University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Special Collections Exhibition Gallery


An Exhibition in Celebration of the Fortieth Anniversary of the
University of Delaware Library Associates

curated by Timothy Murray and Iris R. Snyder

Hugh M. Morris Library
University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware

The exhibition is on view in the Special Collections Gallery
September 9 to December 16, 1998.

Copyright Statement



Science and Technology


History of Books and Printing

The Arts


A Note on Special Collections


Four Decades of Library Support, which includes some of the rarest and most important books in the Library's collection, focuses on books acquired with the financial support of the University of Delaware Library Associates. The work of the University of Delaware Library Associates, an independent library support organization, has had a profound impact on the growth of all areas of the University of Delaware Library over the past four decades, but perhaps the organization's most enduring contribution has been the support it has provided for the University of Delaware Library's Special Collections Department. From the very outset, the Library Associates identified the development of the Library's research collections as a top priority. In particular, the Library Associates sought to enrich the Library's research holdings in some of the fundamental disciplines of the humanities, notably English and American literature, music, art, history, languages and literature, and economics.

The exhibition is divided into sections focusing on the major collecting areas: literature, science and technology, horticulture, history, the arts, history of books and printing, and Delawareana. Among the many important literary works in the exhibition are the second folio edition of Shakespeare's plays, a first edition of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein, and a first edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Scientific works include some of the most important illustrated works on engineering produced during the Renaissance as well as horticultural works ranging from a sixteenth century herbal to eighteenth century books on landscape architecture.

The history section highlights the collection's strength in the early history of the United States, with the first published edition of the Federalist Papers and the original published report of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The history of books and printing collection is highlighted by an example of incunabula, a book produced during the first years after the invention of the printing press; the Kelmscott Chaucer produced by William Morris, considered to be the finest example of nineteeth century fine press printing; and works by the Bird & Bull Press, a modern fine press. Art and architecture are represented by a range of titles including Vincenzo Scamozzi's 1582 edition of Discourses on Roman Architecture, Asher Benjamin's The Country Builder's Assistant of 1797, and modern works such The Temple of Flora, illustrated by the contemporary artist Jim Dine. The University of Delaware Library's comprehensive collection of material on the history and culture of Delaware contributed several works to the exhibition including Kort beskrifning om provincien Nya Swerige uit America (1702), the first detailed account of the colony at New Sweden, and the only known copy of a broadside announcing Delaware's first paper mill, which was established along the Brandywine Creek in 1787 by Joshua Gilpin and Co.

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