Interview with Maurice du Pont Lee, 1969 February 6-7 [audio](part 1)

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  • Lee's early education; Attending college
    Partial Transcript: "My earliest education was in Washington at three private schools..." "I entered Cornell in 1904..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about his education at private schools in Washington, D.C. He talks about his friends, many of whom were the children of prominent politicians, including Theodore Roosevelt's children. He talks about going to Cornell University. He says that he tutored students and taught thermodynamics during his senior year. He talks about tutoring a student from Kentucky named Debard who he reconnected with as an adult. He talks about faculty and instructors at Cornell when he was a student.
    Keywords: Cornell University; Education; Friends; Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919; School; Washington, D.C.
  • Pranks from his college years; More on Lee's time in college; Joining the DuPont company; William McKinley's assassination; Alfred I. du Pont's hunting accident
    Partial Transcript: "My brother... who was one year ahead of me in university..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about some pranks from his university years. He talks about his draw to mechanical engineering. He talks about his expectations of joining DuPont. Lee talks about the accident which cost Alfred I. du Pont his eye and that he got to know him as he was recovering from his injury.
    Keywords: du Pont family; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; Lee, Cazenove Gardner, 1882-1945; Mechanical engineering; Skates
  • First job at DuPont; Relationship with Alfred I. du Pont's children
    Partial Transcript: "I went to the employment department and asked for a job..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about his first job at DuPont in 1908. He says that he worked in the purchasing department and describes the staffing and allocation of work within that department. He says that he held that job for two years and then went into the engineering department. He talks about Alfred I. du Pont's children and how he got Alfred I. du Pont to give them money when they needed it. He talks about Alfred I. du Pont's children and their relationships with their parents.
    Keywords: Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Jobs; Wilmington, Del.; Work
  • Working as an engineer; Working at Carney's Point, Nj. and Kenvil, Nj.; Fatalism in the gunpowder manufacturing world
    Partial Transcript: "I went into the engineering department and was immediately sent to Ashburn, Missouri as assistant field engineer on the construction of a nitric acid plant, a dynamite packing house, and reconstruction of the power plant.
    Synopsis: Lee talks about transferring to the engineering department at DuPont. He says that right after joining it he was sent to Ashburn, Missouri to assist in the reconstruction of several buildings at a dynamite plant. He explains that they had to work around the factory at night and on holidays. He lived in Hannibal, Missouri at the time and tells some stories about his time there. He talks about some of the other engineers he worked with. He talks about working at a Hercules Powder Company plant in Kenvil, NJ. shortly after the court ordered split-up of DuPont. He talks about a close call accident he had working in Kenvil, NJ and explains why he feels it is necessary to have a sense of fatalism when working with gunpowder and explosives.
    Keywords: Accidents; Ashburn, Missouri; Carney's Point, Nj.; Construction; Enigneering; Fatalism; Hannibal, Missouri; Hercules Powder Company; Kenvil, Nj.; Safety; Salvation Army
  • Return to work in Wilmington, Del.; World War I
    Partial Transcript: "I left Kenvil after the job was finished, I was transferred back to Wilmington..." "Then I was transferred to... smokeless powder..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about his next job after he was done his work in Kenvil, Nj. He talks about the beginning of World War I. He talks about building a smokeless powder plant for the British government at the start of World War I. He says the palnt was an expansion of a factory already at Carney's Point, Nj. He talks about delivering a letter of thanks from the British government in 1919. He talks some more about the Carney's Point plant. He says that after the plan in Carney's Point was built, he was sent to England to build a plant for the British government there. He talks about the ship journey from the United States to England and his concerns about spies on board the ship. He talks about the differences between British smokeless gunpowder and the smokeless gunpowder made by DuPont.
    Keywords: Carney's Point, Nj.; Smokeless gunpowder; Spies; Wilmington, Del; World War (1914-1918)
  • Working in England; Getting into the dye business; Making synthetic indigo
    Partial Transcript: "Some days I discussed with the military people the desirability of building the plant in England... at all..." "I went out, and I found the old German..."
    Synopsis: Lee explains that he convinced the British government to not build the gunpowder plant. He says that DuPont told him to go to a German owned artificial dye plant in Chester, England. He says that plant was not operating, but he got to know the German dye workers, now prisoners, held there who eventually agreed to show Lee how the plant worked. He says that they wrote a book on how to operate the plant and that marked DuPont's entry into the dye industry. He says that after that he was told to leave because Germany had threatened unrestricted submarine warfare. He talks about making synthetic indigo. He says that he returned to England in 1919 to collect more information for DuPont's dye business. He says that he was summoned to Paris, France to serve as advisers regarding dye reparations after the end of World War I. He talks about getting to the front lines to collect samples of gunpowder for the smokeless gun powder department at DuPont.
    Keywords: Chester, England; Dyes; Paris France; Reparations; Synthetic Indigo; Treaty of Versailles; Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924; World War (1914-1918)
  • Meeting German business men while working with Woodrow Wilson; The dye industry; Thoughts on Francis I. du Pont
    Partial Transcript: "In our sessions with President Wilson and his subordinates the German counterpart to ourselves across the table were three German... college men who knew their business, I was very much impressed with these three men..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about the dye industry and meeting German businessmen while helping Woodrow Wilson to negotiate dye industry reparations following World War I. He explains how these reparations were distributed following the war. He says that he met one of these men in later years, and that he had became an American citizen and worked for DuPont. He continues to talk about the dye industry. He talks about his association with Francis I. du Pont. He talks about other members of the du Pont family.
    Keywords: du Pont family; Du Pont, Francis I. (Francis Iré né e), 1873-1942; Dye industry; Reparations; Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924; World War (1914-1918)