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David and Alice Rubenstein

David and Alice Rubenstein

Seasonal Nantucketers who make a difference

As we approach another summer on our beautiful Nantucket island, we always remember its celebrated past and are eager to protect its future from  environmental harm and a lack of respect for its fragile eco-systems. There are two  members of our Nantucket summer community who have committed time and resources to both of these necessary efforts. David and Alice Rubenstein have each uniquely added value and significance to the preservation of our environment and our national cultural heritage which are both important to  the future of Nantucket.

Following their marriage David and Alice bought a historic site for their Nantucket home: Abram’s Point off the Polpis Road, named for one of the last surviving Wampanoag race, Abram Quary. Historians report that Abram made clam chowder and sold same off his point when a white flag was raised on an oar to alert his friends and customers. Since 2000 David, Alice and their three children have enjoyed their home, which captures Abram’s sunsets in full view.  Many a barbecue and family gathering has been held on this historic spot.

When not on Nantucket , David Rubenstein runs The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm , which he founded after years of law practice and public service in Washington, D.C. His passion for the history of America was celebrated with his historic purchase in 2007 of a copy of the Magna Carta which is now on loan to our National Archives. Following the purchase of this document from the 13th century ,  in June of 2012 David bought  a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1864, which freed all slaves in rebel states prior to the end of the Civil War. Along with a major financial contribution to preserve the Washington Monument in 2012 after a hefty earthquake, David is doing his part to celebrate and preserve our cultural heritage.

Similarly, his wife Alice has been involved for more than a decade in the Alaskan Native Arts Foundation, which is dedicated to the preservation of both tribal land and the artifacts of its native peoples. Through education and active fundraising, she has been able to  start local museums and  art galleries which will preserve the indigenous past of this region which has been eroded by looting and pillage.  She is the chair also of the Arctic Circle Assembly which will hold its first annual meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland this October to address the many issues of global warming that are eroding the sea levels in all parts of the world. Besides discussing the rights and roles of  fishing, shipping, oil and gas exploration and  eco-system management in the Arctic, Alice and the President of Iceland, Olafur Ragmar Grimsson, will host representatives from all over the globe to increase dialogue on the future of the Arctic and its neighboring waters.

Our Nantucket community raises a toast to both David and Alice for their continued efforts to support and celebrate our national cultural heritage and its environmental safety.

Sharon N. Lorenzo, a seasonal Nantucketer since 1978, is a professor of art, law and cultural heritage policy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  She also is a freelance journalist on topics such as artists' rights, historic preservation and repatriation of cultural property.   Her series on Nantucketers Who Make a Difference starts with this post.


Thank you Sharon for this enlightening article about the Rubenstein's.  I look forward to reading more through out the season.