Flowers, Robert Lee, 1870-1951

Alternative names
Birth 1870-11-06
Death 1951-08-24

Biographical notes:

Robert Lee Flowers (1870-1951) spent his entire professional career at Duke University. From 1891 to 1951, Flowers served in a variety of capacities, including professor (1891-1924), vice president of the business division (1925-1941), president (1941-1948), and chancellor (1948-1951) of Duke University.

From the description of Robert Lee Flowers records, 1891-1968. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 53906098

Robert Lee Flowers was born at York Collegiate Institute, Alexander County, North Carolina, on November 6, 1870, the son of George Washington and Sarah Haynes Flowers. A graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy in 1891, Flowers was first employed as an instructor in mathematics and electrical engineering when Trinity was still in Randolph County. He moved with the college to Durham in 1892. As an engineer, one of his first responsibilities was to wire the new buildings in Durham for electricity.

He served as a professor from 1891 to 1924 and as vice-president of the business division of Duke University from 1925-1941. Following the death of President Few in 1941, Flowers was named president of Duke University. In 1948, he stepped down as president and served as chancellor until 1951. Dr. Flowers was a trustee of the Duke Endowment, a director of the Durham and Southern Railway Company, a director of the Fidelity Bank of Durham, and a trustee of Greensboro College, of the Oxford Orphanage, of Lincoln Hospital, and of the North Carolina College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University).

He married Lily Virginia Parrish on June 22, 1905. They had two daughters, Virginia and Sybil Parrish. Mrs. Flowers died on May 22, 1948. Robert Flowers died on August 24, 1951. He is buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham.

From the guide to the Robert Lee Flowers records, ., 1891 - 1968, (University Archives, Duke University)

Biographical notes are generated from the bibliographic and archival source records supplied by data contributors.


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  • Methodist Church
  • Universities and colleges
  • Orphanages
  • World War, 1939-1945--Education and the war


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  • North Carolina (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)