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Spirit of Christmas

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This Month in Delaware History

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Dover’s Old State House on the Dover Green, built 1787.  Site of Delaware’s ratification of Constitution of the United States.  DHS Postcard Collection.

On December 3, 1787, thirty delegates representing all three counties of Delaware met in Dover to discuss the ratification of the document finalized at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania a few months earlier, on September 17. Four days later, on December 7, 1787,  Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States. It is for this reason that Delaware is known as The First State.  The U.S. Constitution bears signatures of the following five Delawareans:  Richard Bassett, Jacob Broom, Gunning Bedford, Jr., John Dickinson, and George Read.



Object of the Month

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Old Swedes Church_Bayard T. Berndt_Ephemera_Box 13_DHS CollectionAmericans send more than two billion holiday cards every year with familiar images and traditional greetings. Many of us dutifully sign, stamp, and mail them in an effort to check one more thing off an endless holiday checklist without looking twice at the artwork on the front.  After a while, the standard depictions of snowmen, candy canes, religious themes, and a jolly old elf begin to run together in a sea of mass-produced holiday cheer. This month’s featured objects represent a fresher approach to this tradition. The Delaware Historical Society’s collection of ephemera includes a fascinating assortment of holiday cards designed by Delaware artists for personal use. Some include renderings of well-known local landmarks, like Bayard T. Berndt’s portrayal of a snow-covered Old Swedes Church in Wilmington or Joseph J. Alexander’s watercolor of ice skaters at Breck’s Mill on the Brandywine River.  Read and view more cards!




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The Delaware Historical Society is the statewide, non-profit organization that explores, preserves, shares, and promotes Delaware history, heritage, and culture to strengthen our community.