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History and Delawareana in Special Collections

About the collection

The history of Delaware from its settlement by the Swedes in 1638 to the present is the focus of the Delaware Collection, housed in Special Collections. The collecting policy of the Library is to broadly document the history of Delaware and Delawareans, including primary sources related to the history of politics and government. The Library collects papers of current and former members of Congress; Delaware individuals who represent leadership in diplomatic or political arenas, domestic or foreign, at the local, state, and national levels; and papers of institutions, organizations, or groups concerned with public policy or civic affairs.

Related subject guides

Select bibliographies

Listed here are bibliographies of resources in Special Collections pertaining to politics and government. Please note that the items listed in the bibliographies represent only a small portion of materials on politics and government held in Special Collections.

Digital Collections

George Handy Bates Samoan Papers: Photographs

Over 140 albumen print photographs of the people and scenic views of Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga.


George S. Messersmith papers

Diplomatic and professional papers of George S. Messersmith (1883-1960). Consists of correspondence, memoranda, and official dispatches written during Messersmith’s tenure with the U.S. Department of State, as well as during his subsequent business career. The extensive typescript of an unpublished memoir is also present. The papers include extensive discussions of political and economic matters regarding Europe during the 1930s and Latin America in the 1940s and 1950s.

Senator Edward E. “Ted” Kaufman archived website

An archived website from the congressional office of Sen. Kaufman, captured November 2010, is preserved with the Kaufman papers at the University of Delaware Library. This website, with press releases, legislation sponsored by Sen. Kaufman, media, and other information documenting his accomplishments, is open and available for use.

Highlights from the manuscript collection

Modern congressional holdings at the University of Delaware Library include the personal papers of J. Allen Frear, Jr. (U.S. Senate, 1949-1961); Michael N. Castle (U.S. House of Representatives); Dale E. Wolf (Lieutenant Govenor 1988-1992/Govenor 1992-1993)  and Thurman Adams Jr. (U.S. Senate, 1972-2009). This rich body of archival material will soon be joined by the senatorial papers of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (U.S. Senate, 1973-2009).

MSS 127 The Papers of Senator John J. Williams, 1944 - 1994, (bulk dates 1970-1990 ); 149 boxes (149 linear ft.), 4 oversize boxes, 45 volumes of scrapbooks, 11 reels of microfilm, 6 films, 4 videotapes, 15 audio-recordings, 15 audiocassettes.

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MSS 399 Thomas R. Carper Congressional Papers , 1979 - 1993 (bulk dates 1982 - 1992); 84 linear ft. and oversize material

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