Wilmington Trapshooting Association Records

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Delaware State Trapshooting Championship program, 1973The Manuscripts and Archives Department at Hagley Museum and Library is pleased to announce the addition of the Wilmington Trapshooting Association (WTA) Records to its collections. WTA traces its roots back to the DuPont Gun Club, founded in 1910 with the backing of the DuPont Company.

At its original location at the site of the modern-day DuPont Experimental Station, the club threw more than one million targets in its first year of operation-- contractors are reported to have reclaimed nearly 23 tons of lead from the first inch of earth that year. Lights were installed in 1915 for night shooting, eventually leading to the beginning of the end for the club. Even though night shooting was abandoned late in 1915, noise complaints led to a lawsuit that ultimately led to the DuPont Gun Club’s closure in 1916. The same year, former members reorganized as the Wilmington Trapshooting Association near Bellevue, Delaware.

From that location, the club moved to locations on Basin Road near New Castle and Minquadale before settling at its current location on Pulaski Highway in Newark.

The records donated to Hagley include board minutes, financial ledgers and photographs that outline not only the history of the club in its infancy, but throughout the 20th century. Trapshooting history can be found in many collections at Hagley. These include the papers of Irenee du Pont, Sr., John J. Raskob, DuPont/Vice Presidential Files of Hamilton Barksdale, DuPont Company Advertising, the Aurora Gun Club, Kinloch Gun Club, Delaware State Trapshooting Miscellany (also donated in 2013) and the scrapbook of Harriett Hammond, founder of the Nemours Gun Club, the first in the country exclusively for women.

Andrew Engel is Project Archivist in the Manuscripts and Archives Department at Hagley Museum and Library