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University of Delaware

Selected Primary Resources


The University of Delaware is located in Newark, Delaware. The institution, begun by Francis Alison as a free school in 1743, was chartered as an institution of higher education in 1834. The University changed its name many times, becoming the Academy of Newark, in 1769, when first incorporated by a Penn charter; Newark College in 1833; and Delaware College in 1843. In the 1870s the College failed at its initial attempt at the coeducation of men and women. Three decades later, the Women's College of Delaware was established in 1913. Through the unification of the Women's College of Delaware and Delaware College, the University of Delaware was born in 1921.

Official records of the University of Delaware reside with the University Archives, which is charged with documenting the history of the institution. This charge is accomplished through the collection of records from the Board of Trustees and all University units. Among the materials included in the Archives are reports, committee records, correspondence, minutes of meetings, publications, yearbooks, news releases, theses and dissertations, department and program records, memorabilia, and photographs, as well as records of the Women's College and the Foreign Studies Plan. Located at 002 Pearson Hall, the University Archives is open to the public. For additional information please contact the Archives at (302) 831-2750 or visit their website:

Within Special Collections, the Delaware Collection includes a vast amount of printed resources and information about the University of Delaware. Special Collections holdings also consist of resources in a variety of other formats, including photographs, postcards, oral histories, ephemera, and manuscript and archival resources. Information relating to the University's history, students, faculty, and campus activities dates from its inception to the present day, though records available in Special Collections document some phases of University development better than others. Manuscript collections give the best representation of the University of Delaware in the twentieth century. Print collections cover a wider range of periods.

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Printed Collections

The following subject headings will aid in searching for University of Delaware-related items in the online catalog, DELCAT.

Subject Access Terms:
  • S=Delaware College
  • S=Newark Academy Del
  • S=Newark College
  • S=University of Delaware
  • S=University of Delaware--Alumni and alumnae
  • S=University of Delaware--History
  • S=University of Delaware. Womens College
  • S=Women's College of Delaware--History.

Special Collections holds several texts to aid researchers in conducting research into the University of Delaware. The following selected texts relate to different periods in the history of the University.

Newark Academy

Dunlap's Pennsylvania packet, or, the general advertiser. Philadelphia: J. Dunlap, 1773.

LOCATION: Special Collections folio+ LD1483 .D85

Ryden, George Herbert

The Newark Academy of Delaware in colonial days. [S.l.: s.n.], 1935.

LOCATION: Special Collections - Delaware LD1483 .R94

Delaware College

Early documentation of the institution known as Delaware College (beginning 1843) includes a catalog of the library materials available for study.

University of Delaware. Library.

Catalogue of the books belonging to the library of Delaware College. Wilmington, Del.: Porter & Naff, 1843.

LOCATION: Special Collections - Delaware Z881 .N5 D43 1843

Women's College of Delaware

Robinson, Winifred J.

History of the Women's College of the University of Delaware, 1914-1938. Newark, Del.: University of Delaware, 1947.

LOCATION: Special Collections - Delaware LD7251 .W66 R63x 1947

University of Delaware

A brief history of the University of Delaware. Newark, Del.: University of Delaware, 1940.

LOCATION: Special Collections - Delaware LD1483 .A5x 1940

Hoffecker, Carol E.

Beneath thy guiding hand: a history of women at the University of Delaware. Newark, Del.: University of Delaware, c1994.

LOCATION: Morris Library - LD1483 .H64x 1994

Munroe, John A.

The University of Delaware: a history. Newark, Del.: University of Delaware, 1986.

LOCATION: Morris Library - LD1483 .M86 1986

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Visual Material

Choices for researching the University of Delaware through visual materials range in depth and quantity. The University of Delaware Photograph Collection includes photographs of buildings, faculty, student groups, and special events on the campus or in the city of Newark. These photographs span the time period from 1833 to 1961. An index of these photographs is available in Special Collections.

Ephemera reflecting various periods of University history include playbills, ticket stubs, calendars, posters, pins, programs, and other materials. Other visual materials include some cartography items for the Newark area and the University of Delaware in particular. The Historic Map collection includes items that depict views of the University of Delaware campus and its location within the city of Newark.

