Delaware Historical Society Research Library

Wilmington, Delaware | C.1971

Photo Credit: Evan Lober

While Delaware is one of the smallest states in the Union, its status among the original Thirteen Colonies places the state at the forefront of American history, especially since Delaware was the first colony to ratify the Constitution.

The Delaware Historical Society Research Library in the city of Wilmington houses countless historical artifacts from this pioneering state. Founded in 1864, the DHS was initially created to preserve materials related to the American Civil War. It has since expanded into a statewide institution that includes the Delaware History Museum, the Old Town Hall and the historic Read House & Gardens.

Among its various locations, the DHS Research Library maintains one of the state’s largest collections, housing more than 3 million historic objects, documents, photographs and maps.

In 1971, the library took up residence in a former Artisan’s Savings Bank – a 1930s Art-Deco structure with much of the original architecture & interior design intact. In addition to its historic materials, the library also houses special collections that include artifacts from the Underground Railroad, a growing collection of African Americana, the works of one of Delaware’s first female photographers and an American Red Cross membership card for a cat.

The library is open to the public and remains a remarkable historical repository for Delaware and the rest of the early United States.

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