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University of Delaware


FAMILIAR RELATIONS
THE DUPONTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE
CONTENTS Introduction Laying the Foundation The Loyal Alumnus and the Focused Philanthropist
Gifts Timeline Program Enrichment Personal Interest Connections
Board Connections A Laboratory and a Legacy Ongoing Relations
PERSONAL INTEREST PICTURE PERSONAL INTEREST HEADER



During the decade that followed, he provided financial support for campus landscaping by his friend, Marian Coffin, and also helped fund research into cattle disease–an important concern for a man who was building a prize-winning herd of Holstein-Frisian cattle. During this same period, Harry du Pont began to collect early American furniture and decorative arts objects.
By 1951, when Winterthur was opened to the public as a museum, the scope, size, and quality of his collection was unparalleled. Harry du Pont hired scholarly connoisseurs to catalog, study, and care for his growing collection.During the decade that followed, he provided financial support for campus landscaping by his friend, Marian Coffin, and also helped fund research into cattle disease–an important concern for a man who was building a prize-winning herd of Holstein-Frisian cattle. During this same period, Harry du Pont began to collect early American furniture and decorative arts objects.

Harry du Pont hired scholarly connoisseurs to catalog, study, and care for his growing collection. One of those professionals was Charles F. Montgomery, who recognized the potential for the Winterthur collection as a resource for education and research. Mongtomery approached key University of Delaware administrators and faculty to explore the creation of a post-graduate curriculum that would combine humanities disciplines with the study of the museum’s collections.

Like the foreign study program begun three decades earlier, this proposal led to the creation of a wholly new educational plan, the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture. Since the first five graduate students were admitted in 1952, the Winterthur Program has produced hundreds of scholars, curators, and connoisseurs who have become leaders of museums of American history and decorative arts, as well as of academic programs in American studies. The Winterthur Program offered the first museum-studies-oriented master’s degree in the nation, and although it has since been copied elsewhere, its position of leadership has never been usurped. To further enhance the value of this unique Program, in 1960, H. F. du Pont provided funds to the University to hire faculty in each of three key disciplines—History, Art History and English. The faculty selected to hold these positions were designated as Henry Francis du Pont Professors. They teach undergraduate courses in their respective fields as well as seminars for Winterthur fellows and other graduate students. Thanks to the addition of these faculty and the University’s association with the Winterthur Museum, Delaware is recognized nationally as a leading institution in American culture and museum studies.

Following on the early success of the Winterthur Program, the University made a similar arrangement with the Hagley Museum, which is located at the site of the original Du Pont Company mills on the Brandywine River. The Hagley Museum was developed and endowed by the Du Pont Company following the company’s 150th anniversary celebration in 1952. Its significance to scholars was enhanced when it acquired Pierre S. du Pont’s personal collection of books and papers from Longwood as well as the papers of the Du Pont Company. Since that time, the Hagley Library has grown to become one of America’s greatest repositories of manuscripts and books relating to business and technological history. The Hagley Graduate Program, founded in 1954 in the University’s Department of History, concentrates on the history of industrialization and includes students pursuing both master’s and Ph.D. degrees.

The third in the triumvirate of du Pont-related graduate programs affiliated with the University of Delaware is the Longwood Graduate Program in Ornamental Horticulture. The Longwood Program was created in 1967 to link Pierre du Pont’s Longwood Gardens with the University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. A recent change in name to the Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture emphasizes the Program’s concentration on the training of specialists capable of caring for and leading large public gardens. Students from around the world are attracted to the Program by its unique combination of plant science and the mastery of museum leadership skills.

Since 1970, the University has offered courses in museum studies where Winterthur, Hagley, and Longwood students, together with other graduate students, are brought together to learn museum exhibition techniques and the management of cultural resources. The University of Delaware’s present leadership in the education of curators, scholars, and administrative leaders in the museum field is a direct result of pioneering programs begun under the auspices of H. F. du Pont, P. S. du Pont’s Longwood Foundation, and, in the case of Hagley, the Du Pont Company.

Jean Kane Foulke du Pont offers yet another example of how one person’s focused and passionate commitment can produce significant results. The descendant of many prominent Delawareans from the State’s earliest Colonial period, Jean Kane Foulke married Francis Gurney du Pont’s son, Eugene Paul (known as E. Paul) du Pont in 1910. She was part of a generation of progressive young women who reached out to assist the less fortunate. Although she shared interests in gardening, arts, and music that were common among her peers, Jean du Pont concentrated her attention on prison reform. In 1919, she became a founder of Delaware’s Prisoners Aid Society; she also was instrumental in creating a separate prison for female offenders, a half-way house for male prisoners, and Bridge House for juvenile delinquents. Her recognition that Delaware’s criminal justice system was failing to rehabilitate those sent to prison bore heavily upon her. Seeking some means to address this major problem, she turned to the University of Delaware.


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