The Delaware Historical Society, together with Delaware Public Media, is proud to present History Matters. History Matters digs into the Delaware Historical Society's archives and collections to highlight people, places, and events of historical significance to Delaware and explore their connections to present-day news. Special thanks to Delaware Public Media for its continued partnership in the production of these features and to the Delaware Public Archives, Hagley Museum and Library and the Lewes Historical Society for their participation and assistance. Below are links to the original articles/videos/audio presentations, starting with the most current piece.



Celebrating the "Penman of the Revolution"

John Dickinson Planation_Delaware Public Media

The man behind "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies."
Click here for full article, images, and audio version.

December 2017



How the pumpkin became popular

Cindy Ott, author of "The Curious History of an American Icon _image by Cindy Ott

So how did pumpkins become so popular? Click here for full article, images, and audio version.

October 2017



Historic home makes Airbnb debut

Joan and David Almquist own the historic Woodward house, now an airbnb. Photo by Megan Pauly.

On the national register, but you can stay at this historic home! Click here for full article, images, and audio version.

September 2017


Preservation Delaware's vision for the future of historic preservation

Michael Emmons, a University of Delaware Ph.D. historic preservation student shown at recent public meeting on historic preservation. Photo byMegan Pauly.

Click here for full article, images, and audio version.

August 2017



Szymanski Photos Captured an Era Now Lost

Elsie of Elsie's Chicken Shack_1200 Walnut Street_1940_DHS Szymanski Collections

A look at the man behind the Szymanski photo collection. Click here for full article, images, and audio version.

April 2017



Beauty Shop Politics in Wilmington

Estella's Beauty Salon_April_1939_Delaware Historical Society_Szymanski CollectionInspired by Dr. TIffany Gill's book, "Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women's Activism in the Beauty Industry," Megan Pauly spoke with Wilmington residents about their memories of Delaware's beauty shop industry. Click here for full article, images, and audio version.
March 2017


The evolution of the kosher food industry

Kosher_USA_Courtesy of Roger HorowitzAuthor Roger Horowitz on the kosher controversies surrounding products from Coca-Cola to Jell-O to Oeros. Click here for full article, images, and audio version.
January 2017

Image courtesy of Roger Horowitz


Brandywine Springs Park's hidden past as natural springs resort

Brandywine Springs_first hotel_Robert Shaw print_1909Brandywine Springs Park in New Castle County may look like a common park, but it has a rich – and unique - past: as both home to natural springs and an old historic amusement park during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Click here for full article, images, and audio version.
September 2016



Wilmington & Western Railroad still chugging along

Wilmington & Western Railroad at Mt. Cuba in the late 19th century. Delaware Historical SocietyRailroads have always played an important role in state and national history.  The Wilmington & Western preserves that legacy. Click here for article and images.
August 2016



Shipbuilding industry along the Wilmington riverfront

A 1931 photo showing the shipbuilding industries along the Christiana River in Wilmington, Courtesy Hagley Museum and LibraryDuring the industrial revolution and into the WWII era and beyond, shipbuilding played a key role in the evolution of industry and livelihood in Wilmington. Click here for article and images.
July 2016



The orgin of shipbuilding in Sussex County

Building of the U.S.S. Gillis Ship in 1919, Delaware Historical SocietyA look at the history of shipbuilding in southern Delaware and a unique shipbuilding event that keeps the art of wooden shipbuilding alive.
June 2016

Related stories: The Menhaden Fish | The U.S. Lifesaving Service



The story behind board games, and their connection to Delaware

All About Delaware Game_Delaware Historical Society CollectionAn insiders look at board games from the Delaware Historical Society's collection. May 2016



University of Delaware's Women's College and its role in women's suffrage

University of Delaware's Women's College class of 1914, including students and faculty.  Delaware Historical Society CollectionsConclusion of the two part History Matters on the history of the fight for women’s rights in the First State.  
May 2016



The Hall of Fame of Delaware Women

The Hall of Fame of Delaware Women_Mega Pauly_DE Public MediaThe Hall of Fame of Delaware Women was established in 1981 by the Delaware Commission for Women with the purpose of recognize the lasting contributions and achievements of Delaware women in a variety of fields.
April 2016


March toward Fort Miles museum continues

Fort Miles_Courtesy of Fort Miles Historical AssociationAn update on the efforts of the Fort Miles Historical Association and their efforts to create a museum at Fort Miles within Cape Henlopen State Park.
February 2016


Jewish Historical Society of Delaware

Jewish Historical Society of Delaware logoThe Jewish Historical Society of Delaware's mission and work.
January 2016


Voices of the Elders

Voices of the EldersA look at the series of short documentaries about prominent African Americans presented by the Delaware Historical Society's Center for African American Heritage.
December 2015


Brewing beer in Delaware

Brewing beer in Delaware_Courtesy of Karl Malgiero_DE Public MediaExplore the roots of Delaware's brewing culture.
October 2015



Delaware Historical Society honors Mike Castle and Bryan Stevenson

History Makers 2015_ Mike Castle and Bryan Stevenson_Photo by Anne Hoffman/DE Public Media2015 History Makers Awardees Mike Castle and Bryan Stevenson.
September 2015



Digitizing the Freedmen's Bureau records

Digitizing the Freedmen's Bureau records_Courtesy of DiscoverFreedmen.orgLearn about the efforts to digitize the Freedmen's Bureau.
August 2015


The evolution of gay rights legislation in Delaware

The evolution of gay rights legislation in DelawareThe continuing story of Delaware legislation and how the history of the LGBTQ community in Rehoboth served as a foundation for gay rights.
August 2015

Second in a two-part series.


