E.I. du Pont's daughters' papersCreation: 1801-1861
Eleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771-1834), founder of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., and Sophie Madeleine Dalmas du Pont (1775-1828) had four daughters. This group of materials within the Winterthur Manuscripts collection contains the papers of the three eldest: Victorine (du Pont) Bauduy (1792-1861), Evelina (du Pont) Bidermann (1796-1863), and Eleuthera (du Pont) Smith (1806-1876), as well as their respective husbands: Ferdinand Bauduy (1791-1814), James Antoine Bidermann (1790-1865), and Thomas MacKie Smith (1809-1852). Victorine du Pont Bauduy and Eleuthera du Pont Smith were teachers at the Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School (BMSS), a nonsectarian school offering classes in reading, writing, arithmetic, and Bible lessons. Evelina du Pont Bidermann spent much of her adult life traveling alongside her husband and then building the Winterthur mansion in Delaware. Their papers document details about their education, social life, family, attitudes, and activities through incoming and outgoing correspondence, as well as personal papers such as diaries and account books.
- Creation: 1801-1861
- Bauduy, Victorine du Pont, 1792-1861 (Person)
- Bidermann, Evelina du Pont, 1796-1863 (Person)
- Smith, Eleuthera du Pont, 1806-1876 (Person)
13.25 Linear Feet
Eleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771-1834), founder of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., and Sophie Madeleine Dalmas du Pont (1775-1828) had four daughters: Victorine (du Pont) Bauduy (1792-1861), Evelina (du Pont) Bidermann (1796-1863), Eleuthera (du Pont) Smith (1806-1876), and Sophie Madeleine (du Pont) Du Pont (1810-1888). This group of materials within the Winterthur Manuscripts collection contains the papers of the three eldest, as well as those of their husbands. (The papers of Sophie Madeleine Du Pont, wife of Samuel Francis Du Pont, are held in Group IX of the Winterthur Manuscripts.)
Victorine du Pont Bauduy and Eleuthera du Pont Smith were teachers at the Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School (BMSS), a nonsectarian school offering classes in reading, writing, arithmetic, and Bible lessons. Evelina (du Pont) Bidermann spent much of her adult life traveling alongside her husband and then building the Winterthur Mansion in Delaware.
Victorine du Pont Bauduy was born in Paris and came to the United States in 1800. She was educated at a school for French-speaking children in New York. After the family moved to Delaware, she attended a Wilmington boarding school and then Mrs. Rivardi's Academy for Young Ladies in Philadelphia. As the eldest child and with an ailing mother, she was responsible for overseeing her younger siblings. Victorine married Ferdinand Bauduy (1791-1814) in 1813, but he died six weeks later and she never remarried. After a period of mourning, she became involved in the Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School, sponsored by her father to teach workers' children. She was a teacher and superintendent until her death. Victorine also taught her siblings, nieces, and nephews at home.
Ferdinand Bauduy was the son of Peter Bauduy (1769?-1833), business partner of E.I. du Pont, and Theresa Bretton des Chapelles (1773-1837). Victorine's father did not approve of the courtship, so Bauduy was sent to France for two years. The couple remained committed to each other, and E.I. relented when Bauduy returned. He died shortly after his marriage to Victorine from pneumonia.
Evelina Gabrielle du Pont Bidermann was born in Paris and came to the United States in 1800. She attended the female seminary of Madame Rivardi in Philadelphia from 1807 to 1811 with her elder sister, Victorine du Pont Bauduy. In 1816, she married James Antoine Bidermann (1790-1865), one of her father's business associates. They had one child, James Irénée Bidermann (1817-1890). She and her husband traveled to France from 1827 to 1828 and 1837 to 1839.
James Antoine Bidermann (1790-1865) was the son of Jacques Antoine Bidermann (1751-1817) and his wife, Gabrielle Aimée Odier (1761-1842). The elder Bidermann, a native of Winterthur, Switzerland, became a noted banker in Paris and was an important stockholder in Du Pont de Nemours, Père et Fils & Cie. The capital funding of the powder firm of E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. came from his stock. It was this interest that brought James Antoine Bidermann to Delaware. When Peter Bauduy withdrew from E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., James Antoine took his place and became head of the firm upon the death of E.I. du Pont in 1834. He retired in 1837.
Upon their return to Delaware from France, Evelina and James Antoine Bidermann commenced to build the present Winterthur mansion in 1839, and it remained their home for many years. Madame Bidermann died there in 1863, and her husband left soon afterward for France, where he remained with their only child, James Irénée Bidermann (1817-1890), until his death in 1865.
Eleuthera du Pont Smith was born at the family home, Eleutherian Mills, in Delaware. She was educated at home by her sister, Victorine, and then attended Mrs. Hughes's Boarding and Day School in Philadelphia from 1821 to 1823. She married Thomas MacKie Smith (1809-1852), a physician, in 1834; they had no children. The Smiths toured Europe from 1846 to 1847. Eleuthera retrieved many of her grandfather's papers, Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739-1817), and brought them back to the United States. After her husband's death, she became more involved with the Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School, which served the children of du Pont company workers, succeeding her older sister Victorine as superintendent in 1861. Eleuthera and her younger sister, Sophie Madeleine Du Pont, were also interested in family history and genealogy, and arranged and transcribed family papers together.
