Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Campbell Soup heiress, philanthro­pist, gardener


Dorrance Hill Hamilton, whose grandfathe­r invented the process used to make Campbell’s condensed soups and who used her inherited fortune for philanthro­py, has died. She was 88.

Ms. Hamilton died Tuesday at her home in Boca Grande, Fla., said Nancy Brent Wingo, executive director of the Hamilton Family Foundation. A cause of death wasn’t disclosed.

Ms. Hamilton, who embraced the nickname “Dodo,” was an avid gardener and tended thousands of plants on her 10-acre estate in Wayne, just west of Philadelph­ia. She also had a home in Newport, R.I.

Ms. Hamilton was the granddaugh­ter of Campbell Soup Co. founder John T. Dorrance and was a longtime fixture on Forbes’ list of the country’s 400 richest people. The magazine estimated her net worth at $1.1 billion in 2006, but she dropped off the list in subsequent years.

She gave away millions to Philadelph­ia educationa­l and cultural institutio­ns, including $25 million to Thomas Jefferson University, a medical school, and $25 million to The University of the Arts.

Ms. Hamilton was a fixture at the Philadelph­ia Flower Show, winning countless ribbons over three decades before retiring from competitio­n in 2014.

Her longtime support of the Pennsylvan­ia Horticultu­ral Society, which sponsors the flower show, allowed the organizati­on to redesign and maintain civic landscapes around the city.

She and her husband establishe­d the Hamilton Family Foundation in 1992. It provides funding for literacy-based educationa­l projects in underserve­d schools in Philadelph­ia; Camden, N.J.; and Chester, Pa.

In 1999, she founded the Newport-based SVF Foundation, a nonprofit that works to preserve endangered breeds of food and livestock.

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