Hagley Museum and Library

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Eleutherian Mills
Hagley Museum and Library is located in Delaware
Hagley Museum and Library
Nearest city Wilmington, Delaware
Coordinates 39°46′50″N 75°34′30″W / 39.78056°N 75.57500°W / 39.78056; -75.57500Coordinates: 39°46′50″N 75°34′30″W / 39.78056°N 75.57500°W / 39.78056; -75.57500
Built 1803
Architect Unknown
Architectural style No Style Listed
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 66000259[1]
Added to NRHP November 13, 1966

The Hagley Museum and Library is a nonprofit educational institution located in Wilmington, Delaware.

Library Overview[edit]

Hagley's library houses a major research collection of manuscripts, archives, photographs, pamphlets, and books documenting the history of American business and technology. As a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association, the library serves scholars from this country and abroad. The library includes the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society which coordinates Hagley's interactions with the world of scholarship in the fields of American economic, business, and technological history. A scholar-in-residence program, competitive fellowships, seminars, and historical conferences make the center the intellectual heart of Hagley. Current holdings comprise 37,000 linear feet in the Manuscripts and Archives Department, 290,000 printed volumes in the Imprints Department, 2 million visual items in the Pictorial Department,and more than 300,000 digital images and pages in the Digital Archives Department. The library and archival collections owned by Hagley are open to the public for research, with a catalog and digital archive available online.[2]

Museum Overview[edit]

Hagley is where the du Pont story begins in the Brandywine Valley and features the original du Pont mills, estate, and gardens. Hagley extends over 235 acres along the Brandywine River. Exhibits and demonstrations bring this important chapter in American history to life. Hagley tells the story of the people who worked for the DuPont Company in the nineteenth century, how they lived, and how their lifestyles changed during a century in tune with new machinery and new production methods in their workplace.

Overview[edit]

The Hagley Museum exhibits history from the early years of the du Pont family and corporation in the Brandywine Valley. It features the original du Pont mills, estate and gardens. The museum opened in 1957. The Hagley Museum and Library extends over 235 acres (0.95 km²) along the banks of the Brandywine Creek. Exhibits and demonstrations showcase the connections between early industrial technology and early American history. The Hagley Museum also exhibits personal stories of the people who worked for the DuPont Company in the nineteenth century, how they lived, and how their lifestyles changed during a century in tune with new machinery and new production methods in their workplace.

History[edit]

In 1802 a French immigrant, Eleuthere Irenee du Pont, chose the banks of Brandywine Creek to start his black powder mills. He chose the location because of the natural energy that the water provided; the availability of timber and willow trees (used to produce quality charcoal required for superior black powder); the proximity to the Delaware River (on which other ingredients of the powder – sulfur and saltpeter – could be shipped); and the quarries of gneiss which would provide building materials for the mills. The E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company's black powder manufactory became the largest in the world. In 1921 the mills along the Brandywine closed and parcels of the property were sold. It was on the occasion of the DuPont Company's 150th anniversary in 1952,that plans for a museum were established. Of course this is the site that began the DuPont legacy and it is located at the midpoint of the DuPont Historic Corridor.

Origin of the name[edit]

Hagley historians only know that the name was already in use well before E.I. du Pont expanded downstream from Eleutherian Mills in 1813 by purchasing the land that became the Hagley Yards. An 1813 document refers to the land as Hagley and it had been called Hagley as early as 1797, when its owner, Philadelphia Quaker merchant Rumford Dawes, applied for insurance on buildings that were said to be located in a place called Hagley on the Brandywine. Dawes had acquired the property in 1783. Since the name Hagley did not appear on the documents transferring ownership at that time, it seems likely that Dawes gave this name to the Brandywine location.

It seems likely that Delaware's Hagley was named for an English estate that was well known in the second half of the eighteenth century. It is likely that Dawes chose the name based on an English narrative poem entitled The Seasons by James Thomson. Hagley Hall was the seat of Thomson's patron the Baron Lyttleton, and the poem's description of a sylvan dale is strikingly reminiscent of the Brandywine Valley. The Seasons was popular in Philadelphia at the time that Rumford Dawes acquired and named Hagley. No other place of that name is known to have existed in eighteenth- century Europe or America. The English Hagley estate is located in the West Midlands countryside approximately ten miles southwest of Birmingham.

Chronology[edit]

November 1952– The Eleutherian Mills-Hagley Foundation, a non-profit, educational corporation received its charter from the State of Delaware.

May 1957– Hagley Museum was dedicated with the opening of the Henry Clay Mill building.

1961– The Longwood Library, founded in 1953 by Pierre S. duPont, merged with Hagley Museum and opened at the site of the original DuPont Company's powder works at Hagley.

1962– Eleutherian Mills, the du Pont family's ancestral home, was opened to the public.

1966– Designation of museum property as a National Historic Landmark.

1969– Restoration of the first DuPont Company Office was completed.

1971– Restoration of the E.I. du Pont Garden began.

1982– Workers' Hill opened. First fireworks show produced for Hagley members in honor of the museum's 25th anniversary. The annual fireworks continues on two weekends in June.

1984– Hagley Museum and Library was designated as the official name of the institution. (Eleutherian Mills- Hagley Foundation continues as the legal corporation name of the organization.)

1996– Hagley's first car show, 100 Years of Cars, held to honor 100 years of America's automotive heritage. The annual car show continues on the third Sunday in September.

1999– The kitchen in Hagley's Eleutherian Mills opens to visitors.

2002– Two new exhibits, "DuPont Science and Discovery" and "DuPont: The Explosives Era," open at Hagley in honor of the DuPont Company's 200th anniversary.

2007– Accessible entrance to Visitors Center welcomes visitors to the museum's 50th anniversary exhibit "Hagley at Fifty: Exploding with History."

The facility is located on 235 acres (0.95 km²) along the banks of the Brandywine Creek, the site of the gunpowder mill founded by Eleuthère Irénée du Pont in 1802, known as Eleutherian Mills. The museum and grounds include the first du Pont family home and garden in the United States, the powder yards, and a nineteenth-century machine shop. On the hillside below the mansion lies a Renaissance-Revival garden, with terraces and statuary, created by Louise Evalina du Pont Crowninshield (1877–1958) in the 1920s.

See also[edit]

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