Thomas Mackie Smith was the son of Francis Gurney Smith (1784-1873) and Eliza Mackie (1787-1861). He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with an A.B. in 1828 and M.D. in 1831. He served his residency at the Philadelphia Almshouse. Eleuthera du Pont was a close family friend; they married in 1834, and moved to Delaware a year later, where they established his medical practice.
Scope and Contents
This group of materials within the Winterthur Manuscripts collection contains the papers of Victorine (du Pont) Bauduy, Evelina (du Pont) Bidermann, and Eleuthera (du Pont) Smith, as well as their husbands: Ferdinand Bauduy, James Antoine Bidermann, and Thomas MacKie Smith. It does not include the papers of their sister, Sophie Madeleine (du Pont) Du Pont, wife of Samuel Francis Du Pont, which are held in Group IX of the Winterthur Manuscripts.
Victorine du Pont Bauduy's papers cover a period of sixty years. As a woman of means, she was able to pursue her interests, which included education and literature. Outgoing letters dating from 1803 to 1861 were written to her mother, siblings, nieces and nephews, and friends. The letters primarily discuss family matters, health, sewing, clothing, weather, and household administration, particularly the management of servants. Incoming letters dating from 1798 to 1861 were written by family and friends. Letters from school friends document their interest in fashion, visits, courting, and literature. Of particular note are exchanges with Antoinette Brevost, a member of a French refugee family who established a girl's school in Pittsburgh before going on to teach at Natchez.
In addition to correspondence, the papers include the "Tancopanican Chronicle," a family newsletter written by Victorine and her sisters in the 1820s, which details domestic events. The papers also include some records of the Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School (BMSS) from 1816 to 1852, consisting of reports on students, speeches before a class, copies of reports sent to the American Sunday School Union describing the BMSS, lists of Sunday School books, and BMSS subscribers with the amounts subscribed.
Additional papers include household accounts from 1838 to 1842, which primarily record expenditures for food, but also contain miscellaneous and private expenses (including donations to the poor), servants' wages, and "work done for the factory and other expenses." Another account book from 1815 to 1818 records Victorine's personal expenses. Her diaries, dating from 1843 to 1849, include private expenses; they also note the weather and activities, mostly visits. There are also lists of New Year's gifts given to family, household staff, and friends from 1847 to 1861.
Ferdinand Bauduy's papers consist of a few brief items of correspondence.
Evelina du Pont Bidermann's papers consist primarily of outgoing correspondence to parents and sisters regarding family news, health, descriptions of fabrics and clothing, and the "servant problem." Incoming letters are primarily from Bidermann family members and female friends. Additional papers include copies of prayers and meditations, report cards from Madame Rivardi's school, medical records, and a poem by Evelina on the Battle of Lake Erie with a watercolor of Oliver Hazard Perry.
James Antoine Bidermann's papers consist of outgoing and incoming correspondence, letters of introduction from the Marquis de La Fayette, and property and estate papers.
Eleuthera du Pont Smith's papers consist primarily of correspondence, both incoming, dating from 1831 to 1876, and outgoing, dating from 1816 to 1875. They contain discussions of family news, sewing, domestic activities, and travels in the United States and Europe.
The papers also include Eleuthera's diaries from 1840 to 1874, though incomplete. They contain descriptions of fancy sewing and visiting, as well as church attendance, with the subjects of sermons, lists of gifts given and received, and operations of the Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School. An account book from 1870 to 1874 contains expenses such as servants' wages and donations to churches, the American Missionary Society, and the Sewing Society. The papers also include a journal of an 1829 trip to Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York and another of a European trip from 1846 to 1847.
Eleuthera's miscellaneous papers include family genealogical notes; extracts from the writings of Du Pont de Nemours, Victor du Pont, and Turgot; an account of the death of Alexis I. du Pont; a list of visitors to Eleutherian Mills (including Lafayette); and notes on the Maréchal de Grouchy. Her autograph collection materials are also in this part of the collection. Much of Smith's autograph collection was given to her by General Mercier du Paty de Clam, a son of Adrien Mercier du Paty de Clam, and his wife, Marie Jacqueline Bidermann, with each item certified by him. Sketchbooks contain various drawings, including scenes along the Brandywine, birds, flowers, and caricatures. Ten volumes of school copybooks include history, geography, poetry, and literature. There are also examples of poetry, recipes, prayers, devotions, and copies of sermons.
Dr. Thomas MacKie Smith's papers include letters written to Eleuthera while she was away, describing domestic life in her absence. His papers also include a medical account book from 1833 to 1851 and a record of babies delivered from 1834 to 1852.
There is a herbarium in ninety-one folders.
This collection is open for research.
The Henry Francis du Pont collection of Winterthur Manuscripts (WMSS) contains the personal papers of those portions of the Du Pont family that descended to Colonel Henry Algernon du Pont (1838-1926) and his son, Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969) of Winterthur. Between 1949 and 1957, the bulk of this collection was deposited at the Longwood Library, where it joined a similar collection of family papers assembled by Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954) known as the Longwood Manuscripts (LMSS), also now held at Hagley Museum and Library. The papers of Henry Francis du Pont remain at Winterthur.
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- E.I. du Pont's daughters' papers
- James Beverley Riggs
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description:
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- 2022: Laurie Sather