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Delaware Newspapers

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Welcome to the University of Delaware Library research guide for Delaware newspapers, supporting teaching and scholarship by providing research strategies, search tips, and links to library and open access resources. If you have feedback or suggestions about useful resources to include here, please contact me using the link in my profile box.

History of Delaware Newspapers

Newspaper publishing, as indeed all publishing, started later in Delaware than in any of the other original thirteen states, except Georgia.  The first book was published in Delaware in 1761 and the first newspaper in 1762.  The success of Delaware newspapers was hindered by geography and population of the state and its position as a border state.  In fact, it wasn’t until the start of the Civil War that the demand for daily newspapers allowed Delaware publications to flourish.

The growth of the city of Wilmington following the Civil War also impacted the success and failures of many Delaware newspapers.  As Wilmington grew into the business and social hub of New Castle County, the demand for daily newspapers and the dissemination of local news increased. While Wilmington quickly emerged as the center of Delaware publishing, up to the Civil War era, a number of different newspapers were published in all three counties and in cities and towns such as Dover, Georgetown, Milford, and New Castle.  Following the Civil War weekly newspapers were founded in smaller towns such as Bridgeville, Laurel, Lewes, Middletown, Millsboro, Milton, Newark, Odessa, Seaford, and Smyrna, and numerous other villages and townships.

While Wilmington quickly emerged as the center of Delaware publishing, up to the Civil War era, a number of different newspapers were published in all three counties and in cities and towns such as Dover, Georgetown, Milford, and New Castle.  Following the Civil War weekly newspapers were founded in smaller towns such as Bridgeville, Laurel, Lewes, Middletown, Millsboro, Milton, Newark, Odessa, Seaford, and Smyrna, and numerous other villages and townships.

The importance of newspapers in Delaware history cannot be understated.  As a small state, scholarship related to the history of Delaware has been limited.  Many of Delaware’s cities and towns have little or no written history.   As a result, newspapers have continued to play a significant role in documenting changes in Delaware politics, culture, society, and economics within these cities and towns.  In addition, they have reflected the local interests of the citizens and the physical changes occurring in these communities.   

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