Hillsborough Author Continues Crusade to Perpetuate Legacy of Doris Duke and Her Estate

Hillsborough author Rikki Lynn Hauss with her self-published book, "The Duchess of South Somerville." Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo

PLAINFIELD, NJ  - Hillsborough author Rikki Lynn Hauss will continue her campaign to perpetuate the legacy and lifestyle of heiress Doris Duke and the demolition of the Duke mansion along the Raritan River during the Tri-County History Fair Saturday, Sept. 30 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Plainfield Public Library.

A day of discovery, resource sharing, raffles, and an opportunity to speak with authors and historians is planned, with a variety of libraries and archives, local authors, historical societies, and museums from across New Jersey represented.

Speakers include Maxine Lurie, Seton Hall professor, author, and historian; and Eugene Armstead, NJ Chapter President of the Afro American Historical& Genealogical Society.

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 Hauss, 23, a graduate of Hillsborough High School, penned “The Duchess of South Somerville,” released in March, 179 pages of detailed history, including reminisces of those who knew her, and those who worked and lived on the Duke estate as well as photos and newspaper clippings.

Within 5 months, hundreds of copies of the self-published book had been sold; the book has received 3 nominations for the 2018 Independent Publisher’s Awards (IPPYs).

Signed copies of the book will be available for purchase at the fair.

She remains a vigilant member of the grassroots organization DORIS (Demolition of Residence is Senseless) a grass roots group that fought an uphill  battle to preserve the estate’s mansion before losing a protracted court battle waged against the Duke Foundation. Built in the early 20th century, the 65,000 square-foot mansion was demolished by the foundation last year.

While acknowledging the importance of Duke Farms’ strict focus of environmental stewardship Hauss is on a mission to encourage others to learn and understand the other facets of James Buchanan “Buck” Duke, his daughter and their principle domicile, which had been the centerpiece of the 2,700-acre property that stretches along Route 206 South.

 “As a nonfiction author,” Hauss explains, “I have a responsibility to keep the dialogue open to the public about my subject matter. I have to provide an accurate representation of the estate, not limited to its current mission statement.”

Hauss considers it a privilege to represent the Duke family at this venue.

“There’s no question that environmentalism is valuable to the completeness of Miss Duke’s wishes, but I am certain that there’s more to her legacy,” she said. “I draw on history to observe patterns of behavior that show me how Doris maintained the estate, what was important to her, and I identify ways that her meticulousness can be applied today with what’s left.”

Hauss calls her educational initiative "Operation ORCHID" which she will be detail the fair.

She looks forward to standing out at the fair with red DORIS signs, gilded age details, and a white orchid in her display. For further information, please contact Rikki Lyn Hauss at or (908)-210-162

All activities will be indoors and are free to the public. The Plainfield Public Library is located at 800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060, and is an ADA-accessible facility.

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