Also, researchers may consult the selected graphics collection listed below:

GRA 103 Seth C. Brace Collection, 1842-1844; 8 items.

The Seth Brace Collection consists of original pencil drawings and one reproduction of views from various places in Newark, including Newark College.

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Oral Histories

Special Collections also holds oral history collections detailing the history of the University of Delaware. One primary collection of oral histories is listed below.

MSS 179 Delaware Oral History Collection, 1966 - 1978; 294 tapes, 188 transcripts.

The Delaware Oral History Collection was a project of the History Department of the University of Delaware which was conducted between 1966 and 1978. Two hundred and ninety-four tapes were produced, and 188 of these were transcribed. Students in the History Department interviewed a variety of Delawareans, but seemed particularly interested in documenting the following subjects: educators, immigrants, journalism, politics, and the University of Delaware, Delaware in the Depression, and the 1950s relocation of Long Island and New Jersey potato farmers to Delaware.

University individuals interviewed during this project include the following:

  • Faculty and Administrators
    • Col. Donald M. Ashbridge, UD Director of Placement Bureau
    • Harriet Thorpe Bailey, Women's College and UD Art Professor, 1928-1956
    • Evelyn Holst Clift, UD Classics and history professor, transcript
    • Alex, Mr. & Mrs. Cobb, UD Extension Service, transcript
    • Mrs. J. (Edna) Fenton Daugherty, Widow of UD Physics professor and Dean of Men
    • Anna Janney DeArmond, UD English Professor, transcript
    • Henry J. Donnelly, UD Business Administration Professor, transcript
    • Quaesita Drake, Delaware Women's College and UD chemistry professor
    • Arthur Dunlap, UD English professor
    • Elizabeth Dyer, UD chemistry professor
    • Cathy Leaycraft, UD feminist
    • Halsey MacPhee, UD psychology professor, transcript
    • Donald McCreary, UD Professor of Entomology, 1932-1968, transcript
    • Mary Ann Neville, UD Women's studies, transcript
    • Claude Phillips, UD Agronomy professor 1927-1965, transcript
    • Howard Kent Preston, UD Engineering professor, transcript
    • Henry Clay Reed,UD History professor, chair, two interviews September and November 1966
    • Col. Daniel Sundt, UD ROTC, mathematics and military science, transcript
    • Wilbur Owen Sypherd, UD English professor 1906-1944
    • A. Cuthbert Webber, UD math professor
    • George Worrilow, UD professor
  • Staff
    • Willie G. Adams, UD Extension Service, transcript
    • Ruth Alford, UD Library Staff member, transcript
    • Mae Carter, UD Commission on the Status of Women, chair
    • Mary A. Elliot, African American UD custodian, transcript
    • Pauline Smith (Polly) Forwood, UD women's residence hall director, 1948-1964
    • Francis X. Gallagher, UD public relations director, transcript
  • Students
    • Ruth Bausman, Women's College 1918
    • Helen Baylis, Delaware Women's College 1918, transcript
    • Mrs. George E. Brinton, UD Foreign Study, transcript
    • Beatrice Hume Farr Davis, UD Foreign Study, transcript
    • Milton Draper, UD Class of 1922, Alumni association founder, transcript
    • Herbert H. Lank, UD Foreign Study, transcript
    • Mrs. C.M. (Aureta Lewis) McCumer, UD Foreign Study, 1937-1938, transcript
    • Dorothy Market, UD in the 1930s, transcript
    • Jefferson Ford Pool, Delaware College class of 1921, transcript
    • Mrs. (Harriet Kellond) Robert H. Richards, Jr., UD Foreign Study 1927-1928, transcript
    • T. Russell Turner, UD Foreign Study 1923-1924, transcript
    • John Winston Walker, UD Foreign Study 1923-1924, transcript
    • Sarah Wiley, UD business education, transcript
    • H. Albert Young, Jewish student(?) at UD, transcript
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Also housed in Special Collections is the Delaware Postcard collection. Views of the University of Delaware campus throughout the twentieth century are represented.

