Greta Brown Layton collection of du Pont family photographs and engravingsCreation: circa 1820s-1900s
Greta Brown Layton (1924-2014) was a descendant of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739-1817) who founded the E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company with his son Eleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771-1834) in 1802. The E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company is a chemical company more commonly referred to as the DuPont company. This collection consists of family portraits and group photographs of ancestors of Greta Brown Layton. The bulk of the collection are portrait engravings of individual members of the du Pont, Hounsfield, Pelleport, Van Dyke, Barksdale, and related families.
- Creation: circa 1820s-1900s
- Layton, Greta B., 1924-2014 (Person)
6 Linear Feet
General Physical Description
23 portrait engravings : b&w ; 11 x 14 in. 4 photographic prints : b&w ; 11 x 14 in. 49 photographic prints : b&w ; 5 x 7 in. or smaller. 35 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. 4 photographic prints : b&w ; 7 x 9 in. 10 drawings, family crests : color ; 11 x 14 in. (several duplicates). 1 watercolor : color ; 11 x 14 in. 4 daguerreotypes. 1 photographic reproduction (of a painting) : b&w ; 7 x 9 in. framed. 2 photographic reproductions (of paintings) : b&w ; 3 x 4 in. ovals in frames. 4 photographic reproductions (of paintings) : color ; 4 x 5 in. oval, framed. 4 tintypes. 14 albumen silver prints : b&w ; carte-de-visites. 2 albumen silver prints : b&w ; minettes. 19 cabinet cards. 1 photographic print : color tinted ; 3 x 4 in. oval, framed. 1 engraving ; 5 x 7 in. matted. 1 photographic reproduction (of a painting) : color ; 2 x 3 in. oval, encased. 1 photographic print : b&w ; 3 x 4 in. framed. 2 photographic print : b&w ; 6 x 9 in. 1 photographic print : color ; 5 x 7 in. 1 painting ; 2 x 2 in. circle inserted in metal, covered with glass. The piece is set into a blue velvet lined shadow box ; 5 x 5 in. 7 items. 2 scrapbooks.
Greta Brown Layton (1924-2014) was a descendant of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739-1817) who founded the E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company with his son Eleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771-1834) in 1802. The E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company is a chemical company more commonly referred to as the DuPont company. The du Pont’s purchased a mill site on the banks of the Brandywine River just North of Wilmington, Delaware and began with the production of gunpowder.
Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours was born in Paris to a watchmaker, Samuel du Pont and Anne Alexandrine de Montchanin du Pont. He was apprenticed as a watchmaker, but during the early 1760s he began to study and write on economic matters, and in 1767 coined the term, Physiocracy, which means rule of nature, to describe the complex doctrine of François Quesnay, which is now recognized as the first modern school of economics. During the French Revolution, du Pont served as a member of the Assemblée Nationale Constituante (1789-1791), where he aligned himself with the moderate Girondist faction. During the period of Jacobin ascendancy he was imprisoned. In 1799, du Pont de Nemours left France with his family and settled in the United States.
Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours married Nicole Charlotte Marie Louise le Dée de Rencourt in 1766 and had two sons, Victor Marie du Pont (1767-1827) and Eleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771-1834).
Victor Marie du Pont (1767-1827) was born in Paris. After completing his education, he was employed as one of three sous-chiefs in his father's office at the Bureau du Commerce in Paris. In 1787, he obtained a position as private secretary to the Comte de Moustier, the French minister to the United States. In 1791, he was named aide-de-camp to General Lafayette, and the next year he was appointed secretary to the French legation in Philadelphia.
In 1794, Victor Marie du Pont married Gabrielle Josephine de La Fite de Pelleport, who was the daughter of the Marquis de Pelleport. She was educated at Versailles, where her father was in the service of the Comte d'Artois, brother of Louis XVI, and at the Abbaye de Port Royal in Paris.
They travelled to the United States in 1795 when Victor was appointed as consul at Charleston, South Carolina. They returned to France in 1798 but moved to America permanently in 1800 when he formed a partnership with his father and brother Eleuthère Irénée du Pont establishing the trading company of DuPont de Nemours, Père et Fils & Cie. This firm was dissolved in 1802, when E.I. du Pont organized his black powder manufacturing company. At that time, Victor du Pont was involved in supplying the French troops which were attempting to suppress a slave insurrection in Santo Domingo.
Victor Marie du Pont and Gabrielle Joséphine de la Fite de Pelleport had five children: Amélia Elizabeth du Pont (1796-1869), Charles Irénée du Pont (1797-1869), Samuel Francis du Pont (1799-1799), Samuel Francis du Pont (1803-1865), and Julia Sophie du Pont (1806-1882).
Victor and Josephine and their children lived in the New York City area until 1806, when they moved to Angelica in Genesee County, New York, where Victor was engaged in land speculation and operated a general store and tannery. In 1809 the family relocated to Delaware, where Victor's brother, E. I. du Pont had established his gunpowder mills. In 1811, he moved to Louviers, Delaware, where he became involved in his family's cotton and woolen mills. In 1820, he was elected to the Delaware state Senate and six years later he became a director of the Bank of the United States.
Charles I. du Pont was born on March 29, 1797, the eldest son of Victor Marie du Pont. He studied at Mt. Airy College from 1809 to 1813, when he left school to enter business with his father. They formed the partnership of Victor & Charles I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. After the death of his father in 1827, the firm continued to operate as Charles I. du Pont & Co. until 1856, when Charles I. du Pont retired and the interests of the company were acquired by E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.
