Historical Armistice Day

by David Cardillo, DDNP Staff

Armistice Day, November 11th, was originally intended to celebrate the end of the War to End All Wars, known currently as World War I, while honoring the veterans of that war.

The first such celebration in Newark, Delaware, unfortunately, was a bit of a wash. Literally. According to The Newark Post of November 12, 1919, the weather did not cooperate and the rain forced the organizers to cancel the parade scheduled for that day, hinting that it would be rescheduled.

Most Americans today will recognize November 11th as Veteran’s Day. However, it wasn’t until 1954 that Armistice Day was changed to “Veteran’s Day” by President Eisenhower. This decision came in aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, with the intention of honoring all veterans. Nevertheless, The Middletown Transcript of November 18, 1922 shows that living veterans of any war participated in the day’s events long before the change was made.

External source: US Department of Veterans Affairs

Fall Back Controversy

Have you felt a bit differently for the past two days? 

Most Americans, with the exception of a handful of states and territories, turned their clocks back one hour Sunday morning, November 5, 2017. Although we awaken to a brighter morning, this time of year takes one hour of daylight away from our already shortening evenings. Some people like the extra hour of sleep in the mornings while others grumble about the inconvenience of an earlier sunset during this annual disruption.

Daylight savings time (DST) dates back to 1918, and the disagreement about its usefulness is not a new topic of discussion in Delaware. In one article from the Newark Post from June 7, 1922, New Castle County residents claimed DST was a great disservice to farmers and “detrimental to the health and happiness of children.” Nevertheless, DST continues in Delaware to this day, and the grumblings continue.

For more stories on historical stories of the beginnings of DST, visit Chronicling America.

Women’s Suffrage – 1914

by David Cardillo, DDNP Staff

The Newark Post, on November 11, 1914 contained an editorial, detailing the positive political and social results of allowing women to vote. Among the improvements were an increase in the age at which children could legally work, reducing gambling, expanding pension programs, and so on. As shown in the snippet of an article here, women voters, and thus women active in politics, may have started many of the labor benefits we enjoy today.

The article also mentions the struggle for suffrage and equality in other states, such as California, decrying equality a “menace” and Ohio claiming that only ten percent of women wanted the right to vote, when the statistics presented showed a much higher, majority of women wanting the right to make their voices heard in politics.

Read more about the history of women’s suffrage in newspapers from across the country in Chronicling America.

Halloween Parties!

by David Cardillo, DDNP Staff


The tradition of holding and attending Halloween parties is one that goes back at least a century. The Middletown Transcript, one of the papers from Delaware that has been digitized as part of the National Digital Newspaper Project and can be found and searched on the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America site, reports regularly on the more popular parties, which included dancing, bobbing for apples, and costume contests where people were so well disguised that fellow townspeople could not recognize their neighbors until they unmasked themselves.

There was also a plethora of creative costumes depicting more abstract concepts. Examples can be seen in this article from The Middletown Transcript, November 10, 1910, page 3.

The same issue of The Middletown Transcript mentions several other parties. One social had a theme of witches, where guests arrived to a decorated house, directed to “go up,” and were greeted by people costumed as witches who then told “fortunes,” and held drawing contests.

Unfortunately, there are no photographs or drawings of these events, even in articles in the early 1900s. Nevertheless, the journalists reporting on these social events seem to provide detailed descriptions of the attendees, their costumes, and the decorations. It is rather impressive how many Halloween traditions have continued for over a century, if not longer.

Happy Microfilm Day!

We just received our batch of microfilm for our 2017/2019 grant cycle — 84 reels of Evening Journal (1888-1922).

The next cycle begins…

Delaware Hauntings

by David Cardillo, DDNP Staff

Hauntings aren’t just for Halloween!

An article in Wilmington, Delaware’s The Sun on December 11, 1898 highlights a property in Wilmington that is believed to be haunted. As the story goes, a Mrs. James Arnold was cooking in her Wilmington home when her dress caught fire. She ran into the street for help, but the outdoor air only fed the flames, and she soon succumbed to her injuries. Her distraught husband moved to the countryside where he later died.

When a Mr. John Murphy bought the house, six days passed without incident. On the sixth night, while lying on the sofa, he thought he saw his wife and asked her for a glass of water. When the figure approached him, however, he saw it was an apparition a lady who was not his wife. The apparition said nothing and instead turned and vanished. Believing this was, indeed, the spirit of the late Mrs. Arnold, Mr. and Mrs. John Murphy packed up and moved out the following Monday.

To read more about the hauntings of 1898 Wilmington, Delaware, read the full story in Chronicling America.

Pumpkin Skunkin’

by David Cardillo, DDNP Staff

Happy Halloween everyone!!

With the holiday looming, some spooky historical newspaper stories are coming your way in the next couple of weeks…

According to The Middletown Transcript, November 5th, 1910, a young lady spotted a pumpkin moving in a field. She called a neighbor, who confirmed that the pumpkin was, indeed, moving…


Women in the DE Press

by Theresa Hessey, DDNP staff

The Clayton Herald represents a unique aspect of Delaware history. Possibly the only Delaware newspaper to be founded by a woman, the Clayton Herald was established by Mrs. R. S. McConaughy in 1867 with the motto, “Independent in Everything, Neutral in Nothing”.

Published every Saturday, the Clayton Herald included McConaughy’s editorials addressing national and local politics in addition to a variety of other topics. A Republican newspaper, the Clayton Herald opposed Andrew Johnson and in the August 17, 1867 edition of the paper, McConaughy wrote about the removal of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton by “that renegade A. Johnson”. She also expressed concern that “If Andy Johnson is still to have the control of affairs, God alone can tell what is in store for us. We tremble for the future of our country.”

The Clayton Herald is not currently available on Chronicling America, but stay tuned for it to be included by the end of 2017!

Coming Soon to Chronicling America: Clayton Herald. (Clayton, Del.), 17 Aug 1867.

The Delaware Ambulance

by David Cardillo, DDNP staff

One hundred years ago, the Daughters of the American Revolution gifted an ambulance to Delaware College, which eventually became the University of Delaware. According to The Newark Post on October 3, 1917, an elaborate ceremony was planned for the presentation of the automobile to the college on October 4, 1917. The gift of the ambulance was made with the understanding that the US government could conscript its service, if the need arose, during World War I, at that time known as The Great War or The World War.

Along with the ambulance was a five-member College Ambulance Corps who were learning first aid from a local doctor, Walter H. Steel. The Ambulance Corps would be available night and day to respond to emergencies within Newark, Delaware, though it is noted that the ambulance would be able to respond to emergencies or transport patients up to one hundred miles outside of the city. Governor John G. Townsend, Jr. would accept the ambulance on behalf of the college, and while the College Ambulance Corps was to maintain the vehicle, it would serve both the campus and the local community.

Newark post. (Newark, Del.), 03 Oct. 1917. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88053005/1917-10-03/ed-1/seq-1/

AR and GA join the NDNP!

A very warm welcome goes out to our newest partners in Arkansas and Georgia! Our Wisconsin partner, who started in 2015 with the DDNP, has also been renewed for a second phase grant!

We look forward to working with all of our state partners in the coming years!

To read more about the newest members, visit the article by NEH:


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