‘Passion for the Palace’ Honors Preservationist Minnette Chapman Duffy

Brook’s biography of early Tryon Palace Restoration champion to be released Oct. 30 

The Tryon Palace Commission will release a biography of one of its charter members, Minnette Chapman Duffy (1882-1951), on Friday, Oct. 30. The book, “Passion for the Palace: Minnette Chapman Duffy, Her Life and Dream to Restore Tryon Palace,” is a biography written by David Brook.

In spite of the Great Depression and World War II, Duffy and her like-minded colleagues, such as Gertrude Carraway and Maude Moore Latham, fulfilled their dream to restore and reconstruct Tryon Palace.

The book is the product of Brook’s many miles of travel, interviews with New Bernians and Duffy family members, and the examination of letters, minutes, reports, newspaper articles and photographs in federal, state, university archives and in private ownership. Many of the 119 photographs in the book are available to the public for the first time.

“After 18 years of poring over documents, old newspapers, photographs, and interviewing people who knew her, Minnette Chapman Duffy and old New Bern came to life for me,” Brook said. “I hope this book will enhance public appreciation of Mrs. Duffy’s work and those who shared her passion for making Tryon Palace part of our lives today.”

Brook will be present at the North Carolina History Center the day of the book release for a book signing at 2:30 p.m. in the Tryon Palace Museum Store, located inside the North Carolina History Center at 529 South Front St., New Bern. Brook is a former director of the Division of Historical Resources, Office of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Publication of “Passion for the Palace” is made possible by a grant from Susan Bickel Scioli, Minnette Chapman Bickel Boesel and their late mother, Minnette Duffy Bickel.