du Pont, Pierre S. (Pierre Samuel)
Hagley Museum & Library
Manuscripts & Archives Department
P.O. Box 3630
Wilmington, DE 19807-0630
Pierre Samuel du Pont was born at Nemours, Delaware on January 15, 1870. He was the eldest son of Lammot and Mary Belin du Pont. After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1890 with a degree in engineering, he returned to Delaware to become assistant superintendent of the Du Pont Company's Brandywine black powder mills. During the late 1890s Pierre and his cousin T. Coleman du Pont invested in The Johnson Company and Citizen's Gas & Electric Company of Lorain, Ohio. In the years between 1899 and 1902 Pierre du Pont worked with his two cousins, T. Coleman and Alfred I. to reorganize the Du Pont Company - transforming the family firm into a modern, centralized, multidivisional corporation. In 1915 Pierre S. du Pont became president of the Du Pont Company and shortly, thereafter, purchased 25% of the stock of the General Motors Corporation. He was elected to the Board of Directors of General Motors. He became president of G.M. in 1920 (after resigning his presidency of the Du Pont Company to become Chairman of the Board of Directors). In 1923 he turned over the presidency of G.M. to Alfred Sloan, Jr. During the late 1920s, 30s, and 40s, Pierre S. du Pont continued to serve on the Board of Directors of the Du Pont Company and General Motors Corporation. In the early 1920s, Pierre S. du Pont began assembling a collection of family papers and books on economics and technology. These materials were initially housed at his Longwood estate. In 1953 he chartered the Longwood Library and when he died a year later the library was incorporated as an independent research library. In 1961 the Longwood Library merged with the Hagley Museum. Scope & Content Note: The papers in this collection were acquired by Pierre S. du Pont by purchase or through gift. For some years before his death he was an active collector of Du Pont materials and bought several important bodies of manuscripts from French dealers. These papers are primarily concerned with Du Pont de Nemours, the Physiocrats, the French Revolution, and the antecedents of the Du Ponts and allied families in France. Of particular interest are letters from Jean Baptiste Colbert (1652), Gaspard de Coligny (1554), Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès (1795), and Comte Roger de Bussy-Rabutin (1675). Papers of Gabriel Denizot (1818) describe the establishment of the Du Pont Powder Company at Eleutherian Mills. Also included are miscellaneous papers of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. Papers of Francis Gurney du Pont (1850-1904) contain notebooks on explosions at the gunpowder mills (1815-1902). Papers of Du Pont de Nemours include a copy of his essay on education in the United States entitled "Sur l'éducation nationale dans les Etats-Unis d'Amérique" n.d. This essay was written at the suggestion of Thomas Jefferson during the summer of 1800. It was sent to Jefferson for correction and translation, but this process was never completed. An autograph album of Union Civil War leaders, kept by William A. La Motte, an army officer of Wilmington, Del., includes one of the last signatures of Abraham Lincoln. Papers collected by Philadelphia attorney, Howard Potts, include items relating to law enforcement in Philadelphia with particular reference to the Olmstead Affair (1809). Also included is a letter of Tench Coxe concerning political affairs in Pennsylvania (1808) and other letters, pamphlets and broadsides dealing with early 19th century internal improvements and the promotion of agriculture. There is a rent roll for the colonial Manor of Moreland (Phila. County) in 1775. The collection contains a letter of George Washington to Irish political leader Sir Edward Newenham (1788). Also included are manuscript volumes entitled "Etats de Franche Comté, 1606-1673". These are extracts made in the eighteenth century from Francois Nicholas Eugène Droz, "Recueil des édits, déclarations, lettres patents et arrêts du Conseil des Rois Louis XIV et Louis XV enregistrés en la Chambre des comptes, Cour des aides domaines et finances, ci-devant séante à Dole, et des règlemens de cette Cour depuis las réunion de las France-Commté à la Couronne" (Besancon, 1778).