Oral history interview with Irving S. Shapiro

Oral history interview with Irving S. Shapiro

  • 1994-Dec-15

Irving Shapiro begins this interview by discussing his parents' backgrounds and the influence of his father's interest in law and accounting. Next Shapiro examines his own early intellectual strengths and proclivities and his undergraduate and law school performance. He describes the path which took him from a private practice in Minneapolis, to the U.S. Office of Price Administration during WWII, to the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division, where his highly publicized work prosecuting the eleven Communists brought him to the attention of the DuPont legal department. Shapiro recalls how his appointment as a DuPont General Counsel heralded a new era for the company in terms of its attitude toward Jews. In considering his advancement to CEO, Shapiro emphasizes his relationships with Walter Carpenter, Crawford Greenewalt, and Charles McCoy, as well as his work with the industrial departments and in disputes involving General Motors, Ford Motors, and Ralph Nader.

Next, while discussing his career as CEO, Shapiro explains how his management and communication practices impacted on public and internal views of DuPont and allowed talented employees to blossom. He touches on his relationships with Edward Kane and Edward Jefferson and his commitment to DuPont's research and development, and he speaks more generally of his views of foreign competition, business-community relations with the media and government, the Business Roundtable, and his legacy to the history of DuPont. Finally, Shapiro describes his post-DuPont work at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom, and at the Howard Hughes Institute.

Place of interview
Original file type MP3, PDF
  • 54 pages
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
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Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

Physical location


Cite as

Irving S. Shapiro, interviewed by James J. Bohning in Wilmington, Delaware on December 15, 1994. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0124. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/ws859g84g.

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Transcript (Published Version)

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

7 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads