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American History

Selected Manuscripts and Archival Resources

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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

These selected collections represent the wide range of geographical, chronological, and topical sources available for research in American history in Special Collections.

Manuscript Collections

MSS 255 Albertson Family Papers 1774-1880, bulk dates 1800-1862.

Personal and business papers of this Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, family. The Albertson family established the Plymouth Railroad in 1836 to deliver lime from their mining business. The collection also documents the family's involvement with the Plymouth Friends Meeting House.

MSS 175 Booth, James C., Papers ca. 1787-1888.

Consists largely of the papers of James C. Booth (1810-1888), an American geologist and chemist. Personal and professional correspondence, business documents, notebooks and journals, family papers, an extensive group of material relating to Booth's mother's family, and a collection of his father's (George Booth) literary manuscripts.

MSS 290 Booth, Thomas R., Diaries 1855-1860.

Six diaries kept by Booth, working as an engineer for the Pacific Railroad Co. (and other lines) in Missouri. The diaries note engineering challenges, personalities involved in management and construction of the railroad, details of daily life, and thoughts predicting the dark future of the Civil War.

MSS 105 Coleman, Emily Holmes, Papers 1899-1974.

Papers of the American expatriate writer associated during the 1920s with the group of writers in Paris who contributed to transition magazine. In the latter decades of her life she was actively involved with Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker. In addition to Coleman's manuscripts, personal notebooks and diaries, family correspondence and memorabilia, the papers include extensive literary and personal correspondence from such figures as Djuna Barnes, Antonia White, Peggy Guggenheim, Kathleen Raine, Dylan Thomas, and others.

MSS 113 Dunbar-Nelson, Alice 1875-1935.

Papers of the African-American author and social activist, who resided in Wilmington, Delaware. The papers include substantial personal, professional, and literary correspondence; manuscripts of Dunbar-Nelson's poetry, fiction, essays, and journalism; diaries and scrapbooks; and material relating to her work for the NAACP, the American Friends Service Committee, and other social and political organizations. Of particular note are the extensive correspondence between Dunbar-Nelson and her first husband, the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, and the detailed diaries Dunbar-Nelson maintained throughout most of her adult life.

MSS 119 Ernest, John R., Papers 1941-1944.

Letters, bulletins, documents, memorabilia relating to the U.S. Army Aircraft Warning Service and the Newark (Delaware) Council for Civilian Defense during World War II. Collected by John R. Ernest, resident of Newark and participant in these programs.

MSS 271 Evans, George Gillespie, Papers 1815-1904.

Trustee of Newark College and storekeeper. Collection includes correspondence, diaries, ledgers and accounts, and records of loans, real estate, and other investments.

MSS 149 Kasebier, Gertrude, Papers 1897-1940, bulk dates after 1934.
MSS 198 Kasebier Collection 1865-1951, bulk dates 1890-1934.

Material relating to the American photographer Gertrude Kasebier consists of two groups of papers. The first is a small group of manuscript reminiscences and scrapbooks documenting the life and career of this important American photographer. The second contains a collection of periodicals featuring work by Kasebier and a collection of family photographs.

MSS 117 Latimer Family Papers 1690-1927, bulk dates 1770-1870.

Collection detailing the personal and business affairs of this family in the area of Chester County and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Particularly interesting for historical and economic documentation in the context of revolutionary America and early 19th century trade. Features papers of Dr. Henry Latimer, appointed in 1781 as Surgeon General of the Northern Division of the Continental Army, later elected member of the Delaware State Legislature and member of the U.S. House of Representatives; and John R. Latimer, who established an overseas trading business with China, 1815-1834.

MSS 130 Lewis Family Papers 1700-1931, bulk dates 1780-1860.

Personal and legal papers of Newark, Delaware, family. Of particular note are papers of Albert Gallatin Lewis (1798-1883) concerning land purchases in and around Newark.

MSS 161 Lukens Family Papers 1750--1904, bulk dates 1759-1800.

Personal papers and business records of members of the Lukens family of Philadelphia. Bulk of the collection concerns John Lukens, Surveyor-General of Pennsylvania and Delaware, 1761-1776 and 1781-1789. Includes much information on surveying, business and land transactions, and estate settlements.

