Special Collections librarians welcome instruction and outreach opportunities to promote these primary sources with faculty. Requests for instruction or Faculty recommendations for new acquisitions are always welcome. Please contact: https://library.udel.edu/special/contact-us/askspec/
Special Collections and Museums
- African American History
- LGBTQ Material
- Lincoln Collection (History)
- Politics and Public Policy
- Printing History and Material Culture (including Black Bibliographica)
1. African American History
Ballots in the Time of Peace. Bullets in Time of War. Martinsburg, WV: The Pioneer Press, 1885.
The Pioneer Press was the longest running Black newspaper in the country, operating until 1917, when the U.S. Government shut it down for the paper’s opposition to U.S. entry into WWI. Devoted to the interests of African-Americans, the paper ran essays on lynching, abuse of Black women, literature, religion, and the gamut of legal and political issues affecting African-Americans.
Mott, Abigail. Biographical Sketches and Interesting Anecdotes of Persons of Color. New York: Stereotyped for and printed by order of the Trustees of the Residuary Estate of Lindley Murray. M. Day, Printer, undated, after 1839.
This is one of the earliest compilations of biographies of African-Americans. Abigail Mott (1795-1846) was a Quaker residing in Mamaroneck and Purchase, New York, and later Burlington, New Jersey. She was a tireless champion of African-American rights and the abolition of slavery. This copy includes the ownership inscription of Hiram Nickerson, a Civil War veteran from Massachusetts.
Bosse, Abraham. De La Maniere de Graver à L’eau Forte et au Burin, et de La Gravure en Maniere Noire. Paris: Charles-Antoine Jombert, 1758.
This is the fourth, and most extensive edition of this important treatise on engraving.
Lebrun, Rico, and Dante Alighieri. Drawings for Dante’s Inferno. Los Angeles: Kanthos Press, 1963.
This edition of Rico Lebrun’s drawings for Dante’s Inferno is limited to 100 numbered copies, with a separate suite of seven lithographs, each signed and numbered by Lebrun. Facing each plate are verses of the cantos translated from the Italian by American poet John Ciardi. The book was designed by the artist Leonard Baskin whose work is well represented in Special Collections.
Wodening, Jane. Selections from the Jane Wodening and Stan Brakhage Scrapbooks, 1962-1966. New York City: Granary Books, 2021.
This title comprises 33 full-color facsimiles of page spreads from the original manuscript scrapbooks compiled by the artists Jane Wodening (born 1936) and her former spouse, the filmmaker Stan Brakhage (1933-2003). The book is published in a limited edition of 25 numbered copies, signed by the artist.
*San Martin, María Veroníca. Make the Economy Scream. New York: Center for Book Arts, 2017.
San Martin’s artwork references President Richard Nixon’s 1970 order to the CIA to “make the economy scream” in Chile to overthrow President Salvador Allende, as revealed in a declassified document titled “Meeting with the President.” The document was recently released by the National Security Archive with other materials from the Chile Project of the Nixon administration. A copper box (associated with Chile’s economy) contains faces of people who were repressed by DINA, an intelligence agency created by the CIA and Augusto Pinochet, that committed uncountable human rights violations and crimes against humanity. The faces are made with charcoal painting and gel medium on plastic sheets. Victims are wrapped in a handkerchief printed with handset type and documenting the handwritten notes of a specific conversation between Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and John Mitchell in which they discussed the project to overthrow Allende.
Verstegan, Richard. A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence. Antwerp, by Robert Bruney. And to be sold at London by Iohn Norton and Iohn Bill, 1605.
First edition of Richard Verstegan’s important history of the Saxon invasions, the development of the English language, the formation of its surnames, and general early English lore. The book also includes the first account of the Pied Piper of Hamlyn and a description of werewolves. Verstegan was one of the first generation of Anglo Saxon scholars, and the work contains one of the earliest published Anglo Saxon word lists.
Weaver, Catherine M. Young Pennsylvania German girl’s cartoon drawing and story book with text and dialog in “Pennsylfawnish” dialect. Ephrata, Pennsylvania, circa 1938-1940.
Dating from the late years of the Depression, this manuscript illustrates the life of a young girl, written in Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch, the Amish dialect of her region.
4. LGBTQ Material
Elisabeth Deran papers, circa 1970-2001
Elisabeth “Betty” Deran (born circa 1927) was an American economist and follower of the spiritual teachings of George I. Gurdjieff (1866-1949). These papers include Deran’s correspondence with Annie Lou Staveley (1906-1996), who co-founded a center for Gurdjieffian study at Two Rivers Farm in Oregon. Also included are American poet Edward Field’s letters to Deran and her romantic partner Alma Routsong, who wrote the lesbian novel Patience & Sarah (1969, 1971) under the pseudonym Isabel Miller. The collection also contains Deran’s unpublished autobiography and manuscripts (including files on floppy disks), computer files on CD, recordings of an opera adapted from Patience & Sarah, and photographs. Additional Deran correspondence is found in the Edward Field papers in Special Collections.
5. Lincoln Collection (History)
Reed, William B. Speech on the Presidential Question. Philadelphia, 1860.
Writing in September 1860, the author of this political pamphlet is a “Philadelphia Cotton Whig” who supported the Southern Rights Democrat John Breckinridge for the presidency in 1860, and expressed his “grave objections” to Abraham Lincoln.
Beecher Stowe, Harriet. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. New York: Limited Editions Club, 1938.
This edition of Stowe’s classic is notable for its sixteen lithograph illustrations by Mexican artist Miguel Covarubbias (1904-1957), who is strongly associated with the Harlem Renaissance.
Campion, Martha, ed. New Pioneer Story Book. New York: New Pioneer Publishing, 1935.
