University of Delaware

Manuscripts processing project

University of Delaware Library participates in PACSCL Processing Grant


4:04 p.m., July 10, 2014--The University of Delaware Library has announced that it will participate starting on July 15 in a grant-funded manuscripts processing project in the Library Manuscripts and Archives Department.

The University of Delaware Library is one of 16 member institutions of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) benefiting from the grant, which was awarded by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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CLIR awarded PACSCL with a grant of $249,800 for "Uncovering Philadelphia's Past: A Regional Solution to Revealing Hidden Collections," with the project hosted by the University of Pennsylvania.

Project manager Christiana Dobrzynski Grippe, who is a graduate of the University of Delaware, is leading a team of graduate students in processing 46 high-research value collections totaling 1,539 linear feet from the 16 area institutions.

These archival collections document the Greater Philadelphia region’s development as an industrial, commercial and cultural center during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The project builds on the regional finding aids database created in an earlier CLIR-funded Hidden Collections project, increasing its value to researchers. The Hidden Collections II project focuses on opening historical collections that document the development of Philadelphia, its adjacent counties, and its web of connections in the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.

The collections range from manufacturing and transportation to education, and from social services to the arts, but have in common a focus on a single metropolitan area and together show the complexity and interconnections of life in the region.

Dobrzynski Grippe, who received a master of science in library and information science degree from Drexel University in 2011, is a former graduate assistant in Special Collections at the University of Delaware Library. A UD Honors Program student, she received two degrees from the University -- a bachelor’s degree in 2007 and a master’s degree in English literature in 2009.

Current graduate archival students Ailana Josan (Drexel) and Courtney Frank (Pratt Institute) will process the Leon deValinger papers at the University of Delaware Library.

Dobrzynski Grippe estimates that the deValinger papers, which total 105 linear feet, will be processed in 10 weeks. The University Library liaison for the project will be Jaime Margalotti, senior assistant librarian in the Manuscripts and Archives Department.

Leon deValinger Jr. (1905-2000), historian and state archivist of Delaware from 1941 to 1972, established himself as one of the leading state archivists in America. He made an indelible impression for centralizing the state's archives and records management, as well as for preserving historic sites and establishing museum programs.

Trained as a historian, deValinger also published dozens of books, articles, and pamphlets about Delaware history; scholarly calendars and editions of historic letters; and reviews and reports for the archival profession. He was a founding member of the Society of American Archivists in 1936 and was elected president of the society in 1962. 

He received an honorary doctorate from UD in 1964 and is in the University’s Alumni Wall of Fame (1999). The Hall of Records in Dover was named in his honor in 1989.

The deValinger papers span the dates 1924-1997 and include correspondence, diaries, subject and reference files, business records, photographs, news clippings, publications and brochures, maps, architectural drawings, artifacts and ephemera.

The papers document the involvement of deValinger with local historical groups and national professional organizations. His interest in historical architecture led to establishment of the Delaware State Museum and the Delaware Agriculture Museum, as well as restoration projects such as the John Dickinson Mansion Museum, the Miller's House in Duck Creek, Allee House, Robinson House, Buena Vista, Woodburn and the Old State House.

The collection, which is available via Special Collections, enhances the profile of historic and cultural sources to be opened through the PACSCL Hidden Collections grant.

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