University of Delaware
Blue Hen Yearbook, The Derelict. Newark, Delaware: Delaware College, 1904. University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

Yearbooks on view

Library sets exhibition on University of Delaware yearbooks through the years


11 a.m., April 30, 2012--The University of Delaware Library has announced that the forthcoming exhibition, “Through the Years:  The University of Delaware through Yearbooks,” will be on display in the first floor exhibition cases in the Information Room of the Morris Library from Tuesday, May 8, through Monday, July 2. 

In honor of Commencement and Alumni Reunion Weekend, the exhibition presents the history of the University of Delaware viewed through the University’s Blue Hen and Blue and Gold yearbooks. The exhibition draws on the yearbooks to illustrate the growth of the University from small land grant college to the major research and instructional institution it is today. 

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As records of student life produced by the students themselves, the yearbooks reflect students’ experiences and perception of the University’s development as well as provide insight into how the University represented its growth.  

The first yearbook was published by Delaware College in 1899 as the Aurora. The Blue Hen title was adopted in 1911. Until the implementation of co-education in 1945, the Blue Hen included only the all-male Delaware College. The yearbook of the Women’s College of Delaware, which began operation in 1914, was called the Blue and Gold

In 1946, the Blue Hen became the official yearbook of the newly co-educational institution. In 1948, the Blue Hen began annual publication that continued until it ceased production in 1999.

The exhibition will contain a selection of yearbooks from 1899 to 1997 that highlights student life and activities as well as campus planning and buildings. On display will be the 1899 junior class photograph of the Delaware College and the 1965 Blue Hen, which includes UD graduate Vice President Joseph Biden’s senior photograph. The exhibition also features an essay by University President Walter Hullihen from the 1937 Blue Hen discussing plans for campus expansion and various images of campus buildings throughout the years. 

Through the efforts of the Center for Digital Collections at the University of Delaware Library, all issues of the Blue Hen and the Blue and Gold are available for download. Individual yearbooks are keyword searchable. The Blue Hen collection can be accessed at this site. The Blue and Gold collection is also available at this site.

The exhibition “Through the Years:  The University of Delaware through Yearbooks,” was curated by Thomas Pulhamus, library assistant in the Center for Digital Collections, and Mary Durio, associate librarian and head, Center for Digital Collections, with exhibition preparation by Anita Wellner, library assistant and design and installation of the physical and virtual exhibition by Laurie Rizzo, assistant librarian, both of the Special Collections Department.

An online version of the exhibition will be available on the library website.

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