in an alerted stance, apparently unsigned, approx. 40″h x 67″l x 24″d – Condition: overall good, overall oxidation and paint loss, possible old restoration to faun’s right side legs, portion of front right hoof loose – Provenance: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation – Note: this lot will remain at Duke Farms until after the auction. It will be the responsibility of the buyer to remove the lot at his/her own risk and expense. Estimate: 12,000-18,000

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