T. Coleman du Pont

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Thomas Coleman du Pont
Thomas Coleman du Pont 1902.jpg
United States Senator
from Delaware
In office
March 4, 1925 – December 9, 1928
Preceded by L. Heisler Ball
Succeeded by Daniel O. Hastings
In office
July 7, 1921 – November 6, 1922
Preceded by Josiah O. Wolcott
Succeeded by Thomas F. Bayard, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1863-12-11)December 11, 1863
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Died November 11, 1930(1930-11-11) (aged 66)
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Alice (Elsie) du Pont
Residence Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Occupation engineer, corporate executive
Religion Episcopalian
T. Coleman du Pont

Thomas Coleman du Pont (December 11, 1863 – November 11, 1930) was an American engineer and politician, from Greenville, Delaware. He was President of the of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, and a member of the Republican Party who served parts of two terms as United States Senator from Delaware.[1] He was known by his middle name.

Early life and family[edit]

Du Pont was born at Louisville, Kentucky. He was a cousin of U.S. Senator Henry A. du Pont and great grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the founder of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Du Pont attended preparatory school at Urbana University and earned an engineering degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While at MIT, he was initiated into the Sigma Chi fraternity.

Business career[edit]

Coleman du Pont started his career in the family's coal mines, the Central Coal and Iron Company, and soon pursued opportunities in street railways. In 1894, He began working as the general manager of the Johnson Street Rail Company in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

With his cousins, Alfred I. du Pont and Pierre S. du Pont, Coleman bought out the family's explosives business in Delaware. He was president from 1902 until 1915, during which time he oversaw the acquisitions of more than one hundred competitors. He was a key player in the formation of the holding company, E. I du Pont de Nemours Company of New Jersey. In 1907, the DuPont Company was sued for antitrust violations and Coleman later sold off his stake of the business in 1914.

Coleman du Pont had control of the Hotel McAlpin, Claridge Atlantic City, Wallick's, and other American hotels. Together with Lucius M. Boomer, president of Boomer-du Pont Properties Corporation, Thomas Coleman DuPont owned a number of other hotels. In 1918, they purchased the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, then in 1920 the Willard Hotel in Washington, D. C. and in 1925 the company purchased The Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia from the heirs of the founder, George C. Boldt.[2][3][4]

In 1908, Coleman du Pont proposed a modern road that was to run the length of Delaware from Selbyville north to Wilmington as part of a philanthropic measure. This roadway was planned to improve travel and bring economic development to Kent and Sussex counties. The DuPont Highway was to be modeled after the great boulevards of Europe and was to have a 200-foot (61 m) wide right-of-way consisting of a 40-foot (12 m) wide roadway for automobiles flanked by dual trolley lines, 30-foot (9.1 m) wide roadways for heavy vehicles, 15-foot (4.6 m) wide unpaved roadways for horses, and sidewalks. Utilities were to be buried underground below the horse roadways. The highway was also to include agricultural experimental stations and monuments for future surveying. Trolley revenues would help pay for the construction of the roadway. After portions of the DuPont Highway were built, these portions were planned to be turned over to the state at no charge.[5] The Coleman DuPont Road, Inc. was established in 1911 and construction of the DuPont Highway began.[6] The DuPont Highway would end up being built as a two-lane concrete road on a 60-foot (18 m) alignment with a 32-foot (9.8 m) wide roadway.[7] The Delaware State Highway Department took over construction and the DuPont Highway was completed in 1923 when the final section near Odessa was finished.[8] The DuPont Highway was a boon to southern Delaware, which had formerly been economically isolated from the large cities of the northeast. In conjunction with the rise of the automobile, the highway spurred the growth of the Delaware beaches by greatly improving access to the coast for tourists from northern Delaware and adjacent portions of the Northeast megalopolis. Southern Delaware also developed into a major truck farming region due to having much greater access to urban markets. No longer fully reliant on the railroads to transport their goods, farmers in Sussex and Kent counties could market their fruits, vegetables, and broiler chickens directly to consumers in the north.[9] The DuPont Highway became US 113 between Selbyville and Dover and US 13 between Dover and Wilmington.[10][11]

In 1915 Coleman du Pont acquired control of The Equitable Life Assurance Society from J. P. Morgan[12] and was responsible for the building of the Equitable Life Building in New York City, once the largest building in the city.[13]

Political career[edit]

du Pont with Frank H. Hitchcock

Du Pont retired from business activities in 1915 and became involved in Republican Party politics, as a member of the Republican National Committee from 1908 until 1930. It was largely under his leadership that the Union Republicans and Regular Republicans came back together and built the modern Delaware Republican Party.

