E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company Minute Books

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The minute books of E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company were deposited at Hagley during the summer of 2012 on the occasion of the company’s 210th anniversary. Records dating from 1899 to 1940 include those of not only the DuPont Company, but also its Executive Committee, Finance Committee, “A” Bonus Committee, as well as the minute book from the separate E.I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Company, a holding company formed to consolidate DuPont’s holdings in the industry.Map with markings of Alfred I du Pont noting the company’s zones for powder manufacture and sale

With the passing of Eugene du Pont in 1902, the then president of the family-run firm, DuPont, was set into a period of turmoil as a successor for Eugene would need to be found. With a lack of interest from the partners in the company, it was decided the firm would be sold to the highest bidder.

With that decision, Alfred I. du Pont decided to purchase the company with the assistance of his two cousins, T. Coleman, and Pierre. Once the transfer was completed, the cousins went to work reorganizing the company. It was formally reincorporated in the state of Delaware on February 27, 1902. On February 28, members of both the old and new company met to accept the new certificate of incorporation and allocate shares of capital stock in the new corporation.Signatures of Francis G. du Pont, Henry Algernon du Pont, Alfred I. du Pont, Charles I. du Pont, Alexis I. du Pont, T. Coleman du Pont, Pierre S. du Pont, Francis I. du Pont, February 28, 1902.

In 1903, members of the powder company Executive Committee worked to reorganize the company along new efficient lines. At the seventh meeting of the committee, a motion was made to increase the amount of powder stored at the plants from one month, to a two-month supply. Alfred I. du Pont and J. A. Haskell were then appointed to come up with plans regarding the construction of new mills and the renovation of old mills to reach the new storage goal, as well as study locations for new plants.

Recommendations on the construction of new plants were made for Colorado, the Indian Territory and for work already underway in Birmingham, Alabama, and Bluefield, West Virginia. All said, the renovations and construction work were set to cost $628,000, and it was suggested by du Pont that “50% of the amount would probably be required this year and 50% next year.” Accompanying this report detailing the amount of powder sold in each district, du Pont included a map showing the division of the country into zones that the DuPont used for selling powder at the time. This report and its accompanying map were submitted to the Executive Committee in July of 1929.

Also included in the reports of Alfred I. du Pont through his tenure on the committee are his monthly reports on the black powder business. DuPont notes explosions, issues with unions, construction, inventory, and safety in his correspondence with the Executive Committee. Other committee reports are also included in the minutes of the Executive Committee, including Sporting Powder, Sales, and the short lived Committee on Government Smokeless Powder.

Andrew Engel is the digital project archivist for the Avon Collection in the Manuscripts and Archives Department at Hagley Museum and Library