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Manuscripts and Archival Resources

Historical manuscripts and archives include the papers, letters, diaries, photographs, account books, ledgers, and records of individuals, families, and organizations related to the University of Delaware. Unpublished finding aids to manuscript and archival collections are available in Special Collections. Published finding aids are available online.

In general, University of Delaware manuscript finding aids include biographical notes, scope and content notes, series outlines, series descriptions, and container lists. All complete finding aids, including container lists, are available in the repository.

A selected listing of these sources is included below, along with their manuscript collection numbers. For assistance of any kind, please contact a Special Collections Librarian.

MSS 96 Account Books and Ledgers

MSS 096 Item 056 William D. Clark account book, 1834-1836, 1 v.

Account book detailing William Clark's expenditures during four sessions at Newark Academy between the years 1834 and 1836. Also lists his correspondence in 1834-35 and his cash receipts from his father from 1834-1836.

MSS 97 Diaries, Journals, Ship's Log's

MSS 097 Item 014 Diary of Joseph Cleaver, Jr., kept at Delaware College, 1853-1854, 1 v. (66 p.)

Diary of a Delaware College student reflecting on student life at the college, curriculum, and involvement in the Athenaean Society.

MSS 097 Item 015 Elisha Conover journal, 1897-1899

Miscellaneous notes kept by Delaware Professor Elisha Conover. The entries are of two general sorts: a list of expenditures for various months from 1897-1899 and entries on various subjects from etiquette to literature.

MSS 097 Item 091 Delaware College Pestalozzi Literary Society, 1876-1886

MSS 100 > Manuscript and Archival Collections

Carl John Rees collection (ACC 93-86c)

University of Delaware professor. Lecture notes, awards, typescripts, yearbook for the Thayer school and photograph.

MSS 115 George Herbert Ryden correspondence, 1927-1941 (bulk dates 1936-1939), 1 linear ft.

Ryden joined the University of Delaware in 1922 as a professor in the history department. In 1929, he began 3 years of service as president of the Delaware chapter of the American Association of University Professors. His correspondence includes letters from his tenure as chapter president. There is also correspondence between Ryden and the Dean of the Women's College of Delaware. The correspondence also includes letters about the formation of the Delaware History and Social Science Club, 1933-1934.

MSS 134 Anna Beebe papers, 1906-1919, .3 linear ft. (216 items)

Anna Beebe was a high school teacher at Lewes High School for 33 years until her retirement in 1966. She received her bachelor's degree from the Women's College of Delaware.

MSS 179 Delaware Oral History, 1966-1978, 294 tapes (188 transcripts)

The Delaware Oral History Collection was a project of the History Department of the University of Delaware which was conducted between 1966 and 1978. Two hundred and ninety-four tapes were produced, and 188 of these were transcribed. Students in the History Department interviewed a variety of Delawareans, but seemed particularly interested in documenting the following subjects: educators, immigrants, journalism, politics, and the University of Delaware, Delaware in the Depression, and the 1950s relocation of Long Island and New Jersey potato farmers to Delaware.

MSS 196 Morris family papers, 1740-1985 (bulk dates 1864-1875 and 1919-1925), .5 linear ft.

In addition to early records of deeds and indentures, the Morris Family Papers feature personal papers of Hugh M. Morris (1878-1966).A small collection, the Morris Family Papers include correspondence related to Hugh Morris' 1919 appointment to the federal bench, legal documents. Judge Morris served on the University of Delaware Board of Trustees from 1929-1959 including as its President from 1939-1959. The Hugh M. Morris Library, first completed in 1963 and expanded in 1986, was named in honor of Judge Morris.

MSS 232 Wilbur Owen Sypherd Papers, 1939-1953, 2 linear ft. (378 items)

Wilbur Owen Sypherd, former English professor, department chair and administrator at the University of Delaware. Sypherd served as president of University of Delaware from 1946-1947.