MSS 258 Reynolds, Florence, Collection related to Jane Heap and the Little Review 1902-1974.

Collection of Florence Reynolds, lifelong friend and benefactor of Jane Heap, who was co-editor with Margaret Anderson of the Little Review. The collection includes correspondence from Heap, Anderson, and others to Reynolds; as well as photographs, manuscripts, artwork, memorabilia, and a complete run of the Little Review.

MSS 288 Viele, Teresa, Scrapbooks 1870-1871.

Two volumes of clippings, correspondence, legal documents, telegrams, and social cards and announcements documenting the divorce and custody suit of prominent New York society member, Teresa Viele.

MSS 145 Walsh, Grace Lloyd, Papers 1910-1992, bulk dates 1913- 1935, 1957-1970.

Personal and business papers of Wilmington businesswoman Grace Lloyd Walsh. Includes scrapbooks, photographs, and memorabilia from Wilmington High School, 1913; artwork from Walsh's freelance advertising business; material documenting her work as a chauffeur with the American Women's Voluntary Services during World War II; and advertising and records from Walsh's Wilmington shop which specialized in fine gifts.

MSS 127 Williams, Senator John J., Papers 1946-1971.

Congressional papers of John J. Williams who represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1946-1970. A small businessman from Sussex County, Williams served on both the Finance and Foreign Relations committees and was widely respected for advocating financial responsibility and integrity in government. He was known as "the Conscience of the Senate" and is credited with exposing two significant scandals: corruption in the Bureau of Internal Revenue, 1949-1950; and the unethical practices of Bobby Baker, secretary to the Senate majority and former protege of Lyndon Johnson, 1964. The office files include constituent correspondence on a number of issues from the 1950s-1960s such as desegregation, McCarthyism, civil rights, and Vietnam.

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Numerous diaries and journals from different individuals. A "finding aid" with descriptions for each diary or journal is available in Special Collections. The descriptions include name, dates, place, physical description (number of volumes), and scope notes. A few samples are listed below.

Boss, Charles, Journal 1869-1877.

Location Trans-Mississippi West. "Daily report of Charles Boss. Life and adventures on the Frontiers. Composed in Field, Jail, and Escapes, Prairie, Mountains, Rivers, Indians Pioneers, Robbers, and Murder stories, Theft and Desertion, District of Territories. Expeditions from 1869-1876." Reminiscences of an Indian fighter in the U.S. Army including campaign against the Nez-Perce in 1877.

Boynton, Lucien Cyrus, Journal 1835-1853.

Location East Coast, including Wilmington and Newark. Introspective journal of Eastern lawyer with particular comments on religion, nature, and higher learning.

Clark, John, Journal 1852.

Location New York to San Francisco. Journal kept on voyage from New York to San Francisco with details of daily matters such as food, weather, and fellow passengers and crew.

Cleaver, Joseph, Diary 1853-1854.

Location Newark. Diary of Delaware College student recording student life, curriculum, and involvement in the Atheanean Society.

The Herald, Ship Log 1841-1845.

Locations Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean. Ship's log for the Herald of Stonington, Connecticut, on two separate whaling voyages: 1841-1843 to the Indian Ocean and 1845 to the Pacific Ocean.

Hoskins, Mary A.H., Diary 1857.

Location Philadelphia. Diary entries mostly concern family matters, social activities, and domestic life.

Jenks, Craigie P., Diary 1851.

Location Boston. Diary kept by farmhand reflecting work, religious convictions, social activities, and family matters.

Parker, Jessica S., Journals 1899-1916.

Location Belmont, Massachusetts. Nine volumes including journal entries and correspondence, photographs, calling cards, printed announcements and programs, and other memorabilia. Journals kept by Jessica Parker documenting her personal and family affairs, social activities, and literary and theatrical interests.

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Account books

Account books, ledgers, and receipt books from various individuals and firms. A "finding aid" with descriptions is located in Special Collections. Selected examples are listed below.

Ashburnham, Elizabeth

Receipt book from Wilmington, Delaware, 1824-1866. Receipts for taxes paid and from renters for board.

Farmer's Bank of the State of Delaware

Ledger, 1813-1865.

Russell, William H.

Daybook and account book for store in Newark, Delaware, 1825- 1838.

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