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Delaware Beaches:

Tales from the Deep End

August 1, 2012 – September 4, 2012

curated by
Laurie Rizzo

Local legends and folklore have historical and cultural significance, and are an intrinsic part of a community’s identity. These stories spark intrigue and curiosity, as well as, provide insight into the past. This exhibition features books that focus on true stories of shipwrecks off the Delaware coast, legends about the Delaware Cape and local lore surrounding the shores of Delaware.

Pam George

Shipwrecks of the Delaware Coast: Tales of Pirates, Squalls, & Treasure. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2010.

Maritime historian and Wilmington resident Pam George writes an exciting account of Delaware’s most mysterious shipwrecks. These tales include “the De Braak, rumored to hold millions of dollars in gold; the Mohawk, which burned like a torch in the Delaware Bay; and the vessels that fell victim to the Great White Hurricane, which froze dead men to the mast.”

Bill Frank

Stories and Legends of the Delaware Cape. Drawings by Harrison Von Duyke. [Rehoboth Beach, Del.: Miles L. Frederick, 197–?].

A collection of ten legendary stories of various sea adventures. Here opened to folk legends of the infamous pirate captains, William Kidd, Pierre Canoot, Don Pedro, and Blackbeard and their interactions with the townspeople of Lewes while ravaging the capes of Delaware.

David Healey

Delmarva Legends & Lore. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2010.

Local author, David Healy chronicles folklore of the Delmarva area from Colonial times through Andrew Jackson’s famous duel with Charles Dickinson. He tell tales “––of Assateague’s cannibalistic colonists and the all but forgotten history of Anna Carroll,” and “President Lincoln’s ‘Dear Lady’ who is rumored to have brilliantly advised him on strategy during the Civil War.”

David J. Seibold and Charles J. Adams III

Shipwrecks Sea Stories & Legends of the Delaware Coast. Barnegat Light, N.J.: Exeter House Books, c1989.

David J. Seibold and Charles J. Adams III

Ghost Stories of the Delaware Coast. Barnegat Light, N.J.: Exeter House Books, 1990.

Seibold and Adams frequently write true stories of shipwrecks, ghosts and the supernatural. The book on the left intrigues with its “stories of treasure ships, wartime disasters, and drama on the Delaware Bay, around Cape Henlopen, and Delaware's ocean beaches.” The book on the right thrills readers with tales of haunted houses, beaches, and dunes along the Delaware shore from Fenwick Island to Rehoboth and Lewes.

Wreck of “Falmouth” Rehoboth Beach, Del. [1907 or later], Delaware Postcard Collection.

7=Back=From=The=Wreck. From Horn’s Pavilion, Rehoboth, DE. [1901–1907], Delaware Postcard Collection.

On October 31, 1899, the schooner Falmouth was anchored a mile and a half off the shore of Rehoboth Beach. During a heavy storm the cables broke loose causing the boat to wreck. A rescue team helped bring the crew to safety by staking a line from the boat to the shore for the sailors to cross. They pulled themselves hand–over–hand till each landed safely on the beach. The ship washed up above the high–water mark and was considered a total loss. These are two of a series of commemorative postcards which were distributed in the early 1900s using photographs from the well–documented event.

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