Exhibit Closed on May 27, 2008
Old State House in Dover to Display Anthology of Pamphlets Printed Between 1776-1818
Dover, Delaware - February 12, 2008 From February 18, 2008 through May 27, 2008, the Old State House in Dover, Delaware will exhibit an early 19th century, leather-bound anthology of sixteen previously printed pamphlets dating from 1776 to 1818. The pamphlets cover a variety of topics including letters, orations, a table of duty and customs, a personal narrative, proceedings and debates from the Delaware House of Representatives, and addresses made to the Congress of the United States. Several of the pamphlets reproduce speeches and addresses made by Presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, while another features an address by Delaware Governor Thomas Clayton.
The pamphlets contained in the volume were saved by a member(s) of the Fisher family of Dover during the late 1700s and early 1800s. Some time after 1818, a bookbinder was commissioned to cut the pamphlets to a uniform length and then bind them together using a simple leather and board cover. Individually bound anthologies of this sort were relatively common in the early 19th century and were compiled by attorneys, government officials, and others who used them as handy reference volumes. Binding pamphlets together served to protect the documents and keep them organized in one central location. It has not been determined how the Fisher family member intended to use the material. The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs (HCA) acquired the anthology in December, 2007 from a private vendor.
The anthology will be displayed in the Senate chamber of The Old State House in juxtaposition to an imposing portrait of George Washington painted by Denis A. Volozan in 1802. As exhibited, the anthology is opened to the cover page of a pamphlet containing "An Address to the People of the United States," now known as George Washington's Farewell Address. This address was never read by the president in public, but instead was published on September 19, 1796 in Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser, a Philadelphia newspaper. Shortly thereafter, the address was reproduced in a number of venues including the pamphlet on display which was printed by the New Castle, Delaware firm of Samuel and John Adams (no relation to the famed Adams family of Massachusetts).
HCA's acquisition of this anthology is in keeping with the agency's goal of preserving, and holding in public trust, a record of Delaware's heritage by acquiring items made in Delaware or used by Delawareans throughout history. HCA's collections, which include museum objects, archaeological artifacts, library and archival materials, and oral histories, are utilized in developing exhibits and educational programs that illuminate the state's historical and cultural legacies for the benefit of present and future generations.
Completed in 1791, The Old State House served as Delaware's capitol during the United States' critical early years as a nation. The first floor features an 18th century style courtroom while the second floor houses the former chambers of the state's legislature. Located at 25 The Green, in Dover Delaware, the building is open from Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 1:30-4:30 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are accepted and appreciated. For additional information, call the Delaware Visitor Center at (302) 739-4266.
The Old State House is one of eight museums administered by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs (HCA), an agency of the State of Delaware. HCA enhances Delaware's quality of life by preserving the state's unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality, and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history and heritage. In addition to its museums, HCA operates two conference centers, manages over thirty historic properties, and serves as the state's historic preservation office. Funding for HCA's museums, programs, and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly, revenue from HCA's History Stores, and grants from the National Park Service, a federal agency.