Greenewalt, Crawford H., 1902-1993

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1902-08-16
Death 1993-09-27
US
English

Biographical notes:

Crawford H. Greenewalt was an executive with the Du Pont Company and president of the firm from 1948 to 1962. He joined the company in 1922 and served as a supervisor on the nylon project in the 1930s and during the war as technical liason on the Manhattan Project. He was an accomplished amateur photographer and ornithologist and author of a study of hummingbirds (1960). After his retirement from Du Pont, Greenewalt served on a number of corporate boards, business, political, scientific, civic and charitable organizations. Greenewalt played an important role in shaping American business and science policy in the Cold War decades.

From the description of Personal papers, 1948-1992. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122558916

Businessman.

From the description of Reminiscences of Crawford H. Greenewalt : oral history, 1974. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122569640

Crawford Greenewalt was born in Cummington, Massachusetts, on August 16, 1902. He grew up in Philadelphia where he attended the William Penn Charter School before enrolling in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received a B.S. degree. In 1926 Greenewalt married Margaretta Lammot du Pont (daughter of Du Pont Company president Irénée du Pont). Greenewalt had begun his career at E.I. du Pont de Nemours in 1922 as a control chemist in the Philadelphia works. He was soon promoted to group leader, research supervisor, and assistant director of research. As assistant director of the Chemical Department (1939-42), he set up the pilot plant for the production of nylon. In 1942 when the Du Pont Company agreed to participate in the Manhattan Project, Greenewalt was named chief liaison with the University of Chicago scientists. He also became technical director of the Hanford Engineering Works in Seattle, Washington. After the War, Greenewalt was named head of the Explosives Department, and in 1948 he became president, a position that he held for 14 years.

From the description of Papers, 1928-1968 (bulk 1942-1968). (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122579278

Crawford H. Greenewalt was born in Cummington, Massachusetts, on August 16, 1902. He grew up in Philadelphia where he attended the William Penn Charter School before enrolling in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a B.S. degree. In 1926 Greenewalt married Margaretta Lammot du Pont (daughter of Du Pont Company president Irénée du Pont). Greenewalt had begun his career at E.I. du Pont de Nemours in 1922 as a control chemist in the Philadelphia chemical works. He was soon promoted to group leader, research supervisor, and assistant director of research. As assistant director of the Chemical Department (1939-42), he set up the pilot plant for the production of nylon.

In 1942 when the Du Pont Company agreed to participate in the Manhattan Project, Greenewalt was named chief liaison, working with the physicists at the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, including Arthur Compton and Enrico Fermi, who were developing techniques for plutonium separation. In December 1942 the Du Pont Company signed an agreement with the U.S. government to design and construct a pilot plant-size reactor and to operate a plutonium production and separation facility. The site for this facility was to be in the desert of eastern Washington, and the plant became known as the Hanford Engineer Works. By the spring of 1945, Hanford was the site of a full-scale plant producing plutonium that would be used in the atomic bombs exploded in New Mexico on July 16 and over Nagaski, Japan, on August 9, 1945.

After the War, Greenewalt was named head of Du Pont's Explosives Department, and in 1948 he became president of the company, a position he held for 14 years.

From the description of Manhattan Project Diary, 1942-1945. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122459384

Biographical/Historical note

Born in Asherton, Texas in 1923 and raised in Edinburg, Texas, Roy Grayson Post was the fourth of five children born to Ruth Grisham Post and Albert Kendall Post. He married Kate Jordan (Becky) in 1946. He received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1944, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1952 from the University of Texas. In the interim of these degrees, he served during WWII as a member of the Manhattan Project in Chicago. Dr. Post dedicated his professional life to applied research and later to teaching in the field of nuclear engineering and nuclear waste management. He was an engineer at General Electric Co. in Richland, Washington starting in 1952, and in 1956 moved to Texas Instruments in Richardson, Texas. In 1961 he joined the faculty of the University of Arizona as Professor of Nuclear Engineering, where he continued until becoming professor emeritus in 1988. He authored over 100 publications in the field of nuclear engineering, as well as edited books on nuclear fuel reprocessing and radioactive waste management. He served as editor of the journal Nuclear Technology from 1969 until 1988. He was founding chief executive of the Waste Management Symposia, Inc, sponsor of the annual international Waste Management conference held in Tucson, AZ from 1973 until 2007. Roy Grayson Post passed away peacefully July 23, 2007 in Tucson, AZ after a hard fought battle with cancer.

