The Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation has partnered with Hagley Museum and Library to further expand the legacy and preserve the papers of Pierre S. “Pete” du Pont IV (1935–2021), Delaware’s sixty-eighth governor (1977–1985) and a Republican candidate for President of the United States during the 1988 campaign.
The Hagley collection includes decades of Governor du Pont’s writing for different publications and organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, the National Center for Policy Analysis, OpinionJournal.com, and IntellectualCapital.com, as well as extensive documentation of his political career and campaigns, particularly his presidential run. The collection fills 28 feet of shelving, with more than 1,000 papers, 500 photos, and other items.
In addition to his role as governor and presidential run, du Pont was also an attorney, state legislator, member of Congress, commentator, and columnist. He is most well-known for positioning Delaware as a center for the credit card industry, shifting Delaware’s unemployment rate to the lowest in the U.S. at the time.
When the du Pont Administration began, Delaware faced enormous challenges, including a financial structure that drove employers away. Governor du Pont was able to win the confidence of the opposing party and passed the 1981 Financial Center Development Act with bipartisan support. The Act opened doors for national banks and credit card companies to start their operations in Delaware, created thousands of new employment opportunities, and transformed the Wilmington skyline – no single piece of legislation has had a more immediate or significant impact on Delaware’s economy.
Some of Governor du Pont’s many notable accomplishments also include co-founding Leadership Delaware, an intensive and competitive program that catalyzes leaders, and founding Jobs for Delaware Graduates, a workforce preparation program for high school students, which has paved the way for a nationally replicated model: Jobs for America’s Graduates.
The Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation was established in 2003 to honor Governor du Pont’s accomplishments while creating enthusiasm for innovation and reducing the barriers to private enterprise.
“We are honored to work with Hagley to continue my father’s legacy,” said Thère du Pont, son of Governor du Pont and Chair of the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation. “The initiative provides access to his accomplishments and impact to a wider audience as the foundation celebrates its twentieth anniversary, culminating in the highly anticipated annual Pete du Pont Freedom Award, which honors my father this September.”
The archive also includes an assortment of writings, speeches, videos, and photographs from Governor du Pont’s career as a politician and political journalist, a selection of which has been digitized and is accessible through the foundation’s website, petedupontfreedomfoundation.org, as well as hagley.org/pdpont.
“We’re thrilled to be able to preserve the papers of Governor Pete du Pont,” said Hagley’s Director of Library Services, Erik Rau. “His work for the citizens of Delaware and the principles supporting his run for President deserve wide circulation among citizens and scholars alike.”