du Pont family

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Du Pont family
Coat of arms of Samuel Francis Du Pont
Current regionDelaware and Pennsylvania in the United States
Earlier spellingsdu Pont de Nemours
du Pont
Etymologydu Pont, "Of the bridge"
Place of origin French American CommunityFrance, United States
Connected families
MottoRectitudine sto
(Latin for 'Stand upright')
Estate(s)Eleutherian Mills (Wilmington)
Nemours (Wilmington)
Winterthur Mansion and Gardens (Winterthur)

The du Pont family (English: /dˈpɒnt/)[1] or Du Pont family is a prominent American family descended from Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739–1817). It has been one of the richest families in the United States since the mid-19th century, when it founded its fortune in the gunpowder business. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it expanded its wealth through the chemical industry and the automotive industry,[2][3] with substantial interests in the DuPont company, General Motors, and various other corporations.

Several former du Pont family estates are open to the public as museums, gardens or parks, such as Winterthur, Nemours, Eleutherian Mills, Longwood Gardens, Gibraltar, Mt. Cuba, and Goodstay.[4] The family's interest in horticulture was brought to the United States by their immigrant progenitors from France and reinforced in later generations by avid gardeners who married into the family. As early as 1924, the du Ponts were recognized by Charles Sprague Sargent, the famed plantsman and director of Harvard's Arnold Arboretum, as "a family which has made the neighborhood of Wilmington, Delaware one of the chief centers of horticulture in the United States."[5]

The family's first American estate, Eleutherian Mills, located at Hagley Museum and Library, was preserved and restored by Louise E. du Pont Crowninshield. She also helped to establish the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1949. In recent years, the family has continued to be known for its association with political and business ventures, as well as philanthropic causes.

Two family members were the subjects of well-publicized criminal cases. John Eleuthère du Pont was convicted of murdering wrestling coach Dave Schultz.

As of 2016, the family fortune was estimated at $14.3 billion, spread across more than 3,500 living relatives.[3]


Éleuthère Irénée du Pont, founder of the du Pont business dynasty.

Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours was the son of a Parisian watchmaker and a member of a Burgundian Huguenot family, and descendant of a minor noble family on his mother's side. He and his sons, Victor Marie du Pont and Éleuthère Irénée du Pont, migrated from France in 1800 to the United States and used the resources of their Huguenot heritage to found one of the most prominent of American families, and one of its most successful corporations, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, initially established by Éleuthère Irénée as a gunpowder manufacturer.

In 1802, Éleuthère Irénée du Pont established a gunpowder mill on the banks of the Brandywine River near Wilmington, Delaware. The location (named Eleutherian Mills) provided all the necessities to operate the mill: a water flow sufficient to power it, available timber (mainly willow trees) that could be turned into charcoal fine enough to use for gunpowder, and close proximity to the Delaware River to allow for shipments of sulfur and saltpeter, the other ingredients used in the manufacture of gunpowder. There were also nearby stone quarries to provide needed building materials.[6]

Over time, the Du Pont company grew into the largest black powder manufacturing firm in the world. The family remained in control of the company up through the 1960s,[7] and family trusts still own a substantial amount of the company's stock. This and other companies run by the du Pont family employed up to 10 percent of Delaware's population at its peak.[8] During the 19th century, the Du Pont family maintained their family wealth by carefully arranged marriages between cousins[9] which, at the time, was the norm for many families.

The family played a large part in politics during the 18th and 19th centuries and assisted in negotiations for the Treaty of Paris and the Louisiana Purchase. Both T. Coleman and Henry A. du Pont served as U.S. senators, and Pierre S. du Pont, IV served as Governor of Delaware.

