Interview with Katherine Collison, 1954 September, 1955 January [audio]

Hagley ID:
  • Location of a Keg Mill; Fourth of July celebrations
    Partial Transcript: "All my life there was no keg mill that I knew of down there..."
    Synopsis: Collison says that her father was chief book keeper for DuPont and she grew up in the Belin House. Collison talks about the location of a keg mill in the area around the village of Henry Clay. She talks about Fourth of July celebrations and the fireworks. She talks about her childhood friendship with Sophie M. du Pont. She talks about her childhood neighborhood and the people who lived near her.
    Keywords: Belin House (Greenville, Del.); Du Pont, Sophie Madeleine, 1871-1894; Fourth of July; Free Park (Del.: Village); Henry Clay (Del.: Village); Stirling's store
  • Buildings around Hagley; Father's hat; Identifying objets and buildings in photographs
    Partial Transcript: "We would walk through the yard to save our shoes from the muddy field..." "My father had a very independent spirit and suffered terribly from the cold."
    Synopsis: Collison talks about the buildings around Hagley and getting around Hagley. She says that she was born in 1868. She talks about her father's hats. She identifies objects and buildings in photographs. She recalls watching Maurice and Louis du Pont fishing on the Brandywine.
    Keywords: Belin House (Greenville, Del.); Brandywine Creek; Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School; Du Pont, Louis Cazenove, 1868-1892; Du Pont, Maurice, 1866-1941; Fishing; Hagley Yard; Men's hats; Photographs
  • Women's work; Barn burning at Hagley; Relationship with Gibbons family
    Partial Transcript: "No decent woman did anything but live on her relatives in my day. She could be a school teacher but that was all." "My father was very fond of John Gibbons, the boss of Hagley Yard, who lived below us."
    Synopsis: Collison talks about women working could be teachers, she says that maids were worked especially hard and earned between $2.50 and $3.00 per week. Collison talks about Henry du Pont who re-employed workers dismissed for doing their work unsafely. That policy changed after he died and the workers started to burn down barns in retaliation. She describes how DuPont hired Pinkerton detectives to discover who was behind the acts of arson. She says that John Gibbon's son, Willy worked with the barn burners and was chosen to burn down her family's home, the Belin house.
    Keywords: Arson; Barns; Belin House (Greenville, Del.); Domestic Workers; Du Pont, Henry, 1812-1889; Gibbons, John; Gibbons, Willy; Hagley Yard; Labor; Maids; Manners; Pinkerton National Detective Agency; Safety; Women; Work
  • Wages at Hagley; Explosions at Hagley; Sunday Schools; Labor at the powder yard; Father's work for DuPont
    Partial Transcript: "I think they had higher wages than the other people..."
    Synopsis: She comments on wages at Hagley, and thinks 50 dollars a month was normal. She talks about explosions at Hagley Yard. She talks about a disliked clergyman, called Mr. Bartlett. Collison says that she remembers most of the men in the yard being in their 40s. She makes remarks on the quality of the powder men's education. Collison says that her father came to DuPont after working in the insurance
    Keywords: Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Brandywine Manufacturers' Sunday School; Dr. Chandler; Dr. Greenley; Explosions; Hagley Yard; Insurance; Medicine; Safety; Wages; Work; Yellow School (Wilmington, Del.)
  • Father's political views; Tracking time; Buildings at Hagley; Ethnic backgrounds of the powder men; Store, shopping, and wages
    Partial Transcript: "My father was a rabid, rabid Republican, he used to go around and tell them that if they didn't have a high tariff English people would export and throw them out of a job..." "Sometimes my father would take me to the polls. He would say, "You are going to vote one of these days. Mark my word!" He never said anything about franchise for women but he did say that much: that sometime women would be voting. He didn't say whether he was for it or against it. But I think he would have been for it."
    Synopsis: Collison talks about her father's political views. She says he was a Republican who supported a high tariff. Collison says that her father used to take her with him to vote because he believed that one day women would have the right to vote. She talks about politics in the villages around Hagley. She talks about time management and how DuPont's workers knew when it was time to go to work and leave. she talks about her daily schedule as well. She says that she cannot recall DuPont building any new buildings. She comments on Irish wakes. She notes that the workers seemed to be happy with their work. She talks about the ethnic backgrounds of workers in the yard. She talks about when and how the workers got paid and the store where most of them shopped. She talks about a boy who was used as a cat's paw by the barn burners
    Keywords: 19th Amendment; French Americans; Irish Americans; Irish wakes; Italian Americans; Republican party; Stirling's store; Suffragettes; Time; Wages; Women's right to vote
  • Church and social gatherings; Crossing the Brandywine Creek
    Partial Transcript: "The bridge separated Hagley Yard and the Lower Yard"
    Synopsis: Collison talks about church and social gatherings and recalls a church class that taught participants domestic skills. She talks about crossing the Brandywine Creek. The recording switches to an unnamed man's voice.
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Church; Community; Hagley Yard; Visiting
  • Unidentified man's voice pontificates about life
    Partial Transcript: "Those were the horse and buggy days you know.."
    Synopsis: An unidentified man's voice tells a humorous stories about the past and a couples 50th wedding anniversary. He speaks phrases in Pennsylvania German.
    Keywords: Family; Pennsylvania German language

Digitized material in this online archive may document imagery or language that reflects racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise offensive and harmful beliefs and actions in history. Hagley Library is engaged in ongoing efforts to address and responsibly present evidence of oppression and injustice in our collections. If you are concerned about the archival material presented here, or want to learn more about our ongoing work, please contact us at