E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Executive Records.
Hagley Museum & Library
Manuscripts & Archives Department
P.O. Box 3630
Wilmington, DE 19807-0630
17 linear ft.
The Executive Committee of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company was formed on February 4, 1903, as part of the reorganization and modernization of the company undertaken by Pierre S., T. Coleman, and Alfred I. du Pont. It was initially composed of the president and the department heads. The committee became the principal body for coordinating the work of the various departments of the rapidly growing company, establishing company organizational structure and policy, approving capital expenditures and contracts, and fixing salary levels, bonuses and other compensation.
This group of Executive Committee records is extremely fragmentary. They were received in three lots, each representing a culling from the complete file. The first lot contained files of historical interest from the 1903-1921 period in which the company assumed its modern shape. The second lot was limited to only a few subjects, primarily dossiers for patent and licensing agreements (1950-1972), for capital improvements (1972), and departmental annual reports (1981-1982). The third lot consists of committee files copies by David A. Hounshell and John K. Smith for their book, "Science and Corporatate Strategy". The files are arranged in six series. The "F" (Finance Committee), "O" (Operative Committee), and "X" (Executive Committee) files were superseded by a single series of "C" files beginning in 1963.
The files are arranged in alpha-numeric order. Each file contains one or more executive orders that were discussed and approved at the meeting indicated. The earlier files include a mixture of reports, letters, newsclippings, etc. Files C-1 to C-29 consist of approvals for capital improvements arranged by department, mostly for the year 1972 only. The files for the Employee Relations Dept. include an analysis of minority and female hiring and a policy statement on union organizing and collective bargaining. The file for the Public Relations Dept. includes a study of the company's internal communication by Daniel Yankelovich Inc. (1972) and a study of its "corporate positioning program" by Burson-Marsteller (1984). File C-30 contains departmental annual reports and updates (1981-1983) describing each department's activities and goals. File C-33 contains a policy statement on aid to education (1972), and file C-81 contains a policy statement regarding conflict of interest by directors and officers (1982).
The bulk of the files (C-82) concern patent and licensing agreements for chemical technology with both U.S. and foreign companies, assignments and disputes with particular inventors over their patent rights, and legal advice as to which patent claims might be disputed or ignored. The portion of the file from the late 1960s describe arrrangements for licensing Du Pont technology to Eastern Bloc countries, including a visit to Moscow in 1968. The "D" files are limited to organization charts (1914-1917) and a few items on the Hotel Du Pont. The "E" files are primarily service record information on members of the Executive Commitee giving some prior history of the person's career with Du Pont. There is also a file on the dissolution of the Nobel-Dynamite Trust Co., Ltd. as a result of World War I.
The "F" files primarily consist of the 1950-1962 counterparts of the C-82 patent files. There are also files on the International Freighting Corporation, Inc., a Du Pont subsidiary operating steamships to Latin America, on the Kings Creek Oyster Corporation, and on a role for the Du Pont Engineering Company in developing the Port of Wilmington in the 1920s. The "O" files are routine documents of the Operative Committee, plus a small file on the "Du Pont Oval" trademark. The bulk of the "X" files are also the 1951-1962 counterparts of the patent and licensing files. In addition, file X-536 has material relating to a new dynamite plant in the Philippines, relations with Latin American subsidiaries, and a notice of discontinuing information exchanges with the Axis countries in the summer of 1941. File X-552 describes the company's response to tariffs and reciprocal trade agreements (1935-1956). File X-918 describes a project to build a powder plant in Chile (1914-1922). File X-1014 contains authorizations to apply for trademarks for Du Pont products, both successful and unsuccessful (1917-1962). File X-1029 contains additional reports of the International Freighting Corporation, and File X-879 contains reports from Nobel Industries Ltd. and Nobel Explosives Co., Ltd.
The earliest files describe the merger of most of the nation's powder companies into the E.I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Company in 1903. Other important subjects of the 1903-1921 period include the proposed purchase of the American operations of Bayer, illustrated reports on growing camphor in Florida, the purchase of the Winchester Repeating Arms Co., the need for more employee housing in Wilmington, the formation of the Du Pont Chemical Co. to dismantle former war plants, and the steps leading to the abandonment of the original Brandywine Works. File X-919 contains testimony of Irénée du Pont and Morris R. Porcher before a 1922 Senate subcommittee investigating monopoly in the dyestuffs industry and a 1926 Public Health Service report on tetraethyl lead. There is information on employee incentives such as bonus, life insurance and profit-sharing plans, as well as notices from the National Civic Federation, and safety notices and statistics. File X-984 includes an interesting account of the attempt of General Motors to develop a joint venture in the Soviet Union. A 1930 report assesses economic and political conditions in the period of Stalin's first Five Year Plan. File X-381 contains Walter Dorwin Teague's presentation book for the design of the Du Pont Pavilion at the 1939 World's Fair. File X-1040 contains the first announcement to the stockholders of the discovery of nylon, and there is also an illustrated report on the town of Seaford, Del., showing the impact of the nylon plant there.
Another report describes the state of the Cuban sugar cane industry. The files also include a memorial of Edmond Grillet of Comptoir Textiles Artificiels and a copy of the will of James B. Duke. The files collected by Hounshell and Smith are a selection specifically designed to support their research. In copying and collecting these documents, the original order was destroyed, so the material has been arranged in five artificial subseries: files arranged by department; files dealing with multiple departments; committee files; development manager's group files; and Executive Committee historical files.
All of these files contain reports and correspondence to the Executive Committee relating to major R&D programs, new product development, rewards for successful innovations (including the "A" bonus), new business opportunitite, aid to chemical education, and diversification efforts. The records also include two dividend record books which list the date declared and rate per share from 1904 to 1967. Earlier entries also list dividends paid by the E.I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Company, Du Pont Chemical Company, Industrial Salvage Company, Remington Arms Company, and Chevrolet Motor Company.