To celebrate Archives Month, we’ll be sharing some of our recent accessions. Check back each Friday for a new post.
Mary Hanes, processing archivist
Have you ever wanted to tour the state of Delaware without the hassle of driving around for hours? If so, visit the archives and view the recently acquired collection of photographs taken by Delaware photographer Robert J. Bennett. A lifetime resident of Bridgeville, Mr. Bennett started his career in photography when he served as an Army Signal Corps photographer in Europe from 1951 to 1953. After returning home, he continued pursuing photography, and took more than four thousand photographs for his book Sussex County Delaware – 301 Years Later and contributed many photos to the books The Great Storm of March 1962 and The Storm of ’62 – From Ruin to Recovery. Mr. Bennett also became Delaware’s first certified professional photographer, the official photographer for the Delaware State Fair, and provided photos for stock photography for newspapers and magazines.
This extensive collection was donated by Mr. Bennett’s wife, Eleanor Bennett, and contains over 22,000 of Mr. Bennett’s black and white photographs and color photo slides. The collection spans from 1951 to 2003 and features the many facets of Delaware life in all three counties, such as agriculture, churches, historic houses, and beaches. Additionally, Mr. Bennett photographed events like Punkin Chunkin and the annual Nanticoke Indian Powwow. Other fun categories in the collection include pumpkin art, vanity license plates, and outhouses. A finding aid for the collection has recently been developed to help researchers access the collection by subject. Visit the research room to learn more and to view the collection.