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The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art Archives collects, preserves, and makes available to researchers records that document the design, construction, maintenance, and collections of Shangri La, Doris Duke’s former home in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, as well as the activities of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. The archives support scholarly research about Islamic art; the continued stewardship of the site and its collections; and programs that aim to promote the study and understanding of Islamic arts and cultures.

Approximately 75 linear feet of historical records relating to Shangri La were created and maintained by staff in Honolulu. Records date from 1935 to 2010 and include inventories, correspondence, invoices, photographs, and architectural drawings. The records in this collection document the construction, renovation, maintenance, and day-to-day operations of the site.

Topics that are especially well documented include the purchase of the site, the construction of Shangri La, and the acquisition and installation of the Syrian Room. A series of scrapbooks kept by Doris Duke’s husband James Cromwell documents the Cromwells’ wedding, much of their honeymoon trip, and the acquisition of and initial plans for the site.

Finding aids to the collections are available onsite. For research assistance, please contact us.

Records relating to Shangri La that were created and maintained by staff at Duke Farms in Somerville, New Jersey, were donated to Duke University in 2009. Duke University also maintains and provides access to significant collections relating to the Duke Family and Doris Duke.

Rights and reproductions:

Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art images may be reproduced with permission only. For more information or to request an image, please contact us.

Further reading and resources:

Shangri La Working Papers in Islamic Art, an online academic series devoted to research on the collections of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art:

Duke University Archives

Duke University’s interactive portal to the Doris Duke collections

Duke University’s interactive map of Doris Duke and James Cromwell’s 1938 trip to the Middle East

Duke University’s inventory of the Doris Duke Photograph Collection, 1870–2006

The Frick’s Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America

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