Deer Park Hotel guest register

Biographical and Historical Notes

The Deer Park Hotel, now the Deer Park Tavern, is located on West Main Street in Newark, Delaware. The current brick building was erected in 1851. It replaced the St. Patrick's Inn, a three-story structure that stood on the site from 1747 until it burned down in the mid-nineteenth century. The original St. Patrick's Inn hosted many notable guests, including surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon and poet Edgar Allen Poe.

By the late-nineteenth century, The Deer Park Hotel had become one of the finest hotels on the East Coast. The hotel's popularity was enhanced by its proximity to Newark's first railroad line, established in 1869. By the early twentieth century, the hotel was owned and operated by the McKelvey family. The U.S. Federal Census for 1920 identifies James A. McKelvey as the Deer Park hotel's proprietor. By 1940, McKelvey's widow, Elizabeth Z. McKelvey owned and operated the hotel. Elizabeth McKelvey was the proprietor of the hotel when this guest registry was used in the 1940s and 1950s.


Deer Park Tavern website, "About the Deer Park Tavern" (accessed January 23, 2018)

"Advertisement," The Wilmington News Journal, May 8, 1954.

U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 (accessed via on January 23, 2018)

United States Federal Census for 1920 (accessed via on January 23, 2018)

United States Federal Census for 1940 (accessed via on January 23, 2018)

Information derived from the collection.

Scope and Contents

This registry book for the Deer Park Hotel in Newark, Delaware, was kept between October 1944 and March 1952, and lists hotel patrons in chronological order, noting their arrival date, name, and room number.

The entries in this registry book also list the guests place of residence. Although most guests were from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey, patrons traveled from all over the United States. Several of the guests listed in 1944 and 1945 were members of the U.S. Army or Navy. Most entries feature a checkmark, indicating that the guests had paid for their stay. Some entries also note the amount paid for a room.

Pages 94 to 279 in this volume are blank. The final pages of the volume show accounts for guests who stayed at the Deer Park Hotel for long periods of time, often for over a month, and guests who stayed at regular intervals. For instance, a number of patrons stayed at the hotel for one night a week for months at a time. These regular guests often received the same room on each of their visits. These entries start on pages 298-299 and go back to pages 280-281.

This volume is bound with cloth over boards and has red paper over the spine. The word "RECORD" is gilt-stamped on the spine. A stamp on the inside of the front cover notes that the volume was sold by Matthews Brothers, Inc., of Wilmington, Delaware. The volume contains 300 pages of lined paper, of which 108 have handwritten entries in ink and pencil. Some of the pencil entries are illegible due to smudging.