Collecting Delaware Books

Dr. Nancy Churchman Sawin

Nancy Sawin, age 90, of Hockessin, DE, passed away Tuesday March 18, 2008. She was an author, illustrator, educator, athlete, world traveler, antiques collector and dealer, and supporter of many local organizations.

Nancy is best known to Delaware book collectors for authoring and illustrating 19 books of local interest and illustrating others. An article, bibliography, and picture are included on this Web site. But she was involved in many other aspects of Delaware life.

Born in Wilmington in 1917, Nancy's parents were Ellen Q. and Sanford W. Sawin. She attended Tower Hill School, Linden Hall in Lititz, and Principia in St. Louis. She earned her undergraduate degree in illustration at Principia College, a Masters Degree in history from the University of Delaware and a Doctorate in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Earlier in life, she studied art with Eleanor Rhodes. She spent a year at the Crouse College of Fine Art at Syracuse University and also studied locally with Frank Schoonover. After obtaining her undergraduate degree in 1938, Nancy started her long career at Sanford School first as a high school teacher and girls field hockey coach. She subsequently served as Dean of Girls, Principal of the upper school and in 1961 became Head of School, a position she held until her retirement in 1973.

Nancy was very active in local community activities. She was the facilitator in obtaining funds for building the Hockessin Public Library, on the Advisory Board of the Center for Creative Arts, President of the Board for the Hale-Bynes House and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Goldey Beacom College. She was an excellent field hockey player, was a member of the All American Field Hockey team and captain for two international tournaments. In 1977, she was elected to the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame and in 1988 to the U.S. Field Hockey Hall of Fame. She was a member of the DAR, is listed in Who's Who in Education and the Who's Who in America. She received the medal of Merit from the University of Delaware, is a member of the University Wall of Fame and the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women. She was an avid traveler and other than the usual tourist destinations, was fortunate to have been able to visit a number of places, which at the time were considered "off the track," such as Iran before the revolution, including Persepolis, Samarkand, and a trip with People to People to western China when it was first opened to American tourists.

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