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Maps and photographs of the DuPont Brandywine Works property

1826-1985 Majority of material found within 1903-1927
 Collection
Identifier: 2666

Abstract

This collection consists of photographs and maps depicting the property of the Brandywine Works of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. The maps and blueprints show how the property of the Brandywine Works was divided among du Pont family members for estates after the works closed. A small series of large-format photographs depict various scenes and events from the Brandywine Works and the city of Wilmington in general.

Dates

  • 1826-1985
  • Majority of material found within 1903-1927

Creator

Extent

18 item(s)

Historical Note

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company was established in 1802 by Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739-1817) and his son Éleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771-1834). Built along the banks of the Brandywine River north of Wilmington, Delaware, the mill refined its first saltpeter in 1803 and its first gunpowder the same year. Throughout the nineteenth century, the company continued to produce gunpowder before expanding into dynamite and smokeless powder production. In 1902, cousins T. Coleman, Pierre S., and Alfred I du Pont purchased the company and began to transform it from a primarily explosives-based operation to one focused on science and chemicals. Accordingly, the company began buying up smaller powder and chemical companies before anti-trust legislation forced the company to divest much of its interests. Despite the company’s intentions of closing the powder yard at the Brandywine Works in the early 1910s, the site remained in operation by request of the Federal Government until the end of World War I. The Brandywine Works closed in 1921.

Concurrent with the construction of the gunpowder yards in 1802 was the completion of Eleutherian Mills, the first du Pont family home built in America. Built by Éleuthère Irénée du Pont, the home sat on a hill and overlooked Brandywine Creek and the DuPont gunpowder yards. Members of the du Pont family constructed large houses throughout the Brandywine Valley, many of which were located within a three-mile radius, including Winterthur, Rencourt, Nemours, and Pelleport. Following the closure of the powder yards in 1921, the Brandywine Works and much of the surrounding property was divided among du Pont family members for estates. In 1952, members of the du Pont family donated much of the land on which the former powder yards stood, and the DuPont Company created an endowment for the Eleutherian Mills-Hagley Foundation for the purpose of preserving the site and establishing a museum. The site opened as a museum in 1957 and was designated a National historic Landmark in 1966.

Arrangement

Arranged in two series: Series I. Maps and plans; Series II. Photographs.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a series of photographs and maps depicting the property of the Brandywine Works of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. The maps and blueprints show how the property of the Brandywine Works was divided among du Pont family members for estates after the works closed. Some maps are site and landscaping plans for the portion previously gifted to Paulina du Pont, (later Mrs. J. Simpson Dean). She had the house, "Old" Nemours of 1824, extensively remodeled with gardens by New York landscape architect Noel Chamberlain. Other portions of the property shown are now the site of the Hagley Museum and Library.

A small series of large-format photographs depict various scenes and events from the Brandywine Works and the city of Wilmington in general. These include a group photograph of members of the DuPont Gun Club as well as the Clay Target Club celebrating a trapshooting victory with a dinner at the Hotel DuPont. There is a also a panoramic view of the new machine shop office near the Hagley Yard gates, and a group photograph of members of the Wilmington Elks Lodge No. 307 standing in an unidentified street in downtown Wilmington. A group of three aerial photographs taken in 1959, 1984, and 1985 depict the DuPont Co. Experimental Station and the various modifications undertaken at the facility and surrounding properties over a twenty-five year period.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Maps and photographs of the DuPont Brandywine Works property
Status:
Online
Author:
Clayton J. Ruminski
Date:
2019
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400