Lives of the Necromancers: A Literary Look at George Read II
Friday, October 13, 2017  6:30 PM
Read House & Gardens, National Historic Landmark -


/Lives of Necromancers_GodwinDo you like supernatural stories? An educated, upper class family like the Reads had ample access to both education and books. An inventory of George Read II’s estate at his death in 1836 shows that he had a personal library estimated at around $300—a considerable fortune at the time. His library in the second floor hall contained at least 444 books on a wide variety of subjects that would have been of interest to an educated gentleman of his time. In addition to an Enlightenment-inspired array of  Classical authors, literature, and poetry, the library also contained many books on history, law, religion, politics, philosophy, travel, science, biography, and even farming and seamanship.

There are, however, a few eclectic surprises, such as William Godwin’s Lives of the Necromancers, a book published in London in 1834 about paranormal legends and people reputed to have magical powers.Necromancy derives from the Greek words nekros, meaning “dead” and manteia, meaning “divination.” It is the mystical process of bringing the dead to life with the intent of learning their secrets-- a way to read the future, discover the unknown, or just exploit the wisdom of the grave.

On a tour that combines light and dark, silence and sound, and visual surprises, we invite you to explore this intersection of magic and the imagination in this unique historic space where the architecture, our collections, and your senses—and sensibilities—will help form the experience.

Tours: 6:30 or 7:30 p.m.
Limit 12 per tour
$7 members / $10 non-members
Reservations required: (302) 655-7161

Light snacks provided.


Read House & Gardens, National Historic Landmark


Read House & Gardens
42 The Strand
New Castle, Delaware 19720
(302) 322-8411

On the New Castle riverfront, in the heart of the old city, the twenty-two room, 14,000-square-foot National Historic Landmark Read House dominates the streetscape with a monumental simplicity and distinctive Philadelphia architectural style. Designed for George Read II, son of a Delaware signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the house combined innovative Federal period design and advanced technological systems to create comfort and refinement.

Outside formal gardens installed in 1848 provided enjoyment for the late nineteenth and early twentieth century residents and continue to delight visitors today. Beneath the soil the layered history of Delaware's earliest inhabitants and settlers survives. Their story unfolds through ongoing archaeology on the property.


Delaware History Museum   |  Mitchell Center for African American Heritage   |   Old Town Hall   |   Research Library   |   Willingtown Square    |   Read House & Gardens  

(302) 655-7161  deinfo@dehistory.org
505 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801
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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.