Du Pont, Pierre Samuel

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Du Pont, Pierre Samuel

Pierre Samuel Du Pont, 1870–1954, American industrialist, b. Wilmington, Del., grad. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1890. Du Pont worked as a chemist with the family's company, helping to develop smokeless powder. In 1902, Pierre and his two cousins, Alfred and Coleman du Pont, bought E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. Pierre became treasurer and later vice president. In 1915, after a group headed by Pierre and including outsiders bought Coleman's stock, Alfred brought suit against Pierre for breach of trust. After four years in court, the case was settled in Pierre's favor, but Alfred and Pierre remained estranged for many years. Under Pierre's presidency (1915–20) the Du Pont company developed scores of chemical manufactures and acquired substantial interests in many other industries, including a large block of General Motors stock. He became president of General Motors in 1920 to protect family interests, but returned to Du Pont as chairman of the board in 1923. He supported Al Smith, and although at first an adherent of Franklin Roosevelt, he later opposed him.

See J. K. Winkler, The Du Pont Dynasty (1935); M. James, Alfred I. Du Pont, the Family Rebel (1941); biography by A. D. Chandler and S. Salsbury (1970).

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