Malcolm L. Mackenzie papers

Biographical and Historical Notes

Publicist and avid sailor Malcolm L. Mackenzie, born on January 19, 1926, in El Paso, Texas, was a founding member of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, based in Wilmington, Delaware.

Mackenzie, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University, owned and operated the publicity firm of Malcolm L. Mackenzie & Associates in Wilmington during the 1960s through the 1980s. In his private life, Mackenzie, who graduated from the Maine Maritime Academy and served in the U.S. Naval Reserve, enjoyed sailing and researching maritime history. Mackenzie devoted much of his life to redevelopment of an area in Wilmington known as the Seventh Street Peninsula, which encompasses heritage sites such as Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church and the Carl Milles 1938 sculpture of the Kalmar Nyckel , which commemorated the 300th anniversary of the establishment of New Sweden. This sculpture is located at the "the Rocks," a natural wharf on the Christina River, where on March 29th, 1638, approximately 30 men from Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, and Germany arrived on two ships, the Kalmar Nyckel and the Fogel Grip . Mackenzie was active in the Swedish Colonial Society and was a founding member of both the New Sweden Centre and the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, which established the Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard and, in 1997, built a replica of the 17th-century sailing ship.

The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Wilmington, Delaware. The foundation was originally organized by a group of individuals interested in maritime history and the first permanent Swedish settlement in America.

The original passengers of the Kalmar Nyckel and her sister ship, the Fogel Grip , established the first Swedish colony in Wilmington, Delaware in 1638. To commemorate this historic crossing, the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, beginning in the late 1980s, established a working ship yard and constructed a historically accurate replica of the original Kalmar Nyckel . After years of construction, the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation held the inaugural launch of its replica ship in September, 1997. As of 2009, the mission of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation centers around maritime education and providing the public with opportunities to learn about and work aboard its 17th century Swedish replica ship, the Kalmar Nyckel. Educational programming also occurs at the Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard, located on Seventh Street in Wilmington, Delaware.


Biographical information about Malcolm L. Mackenzie was derived from the collection.

Heed, Samuel, Esq. et al. Kalmar Nyckel: A Guide to the Ship and Her History. Wilmington, Delaware: Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, 2009. Also available in print form.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains materials relating to Malcolm L. Mackenzie's publicity firm Malcolm L. Mackenzie & Associates and Mackenzie's personal involvement with the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, other local cultural institutions, and his interests in general maritime history and historic ships. Materials include publicity materials, written reports, correspondence, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, facsimile maps, newsletters, photographs, photograph negatives, slides, and sailing and maritime history books. The collection also includes personal papers such as photographs albums, scrapbooks and Mackenzie's ships log, 1946 to 1948, of voyages to ports in the United States, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and Europe while serving as a Second Mate in the Merchant Marine.

The materials relating to Malcolm L. Mackenzie's publicity firm, Malcolm L. Mackenzie & Associates, consist of photographs and photograph negatives from various publicity campaigns. Notable campaigns include work for the Wilmington Blue Bombers basketball team in Wilmington, Delaware, the National Personnel Associates company, and the DuPont Company. This collection also contains photographs and negatives of New Castle County suburban development projects such as shopping centers and office parks. Series VII includes material related to several proposed projects, including Beaver Valley Gateway and Beaver Park, Fox Point Park, Heritage Landing and Delaware Waterfront 2020.

The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation materials include a variety of publicity materials, reports, correspondence, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, facsimile maps, newsletters, photographs, photographic negatives, and slides. These materials relate for the most part to the beginning years of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation and provide insight into the history of the organization itself as well as into the start-up of a non-profit cultural institution and its impact on community life and other area organizations. This collection also includes significant amounts of material relating to other historic ships and maritime history museums in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Realia items include commemorative pins, pennants, and plaques; a Swedish flag; and museum exhibit text panels.

Mackenzie's personal papers, consists of photograph albums, scrapbooks and a ships log which chronicle Malcolm Mackenzie's childhood, educational experiences, and service in the U.S. Naval Reserve. The photographs in the albums and items in the scrapbooks detail Mackenzie's childhood experiences In Johannesburg, South Africa, and Treichlers, Pennsylvania. The documents and photographs related to his involvement in 4-H, from leadership training to potato cultivation, are other highlights in the albums. His education at South Whitehall High School in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts; the Maine Maritime Academy; and Brown University (including the Rhode Island School of Design) are also richly documented.

The personal papers also include Mackenzie's Department of the Navy records and a ships log detailing Mackenzie's travels around the world on various seagoing vessels. He served as third mate on SS Stones River and second mate on the James B. Eads and MS Western Sun. He visited ports in the United States, the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Caribbean.