Delaware clippings and scrapbook collection

Biographical and Historical Notes

The creator of this collection is unknown but is assumed to have been a Delawarean.

Scope and Content Note

This Delaware clippings and scrapbook collection includes articles and full page sheets clipped and saved from nineteenth- and twentieth-century published newspapers and periodicals (1818-1977, bulk dates 1950-1969). Housed in 17 folders and one scrapbook, the articles focus on historic structures and locations in Delaware, local politics and people, the Delaware River, transportation, and extreme weather.

The collection is of browsing interest for an historical overview of the changing built and natural environments of the First State. Housed alphabetically by seventeen creator-defined filing categories, these clippings cover topics as varied as Hurricane Hazel, Delaware River shipping accidents, the University of Delaware, the state's link to George Washington and the Revolutionary War, historic preservation projects, Delaware artists, local athletics, state and national politicians, and the lives of "average" Delawareans. While the majority of the clippings themselves are from the 1950s and 1960s, the topics covered in the clippings are of a historical nature in most circumstances. Therefore, the collection provides a wealth of information on a broad spectrum of topics from Delaware’s past. An additional cache of similar news clippings, mostly from the 1930s and 1940s, are housed in an oversize scrapbook. A very few articles date from the nineteenth century.

In many instances the place of publication and/or the date of publication of the articles are unclear. The majority of the identifiable articles hail from local newspapers, particularly the Wilmington Evening Journal , Wilmington Morning News , Delmarva Star , Wilmington Journal-Every Evening , and Philadelphia Inquirer . However, a lesser number of articles were clipped from larger national newspapers. Only one folder, the Nearby Delaware (F6) folder, contains a large number of items that are not newspaper clippings. In this folder, which details the history of nearby regions in Pennsylvania and Maryland, there are a number of brochures, calendar pages, programs, and greeting cards depicting scenes of the surrounding areas.

The identity of the original compiler of these articles is unknown, but it is apparent from the types of articles included in the collection that the individual was particularly interested in both the history of the state as well as how this history was being either preserved or overlooked as the built environment of the region was being altered. At least four of the seventeen folders in the collection contain articles discussing the destruction of or attempts at preserving historically important structures. The Architecture/Buildings folder (F2) and Delaware Buildings and Sites folder (F17) are both almost entirely made up of articles about the then-present conditions and future states of historic buildings, parks, and regions.

Additionally, the Transportation (F15) and Shellpot Park, Creek, Mills (F11) folders contain many clippings discussing how the look and feel of Delaware’s roads, rivers, railroads, and parks had changed over time.

In addition to this focus on the changing appearance of the state, the collection also includes articles about many famous Delawareans. The Arts and Artists (F3) folder includes clippings on Delawareans such as Jefferson David Chalfant, Howard Pyle, Gayle Hoskins, and Robert Shaw. Clippings on N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Frank Schoonover are also included, due to these artists’ connection to Howard Pyle and the Brandywine School.

The Politics (F7) and People (F8) folders also contain clippings focusing on the lives and careers of selected individuals. Frequently noted politicians include Democratic boss Garrett E. Lyons; former governors William D. Denney, C. Douglass Buck, John G. Townsend, Jr., J. Caleb Boggs, Walter W. Bacon, and Elbert N. Carvel; and park superintendent John B. Quinn. Additionally, an entire folder (F9) is dedicated to the relationship between Delawarean and DuPont executive John J. Raskob and unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate and former New York Governor Al Smith.

The People (F8) folder includes articles about Delawareans who were engaged in many different careers and activities as noted in the local or national press. Those mentioned range from a Revolutionary War general to an antiques collector to a female New Castle County magistrate to a muzzle-loading gun-maker in the 1960s. Many of the stories told in these articles are primarily of the "human interest" variety. A large number of the articles are from a column, titled "Ramblin’ Round," written by Joe Martin.

The largest folders in the clippings collection are the Architecture/Buildings, Arts and Artists, Delaware River and Ships, Near by Delaware, Politics, People, Storms and Weather, and Delaware Buildings and Sites folders. The remaining nine folders contain fewer clippings, but are still of value to the researcher hoping to learn more about the aspects of Delaware history than the titles of these folders reflect.