The Madness of Count Louis
History says little about the famous A.I. du Pont’s younger brother, and what it does say is often wrong. Here, the authors attempt a more accurate account of his life and death. Yet the mystery surrounding his suicide remains.
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MISTREATED IN DEATH
Several contradictions surround Louis’ life and death, one being the claim (repeated by Joseph Frazier Hall) that he never received a diploma from Yale. University records indicate that Louis did in fact graduate with a bachelor of arts in 1891. Though Louis did not fulfill the expectations cited above, he was an active Yale student. The secretary for the class of 1891, Albert Hampton Barclay, published an account of the class in 1927, and what he says about Louis is telling:
“He was a member of the Freshman Football and Baseball teams and a substitute on the University Football Team. He was a member of Eta Phi, Psi Upsilon, and Wolf’s Head… His health, towards the end of his college course, and while he was at Harvard, gave him great anxiety. His ill health reacted (sic) on the melancholy of his spirit and resulted in a morbid depression.”
Wolf’s Head, a secret society founded in 1883, was an iconoclastic alternative to Skull and Bones, the celebrated secret society of famous men such as George W. Bush and John Kerry. Joining Wolf’s Head reflects Louis’ independent nature.
More recent mentions of Louis have been fraught with error. The poor fellow has been mistreated in death as he probably felt he had been in life. Even the death certificate inaccurately gives his age as 26. Other minor errors are found in several histories of the du Pont family.
Page 9: Again: But Why?