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Delaware Public Archives (DPA) logo

The Delaware Public Archives is the official repository of Delaware’s historical public records from state, county, and local governments. Dating from 1653 to the current year, these records consist of minutes, reports, correspondence, probate files, deeds, court records, tax records, photographs, maps, drawings, publications, audio-visual recordings, and a great variety of other material. The images seen here are entire collections that have been digitized; more collections will be scanned and placed on the web as resources permit. Prior written permission is required for any use of the images in this collection from the Delaware Public Archives. Please contact the Delaware Public Archives with the Resource Identifier number and the collection.

Becoming the First State: Delaware’s Road to Ratification
This exhibit was created to highlight selected documents related to Delaware’s ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787

The Beers’ Atlas
The Beers’ Atlas from 1868 is a part of the Delaware Public Archives State Map Collection. This is a hand-colored book of detailed maps of the entire state of Delaware. There are individual maps for each of the hundreds and there are separate maps for specific towns and cities including Wilmington, Dover, Newark, Georgetown, Milford, New Castle, Milton, Smyrna, Camden, and Felton.

Civil War Diary of Cyrus Forwood
On May 11th, 1861, Delawarean Cyrus Forwood volunteered for three months of service in the Union Army. These are the day-by-day notes and observations he wrote in his diary during his time as a soldier. The diary provides insights into the life of a Delaware soldier in the Civil War.

Civil War Records
Selected documents related to Delaware’s involvement in the American Civil War. Many more Civil War documents, photographs, broadsides, lithographs, maps, and diaries may be seen at our Civil War Page

Coroner’s Report
A record of a county coroner’s investigations into the manner and cause of a death where a person died under circumstances that were violent, unnatural, or unknown.

Delaware State Constitutions
Delaware constitutions created by the Delaware Constitutional Conventions in 1792, 1831, and 1897. The 1897 constitution is the current governing document for Delaware State Government.

Delaware Turnpike Scrapbooks
The Scrapbooks consist of newspaper clippings and photographs that document Delaware Turnpike activities and events. Notable subjects include the construction of the highway, President John F. Kennedy’s participation in the dedication ceremony, maps, Turnpike appointments, tolls, Mason and Dixon boundary marker, JFK memorial wreath and services, vehicle accidents, Hot Shoppes service plaza, effects on Route 40 businesses, Turnpike officials and employees, I-95 construction completion, public safety, and Turnpike expansion. The Scrapbooks were compiled by Turnpike staff.

Examining the 17th Century Through the Documents of the Delaware Public Archives
This exhibit has images of some of the most important and interesting documents in our holdings from the seventeenth century. These range in flavor from the “crown jewels” in our collection, the state charter and related leases and deed giving Delaware to William Penn, to humorous notations in an early court docket to lists of early settlers. Accompanying the documents are more easily read transcriptions.

Frankford Colored School Scrapbook
This scrapbook consists of documents collected by the Frankford Colored School in Frankford, DE from 1939-1945. The scrapbook was put together as part of the SCHOOLS AT WAR Program which interconnected schools throughout the United States to raise money for the war effort. The scrapbook contains propaganda posters, war bonds and stamps, and personal records collected during World War II.

Joseph Barker’s “Negro Ledger Book” 1808-1811
Joseph Barker was a general merchant whose store and home were located at Barkers Landing on the St. Jones River in Murkerkill Hundred. Titled by Barker as his “Negro Ledger A”, the volume contains entries for purchases made by his African-American customers. Each entry notes the name of the customer, date of purchase, items purchased, the cost for each item, date and amount paid, and how paid. Often bills were paid with grain, other items, or labor.

Kent County Pauper Books
The Kent County Paupers Books are registers of the sick and poor inmates of the county almshouse, 1811 to 1933. Most of the books were done annually and arranged by hundred or district. For each hundred there are separate lists by gender and race. The Pauper Books include the name of the inmate, dates admitted and discharged, age, sex, race, disease or reason for admission, date of death, and birth date for infants born in the almshouse.

Register of Births and Deaths in Kent County
Spanning 1851 to 1901, this register lists the names of those born and those who died in the Kent County Almshouse. Birth entries name the newborn, mother, and date of birth. Death entries are arranged by gender, race, and place of residence and note the date of death, age, and occasionally a remark about the cause of death.

Kent County Naturalizations
Original records of those wishing to become naturalized citizens of the United States.

Delaware Laws of 1829
In 1829 the African-American population of Delaware was comprised of 15,855 free negroes, and 3,292 slaves. The laws of the State of Delaware for this period reflect the morality of the time.

Legislative Rosters
Annual rosters created by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce provides names and addresses of the Delaware General Assembly, the Congressional delegation, and state and local government leaders. Also included are an introduction to State Chamber lobbyists, listings of Senate and House committees and their members, district maps, and voter registration information. Rosters are typically updated every other year following elections. Legislative Rosters are a part of the Delaware Public Archives Pamphlet Collection.

New Castle County Naturalizations
New Castle County Naturalizations Original petitions and other legal documents of immigrants wishing to become American citizens. The date listed in the title reflects the year of the file and may vary from the document displayed. The file for each individual may contain more documentation.

Oaths of Allegiance
Oaths of Allegiance or declarations of fidelity were sworn to the new nation or to the State of Delaware as required by state legislation in 1778. Shown on these documents are the oath taken, name of person sworn before, date of swearing, and signature of person taking the oath. Included are the oaths of New Jersey residents administered by Caesar Rodney at Trenton (Feb. 1777) and a transcript of the legislation requiring the oaths.

Peninsular News and Advertiser
The Peninsular News and Advertiser was a weekly Milford newspaper. The collection includes original newspapers from April 1857 – May 1859, January 1872 – December 1872, and January 1893 – December 1893. The newspaper contains a large assortment of advertisements, local and national news, and miscellaneous literature and articles for the daily reader. Nearly each weekly newspaper has a dedicated section for agricultural news and advertising, as well as a political news page. Issues for 1873 – 1874, 1880 – 1882 , 1886-1887, and 1889 are on microfilm.

Rev. Joseph Brown Turner Collection
Reverend Turner’s Collection of genealogical notes and correspondence concerning about three thousand Delmarva Peninsula families.

Slavery Papers
This exhibit consists of selected manumission papers, birth records, petitions for freedom, and a bill of sale for enslaved African-Americans in Delaware.

Vietnam Mailbag
Vietnam Mailbag is a collection of correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs compiled by Nancy E. Lynch for her “Vietnam Mailbag” column in the Wilmington Morning News. Correspondence includes nearly nine hundred letters from Delaware soldiers in Vietnam, describing their viewpoints on the war, life in Vietnam, and the home front. These records were used in Lynch’s book, Vietnam Mailbag: Voices from the War, 1968-1972.

World War II Memorial Volume
Commemorative volume created by the Public Archives Commission at the request of Governor Walter W. Bacon to honor the men and women of Delaware who lost their lives in the line of duty or because of being in the service of their country during World War II.

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