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May du Pont Saulsbury journal

Creation: 1919
Accession: 1659


May du Pont Saulsbury (1854-1927) was a leading hostess in Washington, D.C. during the Wilson administration, philanthropist, and wife of Senator Willard Saulsbury (1861-1927). The journal covers the couple's summer trip to Europe in 1919, coinciding with the signing of Treaty of Versailles.


  • Creation: 1919



2 item(s)

Biographical Note

May du Pont (1854-1927) was the daughter of Victor du Pont (1828-1888) and Alice Hounsfield du Pont (1833-1904). She first married her cousin, William du Pont (1855-1928), son of Louisa Gerhard du Pont (1816-1900) and General Henry du Pont (1812-1889), in 1878. The couple divorced in 1892 in South Dakota. He spent six month in that state in order to have residency for the divorce. She married second, Willard Saulsbury (1861-1927), a Wilmington attorney, in 1893. Saulsbury served one term as U.S. Senator from Delaware.

During her husband's Senate term, Saulsbury was one of the leading hostesses of the Wilmington administration, entertaining not only Washington official society, but also notables from other countries.

Following World War I, the Saulsburys travelled abroad, being among the first to see the devastated regions and attended the Council of Versailles. Upon return, she published a book about her travels for private circulation.

Saulsbury died just three months after her husband, on May 7, 1927. The couple is buried in Dover, Delaware.

Scope and Contents

The records consist of two carbon copies of a typed transcript of a journal by May du Pont Saulsbury (1854-1927) covering a trip to Europe with her husband, Willard Saulsbury Jr. (1861-1927) during the summer of 1919 after her husband had failed in his bid for reelection to the Senate. The first is a fair copy and the second a corrected copy of the same text.

The Saulsburys sailed for Europe on June 12, 1919 and went first to Paris, taking rooms at the Hotel Plaza Athenée. Their stay coincided with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. There are numerous references to social functions, including their presence at the dinner given by Secretary of State Robert Lansing honoring the American Peace Commissioners at the Hotel Crillon, where the guests included Pres. and Mrs. Wilson, Ambassador and Mme. Jusserand, Marshal Joffre, and Col. and Mrs. House. The journal also mentions Joffre's visit to Washington in 1917.

The journal includes Willard Saulsbury's own detailed eyewitness account of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28. His wife was unable to obtain a special ticket but remained on the Grand Terrace outside the Salle de Glaces and describes the scene there.

There are also descriptions of the visit by the American delegation to the tomb of Lafayette at the Picpus Cemetery, the grand victory parade down the Champs Elysées, the July 4, and Bastille Day celebrations, and a tour of the battlefields at Rhiems, Chateau Thierry, Belleau Wood, Soissons and Verdun. They then traveled through Luxembourg, western Germany, and Belgium, returning to Paris by way of Amiens and Beauvais. In Brussels they had an audience with Cardinal Mercier, who discussed his upcoming visit to the United States. After their return to Paris, they met with Paderewski and visited Fontainebleau.

At the end of July, the Saulsburys traveled to England, whence they embarked for America in the company of Lord Grey, who was enroute to Washington. The journal closes with references to visits by the Prince of Wales (later the Duke of Windsor) and Lord Grey to the Saulsburys.

The journals were privately published as The Summer of 1919 the following year.

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Finding Aid & Administrative Information

May du Pont Saulsbury journal
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Revision Statements

  • 2021: Ashley Williams

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA