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DuPont Company correspondence with William H. Seward (photocopies)

1861-1862
 Collection
Accession: 0604

Abstract

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company is a chemical company more commonly referred to as the DuPont Company. Established in 1802, the company began with the production of gunpowder. The collection consists of seven photocopied letters between DuPont and Secretary of State William H. Seward (1801-1872) regarding the purchase of saltpetre (saltpeter) during the Civil War.

Dates

  • 1861-1862

Creator

Extent

7 item(s)

Historical Note

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company is a chemical company more commonly referred to as the DuPont Company. Established in 1802, the company began with the production of gunpowder in Delaware.

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company was organized in Paris in 1801 by Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739-1817) and his son Eleuthère Irénée "E.I." du Pont (1771-1834). The next year, E.I. du Pont purchased a mill site on the banks of the Brandywine River just north of Wilmington, Delaware, and began making preparations to establish a black powder manufactory. During the winter of 1802 to 1803, E.I. du Pont recruited a small workforce and began building the company's mills. By the spring of 1804, the powder was being produced, and the company had secured a commitment from President Thomas Jefferson to purchase DuPont gunpowder for the Army and Navy. With this contract in place, the company started to recruit immigrant Irish workers for the mills and hired its first independent sales agents.

During the War of 1812, DuPont became a major supplier of gunpowder for the U.S. government as its total sales exceeded 500,000 pounds. After the war, the company expanded as it began selling large quantities of powder to coal mine operators and railroad entrepreneurs. In 1837 Henry du Pont (1812-1889), E.I. du Pont's son, took over the management of the company and began to rationalize the company's managerial practices. During the Civil War, DuPont became the largest supplier of powder for the Union Army, and in the late 1860s and 1870s, it used its wartime profits to purchase control of many of its competitors.

Scope and Contents

Seven photocopied letters between E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company and William H. Seward (1801-1872), Secretary of State, relating to purchases of saltpetre (saltpeter) transacted by Lammot du Pont (1831-1884) during the Civil War.

Location of Originals

Originals in RG 59, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Not to be reproduced.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
DuPont Company correspondence with William H. Seward (photocopies)
Status:
Author:
John Beverly Riggs
Date:
1970
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2021: Ashley Williams

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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