Interview with Thomas E. Doremus, 1958 January 16 [audio](part 3)

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  • Work during World War I
    Partial Transcript: "We not only promoted the patriotic sport, but we promoted trap shooting and the organization of gun clubs because it would produce more business for us.So all during the war we more or less hid under the cover of the 'patriotic sport' but we were anxious to sell powder."
    Synopsis: Doremus talks about his work during the war years. He says that his department was primarily focused on trap shooting and the "patriotic sport."
    Keywords: Advertising; Patriotic sport; Trap shooting; World War 1914-1918
  • Working in China
    Partial Transcript: "I was asked by Mr. Pickard, who was then Vice-president charge of sales, to go to China to represent the company and to open an office in Shanghai."

    "He said, 'Oh, you will be the Mr. P. S. du Pont of the Far East and your job will be just to see that everything works along smoothly in the office along DuPont lines, and all your activities will be largely entertaining, playing golf, making yourself very popular with the foreigners there and the Chinese."
    Synopsis: Doremus talks about opening an office for DuPont in China. He describes his job and the people he worked with in China. He says that he became the sales manager in Shanghai because the first sales manager, a Russian, was outed as a spy. He describes having to become familiar with all of DuPont's products, not just sporting powder.
    Keywords: China; DuPont; Sales; Shanghai, China
  • Selling DuPont products in China; Social life in China
    Partial Transcript: "We had a great difficulty in doing business there because we had no long names. we had no chops as they call them over there. Chinese are great believers in pictures. They buy soap because of the illustration, and they bought dyes because of the illustration, so we had to develop all that.
    Synopsis: Doremus describes the challenges of selling DuPont products to Chinese customers. He says that their first several orders went unfilled because DuPont tended to ignore their export businesses. He talks about gentlemen's agreements between DuPont and Nobel and that DuPont selling explosives in China violated this agreement. Doremus talks about his memberships in various social clubs while he was in China. He talks about how he funded his lifestyle while he was in China.
    Keywords: Advertising; China; Expense accounts; Gentlemen's agreements; Sales; Shanghai Club; Social clubs
  • Wages in China; Selling indigo dye in China
    Partial Transcript: "They used to pay us when we were over there in local currency, normally the currency is 2 to l, but at one time local currency was worth more than our dollars."
    Synopsis: Doremus talks about his wages while he was in China. He says that he was paid in "taels" which he describes as a measure of value, that he would use to purchase Shanghai dollars when they held a good value. Doremus talks about selling indigo dye in China and says that he handled an order for a million pounds of dye at once, an unheard of number for DuPont at the time. DuPont could not fill the order, and thought it was possibly false. They investigated the order, found it was true, and set up a dye laboratory in China. He says that the disruption caused by World War I left China starved for indigo dye.
    Keywords: American Dollars; Dyes; Indigo; Shanghai dollars; Taels; Wages
  • Friends in China; Time as President of the American Association of China; Securing a new portrait of George Washington
    Partial Transcript: "Now there is no DuPont activity over there. Not even in Hong Kong."
    Synopsis: Doremus talks about his friends still in China and says that as far as he knows DuPont, as of 1858, had no one working in China. He says that the office in Shanghai closed in 1923 but DuPont continued to do business there. Doremus talks about his time as the president of the American Association of China and that every year they threw a George Washington Ball. He describes the ball in 1921 and a Chinese painted portrait of George Washington. He talks about how he secured a higher quality portrait of George Washington and that it took from 1921 to 1926 for the portrait to be painted and shipped to China. He says that the painting hung from 1926-1941 when a Japanese officer took it. He describes how the painting was used to advertise an American Sesquicentennial celebration in 1926.
    Keywords: American Association of China; China; Dyes; Fabrikoid; Paints
  • Working with Felix du Pont to assist artist Stanley Arthur
    Partial Transcript: "So Felix said to me, 'Can't you suggest some way that we can do something for Stanley Arthur's so that he won't think its charity, but it will mean some money for him?'"
    Synopsis: Doremus talks about working with Felix du Pont to put together an art book meant to support artist Stanley Arthur. He says that Arthur painted the George Washington's portrait at the American Association of China's club. He says that the book did not sell very well.
    Keywords: Du Pont, A. Felix (Alexis Felix), 1879-1948; Paintings; Stanley Arthur