Delaware Public Archives to Feature “Behind the Scenes” Tour

March 27th, 2014

If you were born, married, or attended public school in Delaware, eventually the Delaware Public Archives (DPA) will receive the information that documents these important events. On Saturday, April 5, 10:30 a.m. the staff of the Archives will conduct a tour of this remarkable facility.

This annual “behind the scenes” tour of the building, conducted by Tom Summers, Manager of Outreach Services, offers the public a rare opportunity to learn more about the role of the DPA, and see how the Archives preserves and protects the records that are important to every Delawarean. Archives Director Stephen M. Marz notes that “many people who have toured the Archives are surprised by the amount of documents and photographs that are stored at the facility. Because the Delaware Public Archives serves as the official government repository for state, county and local government records, the Archives is well known as a valuable resource for researchers, genealogists, and historians.” Part of the tour will include a viewing of the new display honoring the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision which led to the desegregation of schools in Delaware and throughout the nation. The tour is free to the public. No reservations are required.

How Do I Preserve My Documents, Photographs and Digital Memories?

February 28th, 2014

Looking for a way to preserve those family photos and videos for future generations to see? On Saturday, March 15 at 10:30 a.m., the Delaware Public Archives will show how to preserve items such as old photographs, documents and digitized memories on CDs, DVDs, and flash drives. This workshop will provide you with the knowledge needed to care for and preserve those irreplaceable memories. This preservation workshop will be presented by the staff of the Delaware Public Archives (DPA) and the Delaware Government Information Center (GIC) and will include basic information and instruction on proper handling and storage of family papers, photographs and digital media to ensure long term preservation.

Archives staff member, Sarah Denison, will present information on the conservation and preservation of paper documents and photographs. Ms. Denison has processed a number of collections including Civil War letters in the Small Manuscript Collection, Board of Education photographs, Sussex County Orphans Court Records, and the Caley Postcard Collection. She has most recently completed the processing and cataloguing of the Vietnam Mailbag Collection.

Concerning digital records, Mike Mahaffie, Deputy Director GIC, will address what is needed to save your digital memories. Highlighting his discussion will be a quick history of ways people have been saving digital records, things to do to determine what is important, what is needed to maintain your digital moments as technology changes, and the various ways available to save what’s important to you based on cost and longevity.

The workshop is free to the public. No reservations are required. For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail thomas.summers@state.de.us.

Sarah Denison and Mike Mahaffie

Sarah Denison and Mike Mahaffie

Searching for Your Irish Family Roots

February 20th, 2014

On March 1, 10:30 a.m., the Delaware Public Archives will present a special Irish genealogical program by well-known Delaware genealogist Nancy Lyons entitled “Searching for Your Irish Family Roots.”

Ms. Lyons will focus on researching Irish American ancestry both online and in U.S. record repositories. Researchers will learn how to utilize the census, vital statistics, church documents, naturalizations, passenger lists and other essential record groups to fill in the blanks of their family trees. Ms. Lyons will also share additional reference resources such as internet sites and suggested reading material.

Nancy Lyons is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the National Genealogical Society. The founder of the Irish Family History Research Group, Lyons has volunteered at the Mormon Family History Center in Wilmington for 19 years. She also served as the chair of the Delaware Genealogical Society Educational Committee for nine years. Other memberships include Friends of the Delaware Archives, Delaware Genealogical Society, Downstate Delaware Genealogical Society, and the Sussex County Genealogical Society.

Ms. Lyons’ program is free to the public. No reservations are required. For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail thomas.summers@state.de.us.

Lieutenant Governor Denn Proclaims February As African American History Month in Delaware

February 6th, 2014

Delaware Lt. Governor Matt Denn joined Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock today during a public ceremony to declare February 2014 as African American History Month. The ceremony was held at the Delaware Public Archives and this year’s announcement was special because 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the monumental Brown v. Board of Education ruling that paved the way to integrate public schools in both Delaware and throughout the nation.

Lt. Governor Denn highlighted that “much of Delaware’s honor, strength and stature can be attributed to the diversity of cultures and traditions that are celebrated by the residents of this great state. We take this opportunity to celebrate African American History Month, in honor of the many contributions African Americans have made to the State of Delaware and our Nation.”