In 1824, Charles I. du Pont married Dorcas Montgomery Van Dyke (1806-1838). Dorcas Montgomery Van Dyke was the daughter of Nicholas Van Dyke (1769-1826) and Mary Van Lekvenigh Van Dyke (1768-1831) of New Castle, Delaware. The Van Dyke male family members were active in government, with Nicholas Van Dyke serving in both the state and federal government. He was a member of the U.S. Senate from 1817-1826. Dorcas Van Dyke and Charles I. du Pont had five children: Mary Van Dyke du Pont (1826-1909), Victor du Pont (1828-1888), Charles Irénée du Pont, Jr. (1830-1873), Amélia Josephine du Pont (1832-1833) and Nicholas Van Dyke du Pont (1833-1834). Dorcas Montgomery Van Dyke died in 1838 after a long illness.
Victor du Pont (1828-1888), the son of Charles I. du Pont, was an attorney in Wilmington, Delaware. Victor du Pont married Alice Hounsfield (1833-1904) in 1851, the daughter of Mary Augusta Lammot Hounsfield (1811-?), granddaughter of Daniel Lammot and the great-granddaughter of Paul Beck.
Victor du Pont and Alice Hounsfield du Pont had nine children: Victor du Pont, Jr. (1852-1911), Mary "May" Lammot du Pont (1854-1927), Ethel du Pont (1857-1934), Charles Irénée du Pont, II (1859-1902), Samuel Francis du Pont (1861-1862), Alice du Pont (1863-1937), Samuel Francis du Pont (1865-1893), Greta du Pont (1868-1878), Sophie du Pont (1871-1957) and Renée de Pelleport du Pont (1874-1927).
Victor and Alice Hounsfield du Pont’s third child, Ethel du Pont (1857-1934) married Hamilton Macfarland Barksdale (1861-1918). Hamilton MacFarland Barksdale was born in Richmond, Virginia. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1882 with a degree in civil engineering. Barksdale joined the engineering corps of the B&O railroad in 1885. In 1890 he went to work at the Repauno Chemical Company. When Repauno became part of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. in 1895, Barksdale was named head of the DuPont Company's Explosives Department. In 1911 he was named general manager and the next year he was appointed to the finance and executive committees. Throughout his career at DuPont, Barksdale was involved in the High Explosives Operating Department's research and development effort. He was also responsible for introducing scientific management to the company's manufacturing departments.
Hamilton and Ethel du Pont Barksdale had two daughters, Greta du Pont Barksdale (1891-1965) and Ethel du Pont Barksdale (1898-1974). The couple also had two sons who died in infancy.
Ethel du Pont Barksdale Wack was a portrait painter. She married John Wellington Tremor De Blois Wack (1901-1992) in 1923. The Wack's had one daughter Ethel De Blois Wack (1924-1994).
In 1916 Greta du Pont Barksdale married DuPont executive, (Frank) Donaldson Brown, of Irvington-on-the-Hudson. They had one daughter, Greta Brown (1924-2014) and four sons: Hamilton Macfarland Barksdale Brown (1917-1978), Frank Donaldson Brown, Jr. (1918-1992), Bruce Ford Brown (1920-1993), and John Vaughan Willcox Brown (1927-?).
Greta Brown married Rodney M. Layton (1921-1983) of Wilmington in 1948. They had three children: John “Jake” Rodney Layton (1954-), Susan “Becky” Barksdale Layton Bartovics (1950-), and Marion “Robin” Lee Layton Mann (1951-). Greta Brown Layton worked for Halloran General Hospital and the American Economics Foundation. She volunteered for the Visiting Nurses Association and the Junior League. She served on the Board of Directors of Winterthur Museum for over forty years and is well-known for her passion for the decorative arts and love of horses. The Winterthur Museum hosts a race called the Point-to-Point which she helped found.
Scope and Content
This collection consists of family portraits and group photographs of ancestors of Greta Brown Layton. The bulk of the collection are portrait engravings of individual members of the du Pont, Hounsfield, Pelleport, Van Dyke, Barksdale, and related families. There are a few group photographs of Victor du Pont and Alice Hounsfield du Pont and their children, Renee, Alice, Sophie, and Ethel (the grandmother of Greta Brown Layton).
The collection also includes individual portraits of Hamilton M. and Ethel du Pont Barksdale ranging as young adults to shortly before death and as children (there are no portraits of them together). There is one photograph of Hamilton M. Barksdale with a group of B&O railroad engineers, and two group portraits from University of Virginia.
There are two photographs of the interior of the Barksdale house on Mt. Salem Lane. There are individual portraits of Greta du Pont Barksdale and Ethel du Pont Barksdale Wack at a variety of ages. There are few portraits of Wack as a bride, and other images of her holding her newborn daughter. There are two photographs of portraits painted by Wack.
The collection also contains a Testimonial resolution by the Board of Directors of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company to Donaldson Brown and Greta du Pont Barksdale's scrapbook of invitations, letters and calling cards.
Finally there are hand-colored lithographs of family crests for the Peyton, Van Leuvenigh, Hounsfield, Brailsford, du Pont, de la File de Pelleport, Barksdale, Mac Farlan, O’Beirne and Van Dycke families.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
- Du Pont family (Family)
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Greta Layton collection of du Pont family photographs and engravings
- Laurie Rizzo
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description:
- Script of description:
- 2023: Laurie Sather