our Willingtown Square Exhibit Gallery!
Collecting and preserving Delaware
materials for over 135 years, the Society has a rich and varied collection
of books, ephemera, newspapers, serials, maps, manuscripts and photographs relating
to the history of Delaware and its people. The Society's online
catalog includes books, rare books, pamphlets, newspapers, maps,
manuscripts, and photograph collections.
Just click here or "Ask
Caesar" below to start your journey through the Society's online
catalog. The library also holds a
strong collection of materials for individuals doing genealogical
research. For more information on genealogy, see
Genealogy: A Guide to Research in the Historical Society of Delaware
CLOSED MAJOR HOLIDAYS
Open Free to the public
Normal, non-holiday hours - please call (302) 655-7161 before you
Monday: 1 - 9 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. by appointment
Thursday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. by appointment
Friday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Also, the library
is open one Saturday
a month thru
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
January 19, February 16, March 16, April 20,
July 20, August 17,
September 21, October 19, November 16
Click here for any special
Do you have
something you would like to donate
to the library or museum collections? Click here to find out how!
Back to the Top!
Because this is a reference library,
materials may not be removed or checked out. Most items in the
collection may be copied unless they are too fragile or are subject to
legal, contractual or copyright restrictions. The librarians will
provide photocopies of materials for you upon request. See the Fee
Schedule for photocopies. Prior permission must be obtained from the
Society to Publish or display any items copied from the collections.
See Request for Permission to publish. The staff can provide
reference services for you if you are unable to visit the library.
Research Library Affiliated
Delaware Genealogical Society
Jewish Historical Society of
and Pamphlet Collection
The Ward Reading Room of the Delaware Historical
Society Research Library
houses a diverse collection of books and pamphlets on various topics of Delaware history.
Most books are easily accessible in open-stack areas. Pamphlets are closed-stack items
that require staff retrieval.
A broad range of Delaware subject matter is offered:
- art & architecture
- general history
- city history
- colonial history
- military history
- literature & poetry
- laws & legislation
- and much, much more....
The library's collection of books and pamphlets is fully cataloged.
Our card catalog is arranged alphabetically by subject heading, title, and
Supplementary books and pamphlets are also available on states neighboring
Books and Pamphlets
In addition to resources in our library's main reading area, the
Society also offers an extensive array of rare books, pamphlets, almanacs,
imprints, and periodicals. Staff assistance is required for the
retrieval of these items. This eclectic collection consists of over
700 rare book titles, over 110 rare pamphlets and periodicals, 83
and over 300 Delaware imprints by over 25 printers. Approximately 26
subject headings are represented including American history, early
geography, religion, literature, medicine, science and technology, and
Note: Due to the fragile
nature of many of our rare documents, photocopying is either extremely
limited or not permitted.
for a complete listing of almanacs in our Rare Book Collection.
a unique and authentic snapshot of cultural attitudes and community life.
The Delaware Historical Society owns a wide variety of old and rare
for a list
of the most prominent titles available in bound volume.
research would need to be conducted in person at our library. Photocopying
is often permissible, but is dependant upon the condition of the paper and
location of excerpt. Questions concerning access and use of newspapers may
be directed to
Our collections of genealogical resources offers the family historian a wide range
of items for research. Among the most often used are:
For a comprehensive overview of family history resources
Genealogy: A Guide to Research in the Historical Society of Delaware Research Library
is available on this website and at the library. The library also holds a good collection
of genealogical how-to and general reference books, as well as a variety of source
material for research along the eastern shore from New England to Virginia.
If you need extra help, and would like to contact a professional,
just e-mail us at
and we will
mail you a list of local genealogists.
The Delaware Historical Society Research Library enjoys a close relationship
Genealogical Society of Delaware.
The Delaware Historical Society's manuscript holdings, containing over 2
million documents, date from the late 17th century to the present and cover many aspects
of Delaware history. There are papers from early leaders such as Caesar Rodney and George
Read as well as ordinary citizens of every generation. A notable recent
addition is the Congressional Papers of William V. Roth, Jr. Collections range in size from
500 boxes to a single item.
For an index of the Society's manuscript collections, click
The manuscript holdings are always growing. The
Delaware Historical Society
strives to collect the documents of all Delawareans
- male and female
- rich, poor, and in-between
- New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties
- all ethnic, racial, and religious groups
- businesses, personal, and organizational papers.
Finding aids are available for many collections, while documents for some subjects
can be found in many collections. Please inquire about specific collections, individuals,
or topics. You may contact the manuscript librarian at
The Research Library collects maps including all or
part of the state of Delaware from the seventeenth century to the present. Types of maps
in the collection include:
For specific questions about our holdings, please visit our
library or contact the photographic curator during regular business hours
firstname.lastname@example.org For more
information on ordering copies, or use of images in publications, please
see Library Regulations.
and Print Collection
The Historical Society of Delaware Research Library holds
extensive collection of prints and photographs relating to the history of
the state and its citizens. The collection consists of:
- All types of prints (including lithographs, artistic prints,
sketches and drawings, etc.)
- Paper, glass plate and film negatives
- Photographic prints, cabinet cards, stereocards, and cartes-de-visite
- Early photographic processes including daguerreotpyes,
ambrotypes and tintypes
- Architectural Drawings
- Now available to view online:
- photographs from the Collection of the Delaware Historical Society
showing the first state in a seemingly peaceful yet ever-changing
Full Circle? A History of Change on Market Street - photographs and
text from this exhibition tracing the changes of Wilmington's main
thoroughfare over the years.
Fees for Photographic Services
Click here for a downloadable Photographic Order
mailto:email@example.comPublish: please send a written request c/o of Executive
Director to firstname.lastname@example.org
To order photographs: Please send your request to:
. Include your name, mailing address, daytime phone number, e-mail address,
statement of intended use, description of what you would like to order,
and print size. If you would like a different format, i.e. slide or
scan, please be specific as to your needs. If you have any
questions, please contact our curator of photographs directly at
Willingtown Square Gallery
The Willingtown Square Gallery is located between the library reading room and the houses in
Willingtown Square. The gallery
presents exhibits of
materials from the library collections. The gallery is open free to the public
during regular library hours.
- Photocopies of materials for use in research and private study will be made by
staff members subject to copyright laws and condition of items. Current rates are
$.30/copy for letter or legal size; $.45 for 11 x 17. $.25/copy for
students. Oversize items in good condition an be copied; charges will be determined at time of request.
Local telephone rates: current rates apply, but add a
$10.00 service fee.
- Readers will not be allowed to photograph manuscripts, illustrations, or other
unique material without the approval of the Director of Library and
Archives. Whenever possible, the
library will provide photographic reproductions of its material at a nominal charge.
Please allow three to five weeks for processing.
- Before publication, written permission MUST be obtained from the
Executive Director for extensive quotation from manuscripts. The library assumes no
responsibility for any literary property right or copyright which may be involved; it is
entirely incumbent upon the reader to obtain those special permissions.
Permission to publish material reproduced from the library's
collections must be obtained from the Executive Director. A reproduction fee may be
charged and a credit line, "Courtesy of the Delaware Historical
will be required.
Updated 2012 Delaware Historical
Send Comments, Questions, or Requests to
Delaware Historical Society