The Roy G. Post Foundation is a non-profit corporation formed by his students, peers and protégés to provide scholarships to students to develop careers in the safe management of nuclear materials and to participate in the annual Waste Management Symposium.

From the guide to the Roy G. Post Papers, 1944-1984, 1944-1984, (Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives, Leatherby Libraries)

Crawford Hallock Greenewalt (1902-1993) was a chemical engineer and the President of the DuPont Company from 1948 to 1962. He had a passion for the natural sciences, and combined his love of ornithology with photography. He was especially known for his high speed photographs of hummingbirds. His ornithological interests included bird songs, the radiance of hummingbird feathers and the evolution of shapes and sizes of birds in relation to their flight abilities.

Born August 16, 1902 in Cummington, Massachusetts, Crawford H. Greenewalt was the son of Frank Lindsay and Mary Elizabeth Hallock Greenewalt. He graduated from William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia and earned a BS in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1922.

Immediately after graduating from MIT, Greenewalt began a life long career with the DuPont Company. He began working as a control chemist in the Philadelphia Works of the Paint, Lacquer and Heavy Chemicals Department, moved to Central Research and Development Department and was assigned to the Experimental Station, of which he became, in 1939, the assistant director. In January of 1942, he was elected director of the DuPont Company.

During World War II, the DuPont Company was recruited by General Leslie R. Groves (1896-1970) to participate in the war effort. Greenewalt was on the Reviewing Committee, which was charged with investigating the atomic bomb. Greenewalt “was technical director of the DuPont plutonium plant at Hansford, Washington … and witnessed the first controlled atomic reaction at the University of Chicago stadium,” ( Auk ). His involvement with the Manhattan Project required him to work as a liaison between the University of Chicago physicists, such as J. Robert Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi, and the DuPont engineers and construction crews.

In 1945, he became the assistant director of the Development Department, and, later that year, the Assistant General Manger of the Pigments Department. Greenewalt was elected as Vice President of the DuPont Company on May 19, 1947 and as President of the DuPont Company on January 19, 1948. He served as president from 1948 to 1962. He served as a board chairman from 1962 to 1967 and as chairman of the Finance Committee from 1962 to 1973. Greenewalt “played major roles in the development of nylon and in the birth of DuPont’s atomic energy program,” (MIT). He is credited with “build[ing] basic research strength, making [DuPont] one of the strongest science-based companies in the world,” (MIT).

In addition to his success at DuPont, Greenewalt was also highly successful in the fields of ornithology and photography. Greenewalt photographed his first hummingbird in 1953 in Delaware. In his book, Hummingbirds, he writes; "I had read of the hummingbird's extremely rapid wing beat and was interested primarily in seeing whether a technique I had developed for photographing small birds in flight would produce satisfactory results with these darting acrobats. To my surprise, wing action was adequately 'stopped' and the pictures were charming and much admired. So it was I caught hummingbird fever," (Greenewalt, p. ix). According to Academy News, Greenewalt, “unraveled secrets of song production by birds, of the structural basis of vivid hummingbird colors, of the evolution of shapes and sizes of birds in relation to their flight abilities, particularly the understanding of the energy requirements of the rapid movements of a hummingbird’s wings which appear to most as a hazy blur,” ( Academy News ).

Greenewalt wrote in his book, Bird song: Acoustics and Physiology, "Since I cannot qualify as an ornithologist, an acoustical physicist, or as an expert on modern instrumentation, I have had to solicit much assistance in all three categories. . . " (Greenewalt). However, ornithology was more than hobby and Greenewalt “devised photographic equipment to determine … rate of acceleration to flight speed … [and] in cooperation with the late Harold E. Edgerton of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and engineers of the DuPont company … developed high-speed photography capable of ‘freezing’ the rapid wing beats of hummingbirds,” ( Auk ). He has made significant contributions to stop-action and time-lapse photography.

His enthusiasm as a naturalist brought about his involvement with the Academy of Natural Sciences. Greenewalt served on the Board of Trustees for the Academy of Natural Sciences from 1940 to 1966 and as an honorary from 1966 till his death. In 1951, the Atomic Energy Commission enlisted DuPont to construct a plutonium production plant on the Savannah River in South Carolina. Greenewalt was concerned about the environmental impact and worked with the Academy of Natural Sciences botanist and limnologist, Ruth Patrick to study the condition of the water and assess the effects of the proposed plant on the ecosystem. Patrick was appointed to DuPont's Board of Trustees and Greenewalt would not build the plant without the Academy's approval.

