Duke, James (Buchanan)(1856–1925) businessman, philanthropist; born near Durham, N.C. He grew leaf tobacco on his father's farm and saved his family from post-Civil War poverty. He turned to manufacturing cigarettes in 1881 and opened a branch factory in New York City in 1884. He formed the American Tobacco Company in 1890 and competed with the British Imperial Tobacco Company. He also founded the Southern Power Company (1905) to develop hydroelectric power. In 1924 he put his fortune into a trust to be given to various charitable and educational institutions, in particular to Trinity College (North Carolina), which was re-named Duke University.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.