In Memoriam
John A. Munroe, foremost Delaware historian

John Andrew Munroe, one of Delaware’s best-known and respected historians, died Sept. 6, 2006. A member of the University faculty for more than 60 years, Dr. Munroe was widely recognized as the foremost authority on Delaware history. He was 92.

“John A. Munroe was the perfect embodiment of the gentleman scholar,” UD President David P. Roselle said. “He was a native of Delaware and alumnus of the University of Delaware who was revered as an accomplished historian, a learned professor, a caring mentor and a delightful friend.

“He helped shape the Department of History here at UD—a department that now resides in a building that appropriately bears his name—and served as a fount of knowledge about the history of both his beloved home state and this University. Just as Delaware is the Diamond State, John Munroe was a jewel of a gentleman, and he will be sorely missed by his many colleagues and friends.”

In 1932, he entered Delaware College, or the Men’s College, of the University of Delaware, as one of 181 students in the freshman class. At Delaware, he received his bachelor’s degree in 1936 and his master’s degree in 1941. He earned his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1947.

Dr. Munroe taught history at Newark High School from 1936-39 and joined the UD faculty in 1942. In 1962, he was named H. Rodney Sharp Professor of History. As the primary instructor for the formerly required Delaware history course, Dr. Munroe taught a majority of the University’s students for many years. He also served as assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1949-51 and as chairperson of the Department of History from 1952-69. He retired in 1982 and was named H. Rodney Sharp Professor Emeritus of History.

Special honors from the University included the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1963, the Medal of Distinction in 1980 and the Francis Alison Award, the University’s top honor to its faculty, in 1981. In 1997, the University named Munroe Hall in his honor. Munroe Hall is the home of the departments of Anthropology and History.

Dr. Munroe married Dorothy Levis in 1945, and they had three children, Stephen, Carol and J. Michael.

On Oct. 15, more than 120 family members, friends and colleagues gathered to pay tribute to Dr. Munroe during a celebration of his life held in the Center for the Arts. The celebration included music by the UD String Quartet, reflections from family and friends and a note of thanks from Dorothy Munroe.

“He was a happy man who never doubted he had chosen the best program for his life’s work,” Mrs. Munroe said.

Dr. Munroe was the author of more than 70 articles and several books, including Delaware Becomes a State (1953), Federalist Delaware (1954), Delaware: A Students’ Guide to Localized History (1965), Louis McLane: Federalist and Jacksonian (1974), Colonial Delaware: A History (1978), History of Delaware (1979) and The University of Delaware: A History (1986). He was the coauthor, with Carol E. Hoffecker, of Books, Bricks and Bibliophiles: The University of Delaware Library (1984).