Marguerite du Pont Lee scrapbookCreation: 1877-1920
Marguerite Lammot du Pont Lee (1862-1936) was activist for women's suffrage, child labor, and other social issues. The scrapbook contains religious poems, newspaper clippings, editorial comments, gunpowder labels, as well as a few photographs of the area near the DuPont Powder Yards.
- Creation: 1877-1920
- Lee, Marguerite du Pont, 1862-1936 (Person)
Conservation Treatment - March 2017 scrapbook interleaved with buffered tissue
Marguerite Lammot du Pont Lee (1862-1936) was activist for women's suffrage, child labor, and other social issues. She was the second daughter of Eleuthere Irenee du Pont (1828-1877) and Charlotte Henderson du Pont (1835-1877). She spent her childhood at the family home on Brecks Lane, ‘Swamp Hall’ near the powder mills of which bears her family name.
At age ffifteen, the du Pont was orphaned along with her four siblings when her parents died just over a month apart. Her mother, Charlotte, had been committed to an insane asylum following an attack of hysteria likely brought on when she returned from a trip to Europe in search of a state of better mental health and relaxation to find her children beaten and nearly starved by their nurse. The emotional stress of the incident was too much to handle for the mentally fragile Charlotte. She was taken to an insane asylum, where she died on August 19, 1877. Her husband would die twenty-nine days later on September 17th of consumption, aggravated by exposure from working in the family powder mills.
Leaving five orphaned children and a home owned by the DuPont Company, the family elders planned to split up the five orphans amongst relatives. When word reached Swamp Hall that their uncle Alfred Victor du Pont was on his way to the home to break up the family, the five children took arms, young Marguerite du Pont with a rolling pin, Alfred with a shotgun, Annie with an ax, Maurice a pistol, and Louis a bow and arrow. After much negotiation, a report was made back to the head of the family, Henry du Pont, who yielded and allowed the children to remain in the home under the supervision of the oldest daughter, Annie, along with their loyal house staff.
After leaving Wilmington, young Marguerite met Cazenove Gardner Lee (1850-1912), a lawyer, whom she married on September 20, 1881. Settling in the Georgetown section of Washington D.C., Lee became very involved in social and political affairs. Lee became active in settlement housework in 1898 and built the Kemper Bobcock Memorial in Georgetown. Throughout her life, Lee lectured on capital and labor, liquor, religion, and suffrage.
Scope and Contents
The Marguerite du Pont Lee (1862-1936) scrapbook contains religious poems, newspaper clippings, editorial comments, gunpowder labels, as well as a few photographs of the area near the DuPont Powder Yards. Clippings in the scrapbook are generally concerned with du Pont family weddings and events and women's suffrage and child labor. Also included are editorials of interest to Lee and pieces written by Lee and published in various newspapers.
The scrapbook contains clippings and material related to settlement houses and women’s suffrage, of which she collected numerous articles. Lee was a social activist and voice for the impoverished and less fortunate of Washington. One article notes that when the Commissioners of Washington stopped supplying free water to the poor from fountains, Lee had one erected through a wall on her property, which was also later shut off by the district but not without protest in the local papers. Lee was also a supporter of the right to vote for women, as evidenced in her scrapbook through clippings. One article even mentions that the cousin of Senator du Pont (Henry A.) was “Rebuked for Opposing the Resolutions” that were set forth by President Taft on the topic of suffrage.
The scrapbook includes various clippings regarding du Pont family weddings and events such as the 100th reunion of the du Pont family, and DuPont plant accidents and explosions. Also included are various religious writings and passages and commentary on politics in the early twentieth century, which are also examined through political cartoons. The last few pages of the scrapbook contain various DuPont powder container labels.
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- 2021: Ashley Williams