The Delaware State Beekeepers Association was organized in 1936 by University of Delaware Professor of Entomology L.A. Sterns, who also served as the first secretary-treasurer of the association. As Dr. Sterns expressed them, the Association’s objectives could “be adequately expressed in five words - 'improvement of beekeeping in Delaware'.” To this end, the Association has pursued a wide variety of programs and activities over the course of its history including legislative efforts, community outreach through state fairs and local gatherings, the dissemination of information about the history and science of beekeeping through its newsletter and sponsored lectures, and its involvement with regional and national beekeeping organizations.
The Association held its first full annual meeting at the Caesar Rodney School in Camden-Wyoming, Delaware, on January 15, 1938, with approximately seventy-five people attending. Members of the organization successfully lobbied for, and helped draft, Delaware’s first Apiary Law in 1947. The Association disbanded following its fifteenth annual meeting in 1956 (no meetings were held from 1943-1945 because of World War II). In 1969, the organization was revived by the efforts of University of Delaware Professor of Entomology Dale Bray. 1971 saw the Association lead a successful opposition to a proposed Newark ordinance that would have prohibited the keeping of pigs and bees in the city of Newark; they unfortunately failed to prevent the city of Dover from passing a similar ordinance in 1995. In 1974, the organization began publication of a quarterly newsletter, "The Newsy Bee." In 1977, the Association hosted the annual conference of the Eastern Apiculture Society for the first time. It would host the conference three more times over the next thirty years. University of Delaware Professor Dewey M. Caron, donor of this collection, took over editorial responsibility for "The Newsy Bee" in 1982. He continued serving in this capacity for the next twenty-five years, finally stepping down from the post after the publication of the newsletter’s last issue in 2007. The newsletter was discontinued in favor of a members-only electronic bulletin board.
Historical information derived from the collection.
The Delaware State Beekeepers Association records documents the history of the organization from its founding in 1936 until 2007. This small collection was compiled by University of Delaware Professor Dewey M. Caron, Extension Entomologist, advisor to the association, and past editor of its newsletter, during the course of research for a history of the association. A copy of Dr. Caron’s finished history is included in the Miscellaneous Related Materials.
The collection divides into three groups: Reports of the Annual Meeting 1938-1973, "The Newsy Bee" newsletter 1974-2007, and Miscellaneous Related Materials. The Reports of the Annual Meeting contain statistics about the size of the organization and the business and practice of beekeeping in the state of Delaware as well as financial records of the organization and articles on the art, science, and history of beekeeping.
The collection contains a full run of the organization’s newsletter "The Newsy Bee" from its inception in 1974 until 2007. Published on average four times a year, the newsletter contains information previously published in the reports while providing a more extensive form for information on beekeeping, both in Delaware and nationally.
Miscellaneous Related Materials contains various items related to the organization and beekeeping in Delaware including conference programs, a photostat of Delaware’s first law regulating beekeeping, a photograph of the ninth annual meeting (1950), a photocopy of Caron’s History of the Delaware State Beekeepers Association and miscellaneous photocopies of correspondence relating to the organization.