Delaware' Gay Beach

Sun, Sea and Surf at Rehoboth PostcardA brief history of the LGBTQ community's roots in Rehoboth.
July 2015

First in a two-part series.


Delaware's Forgotten Folks - Part 1 / Part 2

Nanticoke Indian Museum_Delaware Public MediaA two-part, in-depth look at the Nanticoke Tribe in Delaware.
June 2015

Part 1 | Part 2


Colored Conventions

Colored ConventionsAn examination of the University of Delaware's interdisciplinary academic project called Colored Conventions - an effort to digitize the meeting minutes of the nation's first black meetings and conventions that were held between 1830 through post Civil War.
May 2015


Hagley Museum's "Unraveling Stories" exhibit

"Unraveling Stores" Courtesy of Hagley Museum and library and Delaware Public MediaA spotlight on a hooked rug made by Nancy Dupont Reynolds Cooch in the 1940s as shown during the 2015 "Unraveling Stories" exhibit at Hagley Museum and Library.
March 2015


Wilmington's Southbridge neighborhood

South Wilmington_courtesy of Delaware Public MediaAn examination of Southbridge's history and efforts of Southbridge Connects to bring the neighborhood to life today.
February 2015 


Hagley Powder Yard

Hagley Powder Yard_Courtesy of Hagley MuseumThe Hagley Museum lies on a plot of land on the western bank of The Brandywine River just north of where it intersects with Route 141. A trip back to the 19th century mills.
November 2014


Delaware during World War II exhibit

Delaware during World War II exhibit_Courtesy of DE Public Archives_2014A visit to the Delaware Public Archives during the "Delaware during World War II" exhibit that was open from July-December, 2014.
July 2015


Wilmington's Little Italy

Wilmington's Little ItalyA look at Wilmington's Little Italy, the home of the annual St. Anthony's Italian Festival.
May 2014


The History of the Delaware Historical Society

The History of the Delaware Historical Society_view of Market StreetSee how the Delaware Historical Society came to be, where it is now, and where the organization plans to go in the future.
April 2014



The Thelma Young Collection

The Thelma Young CollectionTake a look at the life and legacy of Thelma Young, a woman who helped pave the way for women and African Americans in Delaware.
March 2014


Lost DSU catalogs

Delaware State University catalogs_Image courtesy of Delaware Public MediaNew insight into Delaware State University's past.
February 2014.


David Sarnoff Library Collection

David Sarnoff Collection at Hagley Museum & LIbrary, Photo from the David Sarnoff CollectionA look at how one man can impact communication technology through the David Sarnoff collection at Hagley Museum and Library.
January 2014


Delaware's role in African American churches

Forging Faith, Building FreedomA visit to the Delaware Historical Society's exhibition (now closed) "Forging Faith, Building Freedom: African American Faith Experiences in Delaware.
November 2013

Visit the online version of "Forging Faith."


Currier and Ives

Currier and IvesA visit to an exhibit on the legacy of Currier and Ives (previously) on exhibit at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover.
August 2013


The Rehoboth Art League

Rehoboth Art League; image by Delaware Public Media

A look at the Rehoboth Art League and the historic Peter Marsh House that it occupies.
July 2013


Wilmington's Old Town Hall

Old Town Hall, now owned and operated by the Delaware Historical Society; photo by Delaware Public Media

Explore the history and the role of Wilmington's Old Town Hall.
June 2013


John Dickinson Plantation

John DickinsonPlanation_Photo Courtesy of Delaware Public MediaA look at the John Dickinson Plantation, Delaware home of a signer of the United States Constitution.
April 2013


State Park back stories

Delaware State Park_Photo by Delaware Public MediaA look into some of the histories of Delaware State Parks - including three man made mill pounds in each county: Lums Pond in New Castle, Killens Pond in Kent, and Trap Pond in Sussex.  Story by Ben Szmidt of Delaware Public Media.
September 2012


A Picture is worth a thousand words

A picture is worth a thousand wordsA look at the efforts of Paul Preston Davis and Andy McKay as they connect a Civil War photograph of the First Delaware Regiment color guard to the flags in the Delaware Historical Society archives.
July 2012


Fort Delaware Sketches

Fort Delaware SketchesA different view of the former Civil War prison as part of the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States; one from those who were actually there.
April 2012


Judy Johnson

Judy JohnsonThe life and legacy of Wilmington baseball great Judy Johnson, who died in 1989.
February 2012


Envelopes and stationary provide unique Civil War Perspective

Civil War Envelopes and stationaryA look into the Delaware Historical Society's collection of 250 Civil War era envelopes and stationary.
January 2012


History Matters: Christmas Seals - The Legacy of Emily Bissell

Christmas Seals - The Legacy of Emily BissellThe First History Matters focused on a long-standing Christmas tradition: Christmas Seals. The origin of Christmas Seals in the United States traces back to the First State in 1907. That year, Wilmington native Emily Bissell took an idea that had found success in Denmark and brought it to America where it is still raising money for the American Lung Association today.
December 2011  



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