Du Pont was appointed to the U.S. Senate on July 7, 1921, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of U.S. Senator Josiah O. Wolcott. During this term, he served with the Republican majority in the 67th Congress. However, he lost his bid to complete the term in a special election on November 7, 1922. On the same day he also lost his bid for the full term to follow, in both instances losing to Democrat Thomas F. Bayard, Jr., a Wilmington, Delaware lawyer. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1924, defeating the incumbent Republican U.S. Senator L. Heisler Ball for the nomination, and going on to defeat Democrat James M. Tunnell, a Georgetown, Delaware lawyer. During this term, he served with the Republican majority in the 69th and 70th Congress, until health problems caused him to resign.

In all, Du Pont served two separate terms, one from July 7, 1921 until November 21, 1922, during the administrations of U.S. President Warren G. Harding, and the other from March 4, 1925 until December 9, 1928, during the administration of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. The later years of his life were marked by his implication in the Teapot Dome scandal, and by lawsuits over various Florida real estate deals.

Death[edit]

Du Pont suffered from cancer of the larynx and died at his home, 808 Broome Street, Wilmington. He was buried in the Du Pont de Nemours Cemetery in Greenville, Delaware.[1]

Almanac[edit]

Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. U.S. Senators are popularly elected and took office March 4 for a six-year term.


Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
U.S. Senator Legislative Washington July 7, 1921 November 6, 1922
U.S. Senator Legislative Washington March 4, 1925 December 9, 1928 resigned
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1921–1923 67th U.S. Senate Republican Warren G. Harding class 1
1925–1927 69th U.S. Senate Republican Calvin Coolidge class 2
1927–1929 70th U.S. Senate Republican Calvin Coolidge class 2
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1922 U.S. Senator T. Coleman du Pont Republican 36,894 50% Thomas F. Bayard, Jr. Democratic 36,954 50%
1922 U.S. Senator T. Coleman du Pont Republican 36,979 49% Thomas F. Bayard, Jr. Democratic 37,304 50%
1924 U.S. Senator T. Coleman du Pont Republican 52,731 59% James M. Tunnell Democratic 36,085 41%

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "T. Coleman du Pont, Ex-Senator, is Dead". New York Times. November 12, 1930. p. 19. Retrieved July 21, 2007. General T. Coleman du Pont, former Senator from Delaware and one of the foremost financiers of the United States, died shortly after 3 o'clock this afternoon at his home, 808 Broom Street. ... 
  2. ^ "COLEMAN DU PONT PURCHASES THE WALDORF-ASTORIA". The New York Times. February 3, 1918. p. 1. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ "DU PONT INTERESTS BUY THE MARTINIQUE". The New York Times. October 3, 1919. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ "DU PONT GETS THE WILLARD". The New York Times. May 5, 1920. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  5. ^ Milner, pp. 6, 8.
  6. ^ "Delaware State Highway Department Annual Report" (PDF) (1958 ed.). Dover, Delaware: Delaware State Highway Department. 1958. p. 4-13. Retrieved November 13, 2014. 
  7. ^ Milner, p. 14.
  8. ^ Milner, p. 16.
  9. ^ Milner, p. 28.
  10. ^ "Annual Report of the State Highway Department" (1925 ed.). Dover, Delaware: Delaware State Highway Department. December 31, 1925. p. 17. Retrieved November 18, 2010. 
  11. ^ Delaware State Highway Department (1931) (PDF). Official Road Map of the State of Delaware (Map) (1931 ed.). http://www.deldot.gov/archaeology/historic_pres/historic_highway_maps/pdf/cd_005.pdf. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  12. ^ "T.C. DU PONT BUYS EQUITABLE LIFE". The New York Times. June 1, 1915. p. 1. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  13. ^ "EQUITABLE SITE BRINGS $14,000,000". The New York Times. August 13, 1912. p. 1. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 

Work cited[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Carter, Richard B. (2001). Clearing New Ground, The Life of John G. Townsend, Jr. Wilmington, Delaware: The Delaware Heritage Press. ISBN 0-924117-20-6. 
  • Dutton, William S. (1942). Du Pont One Hundred and Forty Years. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 
  • Hoffecker, Carol E. (2004). Democracy in Delaware. Wilmington, Delaware: Cedar Tree Books. ISBN 1-892142-23-6. 
  • Munroe, John A. (1993). History of Delaware. Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0-87413-493-5. 

Images[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
United States Senate
Preceded by
L. Heisler Ball
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Delaware
1925-1928
Served alongside: Thomas F. Bayard, Jr.
Succeeded by
Daniel O. Hastings
Preceded by
Josiah O. Wolcott
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Delaware
1921-1922
Served alongside: L. Heisler Ball
Succeeded by
Thomas F. Bayard, Jr.