DuPont Company product information collectioncirca 1895-1968 Majority of material found within 1930-1960
In 1952, the DuPont Company created the Product Information section within the Public Relations department. Its function was to produce news releases with photographs about DuPont and its products for indirect publicity and advertising purposes. This collection contains photographs of DuPont Company corporate events and proceedings, product trade shows and fairs, development and manufacturing processes, and the employees and facilities where the products were created. Most of the photographs were taken from the 1930s through the 1950s.
- circa 1895-1968
- Majority of material found within 1930-1960
10 Linear Feet
In 1952 the DuPont Company organized a Product Information section within the Public Relations Department. Its main purpose was to create news releases accompanied by photographs that would be run editorially by trade journals and newspapers to create inexpensive publicity and indirect advertising. To be used, the news releases had to include genuinely interesting information about a DuPont product, its development, manufacture, or applications. They could not be direct commercial promotions of a product itself as that would be the work of the Advertising Department.
Public Relations staff members in Product Information were assigned to specific operating departments, and they reported jointly to the heads of PR and the specific department. They were responsible for selecting themes, writing the news releases, and having the needed photographs produced. There were no staff photographers assigned to the program but rather the Product Information officer hired photographers for the individual jobs. These may have been "hired" from DuPont's Photo Studio, or from the outside of the organization.
Product Information photographs and their news releases told the reader what DuPont did, why it was important, and sometimes, how it was done. They went for dramatic shots where possible, such as photographing an automobile suspended by straps of Mylar film. Even though the Product Information section was not organized until 1952, some of the photographs are from the 1930s and 1940s, when that kind of promotional work was done under different auspices.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of photographs from the files of the Product Information section of the DuPont Company. Most photographs have descriptive captions. There are many original negatives. In general, they cover DuPont facilities and activities, including industrial processes and finished products.
The collection is divided into the following sections: DuPont’s 150th anniversary and corporate locations; exhibitions (including motion picture stills); intermediate chemicals; explosives; man-made fiber research and production (Rayon, Nylon; Orlon, Dacron, Lycra; cellulose sponges); photo products; packaging films; plastics (including synthetic rubbers); fabrics and finishes; pigments and dyes; metals and alloys; coolants; agricultural chemicals; toxicological studies; research facilities (including atomic energy sites); production plants; Better Living publication; and the DuPont – General Motors anti-trust case.
There are many photographs of the 150th anniversary celebration of the company that occurred on July 18, 1952 at the original site of DuPont: the powder mills (Eleutherian Mills) in Delaware. These include photographs of DuPont Company executives, du Pont family members, employees, and actors from the movie The DuPont Story. Other photographs are of DuPont Company office buildings, the DuPont Country Clubs in Wilmington, and building dedications.
The section of photographs on exhibitions includes photographs of the DuPont Company's displays at various trade shows and world's fairs in the 1930s and 1950s. Also of interest in this section are photographs of metal furniture—many designed by Le Corbusier—from the Metal Furniture Exhibit in Paris in 1937. Lastly, there are motion picture stills from the following movies: The DuPont Story, A New World Through Chemistry, and Soldiers of the Soil.
The bulk of the collection consists of photographs documenting the DuPont Company's many manufacturing processes, including development and testing, as well as their research and production facilities. Chemists and other employees are often featured in the photographs.
The succeeding section contains photographs that were either featured or under consideration for use in the Better Living publication. These photographs are a sampling of the product-related topics that comprise this collection.
The DuPont – General Motors anti-trust suit includes photographs of DuPont executives and family members, along with the judge, attorneys, and media coverage of the case.
Existence and Location of Copies
A selection of images from the DuPont Product Information Photographs collection are available through the Hagley Digital Archives.
No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.
Negatives (Boxes 17-20) are stored in remote storage. Please contact staff 48 hours in advance of research visit at firstname.lastname@example.org
Language of Materials
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- DuPont Company product information collection
- Barbara Reinke, 1972 and Alex Miller
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description:
- Script of description:
Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA