Interview with Maurice du Pont Lee, 1969 February 13-14 [audio](part 3)

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  • Gluing shoes; Involvement with the Old Hickory Chemical Company
    Partial Transcript: "I found that the shoe and foot on which I glued the sole was very dry... I thought how this might benefit the company..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about how he wrecked his shoe and repaired it with glue, after getting caught in the rain the glued shoe remained dry. This prompted DuPont to get into the business of gluing soles to shoes. This also prompted talks with Spaulding for use in golf clubs. He talks about his involvement with the Old Hickory Chemical Company. He says that he was president for thirty years and that the company never had an accident. He talks about the importance of Carbon disulfide in manufacturing Rayon and Cellophane
    Keywords: Carbon disulfide; Cellophane; Glue; Old Hickory Chemical company; Rayon; Shoe making; shoes
  • Lee's involvement in Cellophane; Moisture proofing Cellophane; Making Cellophane adhesive; Expansion of Cellophane and Rayon production
    Partial Transcript: "The history of cellophane is very interesting to me..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about the history of Cellophane. Lee talks about traveling to France where he learned how to make Cellophane. He talks about the Cellophane industry in France and says that they had considered coming to the United States, but decided against doing so. Lee talks about moisture proofing cellophane so that it would not dry out. He says that he was general manager of the Cellophane plant in Buffalo, NY. Lee talks about making Cellophane an adhesive surface, so that tax stamps for cigarette packets would stick to it. He says that cellophane was first used as a packing material for chewing gum. He talks about the expansion of Cellophane and Rayon manufacture. He talks about picking a site near Richmond, VA.
    Keywords: Buffalo, Ny.; Cellophane; Chewing Gum; Cigarettes; France; Moisture proofing; Old Hickory Plant; Packaging; Patents; Rayon; Richmond, Va.; Spruance Plant
  • Preserving a historic home on DuPont's Spruance Plant site; Ingredients in Cellophane; Management of the Rayon and Cellophane businesses
    Partial Transcript: "The Spruance Plant site has been excellent..."
    Synopsis: Lee continues to talk about purchasing the Spruance Plant site near Richmond Virginia. He says that they found a relative of the family that built the house and he was willing to move it to a new site. He describes the home in detail. He talks about the construction and expansion of the Spruance plant. He talks about the ingredients of Cellophane. He talks about how DuPont purchased wood pulp for Cellophane and Rayon manufacture. He talks about management and finances in the Rayon and Cellophane businesses.
    Keywords: Ampthill Plantation; Cellophane; Finance; Management; Rayon; Richmond, Va; Spruance Plant; Water
  • Lee's civic interests while working at DuPont; Building Parks around Wilmington, Del.; Buying the Wilmington Country Club
    Partial Transcript: "In 1948 I was appointed to the board of park commissioners by the judge of the superior court..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about building a rose garden in Wilmington, Del. while he was on the board of park commissioners in the city. He talks about how he came to be on the park board and talks about others who have also been on Wilmington's park board. He notes that the board lasted over 80 years and was a voluntary organization. He says that the board of 12 volunteers functioned better than the current set-up of one paid park director at present. He talks about buying the Wilmington Country Club so that it would not become a shopping center. He talks about how he acquired the funds to make this purchase. He talks about the current fate of the property and suggests that it might yet be purchased by Tower Hill School or the University of Delaware. He talks about William Winder (Chick) Laird and his role in the Country Club and property management.
    Keywords: Laird, W. W. (William Winder), 1910-1989; Parks; Tower Hill School, Wilmington, Del.; University of Delaware, Newark, Del.; Wilmington Country Club; Wilmington, Del.
  • Thoughts on William Winder (Chick) Laird; More on Lee's career at DuPont; Thoughts on charity and giving back to the community
    Partial Transcript: "Chick's quite a character, you know..." "For about eight years I was on the advisory council of the engineering school in Princeton." "I am entirely dependent on the employees of the DuPont Company who are earning my dividends, my pension...I'm not going to take that accumulated support to the cemetery with me. And I said if you can get that into people's thick heads, your troubles are over."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about his relationship with Chick Laird, whom he describes as a "character" and a "good community man." He talks about the eight years he spent on the advisory council of the engineering school at Princeton University. He gives his thoughts on a lack of kindness in the world and says that while he is wealthy, he owes it to his community to share his wealth and knowledge.
    Keywords: Laird, W. W. (William Winder), 1910-1989; Princeton University
  • Interest in Alcoholics Anonymous; Helping to establish an Alcoholics Anonymous chapter at DuPont; DuPont's interest in cancer research; Origins of Lee's interests in Alcoholic's Anonymous
    Partial Transcript: "It was started... by a man coming to me with a letter of introduction from New York, as soon as I saw the letter I knew there was something interesting there because that man was a drunk..." "Several of Irenne du Pont's relatives died of cancer and it was a national problem..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about his interest in Alcoholics Anonymous. He explains that it began when he met someone applying for a job at DuPont who said that he was an alcoholic and that he wanted to start an Alcoholics Anonymous group at DuPont. He talks about his views on alcohol control and helping to establish the Alcoholics Anonymous chapter. He talks about DuPont's interests in cancer research. He talks more about his interests in Alcoholics Anonymous and Alcoholism.
    Keywords: Alcoholics Anonymous; Biochemical research; Cancer; Medicine; Prohibition; Research; Wilmington Association for the Study of Alcoholism
  • Construction and design of the DuPont Country Club; DuPont social clubs
    Partial Transcript: "The original DuPont Country Club is now used as a cafeteria at the Experimental Station..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about his membership in the DuPont Country Club and building and designing a new club. Lee and the interviewers talk about other social clubs for DuPont Employees. He also talks about starting an employee recreational association for DuPont's engineering department. He talks about organizing lectures for employees to attend.
    Keywords: Brandywine Club; DuPont Country Club; Gentieu, Pierre A., 1842-1930; Henry Clay (Del.: Village)
  • Starting the DuPont Chorus; Traveling to Mexico to scout a plant site
    Partial Transcript: "We started that in a small way and finally I went to get a professional teacher or leader..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about starting the DuPont Chorus. He talks about their performances. He talks about traveling to Mexico to scout a potential site for a new DuPont plant. He says that he met the King of Romania while on this trip and played bridge with him. He says that the plant was to be a Rayon and Cellophane plant, but they never built it.
    Keywords: Cellophane; DuPont Chorus; Mexico; Rayon