During the proclamation ceremony, the guest speakers explained to the audience the effect that the Brown v. Board decision had on their lives. Toriano Giddens, principal at William Henry Middle School, spoke about the effect the ruling has on today’s generation of students and how it has positively impacted the students at his school. In the 1950s, the William Henry School was a segregated high school, one of the few in the state where African American students could attend.

The featured speaker for the day was Dr. Homer W. Minus who discussed his status as one of the pioneers of the desegregation movement in Delaware when he served as a plaintiff in the Parker v. University of Delaware case. As part of a group of Delaware State College students who went to court to gain entry into the University of Delaware, Dr. Minus was one of the first seven African American students who were admitted to the University in the fall of 1950.

Following the ceremony, Stephen Marz, State Archivist and Director of the Delaware Public Archives, invited the attendees to meet Orlando Camp, co-author of the book “The Milford Eleven” and to visit the new Brown v. Board of Education Shadow Box Exhibit at the Archives. The display presents the history of the events that took place in Delaware which eventually led to the desegregation of the public school system in the First State. A special feature of the exhibit is a section focusing on the controversy surrounding the Milford crisis of 1954.

 

Students from William Henry Middle School along with their principal Mr. Giddens and staff member Ms. Bobbi English

Students from William Henry Middle School attending the ceremony along with their principal Mr. Giddens and staff member Ms. Bobbi English

 

The Milford School Desegregation Crisis of 1954

January 21st, 2014

In honor of African American History Month, the Delaware Public Archives will present a special program to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education case on Saturday, February 1, 2014, 10:30 a.m.  Following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the Brown v. Board of Education in May 1954, Milford High School attempted to integrate the following fall with the admittance of eleven African American students.  Within a short time, the nation’s media focused on this Delaware town as it suffered through school boycotts and the arrival of a white racist organizer named Bryant Bowles. This program will be presented by Orlando Camp, one of eleven students who attempted to integrate the school and the co-author of “The Milford Eleven,” a book about the journey of these eleven African American students.

Orlando Camp’s education began in integrated school systems in Philadelphia and Swarthmore Pennsylvania. He moved to Milford, Delaware as a young teenager and attended the all-black Benjamin Banneker Elementary School in Milford. Camp earned his high school diploma from William Henry Comprehensive High School in Dover.  After serving in the United States Army where he received the Outstanding Soldier of the Year award, he continued his education at Delaware County Community College and Temple University. Camp enjoyed a long, successful sales and marketing management career working for Scott Paper Company, Birds Eye Food, Stanson Corporation and the State of Delaware.

In 2009, Camp was selected to be on stage at an event with President-elect Barack Obama in Wilmington, Delaware. He now spends his time working with students with special needs.

The program is free to the public.  No reservations are required.  For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail thomas.summers@state.de.us.

Orlando Camp

Orlando Camp

How Do I Preserve My Documents, Photographs and Digital Memories?

December 20th, 2013

Looking for a way to preserve all those holiday photos and videos for future generations to see? On Saturday, January 4 at 10:30 a.m., the Delaware Public Archives will show how to preserve items such as old photographs, documents and digitized memories on CDs, DVDs, and flash drives. This workshop will provide you with the knowledge needed to care for and preserve those irreplaceable memories. This preservation workshop will be presented by the staff of the Delaware Public Archives (DPA) and the Delaware Government Information Center (GIC) and will include basic information and instruction on proper handling and storage of family papers, photographs and digital media to ensure long term preservation.

Archives staff member, Sarah Denison, will present information on the conservation and preservation of paper documents and photographs.  Ms. Denison has processed a number of collections including Civil War letters in the Small Manuscript Collection, Board of Education photographs, Sussex County Orphans Court Records, and the Caley Postcard Collection.  She has most recently completed the processing and cataloguing of the Vietnam Mailbag Collection.

Concerning digital records, Mike Mahaffie, Deputy Director GIC, will address what is needed to save your digital memories. Highlighting his discussion will be a quick history of ways people have been saving digital records, things to do to determine what is important, what is needed to maintain your digital moments as technology changes, and the various ways available to save what’s important to you based on cost and longevity.

