University of Delaware Library digitizes Iron Hill oral histories
School children and their teacher on the steps of Iron Hill School No. 112C, near Newark. Courtesy of the Delaware Academy of Science.


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9:02 a.m., Feb. 10, 2011----The University of Delaware Library announces the release of a newly digitized archival collection, the Delaware Academy of Science Iron Hill oral history recordings and transcripts.

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The Iron Hill School No. 112C, a former African American one-room schoolhouse, was in operation from 1923 until 1964, and later became the Iron Hill Museum, operated by the Delaware Academy of Science.

Internet access to streaming audio recordings and digitized transcripts for many of the interviews in the digitized archival collection is available via the library's web page. Users can scroll down to the “Detailed Contents List” which includes information on the interviewee and date of interview, with links to the online audio files and transcripts.

The Iron Hill Museum oral history collection consists of 37 interviews (originally recorded on 58 audio-cassettes) documenting the history of the Iron Hill School No. 112C, which was one of the African American schools built with the support of Pierre S. du Pont.

Oral historian Roberta Perkins and Laura Lee, then director of the Iron Hill Museum, initiated the project in 2003 to record stories related to the Iron Hill School No. 112C. Additional interviews in the collection document life in the Iron Hill community and nearby Pleasant Valley, as well as education provided in a few other Delaware schools in Hockessin, Milton and Claymont.

The interviews include but are not limited to discussions of community and school life, relationships between the schools, civil rights, transportation issues to and from school, employment and churches.

Digitization and transcription of this collection is ongoing and additional materials will be added to the online collection as they become available. For more information and access to the collection, visit the website.

The creation of this digital collection was a collaborative project of the University of Delaware Library Center for Digital Collections and Special Collections Department. Staff involved included Mary Durio, associate librarian and head of the Center for Digital Collections; E. Evan Echols, assistant librarian, Special Collections Department; Mark Grabowski, CITA systems programmer IV and coordinator, library data and server support; and Rebecca Johnson Melvin, librarian and coordinator of manuscripts in the Special Collections Department.