Charles Duell Will Step Down After Nearly a Half Century of Service to Middleton Place and the Charleston Community
At its annual meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Middleton Place Foundation on November 13, 2017, Marion Tracey Todd, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, was unanimously elected to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the Middleton Place Foundation, effective July 1, 2018, succeeding Charles Duell, who will retire from the position on June 30, 2018.
Duell is a direct descendant of Henry Middleton, who established Middleton Place as his family seat in 1741, as well as Henry’s son, Arthur Middleton, who succeeded his father in the Continental Congress and became a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Arthur Middleton was born, lived and was buried at Middleton Place. Duell is the son of a New York book publisher (Duell, Sloan and Pearce) and his mother was the daughter of Heningham and Pringle Smith, who began their pioneering garden restoration at Middleton Place in 1925.
After graduating from Yale College and L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, and working for the Morgan Bank on Wall Street and the South Carolina National Bank in Charleston during the 1960s, Duell inherited Middleton Place and the Edmondston-Alston House (21 East Battery) in 1969 when he was 31 years old. In 1974 he established the Middleton Place Foundation, a 501(c)(3) educational trust, and by 1983 he had placed the entire National Historic Landmark under the ownership of the non-profit foundation he had founded. With the knowledge that Middleton Place would henceforth be protected in perpetuity, his gifts gave him “great pleasure and satisfaction.” Duell continues, “Under the leadership of Tracey Todd, with the help of talented employees and volunteers, and with the oversight of a wise and unfailing Board of Trustees, I am confident that Middleton Place will continue to flourish in the years ahead.”
Todd earned his BA in history from the College of Charleston and his MA degree from the Citadel, with ongoing education from Colonial Williamsburg and the Buckley School of Public Speaking. His Middleton Place Foundation career began at the Edmondston-Alston House 27 years ago, where he eventually became the House Museum Administrator. More recently he became the Director of Education and Interpretation and then Vice President of Museums with broad responsibilities at Middleton Place and the E-A House. Both before and after rising to the position of Chief Operating Officer, his contributions have been substantial: from energizing educational projects to producing the documentary films Middleton Place — A Phoenix Still Rising and Beyond the Fields — Slavery at Middleton Place, as well as annual events such as Grand Illumination. Most recently, in addition to managing day-to-day operations at Middleton Place, he has been overseeing the construction of the new Pavilion that will open in March of 2018.