The workshop is free to the public.  No reservations are required.  For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail thomas.summers@state.de.us.

Denison & Mahaffie

Sarah Denison and Mike Mahaffie

Behind the Scenes: Internal Functions of the Delaware Public Archives

November 26th, 2013
Records Management Specialist Corey Lucas Retrieving Records

Records Management Specialist Corey Lucas Retrieving Records

The Delaware Public Archives preserves and exhibits many of Delaware’s most vibrant historical documents. Our rich Delaware history can be viewed by visiting the research room, browsing our Collection Gateway online, or by visiting our wonderful exhibit galleries. In addition to the public pieces of Delaware history, we are a secure repository to a myriad of government records and historical documents, many of which can only be accessed by authorized state agencies. With the advent of typewriters, fax machines, and digital printers, paper records were being created at an exponential rate. In 1978, the Government Services section of the Archives was established to adequately meet the needs of state agencies.

 

Vault 400

Vault 400

Government Services has a two-prong approach to address its two main functions. The first function is provided by our Information Resource Specialists. They meet with each state agency’s records officers to properly prepare materials for accession. This process includes developing and maintaining a retention schedule. A retention schedule is a guideline that dictates the life-cycle of all documents under the agency’s control. The life-cycle of a document or item is often determined by its significance: the more vital the record, the longer we keep it! Some records will even be housed here permanently. The second function is conducted by the Record Services section, which was created to give outside agencies the means to request files that are stored within the Delaware Public Archives.  Record Services ensures that requested records are made available to state agencies so that they may provide a service to the public without undue delay. Record Services maintains a very detailed tracking system in order to manage the records created by the state. It is through the dedicated support of the entire archives staff that a citizen seeking important materials is able to obtain them in a timely manner. Behind the scenes there is an experienced and motivated group of public servants to meet the expanding needs of the citizens of Delaware and its government.

Happy Birthday, Joe!

November 20th, 2013

4 Vice President Joe Biden at Return DayThe Delaware Public Archives would like to wish Vice President Joe Biden a Happy Birthday. Vice President Biden served as our United States Senator from 1973- 2009. To see some pictures of Joe, take a look at the Facebook album we posted a few years back honoring one of Delaware’s favorite sons.

The Delaware Public Archives Salutes President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

November 14th, 2013

The Delaware Public Archives honors the achievements and memory of our 35th President John Fitzgerald Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination (November 22, 1963). This DPA photograph shows the ribbon cutting at the Delaware Turnpike (I-95) Dedication Ceremony on November 14, 1963. Eight days later, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

 

(Left to Right) N. Maxon Terry, Delaware Governor Elbert N. Carvel, President John F. Kennedy, Maryland Governor Millard J. Tawes.

(Left to Right) N. Maxon Terry, Delaware Governor Elbert N. Carvel, President John F. Kennedy, Maryland Governor Millard J. Tawes.

 

Hurricane Season is Here!

October 29th, 2013

Wet_records_recovery_300x216 - CopyAs we enter the hurricane and severe storm season, the Delaware Public Archives strongly encourages agencies to evaluate the storage environment of their records.

During your assessment and planning, please consider the following:
• Damage from leaking roofs
• Exposed windows and doors
• Damage from flooding due to improper drainage, cracked foundations and high water levels outside the facility

While the records maintained on electronic data systems may be backed-up by DTI or a vendor contract, many agencies still actively use and retain hard copy records. The loss of Vital records may greatly compromise the agencies’ operations; therefore, the DPA highly recommends for agencies to move high-risk/vital records to a safe area. At a minimum, please remove as many boxes as possible from the floor, especially if your agency/section is located in an area that is prone to flooding.

Please remember that the first 24 to 48 hours after a disaster are the most critical for safeguarding any information. For instance, records that become damp can quickly develop mold, and, if left untreated, the records will likely become unsalvageable.

The staff at Delaware Public Archives can provide expert advice, vendor contacts, and at times, manpower to assist agencies with their disaster recovery efforts. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact your assigned analyst or use our general line (302) 744-5000.