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Louise du Pont Crowninshield papers

Creation: 1800-1958
Accession: 0471


Louise du Pont Crowninshield (1877-1958) was an early leader in the field of historic preservation and a collector of antiques and hooked rugs. The collection includes her papers as well as those of her husband Francis Boardman Crowninshield, her mother, and other family members.


  • Creation: 1800-1958



17 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Louise Evelina du Pont(1877-1958) was the daughter of Henry A. du Pont (1838-1926) and Pauline Foster du Pont (1849-1902). She was born, raised, and educated at the family estate, Winterthur, north of Wilmington, Delaware. A debutante whose coming-out party was held in New York in 1896, she socialized with members of the city's most exclusive families. During the late 1890s, she spent the winter months in the city, enjoying shopping and social life during the heyday of high society. Louise du Pont was also interested in charitable causes and in 1897 organized "Willing Helpers," a group of young women which met Saturday mornings to make clothing for babies at a Wilmington day nursery; she headed this group for three years.

In 1900, Louise du Pont married Francis Boardman Crowninshield (1869-1950), a renowned sportsman who raced yachts and was a expert marksman. There were no children by this marriage. The Crowninshields had homes in Marblehead and Boston, Massachusetts; Boca Grande, Florida; and the original du Pont family estate, Eleutherian Mills, north of Wilmington, Delaware.

Louise du Pont Crowninshield actively participated in charitable organizations, horticulture, historic preservation, and collected antiques and hooked rugs. One of her earliest historic restoration projects was the original du Pont family estate; Eleutherian Mills, where she resided during the spring and fall months. With her husband's eye for architectural detail, and Louise's love of nature, tegether, they developed a garden on the ruins of the Saltpetre Refinery which stood between Eleutherian Mills and the Brandywine River.

Louise was a founding trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1949 and was vice-chairman of the board in 1953. In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed her to the Boston National Historic Sites Commission. She was also involved with historic restoration in Virginia, particularly the Kenmore Association, of which she was a regent, (Kenmore was the Fredericksburg, Virginia, home of Fielding Lewis and his wife, Betty Washington Lewis, George Washington's sister). She often provided financial assistance and artifacts when needed at historic sites. In addition, she was a member or trustee of numerous historical societies, museums, art, and symphony organizations. Crowninshield's additional interests included travel and her pet dogs.

Scope and Content

The collection is divided into 5 Series. Series I. Louise du Pont Crowninshield, includes letters to her mother and other family members describing social activities such as visiting, boating, golf, tennis, bicycling, and parties. Financial files hold invoices for household furnishings and horticulture purchases for their residences in Delaware, Massachusetts and Florida, as well as tax matters. Documents relating to the development and planting of the garden on the ruins of the Saltpetre Refinery at Eleutherian Mills have been identified. Travel files include itineraries and diaries of cruises taken, with descriptions of destinations, food and surroundings.

Series II. Francis Boardman Crowninshield, includes letters written to his wife (Louise du Pont Crowninshield), as well as the log for Cleopatra's Barge II, and limited nineteenth-century family papers. His tax files for 1929 through 1941 are also in this Series.

Series III. Henry A. du Pont, includes address books, appointment calendar (1908-1911), and invitations (1867-1874).

Series IV. Mrs. Henry A. du Pont (Pauline Foster du Pont), includes address books, calling cards, copy books, a receipt book, receipes, guest lists, McAll mission in France, and DE Society of Colonial Dames application.

Series V. du Pont family, includes copy books, calling cards, diary, pattern books, scrapbooks, and genealogy relating to Herman Ten Eyck Foster, E. I. du Pont, Irene du Pont, Eleuthera du Pont, Ellen E. du Pont, the Foster family, Henry B. du Pont, Henry F. du Pont, Louisa du Pont, Ruth du Pont, Sophie M. du Pont, Victorine du Pont (Baudy), and Victorine E. du Pont Foster. Additional family items are: T. Coleman du Pont letters regarding a paper weight belonging to Admiral Samuel Francis du Pont; playing cards; LdPC stamp case; original Tancopanican Chronicles;impressions of du Pont family seals; Mrs. H.A. du Pont's hair.

Related Material

Louise du Pont Crowninshield Photographic Collection (Accession 71.MSS.471), Audiovisual and Digital Collections, Hagley Museum and Library

Miscellaneous graphic materials from the Eleutherian Mills Residence (Accession 69.59), Audiovisual and Digital Collections, Hagley Museum and Library

Language of Materials


Related Names


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Louise du Pont Crowninshield papers
Lynn Catanese
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:
Language of description note:
Also contains French correspondence.

Revision Statements

  • 2020.: Collection refoldered and re-boxed, Marsha Mills.

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA