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Victor du Pont papers

Accession LMSS:II

Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

PO Box 3630
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807

Finding aid prepared by John Beverley Riggs, 1961, 1778-1827

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-04-19T12:34-0400

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, Victor du Pont papers (Accession LMSS:II), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807


Descriptive Summary

Title: Victor du Pont papers
Dates: 1778-1827
Accession Number: LMSS:II
Creator: du Pont, Victor Marie, 1767-1827.
Extent: 0.5 linear feet
Language of Material: English, French, Latin or Greek
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library: Manuscripts and Archives Department
Abstract: Victor du Pont (1767-1827), the eldest son of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, first came to the United States in 1788 as part of the French diplomatic mission. In 1800 he emigrated with his family and set up the firm Victor du Pont de Nemours & Co. The collection consists primarily of family correspondence and business papers.

Administrative Information


Gift of Pierre Samuel du Pont (1870-1954)


Biographical Note

Victor du Pont, the son of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, was born in Paris on October 1, 1767. In the mid 1780s he was employed at his father's office at the Bureau of Commerce in Paris. In 1788 he came to the United States as part of the French legation and assisted in negotiating a treaty between the State of New York and the five Indian Nations. In the 1790s Victor du Pont served on a number of French diplomatic missions in the United States. In 1800 he established a trading company, Victor du Pont de Nemours & Co. In 1808 after the failure of this firm, he moved to Delaware and established residence a Louviers on the Brandywine. He established a mill to manufacture cotton cloth and in 1813 became a partner in Du Planty, McCall & Co. Victor du Pont died in Philadelphia on January 30, 1827.


Scope and Content

The collection consists of correspondence, business and personal papers, and writings of Victor Marie du Pont and his wife, Gabrielle Joséphine (de la Fite de Pelleport) du Pont.


Access Points

Cazenove, Théophile, 1740-1811.
Chaptal, Jean-Antoine-Claude, 1756-1832.
Cotton manufacture.
Cotton textile industry--Delaware.
Cruger, Bertram P. (Bertram Peter).
Delaware--Cotton textile industry.
Delaware--Gunpowder industry.
Delaware--Toll roads.
Delaware--Wool trade and industry.
Du Planty, McCall & Company.
Du Planty, Raphael Defrédot, 1776-1854.
Du Pont de Nemours, Père et Fils & Cie.
Du Pont, Alfred Victor, 1798-1856.
Du Pont, Bauduy & Company.
Du Pont, Charles I. (Charles Irénée), 1797-1869.
Du Pont, Eleuthère Irénée, 1771-1834.
Du Pont, Joséphine, 1770-1837.
Du Pont, Victor, 1767-1827.
Duane, William, 1760-1835.
Dutilh, Etienne, 1748-1810.
E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company.
Explosives industry.
France--Foreign relations--1792-1815.
France--History--Revolution, 1789-1799.
France--Politics and government--1789-1815.
Girard, Anthony.
Gunpowder industry.
Holland Land Company.
Land speculation--Kentucky.
Land speculation--New York.
Manigault, Gabriel, 1758-1809.
McCall, Archibald, 1767-1843.
McLane, Louis, 1786-1857.
Necker, Jacques, 1732-1804.
Toll roads--Delaware.
Turnpike roads--Delaware.
Victor & Charles du Pont & Company.
Victor du Pont de Nemours & Company.
Wool trade and industry--Delaware.

Series Descriptions and Inventory

I. Correspondence, 1778-1827, undated
Scope and Content
Consists of Victor du Pont's outgoing correspondence, primarily letters to family members, particularly his brother, Eleuthère Irénée and contain much personal detail relating to their earlier years. Includes original letters to members of his family, drafts and retained copies of letters sent, and letters received. Aside from personal elements the correspondence offers much relating to Victor du Pont's business affairs, with references to: his shipments of equipment and payments to or for the powder company, his proposed newspaper advertisement of Du Pont powder for sale in the New York market, and his suggestion that his father distribute some shares in the powder company to his stepsister, Mme [Françoise-Julienne Isle-de-France] Bureaux de Pusy, to strengthen the position of his brother, E.I. du Pont, in the powder company; land values and living conditions in Angelica, N.Y.; his hopes for an expanding American woolen market to benefit from declining Spanish flocks, details concerning the financial establishment of the woolen factory, Du Pont, Bauduy, & Co., and the trip to Europe by Ferdinand Bauduy in its behalf; Victor du Pont's role as friend and mediator in the relations between his brother and Peter Bauduy and with Mme Bureaux de Pusy and his financial position in the Brandywine mill complex; the administration of the Wilmington branch of the Farmers' Bank of the State of Delaware; an evaluation of Madison, Henry Clay, James A. Bayard, Sr., and others in national and state politics; and references to Talleyrand's naturalization papers, a fire at the powder factory (1817), the transfer of Company drafts to his father, du Pont de Nemours, in France by means of George de Caraman, the shipment of Du Pont woolens, and allusions to the activities of members of his family and friends (his sons, Charles and S. F. du Pont, his daughter Amelia's marriage, the travels of General [Jean-Victor] Moreau, Baron [Jean-Guillaume] Hyde de Neuville, the Cazenoves, the d'Autremonts, and Mme Bureaux de Pusy.
Includes a block of incoming correspondence arranged and labeled by Victor Marie du Pont concerning the settlement of his debts after his bankruptcy by assignment of his estate (including Kentucky lands and Angelica property) to Guilan McEvers, Bertram P. Cruger, and Moses L. Moses, trustees for his creditors. Claims by others, taxes due, a low market price for land, and an unrewarding trip to Kentucky to dispose of the property there disappointed du Pont's hopes for a profitable arrangement of his accounts. The block includes letters to Victor du Pont from Cruger, Moses, William Lovett, Moses and Lovett, Peter Bauduy; also, two deeds for property near Angelica and in Kentucky, single letters from Peter Bauduy to Cruger, William Warner to Moses, and Cruger to Moses, plus du Pont's observations and conclusions on the Kentucky land title (7 pp.), receipts, and miscellaneous records.
The general contents of this group agree with the description made by Mrs. S.F. du Pont in 1880 of one of the “Bundles of Papers that came from Aunt Eleuthera's” [Eleuthera (du Pont) Smith]: “Business papers, Kentucky, Angelica, etc.” [Mrs. S.F. du Pont to Henry A. Du Pont, 10 Sep 1880, Winterthur Manuscripts]. The remaining correspondence to du Pont concerns credits owed to or by du Pont firms with G. Manigault, Talleyrand, Mountflorence, Rezeville, Grouchy, and other debtors and creditors, relations between Peter Bauduy and E.I. du Pont, the claims against the powder company by Talleyrand and by Mme Bureaux de Pusy, the sale of English powder in the American market, the powder market in South America, shipments of American seeds to France by Victor du Pont and his brother, investments by the d'Autremont family in Kentucky lands and French mills, details of administration and the release of the du Pont farm near Angelica, N.Y., effects of the Burr affair in Louisiana on N.Y. business (1807), journey by Raphael Du Planty to New Orleans, a mission by B. Orsele to Mexico to recover French funds, misuse of letter forwarded by du Pont in an accusation against Mountflorence to a French minister, a subscription by powder workers to pay an immigrant's passage, Pennsylvania property owned by Amelia, du Pont's daughter, and other subjects, and two lists of American plants whose seeds were requested for French botanists.
A. Outgoing, 1778-1821, undated
1 Peter Bauduy, 1803-1805; 4 items
1 Jean Antoine Chaptal, 1803
1 Philip Church, 1821
1 Bertram Peter Cruger, 1811
1 Raphael Du Planty, 1809-1815; 4 items
1 Du Planty, McCall & Co., 1805
1 Alfred V. du Pont, undated
1 Eleuthère Irénée du Pont (including those addressed to E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.), 1778-1817
1 Sophie Madeleine (Dalmas) du Pont (Madame E.I. du Pont), 1794
1 Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, 1791-1814, undated; 21 items
1 Du Pont de Nemours, Père et Fils & Cie, 1800-1804; 8 items
1 Stephen Dutilh, 1802
1 Archibald McCall (with reply), 1805
1 Gabriel Manigault, 1800
1 Louis Andre Pichon (letterbook), 1803-1803
1 Henry M. Ridgely, 1819
B. Incoming, 1807-1827, undated
2 Peter Bauduy, 1803-1815; 6 items
2 Henry T. Bornaud, 1803
2 D. P. Brown, 1819
2 Thomas Cadwalader, 1814
2 A. C. Cazenove & Co., 1827
2 Monsieur Curcier [?], 1812
Louis P. D'Autremont, 1808-1811; 4 items
2 Mr. Dessemet (with list of seeds to be procured in America), 1793
2 William Duane, 1822
2 Raphael Du Planty, 1806-1824; 13 items
2 Jonas Dupont (of Rotterdam), 1805
2 Vital Marie Garesché, 1815; 2 items
2 Anthony Girard, with postscripts by Félix Monredon, Baron Hyde de Neuville, and Duruflé, 1807-1808; 4 items
2 Thomas W. Griffith, 1807
2 Barthélemé Laporte, 1826
2 Louis Le Couteulx, 1803
2 LeRoy, Bayard & Co., 1818
2 Archibald McCall, 1805
2 Louis McLane, 1824
2 Robert Rezeville, 1806-1809; 2 items
2 [Louis Claude Marie?] Richard (with list of seeds), 1803
2 James Rogers, 1820
2 Abraham Staats, 1814
2 John Vaughan, with Bernard Dahlgren, 1818
2 Thomas Wilson, 1815
II. Special Papers
Scope and Content
Consists of Victor du Pont's writings, student notebooks, and business papers of Victor and Charles I. du Pont, cloth manufacturers. Included are contracts and apprenticeship papers. Also included is a letterbook that Victor du Pont kept while in Paris (1801) on behalf of Du Pont de Nemours, Père et Fils & Cie. Correspondence with Bertram Cruger and Moses L. Moses concern land investments in Kentucky and New York.
Special papers include copies of Victor du Pont's student copy books in Latin and Greek (1775-1786), business and personal accounts, including a detailed account of expenses for the voyage of the du Pont family from La Rochelle to the United States (1799-1800). There is also a satirical operetta of 16 pages concerning the family's attempts to build a turnpike near the Brandywine and accounts of Victor & Charles I. du Pont & Company, cloth manufacturers near Wilmington (1810-1825).
2 Victor Marie du Pont's School Copybooks, 1775-1780 - essays in geography and history and translations of Greek and Latin exercises from, among other classical authors, Cornelius Nepos, Cicero, Julius Caesar, and Socrates
3 Victor Marie du Pont's School Copybooks, 1781-1786, undated - translations from the Iliad, Virgil's Aeneid, Bucolics, and Georgics, the Codex Gregorianus, the writings of Tacitus, Titus Livius, Cicero, Horace, and others; two Franco-Greek dictionaries; short table of equivalents of twenty languages (1 page); poem written by Victor du Pont, during his adolescence, to his father; 402 pp.
4 Business and personal accounts, 1799-1827 - Detailed account of expenses for the voyage of the Du Pont family from La Rochelle to the United States, 1799-1800, listing detailed purchases of food and provisions, traveling and lodging expenses, and other details about the voyage
4 Business and personal accounts, 1799-1827 -Record of Victor du Pont's transfer to E.I. du Pont of his right in the share held by their father in E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 1817 January 1
4 Business and personal accounts, 1799-1827 -Drafts and copies of memorials and depositions by Victor du Pont concerning the role of E.I. du Pont in the Delaware election held October 1, 1813 in Wilmington, Delaware
4 Business and personal accounts, 1799-1827 -Declaration of discharge of debt issued to Victor du Pont with a list in du Pont's hand of his creditors and their claims, 1810 May 31
4 Business and personal accounts, 1799-1827 - Household and personal accounts of Victor du Pont,“Book of Family Expenses 1811” [covers time period when when du Pont family moved into the house, Louviers; includes expenses for housekeeping, clothing, schooling for his children, servants' wages, and du Pont's business expenses arising from the care of sheep, Kentucky lands, the powder factory, the cotton mill -- Du Planty, McCall, & Co., and his steamboat shares], 1811 March 28-1816; 33 pp.
4 Translation of family cypher - A correspondence code used by the Du Pont family, circa 1804
4 Letter of Théophile Cazenove to Paul Busti, agent of the Holland Land Co., concerning Victor du Pont and the purchase of land in America, 1806
4 Writings - An early poem dedicated to his father, undated
4 Writings - A mock "Arrêt du conseil” for a proposed ball, signed ," 1787 January 3