In 1979, Greenewalt worked with the Academy's Director of Ornithology, Frank Gill to establish the Visual Resources of Ornithology (VIREO), which is the Academy of Natural Science's world-wide bird photograph collection, and has become the world's most comprehensive collection of ornithological images. Greenewalt's photographs were the seed collection for the project. He also provided VIREO with an endowment.

Greenewalt is the author of three monograph works: The Uncommon Man: the Individual in the Organization, published in 1959; Hummingbirds, published in 1960; and Birdsong: Acoustics and Physiology, published in 1968. He also authored numerous articles in a variety of publications, such as National Geographic and the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. He served as: a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, the president of the American Philosophical Society, a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the National Geographic Society, a trustee of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and a life member of the MIT Council. He received the Gold Medal of Merit of the Wharton School Alumni Society in 1952; the William Proctor Prize for Scientific Achievement by the Scientific Research Society of America in 1957; the 1958 Medal for Advancement of Research by the American Society of Metals; the Gold Medal Award of the American Institute of Chemists in 1959; the Poor Richard Club’s Gold Medal of Achievement in 1959; the Economic Club’s Gold Medal Award in 1961; the John Fritz Medal by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 1961; the Society Medal by the Society of Chemical Industry in 1963; the Robert E. Wilson award by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 1967; and the Academy of Natural Sciences' Richard Hopper Day Medal in 1980. He also held honorary degrees from many institutions.

In 1926, Greenewalt married Margaretta Lammot DuPont and they were the parents of three children: David, Crawford, Jr. and Nancy. Margaretta Lammot DuPont Greenewalt died in 1991. Crawford H. Greenewalt died on September 27, 1993. He is remembered as “a rare individual-one of the leading chief executives of his time who was also a fine scientist and a discerning humanist,” (MIT).

Bibliography:

Academy News . “Day Medal 1980: Crawford Greenewalt,” Winter, Volume 3 (4),1980.

Author and Source Unknown. Biography of Crawford Hallock Greenewalt (Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia Biographical File).

Auk . “In Memoriam: Crawford H. Greenewalt, 1902-1993,” by Albert E. Conway. Volume 111 (1): 188-189, 1994.

Greenewalt, Crawford H. Bird song : Acoustics and Physiology . Washington : Smithsonian Institution Press, 1968.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Crawford Greenewalt of DuPont Dies,” http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/1993/greenewalt-0929.html (accessed December 16, 2009).

From the guide to the Crawford H. Greenewalt papers, 1951-1993, (Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia)



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Subjects:

  • Science and state
  • Atomic bomb
  • Short take-off and landing aircraft
  • Industrial relations
  • Birds--Songs and music
  • Textile fibers, Synthetic
  • Obesity in women
  • Chemistry, Physical and theoretical
  • Business enterprises--History
  • Hummingbirds
  • Boeing 747 (Jet transports)
  • Textile industry
  • Plutonium
  • Women's clothing industry
  • Photography, High-speed
  • Patent laws and legislation
  • Manhattan Project (U. S.) -- History
  • Industry--Social aspects
  • Technology and state
  • Supersonic transport planes
  • Plutonium--Metallurgy
  • Nuclear energy
  • Ornithology
  • Explosives industry
  • Birds--Study and teaching
  • Nuclear reactors
  • Aircraft industry
  • Photography
  • Birds--Flight
  • Nuclear physics
  • Bird navigation
  • Nuclear engineering
  • Banks and banking
  • Nuclear power plants
  • Business and politics
  • Ornithology--Methodology
  • Birds--Research
  • Research, Industrial
  • Nylon
  • Ornithology--Research
  • Birds
  • Gardens
  • Chemical industry
  • Nuclear energy -- History
  • Citizens' advisory committees in science

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  • Philadelphia International Airport (as recorded)
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  • Chile (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • Costa Rica (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • Soviet Union (as recorded)
  • Peru (as recorded)
  • Philadelphia (Pa.) (as recorded)
  • Australia (as recorded)
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  • United States (as recorded)
  • Canada (as recorded)
  • Galapagos Islands (as recorded)