Middleton Place Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of
American Landmark: Charles Duell and the Rebirth of Middleton Place
Available for purchase here
Charles Duell inherited Middleton Place in 1969 when he was 31 years old and acted as the president and CEO for nearly 50 years before stepping down in 2018. American Landmark, written by Virginia Christian Beach, brilliantly chronicles the evolution of the man, the place and the vital mission of the Foundation.
“It is certainly fitting that the publication of this important story coincides with the 50th anniversary of Middleton Place being designated a National Historic Landmark,” says Tracey Todd, president and CEO of Middleton Place Foundation. “The culture that Charles established at Middleton Place has allowed it to evolve into a national hub for historical research, education and interpretation with a mission to inspire and enact positive change through an understanding of American history.”
A graduate of Yale, Charles Duell had begun a career in finance on Wall Street before inheriting Middleton Place. The circumstances of his sudden inheritance compelled him to leave New York City and move his family to South Carolina. The former rice plantation was languishing and his challenge was to figure out how to preserve an important landmark with vital connections to the understanding of our nation― while at the same time making it sustainable and accessible for future generations.
Middleton Place is the birthplace of a Declaration of Independence signer and the home of a First Continental Congress president. It was also home to hundreds of men, women and children enslaved by the Middletons. Understanding the weight of the history at this site, Duell enlisted countless relatives and friends, along with some of the nation’s foremost preservationists and scholars to pursue a full, truthful narrative of our shared American history. Together they transformed his inheritance into a leading center for learning and a legacy for all Americans.
“At an early age, Charles Duell dedicated himself to preserving his ancestral home of Middleton Place,” says the author of American Landmark: Charles Duell and the Rebirth of Middleton Place, Virginia Christian Beach. “That alignment would subsequently define his life and open a window into the legacy of what is one of our nation’s most important foundational sites. It has been my privilege to chronicle Middleton Place’s story of stewardship, restoration and reinterpretation, especially at this pivotal moment in American history.”
American Landmark: Charles Duell and the Rebirth of Middleton Place weaves together myriad biographical stories, introducing us to an array of protagonists – both white and Black – who have been associated with Middleton Place for the last three centuries. The book affirms historian Alex Moore’s assertion that “. . . as long as there is a southern geography and the opportunity for conversation, the Middleton family and Middleton Place will do much to shape our region’s and nation’s fates.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Virginia Christian Beach writes for numerous publications on the subjects of
plantation history and the environment. Her previous books include Medway, a
history of a Lowcountry rice plantation; Rice & Ducks: The Surprising Convergence
that Saved the Carolina Lowcountry, and A Wholly Admirable Thing: Defending
Nature and Community on the South Carolina Coast, written with her husband,