This scarce anthology of stories was selected from the New Pioneer, the official organ of the “Pioneers,” the sanctioned children’s organization of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA). In his introduction addressed to the boys and girls of the workers and farmers of America,” co-founder of the CPUSA Max Bedacht explains that “these stories are not fairy tales … These are stories that tell you the truth about the conditions of the workers and their children and what they must do to better these conditions.”
Joyce, James. Finnegan Tetsuya-Sai. Tokyo: Toshishuppansha, 1971.
This is the first Japanese edition of the Irish author’s novel Finnegan’s Wake. Translated by a group of scholars led by Yukio Suzuki, this edition contains four illustrations by the Irish artist Stella Steyn. This Japanese edition is quite scarce with only three copies held in American libraries.
More, Thomas. Utopia. Translated by Gilbert Burnet. London: Printed for R. Chiswell; and to be sold by G. Powell, 1685.
The Utopia was first published in Latin at Louvain in 1516, overseen by More’s friend, Pieter Gillies, its dedicatee, in whose garden More conceived of the work. The first English edition, by Ralph Robinson, did not appear until 1550. This translation, by Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, though not so frequently reprinted as the earlier one, is, in some respects, much superior, and certainly presents a more readable text.
Reavey, George. The Colours of Memory. Evergreen Book of Poetry, E-20. New York: Grove Press, 1955.
This Evergreen collection of the Irish poet’s poems is a signed presentation copy with an original signed frontispiece drawing by American abstract artist Irene Rice Pereira (1902-1971), the author’s wife.
United Nations Relief & Rehabilitation Administration Album: Concentration Camp Dachau. Dachau, Germany: International Information Office for the Former Concentration Camp Dachau, 1945-1948.
This photographic record was assembled by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and issued to publicize atrocities committed under the Nazi regime. It contains forty-one images from within the camp, most taken immediately after liberation, depicting the facility and grounds, liberated prisoners, crematory, and a staggering number of corpses. It includes photographic portraits and scenes of the trial of German officers tried and convicted by the American military tribunal after World War II. There are only twenty known copies.
8. Politics and Public Policy
Adlai Stevenson 1952 presidential campaign speeches, July 21-November 1, 1952.
The 56 speeches comprising this collection begin with Stevenson’s welcoming address to the Democratic National Convention on July 21, when he was speaking as the hosting governor in Illinois, before he was drafted as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. This complete set of campaign speeches was issued as news releases, all mechanically reproduced on letterhead of the Stevenson Campaign Headquarters.
9. Printing History and Material Culture (including Black Bibliographica)
*Lucretius. De Rerum Natura. Aldus Manutius and Andrea Torresani di Asolo, 1515.
The Lucretius of January 1515 was the last book printed by Aldus, shortly before his death on 6 February. The text had been revised and edited by Andrea Navagero (1483–1529), the editor of all the last Latin editions published by Aldus from the Cicero of 1514 onwards.
Carey, Mathew. The American Museum: or, Annual Register of Fugitive Pieces, Ancient and Modern. For the Year 1798. Philadelphia: Printed for Matthew Carey, 1799.
Mathew Carey began The American Museum on the heels of a failed partnership with other printers called the Columbian Magazine. Carey’s goal was to cull from other sources the best essays on political, economic, and cultural subjects, as well as poetry and prose, and offer them to a national audience. A congressional change in postal rates for magazines in 1792 forced Carey to end The American Museum and this was the only volume published. Special Collections houses a strong collection of the work of this important early American author and publisher.
Charleston Courier with Charleston Daily. Publisher: Charleston, S.C. 1865.
This is a scarce run of this South Carolina newspaper, including the following four issues (4 pages each): March 14 and 30, April 15, and August 21, 1865. The issues include Southern reports on “Sherman, the Raider;” an announcement of Jefferson Davis’s resignation and the raising of the U.S. flag at Fort Sumter with the accompanying text of Henry Ward Beecher’s address. George Whittemore, a Union war correspondent, was installed by Sherman to run the paper between February and November in 1865. The Charleston Courier in the antebellum South was known to have relied upon enslaved Black laborers in its printing operations, but under Union control, the press instead employed its Black workers. An 1865 procession noted a line of African American paper carriers each holding a copy of Courier headed by a Black pressman named George Smith (Savannah Daily Herald, March 27, 1865, p.1)
Brown, Grafton Tyler. California stock certificate. San Francisco: G.T. Brown, 1875.
This stock certificate was printed by the first-known, successful Black lithographer, cartographer, and artist, Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918). Brown, whose parents were freeborn Black Americans from Maryland, and whose father was involved in the abolitionist movement, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Brown worked as a printer in Philadelphia before relocating to San Francisco. He worked for Kuchel & Dressel in the 1860s before starting his own company, which he ran from about 1867 to 1879. Brown’s maps and lithographs are now highly sought after as examples of early African American lithographic printing and graphic design.
Halfer, Josef. The Progress of the Marbling Art from Technical Scientific Principles. Buffalo, New York: Louis H. Kinder, 1893.
Originally published in German in Budapest in 1885, this copy is the first edition in English and the second edition to include marbled paper samples. Halfer was a successful European marbler who had begun revolutionizing the process with the development of prepared colors. Although 1000 copies of this edition were printed, all but 100 were destroyed in a fire.
Jemison, D. V.. First Annual Message of the Rev. D.V. Jemison, D.D., LL.D., before the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Incorporated. Cleveland, Ohio. September 10-14, 1941. Selma, AL : Pritchett Printing Co., 1941.
The Pritchett Printing Co. was a Black-run, family printing company active in Selma, Alabama, from the early-to-mid-twentieth century. Samples of the press date from as early as 1931, but in December 1963, James D. Pritchett, Sr. and his son James Pritchett, Jr. were arrested for printing calls for a Christmas boycott of Selma in coordination with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).