Oral histories on work and daily life in the Brandywine Valley

About this collection

A collection of approximately 200 interviews conducted between 1953 and 1990 with people who lived and worked in New Castle County, Delaware. The recollections of the subjects cover a period from about 1900 to 1960. While the majority of the interviews are with those who have a connection with the DuPont Company or du Pont family either as employees or inhabitants of the area surrounding the company's operation on the Brandywine River, the collection also includes interviews with those who worked in other industries in Delaware during this era such as Hodgson Woolen Mill, Lobdell Car Wheel Company, Hoopes Brother & Darlington, and Joseph Bancroft & Sons. In addition to documenting work and labor during this period, the interviewers delve deeply into the social and cultural lives of their subjects. Issues related to domesticity, gender, education, childhood, ethnicity, medicine, etc. are among the topics covered in the interviews. Also of note are interviews with a journalist (Fred Reybold) and an early broadcaster (Willard Wilson) who worked in Delaware.

    For more information about the collection, click here to view the finding aid.
    Image: Vance Mitchell during 1968 interview. Click to view.

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Interview with Franklin W. Bradway, 1958 February 13 [audio](part 1)
Bradway details DuPont's contract work with the Allied governments during both world wars and the Korean War, the development of the plant at Old Hickory, and the rise and fall of the sporting powder business. He eventually became a manager of the smokeless powder division and later the vicechairman of the Board of Benefits and Pensions.
Interview with Franklin W. Bradway, 1958 February 13 [audio](part 2)
Bradway details DuPont's contract work with the Allied governments during both world wars and the Korean War, the development of the plant at Old Hickory, and the rise and fall of the sporting powder business. He eventually became a manager of the smokeless powder division and later the vicechairman of the Board of Benefits and Pensions.
Interview with Francis J. Friel, 1960 September 20 [audio](part 1)
Friel describes his childhood in Wilmington, including his school years, fairs in the city, explosions and fires in the mills, and his career at DuPont. He also describes his impressions of various members of the du Pont family.
Interview with Francis J. Friel, 1960 September 20 [audio](part 2)
Friel describes his childhood in Wilmington, including his school years, fairs in the city, explosions and fires in the mills, and his career at DuPont. He also describes his impressions of various members of the du Pont family.
Interview with Frank S. MacGregor, 1961 July 21 [audio]
MacGregor discusses various coworkers with whom he worked, how he began at the company, the development of rayon, interactions between DuPont and various firms, and his responsibilities as control manager. He also describes his work in the paint industry, the company during wartime, why the DuPont company built the Hotel du Pont, and his experiences working abroad in Argentina.
Interview with Maurice du Pont Lee, 1969 February 13-14 [audio](part 3)
Lee describes his work as the manager of the manufacture of cellophane and rayon, the entrance of DuPont into cellophane, the establishment of a new plant in Virginia, his philanthropic ventures in Wilmington, and the beginning of Alcoholic Anonymous in the company in the 1940s. His interview also details the design and building of the DuPont Country Club. He also discusses his mother's interest in psychic matters, the development of Rodney Square, the construction of I-95 in Wilmington, working in the Office of Civil Defense, and his work on the National Parks Commission.
Interview with Maurice du Pont Lee, 1969 February 13-14 [audio](part 4)
Lee describes his work as the manager of the manufacture of cellophane and rayon, the entrance of DuPont into cellophane, the establishment of a new plant in Virginia, his philanthropic ventures in Wilmington, and the beginning of Alcoholic Anonymous in the company in the 1940s. His interview also details the design and building of the DuPont Country Club. He also discusses his mother's interest in psychic matters, the development of Rodney Square, the construction of I-95 in Wilmington, working in the Office of Civil Defense, and his work on the National Parks Commission.
Interview with E.K. Bolton, 1961 September 14 [audio]
Bolton describes his working career and research in the chemical department, studying organic chemistry in Germany at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, and the company during World War I. He also describes various colleagues during his career. He also discusses the state of the industry during his career at DuPont, both in the United States and abroad.
Interview with Franklin W. Bradway, 1958 February [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Franklin W. Bradway recalling his time workig for DuPont as a chemist. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview with Francis J. Friel, 1960 September 20 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Francis Friel who worked as a chemist for DuPont. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.