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E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Office of the President records

1909-1952 Majority of material found within 1914-1948
 Collection
Accession: 1662

Abstract

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company is a chemical company more commonly known as the DuPont Company. It was established in 1802 and began by manufacturing gunpowder, later moving into chemical compounds. During the 1920s and 1930s, under the leadership of Irénée du Pont (1876-1963), president from 1919 to 1926, and Lammot du Pont (1880-1952), president from 1926 to 1940, the company became the world's leading chemical manufacturer producing smokeless powder, dynamite, dyes, cellophane, textile fibers, and artificial rubber. The records primarily document the presidency of Lammot du Pont, with some fragmentary records from the Irénée du Pont period.

Dates

  • 1909-1952
  • Majority of material found within 1914-1948

Creator

Extent

39 Linear Feet

Historical Note

The black powder manufacturing company, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, was organized as a family partnership in 1801. The original mills were located on the banks of the Brandywine River, just north of Wilmington, Delaware. By the second decade of the nineteenth century, the DuPont Company had become one of America's largest gunpowder and blasting powder producers. During the War of 1812 and again during the Civil War, it was a major supplier of gunpowder for the United States Army.

In 1902 the DuPont Company passed into the hands of three younger du Pont cousins, Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954), Alfred I. du Pont (1864-1935), and T. Coleman du Pont (1863-1930). The three cousins sought to bring modern financial and managerial methods to the company. Within three years, more than seventy-five percent of the U.S. explosives industry was consolidated under their control. Under the leadership of P.S. du Pont, president from 1905 to 1919, the company was transformed into a diversified, centrally administered corporation with its own operating, sales, and auxiliary departments. In 1915 the DuPont Company and family acquired a twenty-five percent interest in the General Motors Corporation. During the 1920s and 1930s, under the leadership of Irénée du Pont (1876-1963), president from 1919 to 1926, and Lammot du Pont (1880-1952), president from 1926 to 1940, the company became the world's leading chemical manufacturer producing smokeless powder, dynamite, dyes, cellophane, textile fibers, and artificial rubber.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject.

Scope and Contents

The records primarily document the presidency of Lammot du Pont (1880-1952) from 1926 to 1940, with some fragmentary records from the Irénée du Pont (1876-1963) period from 1919 to 1926. The records describe the DuPont Company's transformation into a diversified chemical company in the years after World War I. Records document the organization of the Chemical Department under the leadership of Dr. Charles Lee Reese (1862-1940). The collection describes the DuPont Company's research and development program, which during these years focused on dyes, celluloid, cellophane, plastics, ammonia, textile fibers, and artificial rubber. The materials chronicle the evolving relationship between corporate strategy, organizational structure, research, and development. The records also trace the company's post World War I public relations campaign, during which it sought to overcome the "Merchant of Death" label. The DuPont Company's response to the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, and the Congress of Industrial Organizations' organizing campaigns are documented in these records. There is also a significant amount of information on company advertising, participation in the New York World's Fair of 1939-1940, and attempts to market DuPont Company products or establish plants in foreign countries, particularly Chile, China, Japan, and Russia, before and after the Russian Revolution.

Access Restrictions

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

Related Materials

E.I. du Pont de Nemours Company records (Accession 500.II Part II), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Pierre S. du Pont papers (Accession LMSS:10), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Office of the President records
Status:
Author:
Charles Lounsbury
Date:
1990
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2021: Encoded by Angela Schad

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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