Interview with Maurice du Pont Lee, 1969 February 6-7 [audio](part 2)

Hagley ID:
  • World War I
    Partial Transcript: "When World War I started the Germans came to his hunting lodge..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about his experiences working in England during World War I. He tells a story about a colleague who joined the English army and eventually was put in charge of explosive manufacture for the British government. He talks about a man he knew who worked as a double agent in the British and German secret services.
    Keywords: Africa; Espionage; Spies; World War (1914-1918)
  • Mother's move to Georgetown; Du Pont Circle and the statue of Samuel Francis Du Pont
    Partial Transcript: "Mother's move to Georgetown or west Washington when Brother and I left for college in 1904 was a very remarkable thing..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about his mother's move to Georgetown following him and his brother starting college. He describes here home. He talks about how his mother had an outdoor water fountain that she allowed people from the neighborhood to use. He says that every night she let 100 boys or girls in and taught them skills and trades. He talks about Du Pont Circle and replacing the statue of Samuel Francis Du Pont in favor of a fountain. He talks about placing the statue in the city of Wilmington, and cleaning it.
    Keywords: Charity; Du Pont, Samuel Francis, 1803-1865; Education; Georgetown, Washington D.C.; Homes; Water fountains; Wilmington, Del.
  • Lee's mother; Contacts with the British
    Partial Transcript: "Mother was a wonderful letter writer, she was a brilliant woman."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about his mother's background and education. He describes her as fighting against oppression whenever she could. He describes how his mother had seminary students over for dinner and took notes of their ambitions. When she heard about one of them straying from his ambitions she wrote to them, inquiring what changed their minds. He changes topics to World War I and notes that he rarely worked directly with his British counterparts.
    Keywords: Charity; Wellesley College; World War (1914-1918)
  • DuPont stock dispute and Alfred I. du Pont
    Partial Transcript: "I presume it is pretty generally known what caused the differences among the management of the DuPont company in 1915..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about disputes within the du Pont family. He talks about the rift between Albert I. du Pont and much of the rest of the family. He explains that T. Coleman offered to sell his stock to Pierre Samuel du Pont. He says that Alfred I. wanted the company to buy T. Coleman's stock and sell it to the employees. Alfred I. sued and won in court, but the company did not want to buy the stock. Lee says that after that Alfred I. was effectively forced out of the company. He says that to his knowledge he was the only voter in the DuPont company who voted in favor of Alfred I.
    Keywords: Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; Du Pont, Pierre S. (Pierre Samuel), 1870-1954; Du Pont, T. Coleman (Thomas Coleman), 1863-1930
  • Sympathies for Alfred I. du Pont; Trying to get Alfred I. representation on DuPont's board; Death of Alfred I. du Pont's second wife; Origins of Alfred I. du Pont's charity
    Partial Transcript: "The night of the vote I got into the elevator of the DuPont building... and it happened that Irenee du Pont was in the elevator and he turned to me and said... 'I'm sorry for you Maurice.'"
    Synopsis: Lee talks about the fallout from the stock dispute in the du Pont family. He says that he was worried about getting fired due to his support of Alfred I. du Pont. After the fact he resolved to be the hardest worker there to avoid termination. He says that the whole situation was incredibly unpleasant and strained his social relations at work. Lee says that he was Alfred I.'s only source of information within the company. He says that he told Lammot du Pont that Alfred I. needed representation on the board. The idea fell through and he had no representation. He talks about how Alfred I. du Pont was notified after his wife died. He says that after that Alfred I du Pont was lonely, so he went to visit him. He says that he suggested Alfred I. du Pont give his money to charity. He talks about the founding of Nemours Alfred I. du Pont Hospital for Children after his death. He talks about Alfred I. du Pont's investments in Florida.
    Keywords: Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; Du Pont, Emile Francis, 1898-1974; Du Pont, Iré né e, 1876-1963; Du Pont, Lammot, 1880-1952; Florida East Coast Railroad; Nemours Alfred I. du Pont Hospital for Children
  • Alfred I. du Pont in Florida during the Great Depression; Memories of Swamp Hall
    Partial Transcript: "He went in fifteen buildings and bought the bank, outright..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about what Alfred I. du Pont did while he lived in Florida during the Great Depression. He talks about current (1969) issues with du Pont's holdings in the state of Florida. Lee talks about his memories of Swamp Hall, Alfred I. du Pont's former home. He talks about Alfred I. du Pont's decision to tear down the home.
    Keywords: Banks; Florida; Great Depression; National bank of Jacksonville; Swamp Hall (Henry Clay, Del.: Dwelling)
  • Nemours Trading Company and reconstructing Europe after World War I; Artificial silk
    Partial Transcript: "He owned the Grand Central Palace in New York... he bought it and owned it and that was the trading company."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about the rise and fall of the Nemours Trading Company following World War I. He says that he does not believe the company was managed properly due to lack of experience, he says that Alfred I. left management of the company to others. He talks about working in DuPont's artificial silk company. He says that he toured Europe and established contacts with a French company that knew how to make the product if supplied with DuPont's money. He says that this led to the construction of DuPont's Spruance Plant and the invention of Rayon. He says that they eventually started making something closer to artificial silk, but he was unhappy with the quality. He talks more about running the business.
    Keywords: Dye industry; Nemours Trading Company; Rayon; Spruance Plant; Viscose; World War (1914-1918)
  • Labor dispute at a plant in Buffalo, NY.
    Partial Transcript: "I had hired a girl as a machine operator..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about a labor dispute at a DuPont plant in Buffalo, Ny. He talks about how he attempted to solve the dispute with Frances Perkins, whom he said that he knew personally. He talks about her approaches to mediating disputes when she worked for the New York's state government. He talks about New York's labor laws.
    Keywords: Buffalo, Ny.; Labor; Labor Laws; Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965
  • Acceptance of Rayon as a fabric; Buying a site for a factory in Nashville, Tennessee; Setting up a telephone exchange for the factory in Nashville
    Partial Transcript: "It was accepted pretty well for this reason, first it was cheap, second it had a very great sheen..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about the acceptance of Rayon as a fabric for use in clothes. He talks about his experiences building large factories. He talks about visiting a site near Nashville and buying it. He talks about setting up a telephone exchange for the community surrounding the factory in Nashville.
    Keywords: Factories; Nashville, Tn; Rayon; Silk; Telecommunications; Telephones; Textiles

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