Richard Hampton Jenrette, Founder
Richard Hampton Jenrette was a self-proclaimed “house-aholic” who owned and restored over a dozen historic houses, most dating back to the early 19th-century. Dick’s adventures in preservation began in 1968 with his purchase of the Roper House in Charleston, South Carolina, followed in 1969 with his purchase of Edgewater in the Hudson Valley, NY. With the collection of early American houses came the next logical step, the collecting of period antiques to furnish the houses. Over the next 50 years, Dick purchased and restored old houses spanning the eastern seaboard, and even as far as St. Croix, USVI. He assembled one of the largest collections of Duncan Phyfe furniture, and returned many original objects to the houses. Dick founded Classical American Homes Preservation Trust in 1993 with his gift of Ayr Mount in Hillsborough, NC, the first of his homes to be open to the public, followed in 2008 by his gift of Millford’s main house. In 2017, Dick gifted the remaining Millford land and outbuildings to CAHPT.
Born in Raleigh, North Carolina on April 5, 1929, Mr. Jenrette was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina and received an MBA from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.
Dick served as Chairman of the Board of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc. from 1974 to 1996, having been a founder of the firm in 1959. He is also the former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. Described by The New York Times as “the last gentleman on Wall Street,” Jenrette’s distinguished career included service on numerous corporate boards of directors and philanthropic groups.
Mr. Jenrette received various awards for his historic preservation activities, including the Louise duPont Crowninshield Award, presented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Hadrian Award, presented by the World Monuments Fund. Mr. Jenrette was presented with two separate awards in 2013 for his contributions in preservation from the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts(MESDA), and was honored by the Garden Club of America in 2017.
In the Foreword to Mr. Jenrette’s book, Adventures With Old Houses, HRH The Prince of Wales wrote, “No wonder some of his admirers have described Dick as a one-person National Trust for Historic Preservation.”
Dick peacefully passed away on April 22, 2018, at Roper House in Charleston, SC, surrounded by family and loved ones after a battle with lymphoma.