MSS 271 George G. Evans family papers and supplement, 1717–1937 (bulk dates 1837–1930), 14 linear ft. (55 v. and 3 boxes)

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

MSS 275 The Hugh F. Gallagher, Jr., family papers, 1933-1991 (bulk dates 1950 - 1980), 1.5 linear ft.

Hugh F. Gallagher, Jr. was one of the first developers of suburban Newark, Delaware, and a respected realtor. Gallagher's family moved to Newark from Wilmington in 1926. He graduated from Newark High School in 1933 and received a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Delaware in 1937. Gallagher married Alice Pepper of Georgetown, Delaware on June 24, 1939. She was a 1936 graduate of Women's College at the University. Gallagher was also active in the University of Delaware Alumni Association. During the early 1960s the Gallaghers were one of several sponsors of Warner Hall, one of the University's womens' dormitories, as part of a program to improve students' poise and social graces. From 1978 until 1988, Hugh Gallagher served as alumni representative to the University Awards Committee. He was a Class of 1937 alumni delegate at several commencements as well as at the 1987 inauguration of University President Russell Jones. Mrs. Gallagher was also very active in the University of Delaware Alumni Association and received an Outstanding Alumni Award in 1974. She served on the Association's Board of Directors from 1967 until 1970. During this time she was chairman of the Alumni Hall Furnishing Committee which renovated the public areas of the building. She represented the Association on the Student Center Board of Directors from 1966 to 1970. She was the alumni member of the Ad Hoc Committee on the University's Blue and Gold Club and one of the charter directors when it opened in 1972. She served as a class or Association representative at several commencements and the inaugurations of two university presidents, Edward Arthur Trabant in 1969, and Russell.

MSS 315 Papers of Senator J. Allen Frear, Jr., 1917-1963 (bulk 1949-1960), 80 linear ft.

J. Allen Frear, Jr. (1903-1992) was born in Rising Sun, Delaware. A graduate of the University of Delaware, Frear settled in Dover as a small businessman and farmer, and pursued interests in banking and finance. Frear was elected as the Democratic candidate in the U.S. Senate race of 1948, eventually defeating the popular incumbent, C. Douglass Buck. He defeated Herbert Warburton for election to a second term in 1954, but was defeated himself by J. Caleb Boggs in 1960. Frear served on the Banking and Currency, and Finance committees. He represented agriculture and industry for Delaware, and was particularly noted for personal service to his constituents. The period of Frear's tenure in office was the dynamic decade of the 1950s with issues such as the Korean War, desegregation, the escalating Cold War, McCarthyism, and the threat of nuclear weapons and Communism. The collection is organized in four subgroups of materials: Delaware and Delawareans, Legislative files, Administrative and Personal Office files, and Personal. Issues important to the State of Delaware and its citizens during the 1950s are well represented in this collection.

MSS 326 Elbert Chance papers, 1987-1990, .33 linear ft.

Elbert Chance received his bachelor and masters degrees from the University of Delaware. He served as Assistant to the Director of Public Relations, Sports Information Director, and the announcer for UD football games. The collection is partly comprised of preservation photocopies of several episodes of "Newark As it Was," Chance's weekly column which appeared in the Wilmington News Journal's Compass section from 1987-1992.

MSS 328 David M. Nelson papers, 1936-1991 (bulk dates 1951-1991), 42 linear ft.

David Moir Nelson is a renowned football rules authority and former University of Delaware coach and administrator. Nelson perfected the Winged-T football formation during his coaching career at the University of Delaware. In 1951, Coach Nelson accepted the dual position of Director of Physical Education and Athletics and Head Football Coach at the University. As Head Football Coach at the University of Delaware Nelson established a gridiron dynasty, which won three Lambert Cups and the UPI National Small College Championship in 1963. When he retired from coaching in 1966, his overall coaching record was 105-48-6, with a record of 84-42-2 at the University of Delaware.

MSS 343 John Shirley papers related to Thomas Harriot, circa 1590-1621 and 1947-1988, 22 linear ft.

