Donald F. Carpenter papers1922-1984
Donald Fell Carpenter (1899-1985) was general manager of the Film Department at the DuPont Company. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in engineering in 1922. Between 1927 and 1933 he held increasingly important managerial positions with the DuPont Viscoloid Company, and between 1933 and 1948 with the Remington Arms Company. In 1947 to 1948 he was a member of the Industrial Advisory Group to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Broadly speaking, the materials in this small collection of his papers cover Carpenter's entire career, from his senior thesis at MIT (the design for an addition to his father's tinsmithing shop) to his involvement with political and civic affairs during his retirement.
3 Linear Feet
Donald Fell Carpenter (1899-1985) was general manager of the Film Department at the DuPont Company. Carpenter was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on September 24, 1899. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in engineering in 1922. Between 1927 and 1933 he held increasingly important managerial positions with the DuPont Viscoloid Company, and between 1933 and 1948 with the Remington Arms Company. In 1947 to 1948 he was a member of the Industrial Advisory Group to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, and on March 1, 1948, he was appointed chairman of the Military Liaison Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission and deputy to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal on atomic energy matters. On September 22, 1948, he left the Military Liaison Committee to chair the Munitions Board. Carpenter resigned both government posts on June 30, 1949, and returned to DuPont, although he returned to government as a member of the Special Stockpile Advisory Committee in 1957 to 1958. From 1950 to his retirement in 1963, Carpenter was general manager of the Film Department at the DuPont Company. He remained active in civic work, particularly with Wilmington hospitals and MIT. He died on September 28, 1985.
Scope and Contents
The Donald F. Carpenter papers are a miscellaneous group of documents taken out of their original contexts and kept as mementos of various aspects of Carpenter's career and of the many prominent people with whom he had come in contact. Most of the pieces are of a ceremonial nature, such as letters of appointment and congratulations or programs and souvenirs of conferences, presidential inaugurations, and other special events.
Broadly speaking, the materials cover Carpenter's entire career, from his senior thesis at MIT (the design for an addition to his father's tinsmithing shop) to his involvement with political and civic affairs during his retirement. There are separate files on his work at DuPont, at Remington Arms, and for each of his government appointments. The Remington Arms file includes Carpenter's report on that company, which was badly run down at the time of DuPont's purchase. There is a small amount of correspondence with President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1952 to 1968.
The principal outside interests represented in the papers are Carpenter's long involvement with MIT and the consolidation of the three Wilmington public hospitals into the Wilmington Medical Center. There are also files on the Eighth and Ninth International Management Conferences to which Carpenter was a delegate, including programs and copies of papers.
Two memoirs, "World War II Incidents (at Remington Arms)" and "Recollections of Washington," are among the most useful pieces in the collection. The first contains Carpenter's perspective on his participation in the wartime command economy, intercut with family anecdotes and stock accounts of the war's main events. The second is a relatively full account of his activities in the immediate postwar years, including his assessments of various political and military personalities, the formation of the Defense Department and interservice rivalry, and the debates over the control of America's nuclear program.
Publications in the collection include a 50th anniversary history of Phi Beta Epsilon fraternity at MIT, a 1950 edition of the "DuPont Fact Book," a pamphlet tribute biography to Gus P. Backman of Utah, and two series of booklets produced by the Pan American Union, one on each of the Latin American countries, and one on major industries and exports.
Of two oversized scrapbooks, the first contains clippings, letters, photos, and other mementos of Carpenter's government service, and the second documents celebrations at MIT in 1949.
Existence and Location of Originals
Edmund N. Carpenter papers, originals at: Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, 49 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., 18701.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Donald F. Carpenter photographs (Accession 2003.203), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Donald F. Carpenter papers
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- 2020: Laurie Sather