Irénée du Pont

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Irénée du Pont
Irénée du Pont I.jpg
Born(1876-12-21)December 21, 1876
DiedDecember 19, 1963(1963-12-19) (aged 86)
EducationPhillips Academy (1894)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1897)
TitlePresident of DuPont
Spouse(s)Irene du Pont[1]
ChildrenIrene Sophie "Sophie" Du Pont May (1900–2001)
Margaretta Lammot Du Pont Greenewalt (1902–1991)
Constance "Connie" Simons Du Pont Darden (1903–2002)
Eleanor Francis Du Pont Rust (1906/7–1992)
Doris Elise du Pont (1909–1930)
Mariana "Mary Ann" Du Pont Silliman (1911–1992)
Octavia "Tibi" Mary Du Pont Bredin (1913–2006)
Lucile Evelina Du Pont Flint (1915–1996)
Irénée Du Pont II (1920–)
Parent(s)Lammot du Pont(1831–1884)
Mary Belin (1839–1913)
RelativesPierre S. du Pont, brother
Lammot du Pont II, brother

Irénée du Pont I (December 21, 1876 – December 19, 1963) was a U.S. businessman, former president of the DuPont company and head of the Du Pont trust.[2]


Early life[edit]

He was born on December 21, 1876, in New Castle, Delaware.[2] He was a descendant of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. He graduated from Phillips Academy in 1894 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1897. While at MIT, he was a member of the Phi Beta Epsilon fraternity, where he was one of the first brothers and to which he contributed more than $4,000,000 over the course of his lifetime.


He worked for Fenn's Manufacturing Contracting Company for a number of years before he joined DuPont. He was president of DuPont from 1919 to 1925.[2] He oversaw DuPont at a time when eight workers were fatally poisoned with tetraethyl lead while he issued statements about there being "slight difficulties".[3] He retired from the board of directors of DuPont in 1958.[2]

Personal life[edit]

He built a mansion in Varadero, Cuba, which he named Xanadu. In 1957, Fortune estimated his wealth at between $200 million and $400 million, making him one of the two richest members of the Du Pont family at that time, and one of the twenty richest Americans (see Wealthiest Americans (1957)).

In the 1930s, he was a proponent of eugenics and racial superiority theories, and supported right-wing political groups.[4] He may have been influential in the collaboration of the DuPont conglomerate with German companies after the rise of Nazism and well into World War II.[5]

He died on December 19, 1963, in Wilmington, Delaware.[2]


  1. ^ "Irénée du Pont, Jr.'s Interview (2014)". Voices of the Manhattan Project. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Irenee du Pont Dies In Wilmington at 86. A Blunt Industrialist. Rayon and Cellophane. Bought by 3 Cousins Settlement in '62". New York Times. December 20, 1963. Retrieved 2012-11-28. Irénée du Pont, last survivor of three brothers who led E.I. du Pont de Nemours Co. from a comparatively small explosives manufacturing concern to a position as one of the world's largest diversified chemical companies, died here today. He was 86 years old. ...
  3. ^ Bent, Silas (June 22, 1925). "Tetraethyl Lead Fatal to Makers". New York Times. New York.
  4. ^ Scott Christianson (2010). The Last Gasp: The Rise and Fall of the American Gas Chamber. University of California Press. Prior to 1926 DuPont was run by the U.S. industrialist Irénée du Pont, a strong supporter of eugenics, right-wing political groups, and IG Farben. ...
  5. ^ "U.S. Chemical Corporation DuPont Helped Nazi Germany Out of Ideology, Israeli Researcher Says". Haaretz. May 2, 2019.

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