Collecting Delaware Books

Delaware Women

Two books which belong in every Delaware reference collection are Delaware Women Remembered, Wilmington, 1977, and A Legacy from Delaware Women, Wilmington, 1987.

The first book was edited by Mary Sam Ward with help from Mary Louise Ponsell, Katherine Ward Smigie, and Mary Erica Loewenstein and was a project of the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council.

Ward was project director for the second book but used a large staff of writers, researchers, and photographers. Publication was a joint project of the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council, the Women's Center of Delaware Technical and Community College, the University of Delaware, and the Delaware Heritage Commission.

Both books are collections of biographies and portraits of important Delaware women, past and present. Some of earliest covered are colonial wit Mary Vining, letter writer Sophie du Pont, astronomer Annie Jump Cannon, antislavery writer Elizabeth Chandler, and editor Mary Ann Shadd Carey. Entries get more numerous in the 20th century, covering women in business, science, the arts, government, education, letters, and sports.

The 1987 book updated the careers of women still active who were mentioned in the earlier book and added many new ones, especially business leaders and corporate executives..

Both books are paperbacks. There are many photographs, and the indexing is excellent. The second book contains a Delaware women's chronology, starting in 1642 with Armegott Printz. It also has listings for selections to the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women.

Delaware Women Remembered was issued in only 1,000 numbered copies and is becoming scarce. Mary Sam Ward signed some copies, and these bring extra money. However copies can be found for under $30. A Legacy from Delaware Women was printed in a larger edition, but after initial sales, it was remaindered to discount book stores nationally. Therefore, copies are hard to find in Delaware but may be found elsewhere. — JPR

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