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Making A Difference

At Home with History

Richard H. Jenrette (MBA 1957)

Over the last five decades, Richard H. Jenrette (MBA 1957), cofounder of the investment banking firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, has acquired and restored a dozen historic properties in North and South Carolina, Manhattan, upstate New York, and the island of St. Croix. Jenrette’s hands-on involvement in each project—documented in his 2000 book Adventures with Old Houses—has included detailed research about the properties’ original designs, history, landscaping, owners, and furnishings, as well as collaborations with talented restoration artisans who share his passion for painstaking authenticity.

Jenrette’s many preservation awards now include the Garden Club of America’s Historic Preservation Medal. Announcing the prize in May, president Ann Copenhaver praised his efforts to preserve “the exterior historic context” of his projects as well as the “extraordinary recreation of their historic interiors.” In 1993, Jenrette created the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust (CAHPT), a nonprofit that protects examples of 19th century American architecture, landscapes, trails, and decorative arts. Of the 12 historic properties Jenrette has bought and preserved over the years, he has kept six, all of which are already owned or will eventually be owned by the CAHPT and open to the public.

The houses Jenrette is working to preserve for future generations to visit are “part of our heritage,” he says. “Each one could be a time capsule or case history chronicling the ups and downs of the American economy, in war and in peace.”

(Published May 2017)