Francis Gurney du Pont and family papersCreation: 1868-1916
Francis Gurney du Pont (1850-1904) was the youngest son of Alexis I. du Pont (1816-1857) and Joanna Smith du Pont (1815-1876), and grandson of Éleuthère Irénée "E.I." du Pont (1771-1834), founder of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, a chemical company more commonly referred to as the DuPont Company. The collection consists primarily of correspondence from du Pont to his wife, Elise Wigfall Simons (1849-1919), but include items from other family members, as well as a journal of du Pont's, manuscripts written by him, and plays and novels by Alice Simons (1849-1891).
- Creation: 1868-1916
- Du Pont, Francis Gurney, 1850-1904 (Person)
9 Linear Feet
Francis Gurney du Pont (1850-1904) was the youngest son of Alexis I. du Pont (1816-1857) and Joanna Smith du Pont (1815-1876), and grandson of Éleuthère Irénée "E.I." du Pont (1771-1834), founder of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, a chemical company more commonly referred to as the DuPont Company.
Du Pont graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1870. The following year, he began his career with E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. as an operator of graining mills. In 1874, he became a junior partner of the firm and later served in the highly important capacity of general manager, and as vice president, until 1902. That year, even with the death of Eugene du Pont (1840-1902), du Pont declined the presidency of the firm due to ill health. He wanted to sell the company to competitor Laflin & Rand. He mistrusted the modern business practices that he believed the younger generation would implement at the DuPont Company. He lost control of the company to cousins Alfred I. du Pont (1864-1935), T. Coleman du Pont (1863-1930), and Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954).
In 1888, du Pont supervised the building of the blasting powder mills at Mooar, Iowa. At Carney's Point, New Jersey, he superintended the plant which produced smokeless powder. In 1893, he and Pierre S. du Pont patented their solvent recovery process for the manufacture of smokeless shotgun powder.
Aside from his abilities as a chemist, du Pont was interested in astronomy and in the improvement of telescopes.
In 1871, du Pont married Elise Wigfall Simons (1849-1919). The couple had ten children. Du Pont died November 7, 1904, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Scope and Contents
The Francis G. du Pont (1850-1904) and family papers are primarily correspondence from Francis to his wife, Elise Wigfall Simons (1849-1919), but include items from other family members. Letters from Francis and Elise were written while he was away on business trips or while she was away at the shore. There are also letters from their children: Francis I. (1873-1942), Eleanor (1875-1934), Irene (1877-1961), Ernest (1880-1944), Theodore (1883-1911), E. Paul (1887-1950), and Archibald (1889-1942). Other letters are from his mother Joanna Smith du Pont (1815-1876) and sisters Frances Coleman (1838-1902), Eleuthera Bradford (1848-1906), Joanna Dimmick (1854-1901); Aunt Sophie du Pont (1810-1888); and the Simons family.
Also included in the collection are a journal of Francis G. du Pont, manuscripts written by du Pont, plays and novels by Alice Simons (1849-1891), and a paper on the life of Alexis I. du Pont (1816-1857).
The collection gives a good picture of the social history of the period. It also provides background material on the work of du Pont in the powder yards and in establishing the DuPont powder plant at Mooar, Iowa.
No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Francis Gurney du Pont and family papers
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description:
- Script of description:
- 2021: Ashley Williams