The 2017 du Pont trophy was based on shells owned by renowned Delaware illustrator Frank Schoonover, a gift from one of his most well-known clients, Irénée du Pont, owner of Granogue in Delaware and the fabled Xanadu mansion in Cuba, where the shells were collected. The shells were donated to the Museum in December 2015 by Schoonover’s grandson John Schoonover.
Mailed from Granogue, du Pont’s Delaware estate, the tiny box is addressed simply to "Mr. Frank E. Schooner, 1616 Rodney St., City." Inside were nine Cuban land snail shells and a small round box with four tiny shells. DMNH has a sizeable collection of Cuban land snail shells. “These shells are a wonderful addition to the Museum’s collection from both a historical as well as a scientific perspective,” said Liz Shea, Ph.D, Curator of Mollusks.
Built in the 1920s, Xanadu remained a du Pont estate for many years until the Cuban revolution. It is now a tourist attraction. Schoonover visited Xanadu in 1931 and gave du Pont a small watercolor of Xanadu as a thank you for his hospitality. In 1934, Schoonover painted pirate-themed murals still at the mansion, “The Pirates Dance Ashore” and “The Capture of the Galleon.”