The family has also played an important role in historic preservation and land conservation, including helping to found the National Trust for Historic Preservation, preserving President James Madison's home Montpelier, and establishing numerous museums such as Winterthur and the Delaware Museum of Natural History. The Brandywine Conservancy founded by family member George Alexis Weymouth owns around 2,350 acres (951 ha) of land in Pennsylvania and Delaware, and owns permanent conservation easements on an additional 37,000 acres (14,973 ha).[10][11] In 2013, Lammot du Pont Copeland's Mt. Cuba Center contributed over $20 million to purchase land for donation to the federal government to form the First State National Historical Park.[12]

Beginning with William du Pont, Jr. and his sister, Marion duPont Scott, many members of the Du Pont family have been involved in the breeding and racing of Thoroughbred racehorses, as well as establishing racehorse venues and training tracks, including Delaware Park and Fair Hill, Maryland.[13] While most Du Ponts are members of the Episcopal Church,[14] Éleuthère Irénée du Pont was a Huguenot.[15]

Spelling of the name[edit]

The stylings "du Pont" and "Du Pont" are most prevalent for the family name in published, copy-edited writings. In many publications, the styling is "du Pont" when quoting an individual's full name and "Du Pont" when speaking of the family as a whole, although some individual Du Ponts have chosen to style it differently, such as Samuel Francis Du Pont. The name of the chemical company founded by the family is today styled solid as "DuPont" in the short form (but the long form is styled as E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company); the stylings "Du Pont" and "DuPont" for the company's short name coexisted in the 20th century, but the latter is now consistently used in the company's branding. The solid styling "duPont" is less common, but the Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children uses it, as does the duPont Registry. William S. Dutton's mid-20th-century history of the family business[2] uses "Du Pont" both for the family mentioned generally and for the company's short name but "du Pont" in an individual's full name (for example, "Éleuthère Irénée du Pont", "Henry du Pont", "Alfred Victor du Pont", "Lammot du Pont"); for example, "when he [Lammot du Pont] went to General Henry du Pont with the proposal that the Du Ponts manufacture dynamite, he was answered by a blunt and unqualified 'No!'"[2]: 116 ) The first page of Dutton's monograph[2]: 3  contains the following footnote about the surname's styling (the mention of "Samuel Dupont" here refers to the 18th-century Parisian watchmaker, not to his 19th-century descendant): "Samuel Dupont used this form of the family name [i.e., Dupont], but beginning in 1763 his son signed himself 'Du Pont.' Later, he added 'de Nemours' to his name to prevent confusion with two other Duponts in the French Chamber of Deputies. Du Pont, in English, is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable. In French, neither syllable is accented."[2]: 3 

French orthographic tradition for the styling of de (or its inflected forms) as a surname particle, in either nobiliary or non-nobiliary form, is discussed at Nobiliary particle § France. In non-nobiliary form, the prevalent French styling of the name is "Dupont", and thus the choice by Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours to begin styling himself so during the monarchical era hints at social ambition. But the influence of French orthography and prerevolutionary class structure on how English orthography styles surnames today is outweighed by how families and individuals so named style themselves.

Alphabetical list of selected descendants of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours[edit]

Below is an alphabetical listing of selected members of the family.

Family tree[edit]

The following list is not a complete genealogy, but is ordered by descent to show the familial relationships between members of the du Pont family throughout history.

The du Pont family tree
Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours
Victor Marie du PontÉleuthère Irénée du Pont
Charles I. du PontSamuel Francis Du PontAlfred V. du PontHenry du PontAlexis Irénée du Pont
Éleuthère Irénée du Pont IILammot du Pont IAntoine Biderman du PontWilliam du PontHenry A. du PontEugene du PontFrancis Gurney du Pont
Alfred I. du PontPierre S. du PontIrénée du PontLammot du Pont IIAntoine Biderman du Pont, Jr.
(brother of T. Coleman du Pont, who was the father of Francis Victor du Pont)
Marion duPont ScottWilliam du Pont, Jr.Louise E. du Pont CrowninshieldHenry Francis du PontEugene du Pont, Jr.Amy Elizabeth du Pont Francis Irénée du PontA. Felix du Pont E. Paul du Pont
Esther D. du PontPierre S. du Pont IIIVictorine du Pont HomseyJohn Eleuthère du PontWilliam du Pont IIIRuth Ellen du PontEthel du PontA. Felix du Pont, Jr.Lydia Chichester du PontRichard Chichester du PontAlice du
Pont Mills
Pierre S. du Pont IV
Ben duPontEleuthère I. du Pont

Family network[edit]


The following is a list of figures closely aligned with or subordinate to the du Pont family.


The following is a list of companies in which the du Pont family held a controlling or otherwise substantial interest.

Philanthropy & nonprofit organizations[edit]

Buildings, estates and historic landmarks[edit]


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, archived from the original on 2020-10-10, retrieved 2019-01-23.
  2. ^ a b c d e Dutton, William S. (1942), Du Pont: One Hundred and Forty Years, Charles Scribner's Sons, LCCN 42011897.
  3. ^ a b "Du Pont family". forbes.com. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Friends of Goodstay Gardens". Archived from the original on 2020-11-28. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  5. ^ Denise Magnani, The Winterthur Garden: Henry Francis du Pont's Romance with the Land (Wilmington: Harry N. Abrams and The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Inc., 1995).
  6. ^ "Happy Trails". americanroads.net. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  7. ^ "DuPont Co.'s 19 leaders since 1802". Wilmington News Journal. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  8. ^ Gross, Scott. "Delaware's dilemma: A fading DuPont". Wilmington News Journal. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  9. ^ Go Ahead, Kiss Your Cousin by Richard Conniff, From the August 2003 issue, published online August 1, 2003
  10. ^ Bauers, Sandy (25 July 2002). "Conservancy gains easement Winterthur's pastoral beauty is now protected". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  11. ^ Montgomery, Jeff. "The Brandywine Conservancy: Preserving Nature, Art, and History" (PDF). Wilmington News Journal. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Delaware's First State National Monument". Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center". University of Vermont. Archived from the original on 27 December 2001. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  14. ^ W. Williams, Peter (2016). Religion, Art, and Money: Episcopalians and American Culture from the Civil War to the Great Depression. University of North Carolina Press. p. 176. ISBN 9781469626987. The names of fashionable families who were already Episcopalian, like the Morgans, or those, like the Fricks, who now became so, goes on interminably: Aldrich, Astor, Biddle, Booth, Brown, Du Pont, Firestone, Ford, Gardner, Mellon, Morgan, Procter, the Vanderbilt, Whitney. Episcopalians branches of the Baptist Rockefellers and Jewish Guggenheims even appeared on these family trees.
  15. ^ Robert Barkan, Elliott (2001). Making it in America: A Sourcebook on Eminent Ethnic Americans. ABC-CLIO. p. 103. ISBN 9781576070987. Although he was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church in order to secure a "civil status,"he was later baptized a Huguenot.
  16. ^ Schlesinger, Jacob M. (2020-11-23). "DuPont's Up-and-Down History Shaped Biden's Views on Business". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  17. ^ Hoffecker, Carol E. (2000). Familiar Relations: The Du Ponts & the University of Delaware. University of Delaware Publishing Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-9656848-1-4.
  18. ^ "Ben DuPont". Chartline Capital Partners. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  19. ^ "Biographic Highlights". Alfred I. du Pont Trust. p. 7. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  20. ^ a b White, Leslie A. (2016). Modern Capitalist Culture. New York City, NY: Routledge. p. 378. ISBN 978-1-59874-157-5. Members of the DuPont family owned directly or indirectly 43.9 percent of the voting stock of the E.I. DuPont de Nemours Company. If this block of stock, by far the largest extant, acted as a unit it would give the DuPont family undisputed control of the company. The E.I. Dupont de Nemours Company owned 23 percent of the common stock of General Motors Corporation, by far the largest block of stock extant, which gave DuPont a safe working control of General Motors.