The John Shirley Papers related to Thomas Harriot consist of 22 linear feet of manuscripts, photographs, correspondence, maps, audio-tapes, microfilms, notebooks, clippings, and other material related to British mathematician, astronomer, and scientist Thomas Harriot, all of which was collected by American scholar and educator John Shirley. Shirley was provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Delaware in 1962. He served as acting president of the University from 1967-1968, and in 1972 he was named H. Fletcher Brown Research Professor in the History of Science. In recognition of his significant contributions to scholarship, the University awarded him its highest award, the Medal of Distinction, in 1982.

MSS 361 Everett C. & Louise Staton Johnson papers, 1835-1988 (bulk dates 1916-1958), 2 linear ft.

Everett Johnson was elected to the board of trustees of the University of Delaware. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment, however, was criticism of Delaware's lack of commitment to women's higher education and sponsorship of state legislation which admitted women into Delaware College, which occurred in 1913. In 1922, Johnson was elected chairman of the Committee on Grounds and Buildings, which was responsible for planning the new library for the University, to be named Memorial Hall in commemoration of those Delawareans who had died in World War I.

MSS 367 Harry F. Williams papers, 13th-18th c. (bulk 15th c.) and 1930-1985, 4 linear ft.

Harry F. Williams was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1911. In 1933. In that same year he also received a B.A. from the University of Delaware. Williams continued his studies at Middlebury College, where he received his Masters degree in 1938, and finally was awarded his doctorate at the University of Michigan in 1942. The mobility he demonstrated as a student continued throughout his professional career. After receiving his doctorate, Williams accepted a position as head of the Department of Languages at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. In 1944 he became an instructor of Spanish at the University of Wisconsin, and two years later he went to UCLA as an instructor of French. From 1963 to 1966 Williams was a professor of Romance Languages at the University of Minnesota, and in 1966 he accepted a position at Florida State University, where he remained until the late 1980s.

MSS 372 George Morgan papers, 1914-1934 , .6 linear ft. (60 items)

A prominent journalist with the Philadelphia Record, George Morgan, LL.D., (1854-1936), was an enthusiastic supporter of the University of Delaware. A native of Sussex County and a graduate of the class of 1875, Morgan founded the Philadelphia chapter of the Alumni Association and even served as editor of the Alumni News. He was well versed in the history of both the University and the local Delaware and Philadelphia area. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation in 1925, he delivered a speech to the history department entitled The Romantic Colonial Origins of the University of Delaware. In 1934, on the occasion of the centenary celebration of the University, Morgan, then the University's oldest living alumnus, delivered a speech entitled The Colonial Origins of Newark Academy. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from his alma mater in 1917.

MSS 376 Clinton Osborne Houghton diaries, 1905 and 1923-1940, 34 items

Personal diaries of C.O. Houghton (1873-1969 or 1970), a University of Delaware professor of biology and zoology, and resident of Newark, Delaware. The small pocket diaries primarily reflect the mundane details of daily routines, but also record social engagements and Houghton's near-daily golfing at the Newark Country Club.

MSS 388 Alexander Wilson papers, 1852-1890 (bulk dates 1870-1889), 2 linear ft.

Wilson was married and had a son named William. In the early 1870s, William attended Newark Academy while Edward S. Porter was Principal. Porter was also a professor of engineering and agriculture, which he later taught at Newark College. This collection contains illustrated letterhead from Newark Academy, an 1869-70 circular for the Academy, and a letter from Porter.

MSS 499 Henry Clay Reed papers, 1833–1979 (bulk dates 1915–1972), 7 linear ft.

Henry Clay Reed was a professor of history at University of Delaware beginning in 1963. He wrote prolifically about Delaware history with the collaboration of his wife Marion. This collection includes files used towards writing several books including Bibliography of Delaware through 1960, Court Record of the Delaware Valley, Delaware, A History of the First State, History of Swedish Colonial Expansion.

MSS 558 John Munroe papers, 1834-2006 (bulk dates 1932-2006), 33 linear ft.

Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Delaware. Munroe has written several important histories about the University. The collection consists of materials used to write those books.

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