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Alexis Irénée du Pont family papers
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Alexis Irénée du Pont family papers

Accession 2618

Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library


PO Box 3630
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807
302-658-2400
askhagley@hagley.org

Finding aid prepared by Dave Burdash ; Clayton J. Ruminski, 2017.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2018-04-13T07:55-0400

Finding aid prepared using best local practices and Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Cite items for this collection in the following format:
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, Alexis Irénée du Pont family papers (Accession 2618), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

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Descriptive Summary

Title: Alexis Irénée du Pont family papers
Dates: 1850-1913
Accession Number: 2618
Creator: Du Pont, Alexis I., (Alexis Irénée), 1843-1904
Extent: 0.8 linear foot
Language of Material: English
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library: Manuscripts and Archives Department
Abstract: Dr. Alexis Irénée du Pont (1843-1904) was a businessman and non-practicing physician who resided in both Louisville, Kentucky, and Wilmington, Delaware. The Alexis Irénée du Pont family papers primarily consist of both outgoing and incoming correspondence from A. I. du Pont and his immediate family.
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Biographical Note

Dr. Alexis Irénée du Pont (1843-1904) was a businessman and non-practicing physician who resided in both Louisville, Kentucky, and Wilmington, Delaware. He was a grandson of Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours (1771-1834), the eponymous founder of the E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company in Wilmington, Delaware, and son of Alexis Irénée du Pont (1816-1857) and Joanna Maria Smith du Pont (1815-1876).

Alexis spent much of his childhood in the home of his maternal grandparents in Philadelphia, where he attended the Episcopal Academy. In 1864, he received a Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. Despite his training in medicine, however, Alexis decided to forgo starting an active practice and instead move to Louisville, Kentucky, to join his cousins in the paper manufacturing business. There, he retained a close relationship with his aunt Sophie Madeleine du Pont (1810-1888), the widow of Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont (1803-1865), who resided at Upper Louviers in Wilmington, Delaware.

Alexis’s first marriage on February 5, 1867 to Margaretta Gilpin, daughter of Judge Gilpin of Wilmington, ended in tragedy with her unexpected death the following year. Consequently, Alexis focused on his business interests in Louisville before marrying Elizabeth Canby Bradford in Wilmington on January 20, 1875. Elizabeth was the daughter of Judge Edward Green Bradford, who in 1871 was nominated by President Ulysses S. Grant to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. Elizabeth’s great grandfather was Thomas Heyward Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Over the next ten years, Alexis and Elizabeth remained in Louisville and had four children: Alice Eugenie du Pont Ortiz (1876-1940); Philip Francis du Pont (1878-1928); Elizabeth Bradford du Pont Bayard (1880-1975); and Eugene Eleuthère du Pont (1882-1966). Philip Francis du Pont attended the University of Virginia from 1897-1900, and later became an author and noted philanthropist.

In 1885, Alexis returned home with his family to Wilmington when, around the same time, he acquired interests in the Brookyln Street Railroad. Consequently, Alexis and his family moved to Brooklyn for a period of three years before moving back to Wilmington. Soon afterward he became one of the senior partners of the E. I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Company, and was named vice president of the Repauno Chemical Company, formed in 1880 to manufacture dynamite at a remote spot along the Delaware River in Gibbstown, New Jersey. Following the death of his brother Eugene du Pont in 1902, Alexis was offered the position of president of Repauno Chemical, but ultimately declined due to failing kidney health. Alexis I. du Pont died on November 26, 1904, at the age of 61 at his country home, Rencourt, outside Wilmington, Delaware.

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Scope and Content

The family papers of Alexis I. du Pont consist of both outgoing and incoming correspondence from A. I. du Pont (1843-1904) and his immediate family. The bulk of the letters are from two sources: A. I. du Pont’s aunt, Sophie Madeleine du Pont, and his son, Philip Francis du Pont. Outgoing and incoming correspondence from Sophie Madeleine du Pont at Upper Louviers include topics relating to family and personal matters during Alexis’s time in Louisville, Kentucky, in the late 1860s, largely keeping him informed regarding matters of the du Ponts in Delaware.

Letters written in almost weekly intervals from Alexis’s son Philip to his parents in Greenville, Delaware, trace his education from grammar school at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, to his time at the University of Virginia. Additionally, a smaller amount of letters include correspondence from Alexis’s wife Elizabeth Canby Bradford du Pont to her mother Mary Heyward; Philip to his siblings, and Alexis’s granddaughter Marguerite “Carita” du Pont Ortiz Boden to her grandmother, Elizabeth. There are also various postcards from Elizabeth and her grandchildren from the turn of the twentieth century, most of which depict scenes and architecture in France, England, and Germany. Also included are introductory letters to the Board of Philadelphia’s Guardians of the Poor regarding Alexis’s residency at the University of Pennsylvania’s Medical School in 1865, as well as accolades from his time at grammar school in the early 1850s.

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Arrangement

Letters are arranged chronologically within each box.

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Access Points

Fiechter, Eleuthera Carpenter
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Series Descriptions and Inventory

Box Folder
1 1 Accolades for A.I. du Pont as an elementary school student, 1850-1851
Box Folder
1 2 To Master A.I. du Pont from sister Irene, 1858
Box Folder
1 3 Bills and receipts from Dr. A.I. du Pont, 1865- 1902
Box Folder
1 4 From Sophie Madelene du Pont to Dr. A.I. du Pont, 1868 March-June
Box Folder
1 5 To the Board of Guardians of the Poor introducing Dr. A.I. du Pont, 1865
Box Folder
1 6 From Sophie Madeleine du Pont to Dr. A.I. du Pont, 1868 July-December
Box Folder
1 7 From Sophie Madeleine du Pont to Dr. A.I. du Pont, 1869
Box Folder
1 8 To Mrs. E.G. Bradford (Mary Alicia Heyward) from daughter Bessie (presumably Elizabeth Canby Bradford du Pont), 1876-1904
Box Folder
1 9 Letters to/from Elizabeth Bradford du Pont Bayard daughter of Dr. and Mrs. A.I. du Pont, 1892-1901
Box Folder
1 10 Post cards to Mrs. E.G. Bradford, from daughter Elizabeth and grandchildren, undated
Box Folder
2 1 From Philip Francis du Pont to parents Dr. A.I. du Pont and Elizabeth Canby Bradford du Pont, 1892
Box Folder
2 2 To Elizabeth Canby Bradford du Pont, 1893-1897
Box Folder
2 4 From Philip Francis du Pont to parents Dr. and Mrs. A.I. du Pont, 1893
Box Folder
2 3 To/from Alice Eugenie du Pont Ortiz (daughter of Dr. and Mrs. A.I. du Pont), 1893-1901
Box Folder
2 5 From Philip Francis du Pont to his parents, 1894
Box Folder
2 6 From Philip Francis du Pont to his parents, 1897
Box Folder
2 7 From Philip Francis du Pont to his parents, 1898
Box Folder
2 8 From Philip Francis du Pont to his parents, 1899
Box Folder
2 9 From Philip Francis du Pont to his parents, 1900
Box Folder
2 10 To/from Eugene duPont (son of Dr. A.I. du Pont), 1894-1913
Box Folder
2 11 To Mr./Mrs. E.G. Bradford from J.H. Bradford, 1899-1902
Box Folder
2 12 From Carita Ortiz to Mrs. Alexis du Pont, 1915-1916