Richard Jenrette, 89, Wall St. Power and Preservationist of Homes, Dies

Preservation North Carolina would like to express our deepest condolences on the passing of North Carolina native and renowned preservationist, Richard Jenrette.  We had the pleasure of working with Mr. Jenrette through our stewardship at Historic Ayr Mount in Hillsborough for over a decade. His commitment to historic preservation is inspirational and his legacy will amplify the cause of historic preservation in North Carolina and across the country.   


Richard H. Jenrette, who was a co-founder of the first Wall Street firm to offer shares to the public and who, after selling it to the giant but ailing Equitable Life Assurance Society, presided as chief executive over the company’s revival, died on Sunday in Charleston, S.C. He was 89.

His death, at Roper House, one of many historical homes he restored in a parallel avocational career, was confirmed by Margize Howell, co-president of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, which Mr. Jenrette founded. She said the cause was complications of lymphoma.

A courtly, soft-spoken North Carolina native whom The New York Times once called the “last gentleman on Wall Street,” Mr. Jenrette (pronounced JEN-reht) enjoyed storybook business success beginning in 1960.

That year, after an early stint at the venerable Wall Street firm Brown Brothers Harriman, he teamed up with two younger Harvard Business School friends, William H. Donaldson and Dan Lufkin, to form Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, the first Wall Street securities firm started from scratch since the early 1930s.

By Mr. Jenrette’s account, it was Mr. Lufkin who first observed that Wall Street research operations of the day were concentrated on big blue-chip companies. Mr. Lufkin proposed that D.L.J., as their firm would be known, focus on small, fast-growing companies, which the partners came to see as the wave of the future.

(Click here to read full obituary)

The New York Times, 4/23/18