Duke University trustee David M. Rubenstein will give $13.6 million to the Duke
University Libraries in support of the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special
Collections Library, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Wednesday.
donation is the largest ever to the libraries. In recognition of Rubenstein's gift,
the special collections library will be renamed the David M. Rubenstein Rare
Book & Manuscript Library, following approval by the Board of Trustees.
gift is the largest commitment Rubenstein has made to Duke. In 2009, he donated
$5.75 million to help the Sanford School of Public Policy meet a $40 million
fundraising target for its transition from an institute to Duke's 10th school. In
2002, he contributed $5 million toward the completion of Sanford's Rubenstein
"A great library is central to the
university's transmission of knowledge," said Brodhead. "Nationally,
David Rubenstein has been a strong supporter of libraries and archives, and of
the way the preserved past can increase present understanding. We at Duke are
grateful for this magnificent gift, which will ensure access to documents that
are part of our shared intellectual and cultural heritage."
The Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special
Collections Library is central to Duke's teaching and research mission. Its
collections, which range from ancient papyri to the records of modern
advertising agencies, number more than 350,000 printed volumes and more than 20
million items in manuscript and archival collections. All told,
its holdings document more than 20 centuries of human history and culture. Like
all Duke libraries, it is open to the public.
The special collections library is also home to
the University Archives and several research centers, including the Sallie
Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture; the John Hope Franklin Research
Center for African and African American History and Culture; the John W.
Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History; the Archive of
Documentary Arts; and the Human Rights Archive.
"The Rubenstein Library will be a distinguished, enduring
institution that will collect, protect and make accessible rare and unique
documents, satisfy intellectual curiosity, stimulate learning and facilitate
the creation of new scholarship," said Deborah Jakubs, the Rita DiGiallonardo
Holloway University Librarian and vice provost for library affairs. "David
Rubenstein's generosity enables us to create the kind of home for special
collections that Duke deserves, designed with the students and scholars of
today in mind. Researchers well beyond our campus will also benefit from this
"Libraries are at the heart of any great educational institution," said
Rubenstein. "This renovation and modernization program will help ensure that
the Rare Book and Manuscript library's priceless collection is preserved and
accessible to scholars and the public for decades to come.
"When I was a student at Duke I worked at the library, so this gift also
reflects my appreciation for that opportunity and the important role it played
in my academic experience," Rubenstein added.
The special collections library, housed in the original West Campus library, is
scheduled to be renovated in the final phase of the Perkins Project, a multi-year
library renovation project that began a decade ago. The renovation will transform
one of the oldest and most recognizable buildings on West Campus into a
state-of-the-art research facility where students, faculty and visitors can
engage with the libraries' collection of rare and unique scholarly materials.
The Perkins Project began with the construction of Bostock Library and the von
der Heyden Pavilion, both completed in 2005, followed by the renovation of
Perkins Library between 2006 and 2008. The final phase is slated to begin in
2012 and will focus on the original 1928 West Campus library building and its
This portion of the library complex is at the
very heart of the campus designed by the Horace Trumbauer architectural firm; the
cornerstone for the university is visible on the façade of the 1928 library
building. Situated at the intersection of the West Campus quadrangles, it is
easily accessible to scholars, students and visitors.
The planned renovation will increase the research, instruction, storage and
exhibition capabilities of the special collections library. It will also
address the need for a secure stack area where special collections can be
shelved in an appropriately controlled environment. The entire stack core
will be removed -- from basement level to roof -- and replaced with a new floor
structure that will support high-density shelving.
Updates will also extend to the Mary Duke Biddle Rare Book Room and the Gothic
Reading Room. The charm and character of these signature Duke spaces will be
preserved, but their finishes, furnishings, lighting and technology
infrastructure will be enhanced.
Finally, the library's main entrance will be redesigned with new doors, windows
and lighting to give the entire library complex a more unified and welcoming
presence on the historic West Quad.
Construction work is expected to take place in phases beginning late in 2012.
In the meantime, Duke officials are developing plans to relocate library
services and staff during the renovations, which are expected to take several
A Baltimore native, Rubenstein is co-founder and managing director of The
Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager. He graduated magna cum laude
from Duke in 1970 and serves as vice chair of the university's Board of
Rubenstein is an active civic leader and serves on numerous boards, including
those of the Smithsonian Institution, Johns Hopkins University, the University
of Chicago, The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The John F. Kennedy
Center for the Performing Arts and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
In December 2007, Rubenstein purchased the last privately owned copy of the
Magna Carta at Sotheby's auction house in New York and, since then, has loaned
it to the National Archives in Washington D.C., to allow the public to view the document. Earlier this year,
Rubenstein donated $13.5 million to the National Archives for a new gallery and
Rubenstein and his wife, Alice Rogoff Rubenstein, have three grown children.