4 Writings - "Sur les Impots Indirects", Address on indirect taxation to be delivered before the National Assembly (not recorded in the proceedings, Le Moniteur universel, 7 Nov 1790) - Possibly a draft for his father in connection with one of the committees of the Assemblée Nationale Constituante of which Du Pont de Nemours was then a member, 1790 November 5; 16 pp.
4 Writings - "Précis de l’éloge de Franklin", from the eulogy of the Rev. William Smith published as Eulogium on Benjamin Franklin LL.D. delivered March 1, 1791, in the German Lutheran Church of the City of Philadelphia before the American Philosophical Society, andagreeably to their appointment, by William Smith, D.D..., 1792
4 Writings - “The Turnpike”, manuscript book containing a collection of light verse/satire written during or to commemorate a trip by du Pont and S. Felix Monredon, annotated by du Pont on the building of a road somewhere along the Brandywine, undated; 16 pp.
4 Receipt and memo on payment due the heirs of a deceased soldier, undated
4 Business papers of Victor du Pont de Nemours & Co., of New York, 1800-1811 - correspondence with Jacques Necker, 1801 July
4 Business papers of Victor du Pont de Nemours & Co., of New York, 1800-1811 - memorandum entitled "Propositions faites au Gouvernement par la Maison Du Pont de Nemours, Père et Fils & Cie A New York", containing proposals to the French government that the firm act as a commercial agent in America, 1801
4 Business papers of Victor du Pont de Nemours & Co., of New York, 1800-1811 - Power of attorney of Victor du Pont to his partners in Du Pont de Nemours, Père et Fils & Cie
4 Business papers of Victor du Pont de Nemours & Co., of New York, 1800-1811 - copies of articles of agreement and association for E.I. du Pont's powder factory entitled "Acte d’association d'une manufacture de Poudre de guerre et de chasse dans les Etats Unis d'Amérique", signed in Paris, 17 Vendémiaire An X, 21 April 1801
4 Business papers of Victor du Pont de Nemours & Co., of New York, 1800-1811 - articles of agreement between Du Pont de Nemours, Père et Fils & Cie, E.I. du Pont, and Peter Bauduy, 1802 August 25
4 Business papers of Victor du Pont de Nemours & Co., of New York, 1800-1811 - news clipping of the French government's decree concerning matters between Louis André Pichon and Victor du Pont, 1807
4 Business papers of Victor du Pont de Nemours & Co., of New York, 1800-1811 - report of Jean Baptiste Orsèle to Pichon, concerning an expedition to Veracruz to recover French funds, undated
4 Business papers of Victor du Pont de Nemours & Co., of New York, 1800-1811 - accounts with Raphael DuPlanty, 1805-1808; 5 items
4 Business papers of Victor du Pont de Nemours & Co., of New York, 1800-1811 - records of sales, receipts, invoices, promissory notes, and bills of exchange
4 Business papers of Victor & Charles I. du Pont & Co., cloth manufacturers, near Wilmington, Del., c.1810-25 - two contracts for apprentices, 1820
4 Business papers of Victor & Charles I. du Pont & Co., cloth manufacturers, near Wilmington, Del., c.1810-25 - bond of Victor and E.I. du Pont to Richard S. Smith and Francis Gurney Smith for $25, 000, 1822
4 Business papers of Victor & Charles I. du Pont & Co., cloth manufacturers, near Wilmington, Del., c.1810-25 - cost estimates for fabricating black cloth, undated; 2 items
4 Business papers of Victor & Charles I. du Pont & Co., cloth manufacturers, near Wilmington, Del., c.1810-25 - draft from Emmanuel, Maréchal de Grouchy, 1819
4 Business papers of Victor & Charles I. du Pont & Co., cloth manufacturers, near Wilmington, Del., c.1810-25 - accounts, bills, and receipts
III. Gabrielle Josephine de La Fite de Pelleport (Madame Victor du Pont), 1801-1834
Scope and Content
Consists primarily of Gabrielle Josephine du Pont's letters to her brother-in-law E.I. du Pont and his wife. Subjects treated concern the financial position of her family in 1817 (after her husband's transfer to his brother of claims against the powder company) and again in 1834, her unsuccessful plan to visit France in 1818, and the effects of the explosion in the powder mills during the latter year; also, Du Planty's plans to serve the powder company and news of Mme. Cruger's activities.
4 Letters to son, Charles I. du Pont, 1834
4 Letters to Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, 1801-1817; 3 items
4 Letter to Sophie (Dalmas) du Pont (Madame E.I. du Pont), 1784
4 Letter of Raphael Du Planty to Madame Victor du Pont, 1809
4 Letter of C[atherine] Cruger to an unidentified person mentioning Madame du Pont and a recent explosion at the Du Pont mills, circa 1818