  21. ^ "T.C. DU PONT BUYS EQUITABLE LIFE". The New York Times. June 1, 1915. p. 1. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  22. ^ United States v. E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 353 U.S. 586, 588-589 (Supreme Court 1957) ("The complaint alleged a violation of § 7 of the [Clayton] Act resulting from the purchase by E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company in 1917-1919 of a 23% stock interest in General Motors Corporation...The primary issue is whether du Pont's commanding position as General Motors' supplier of automotive finishes and fabrics was achieved on competitive merit alone, or because its acquisition of the General Motors' stock, and the consequent close intercompany relationship, led to the insulation of most of the General Motors' market from free competition, with the resultant likelihood, at the time of suit, of the creation of a monopoly of a line of commerce.").
  23. ^ Drape, Joe (2011-11-03). "Following Her Heart, Owner Now Has Juvenile Favorite". New York Times. Retrieved 2023-02-15.
  24. ^ Girdler, Allan (2002). The Harley-Davidson and Indian Wars. St Paul, Minnesota: MotorBooks International. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-7603-1353-4.
  25. ^ "Biographic Highlights". Alfred I. du Pont Trust. p. 7. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
  26. ^ Domhoff, G. William (2011). Class and Power in the New Deal: Corporate Moderates, Southern Democrats and the Liberal-Labor Coalition. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-8047-7452-9.
  27. ^ Clark, J. M., Hansen, A. H., Ezekiel, M., Montgomery, D. E., Means, G. C. (1939). Structure of the American Economy: Part 1 (Report). Industrial Section, National Resources Committee, National Resources Planning Board. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 313. Retrieved 2023-02-21
  28. ^ "New Detroit Bank Backed by R.F.C." New York Times. 1933-02-22. p. 24. Retrieved 2023-02-21.
  29. ^ "A Lasting Legacy". Vertical. May 24, 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  30. ^ Doyle, Steve (2014-02-17). "198 years in the gun business: A brief history of Remington Arms". AL.com. Retrieved 2021-06-12.
  31. ^ Adelson, Andrea (1993-10-22). "Company News; Du Pont Sells Remington Gun Maker". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  32. ^ Benton, Sarah Ann (2015-06-22). Franklin. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781439652008.
  33. ^ Scott Mayerowitz (2013-11-12). "Timeline of major events in US Airways history". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  34. ^ Robin Sidel (27 November 2010). "How Loyalty to Customers Led to Storied Bank's Fall". Wall Street Journal. Business. Retrieved 17 April 2011.; first 100 words of article available without login.
  35. ^ "Boy Scouts Give Thanks for Gift". Wilmington Morning News. November 17, 1927. p. 13.
  36. ^ Mordock, Jeff (2017-03-21). "DuPont heirs' pension suit transferred to Delaware". The News Journal. Retrieved 2023-02-13.
  37. ^ "DuPont backs MIT research with additional $25M". MIT News. 2005-05-19. Retrieved 2023-02-14.
  38. ^ "Here's to old Kennett High". Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  39. ^ Cool Nerds Marketing. "Our Mission". Longwood Foundation. Retrieved 2023-02-14.
  40. ^ Cummings, Mary (2020-12-22). "High Style in the Gilded Age: Ruth Wales du Pont". Southampton History Museum. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  41. ^ Meyer, Eugene L. (1991-06-25). "Real Estate Sage With One Actor". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
  42. ^ Longman, Jere (1996-01-28). "Desperate Stand in a Dream World". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-08-04.
  43. ^ Sue Swyers Moncure (1996-04-18). "Significant support; Historian's book explores Unidel Foundation". UpDate. 15 (28). University of Delaware: 3. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  44. ^ Bradley, Michael (April 26, 2016). "Du-ing Well by Du-ing Good". delawaretoday.com. Retrieved 2018-05-07.


  • Mosley, Leonard (1980). Blood Relations: The Rise and Fall of the du Pont's of Delaware. London: Hutchinson.
  • Gates, John D. (1979). The du Pont Family. New York: Doubleday & Company. ISBN 0-385-13043-0.
  • Duke, Marc. (1976). The du Ponts, Portrait of a Dynasty. New York: Saturday Review Press, E.P. Dutton & Co. ISBN 0-8415-0429-6.
  • Carr, William H. A. (1965). The du Ponts of Delaware. London: Frederick Muller.
  • Dutton, William S. (1942). Du Pont, One Hundred and Forty Years. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • du Pont, Pierre S. (1942). Genealogy of the Du Pont Family 1739-1942. Wilmington: Hambleton Printing & Publishing.

External links[edit]