Museum founder Henry Francis du Pont, who was born and raised at Winterthur, inherited the estate after the death of his father, Henry Algernon, late in 1926. Pursuing his ideal of creating an American country estate, H. F. du Pont vastly expanded the house, furnishing it entirely with American antiques. The expansion of the family library was also critical to his vision as a collector.
H. F. du Pont relied on both rare and current reference books about American decorative arts to inform his collecting and design decisions. Antique books were also part of the furnishings in almost every period room—spaces du Pont designed around a particular American period or style.
I will say that I am interested only in 17th– and 18th– century books printed and bound in America. . . . I was particularly interested in the old binding inasmuch as I wanted to put the book in a room of that period.
H. F. du Pont, letters to Goodspeed’s Book Shop, 1939–40