Published: April 24, 2018
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Richard Hampton Jenrette died Sunday, April 22, at Roper House, his historic residence on the High Battery in Charleston, of complications from lymphoma. He was surrounded by family and loved ones. “The last gentleman on Wall Street,” as The New York Times called him, and a self-proclaimed “house-aholic,” Jenrette founded Classical American Homes Preservation Trust (CAHPT) in 1993 to preserve some of the finest examples of early Nineteenth Century Classical American residential architecture and surrounding landscapes. The properties house Jenrette’s 4,000-object collection of fine and decorative art.
Jenrette owned and restored more than a dozen historic houses, most dating to the early Nineteenth Century. His pursuit began in 1968 with his purchase of Roper House, followed in 1969 with his acquisition of the Hudson Valley villa Edgewater in Barrytown, N.Y. He assembled one of the largest collections of Duncan Phyfe furniture and returned many original objects to the houses.
Jenrette launched CAHPT with his gift of the Hillsborough, N.C., property Ayr Mount, the first house he opened to the public. He donated Millford’s main house in 2008 and its remaining land and outbuildings in 2017. Jenrette leaves a legacy of seven historic houses and scenic trails open to the public.
Born in Raleigh, N.C., on April 5, 1929, Jenrette was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard. He 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 was subsequently chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States.
Jenrette won many awards, including the Louise duPont Crowninshield Award, presented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Hadrian Award, presented by the World Monuments Fund. He was also honored by the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) and the Garden Club of America.
Jenrette, whose lively writing style matched his gifts as a conversationalist, wrote several books. They include The Contrarian Manager, Adventures With Old Houses and More Adventures With Old Houses.
A spokesman for Classical American Homes Preservation Trust said plans for memorial services in Jenrette’s honor were still being finalized. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jenrette’s name may be made to Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, 69 East 93rd Street, New York, N.Y., 10128 or visit www.classicalamericanhomes.org.
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