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Brandywine Manufacturers Sunday School (BMSS) records

1817-1899
 Collection
Identifier: 0389

Abstract

The Brandywine Manufacturers Sunday School (BMSS) was organized in 1817 as a non-sectarian school for the children of the local factory workers, with instruction in reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion. Éleuthère Irénée du Ponts (1771-1834), founder of the DuPont Company, was one of its chief subscribers, and the school building was located on his property. Primarily generated and maintained by the du Pont women, the BMSS records include the school's constitution, and financial records such as bills and receipts and accounts. Most of the records pertain to students with information about premiums which were given as rewards for attendance and scholarly excellence.

Dates

  • 1817-1899

Creator

Extent

2.5 Linear Feet

Historical Note

The Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School (BMSS) was a nonsectarian school offering classes in reading, writing, arithmetic, and Bible lessons. The students, both male and female, were workers or the children of workers in the local manufactories along the Brandywine River, near Wilmington, Delaware. Éleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771-1834) financially supported the construction of a school building on his property in 1816. It was incorporated in 1817 and opened with James Siddall (1801-1874) as its superintendent; he had originated the school's concept in Wilmington.

Éleuthère Irénée du Pont's daughters, Victorine du Pont Bauduy (1792-1861), who succeeded Siddall as superintendent, Eleuthera du Pont Smith (1806-1876), and Sophie M. Du Pont (1810-1888), were teachers at the school, as were other family members and friends. The du Pont women devoted much time and energy preparing school lessons, teaching, and visiting students in their homes. In the nineteenth century, teaching and religion were considered acceptable public activities for women, and Sunday school teachers were predominantly female.

In 1823 the BMSS became affiliated with the American Sunday School Union for the purpose of obtaining less expensive reading materials. The passage of Delaware's Free School Law of 1829 and development of an organized public school system chanted the character of the BMSS. In 1851 the BMSS building was used for Episcopal services, and with the completion of Christ Church in 1856, the BMSS became an Episcopal church school. Classes continued in the school building but were restricted to religious subjects.

Scope and Content

Primarily generated and maintained by the du Pont women, the BMSS records include the school's constitution, and financial records such as bills and receipts and accounts. Most of the records pertain to students with information about premiums which were given as rewards for attendance and scholarly excellence. Registration or “receiving” books were used to record the student's name, age, religious denomination, residence, class level, and name of parent and occupation. The collection also includes lesson notebooks of Victorine du Pont Bauduy, Eleuthera du Pont Smith, and Sophie M. Du Pont as well as some correspondence, mostly from former BMSS students. A later record is a roll book of Christ Church Sunday School, 1888-1891.

Access restrictions

This collection is open for research. Litigators may not view the collection without approval.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Related Material

Winterthur Manuscripts, Group VI. (Accession WMSS:VI), Series A: Victorine du Pont Bauduy Papers, Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Winterthur Manuscripts, Group VI. (Accession WMSS:VI), Series C: Eleuthera du Pont Smith Papers, Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Additional Description

Provenance

On Deposit from Christ Church Christiana Hundred.

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Brandywine Manufacturers Sunday School (BMSS) records
Status:
Author:
Ruthanna Hindes
Date:
1963.
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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