Joanna Ruth Marsland: In Memoriam: Dick Jenrette (1929-2018)

In Memoriam: Dick Jenrette (1929-2018)

Dick Jenrette, Photo Courtesy of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust
Photo Courtesy of the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust

On Sunday, April 22nd, UNC Press lost a dear friend with the death of Dick Jenrette. In honor of the Press and his passion, Dick endowed the Richard Hampton Jenrette Series in Architecture and the Decorative Arts during the Press’s 75th anniversary campaign in the mid-1990s, supporting works on American architecture, material culture, and craftsmanship.  You can read his full obituary here.

Soon after joining the Press, I shared with then Press director Kate Torrey some small world connections I had to Dick. Kate encouraged me to write to him, stating, “He loves stories like these.” So I did. A week or so later, my phone rang. It was Dick. We chatted for almost an hour, like long-lost friends. We spoke of my time at Winterthur Museum; the keynote address his curator gave at the Tryon Palace Decorative Arts Symposium; the tie between the Coor-Gaston house, my home in New Bern, and Edgewater, his home in New York; and, of course, the Press and books. From that moment, I was as charmed by Dick as I was deeply respectful of his work in preserving and celebrating American classical architecture and decorative arts.

I welcomed every opportunity to share with him news of the books his series made possible, and I relished the times we worked together on other projects. When our mutual friend Wyndham Robertson led the Press’s effort to endow what is now the Spangler Family Directorship of UNC Press, Dick Jenrette was the first to step forward. More recently, I had hoped that he would help lead the effort to honor Wyndham and endow the Press’s editorial directorship in her name. His health would not allow this. Yet he was very much a part of that monumental moment in the life of the Press, as he had been for so many others.

I will forever be grateful for Dick’s curiosity, kindness, and generosity, and I am proud that through the Richard Hampton Jenrette Series in Architecture and the Decorative Arts, superior UNC Press titles will continue to be published in his name in the subjects he held dear.

Joanna Ruth Marsland
Director of Development


Click more information about the Richard Hampton Jenrette Series in Architecture and the Decorative Arts.

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