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 Phillip Kirkland, 1990 December 4 [audio]
Kirkland describes his career working with the spray welding devices, including a detailed description of the function of the machine and the origins of the parts. He also briefly describes his working career, including business practices of the company.
Interview with Willard B. Crichton and Theodore Pyle Crichton, 1990 October 27 [audio]
The Crichton brothers detail their father's career with DuPont and his grandmother's friendship with Mrs. Copeland. The interview describes the property around Free Park, changes the Crichton family made to their rental home, various vegetation in the neighborhood, family dining customs, Christmas traditions, and the accomplishments of both Willard and Theodore.
Interview with Willard B. Crichton and Theodore Pyle Crichton, 1990 October 27 [transcript]
Transcript of interview with Willard and Theodore Crichton who grew up on the Brandywine and recall Hagley grounds at the time including Belin House. The interview took place in Wilmington, Delaware.