Interview with Thomas E. Doremus, 1958 January 30 [audio]

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  • DuPont's sales letters; Social clubs in Seattle; Constructing the Cascade Tunnel
    Partial Transcript: "In 1924 the first sales letter came out, and it ran until 1956."
    Synopsis: Doremus talks about his role in establishing a DuPont newsletter that ran from 1924-1956. He talks about his role in social clubs while he lived in Seattle, Wa. He describes the personal and business connections he made in these clubs. He talks about the planning and construction of the Cascade Tunnel at Stevens Pass near Seattle Washinton. He talks about how explosive companies competed to supply dynamite for building the tunnel.
    Keywords: Atlas Powder Company; Cascade Tunnel; Dynamite; Giant Powder Company; Hercules Powder Company; Newsletters; Seattle, Wa.
  • Traveling to South America; Celebrating Christmas at sea; Praise for Argentina
    Partial Transcript: "Mr. Brown wanted to know if I would go down to South America representing DuPont. That was quite a nice thing for me, although quite a problem, but I said, 'Of course, if you want me to go.'"
    Synopsis: Doremus describes traveling around South America as a representative for DuPont. He explains that many salespeople in South America were cutting prices as a way to compete with each other, and the price cuts were so deep no company was making money. Doremus talks about celebrating Christmas at sea while he was traveling in South America. He talks about DuPont's sodium nitrate mine in Chile and how much he admired Argentina. He says that he experienced his first air-conditioned hotel in Argentina.
    Keywords: Argentina; Bolivia; Brazil; Chile; Christmas; Chuquicamata, Chile; Collusion; DuPont; French Language; Nobel; Oligoplies; Peru; Sodium Nitrate; South America; Uruguay
  • Returning to the United States from South America; Taking over DuPont's New York office in 1926
    Partial Transcript:
    Synopsis: Doremus talks about returning from South America and informing the company about the findings from his trip. He says that he took over DuPont's explosive exports office in 1926. He talks about running the office in New York. He says that he visited and conducted business in many speakeasies. He says that he often stayed up until the wee hours of the morning doing business.
    Keywords: Du Pont, Iré né e, 1876-1963; Explosives; Exports; Prohibition; South America; Speakeasies; Thomas McGovern Contracting Comapny
  • Dealing with contractors building the Delaware Aqueduct in New York
    Partial Transcript: "One of the interesting things I spoke to you about with these contractors: you had to use the same sort of 'face' with them"
    Synopsis: Doremus talks about dealing with contractors and a need to impressed them. He accomplished this by buying a limousine and hiring a chauffeur. He says that the car impressed the foremen and helped Doremus keep business moving. He describes keeping the car clean; it was often covered in mud from the construction sites he visited.
    Keywords: Business; Goodwill
  • 1928 trip to Europe
    Partial Transcript: "In 1928, I made a trip to Europe and visited France, Germany, and England. It was fifty percent a pleasure trip."
    Synopsis: Doremus talks about a joint business/pleasure trip he took to Europe. He talks about visiting DuPont's offices in Europe and describes a trip to the Nobel offices in London where he was served brandy between 75 and 100 years old. He talks about meeting Owen Young in Paris, France.
    Keywords: Business; Europe; Nobel; Paris, France; Trips; Young Plan; Young, Owen, 1874-1962
  • The Great Depression; Vice-presidency at the Graselli Company; Troubles with the smokeless powder business; Organization at DuPont;
    Partial Transcript: "During the Depression I can only say that my own experience was very, very sad."
    Synopsis: Doremus talks about his personal experiences losing money during the Great Depression. Doremus talks about his experiences as a vice president at the Graselli Company following DuPont's purchase of the company. He says that part of his job was helping the former leadership of Graselli move to Wilmington, Delaware. Doremus talks about troubles with DuPont's smokeless powder department and describes how the department lost business through the 1920s. He later ran that department from 1932 to 1936. In 1936 it became part of the explosives department. He says that after that he worked as DuPont's "diplomat" to several explosives companies.
    Keywords: DuPont; Graselli Company; Great Depression; Money; Organization; Smokeless powder; Wilmington, Del.