Interview with Maurice du Pont Lee, 1969 February 13-14 [audio](part 4)

Hagley ID:
  • Mother's interest in communicating with the afterlife; Lee's personal psychic experiences
    Partial Transcript: "I think during her entire adult life my mother had some rather unusual experiences and she worked on psychic matters throughout her whole life..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about this mother's interests in psychics and the paranormal. He explains that she had a large library dedicated to the subject and that she had several personal experiences. He explains how his mother "photographed" the deceased using her mind's eye. He says that he gave her books and photographs to the Library of Congress. Lee says that his mother communicated with her deceased cousin, Archibald Henderson. Lee says that the extended family viewed her psychic activities as a research project rather than eccentricity. Lee says that he has never had any psychic experiences, but that he has tried to have them.
    Keywords: Library of Congress; Photographs; Psychics; The Paranormal
  • Lee's mother's philanthropy; The Society of the Lees of Virginia; Arlington Cemetery and Kennedy family graves
    Partial Transcript: "My interest in that stuff, that was generated by her, my interest in this field of human being came pretty early... long before I went to college..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about his mother's Philanthropy and says that he helped her run a boy's and girl's home in Georgetown, Washington D.C. He talks about being a member of the Society of Lees of Virginia, of which he is a member and former president. He says that he believes the Lee family should stop holding onto the legacy of Robert E. Lee and make their own legacy. Lee says that he pushed for a bill prohibiting graves in front of Robert E. Lee's he used this act to change the location of John F. Kennedy's grave and Robert F Kennedy's grave so that they could not be seen from Arlington House. He talks about loans given to deserving members of the Lee family by the Society of the Lees of Virginia. He talks about the family's veneration of Robert E. Lee as well as the general's personal character.
    Keywords: Arlington House; Arlington National Cemetery; Arlington, Va.; Charity; Kennedy, John F. 1917-1963; Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968; Lee, Cazenove Gardner, 1882-1945; Lee, Robert E., 1807-1870; Philanthropy; The Society of the Lees of Virginia
  • Rodney Square and Valley Garden
    Partial Transcript: "Two of those park things are strictly family, Rodney Square and Valley Garden, du Pont..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about the du Pont family's role in establishing Rodney Square as a park. He says that Irenee du Pont funded the park's construction. He talks about raising money to fund plantings in parks and gardens throughout the city of Wilmington. He talks more about Rodney Square and describes an attempt to raise the park to a higher level. He talks about defending Wilmington's parks from development. He talks about Valley Garden Park, also in Wilmington, Del. He talks about the trust fund set up for the gardens. He talks about a police force meant to guard the parks. He says that the police force had 22 members and that at present there is only one officer assigned to the parks, and that he is afraid to go into the parks after dark.
    Keywords: Du Pont, Iré né e, 1876-1963; Rodney Square; Rodney, Caesar, 1728-1784; Valley Garden Park; Wilmington, Del.
  • Christmas creche in Rodney Square
    Partial Transcript: "I selected Eighteenth and Washington Street as the location and for three years we really had something that was worth looking at... it didn't cost us one penny..."
    Synopsis: Lee describes a Christmas creche that he used to put on in Wilmington. He says that the creche one featured live animals. He says that the decoration in Rodney Square is not as nice as the first one, in part because they cannot have live animals in Rodney Square.
    Keywords: Celebrations; Christmas; Decorations; Rodney Square; Wilmington, Del.
  • I-95 and Wilmington's parks; Watering trees planted near roadways
    Partial Transcript: "I-95 is a very important thing... it was about ten years ago the state highway department took an aerial photograph of the city of Wilmington... it showed the parks were connected completely so there was a green strip right through the city..." "They contend that those 685 houses were slum buildings, I deny it, energetically..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about I-95 coming to Wilmington. He says that he fought development of the highway because the original plan would have destroyed many parks in Wilmington. He talks about funding the highways and getting them moved out of Wilmington's parks. He talks about how I-95 destroyed 685 homes and 3 churches. Lee describes how to water trees planted on streets.
    Keywords: I-95; National Park Commission; Parks; Roadwork; Wilmington, Del.
  • Time spent in the Office of Civil Defense
    Partial Transcript: "I was appointed director of Civil Defense on June 30th 1950..." "I was mixed up in the atomic work at DuPont, I don't talk too much about it, but I was in that and realizing the danger of that thing, I got interested in this, what can be done to protect the community.
    Synopsis: Lee talks about his time in the Office of Civil Defense. He talks about how he started the Office in Wilmington and gives his thoughts on how to keep a volunteer organization. He lists the names of people that he recruited to work with him. He says that he was aware of the atomic work being done at DuPont and became interested in the Office of Civil Defense because of his concerns about atomic bombs. He explains what he thinks the function of the Office of Civil Defense ought to be. He talks about the current world situation which he describes as a "stand-off." He thinks that Civil Defense should be continued as an educational program and that individuals should be taught how to take care of themselves.
    Keywords: Atomic bombs; Office of Civil Defense
  • Starting a new DuPont plant in Virginia; Hiding Lee's identity as a member of the du Pont family when buying real estate
    Partial Transcript: "We were interested in locating another plant in the state of Virginia and after considerable searching, E.K. Gladding, one of my assistant and I found a very good site..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about starting a new DuPont plant in Virginia. He talks about acquiring a home for the plant superintendent. He talks about the necessity of hiding his connections to the du Pont family and the DuPont company in order to purchase real estate for DuPont.
    Keywords: du Pont family; E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Ethics; Real estate
  • DuPont's position on pollution in the 1940s; Lee's interests in conservation; Rejection of politics; Educating prisoners
    Partial Transcript: "Dump it in the river, because there weren't so many people dumping in those days as there are today, the communities weren't as large..." "My principle conservation has been trying to save the parks..."
    Synopsis: Lee talk about DuPont's changing positions on pollution. He talks about buying waste slaked lime from a DuPont plant and reselling it to the plant in Carney's Point, Nj. Lee talks about his interest in conservation and protecting parks in Wilmington, Del. He tells a story about taking the mayor of Wilmington, City Council, and Board of Education to court over a dispute about building a school on public park land. He says that while he has been asked to run for city wide office in Wilmington, he has refused to run. He says that he also refuses to participate in civic organizations because he values his freedom of action in the event that the organization would do something he disagrees to do. He talks about spearheading efforts to educate prisoners.
    Keywords: Acid; Conservation; Education; Legal disputes; Parks; Pollution; Prisoners; Regulation; Schools; Slaked lime; Wilmington, Del.
  • The DuPont Company's role in the community
    Partial Transcript: "It is a trait of the du Pont's that they are difficult, retiring, and they don't throw their weight around... in recent years they are taking more of an interest..."
    Synopsis: Lee talks about the DuPont company's and du Pont family's role in the social life of Wilmington. Lee talks about scholarships that DuPont gives away to Wilmington students. He talks about the company and family's philanthropy. Lee expresses his belief that DuPont should not throw its weight around too much, but he says that one of the best things the company does is annual Red Cross drives.
    Keywords: du Pont family; Du Pont, William, 1896-1965; Greater Wilmington Development Council; Red Cross; Wilmington, Del.

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