1932: Caesar Rodney’s Letters

In 1932 the Society was concentrating on the publication of the letters of Caesar Rodney.  The publication committee included principal editor George Herbert Ryden, Ph.D.  Professor of History and Political Science at the University of Delaware and State Archivist of Delaware,  the Honorable Richard S. Rodney and Christopher L. Ward, Esquire.  The Society was negotiating with the University of Pennsylvania Press for a publication contract, but initially found the terms not to their liking. The Society then interviewed the University of Maryland Press concerning publication. However, an agreement was finally reached with the University of Pennsylvania Press and the Letters of Caesar Rodney were published the following year, 1933.

Title page of the publication Letters of Caesar Rodney
Title page of the publication “Letters To and From Caesar Rodney”, 1933. DHS Book Collection

The compilation is 482 pages and comprises all extant letters to or from Caesar Rodney which have historical interest.  It includes an index, a note on Caesar Rodney’s genealogy, and a list of source material which was primarily a collection in Philadelphia of letters and papers concerning Rodney which the Historical Society purchased in 1919 (see earlier blog). Additional letters were requested from private collectors and public repositories when appropriate. When originals could not be obtained, facsimiles were used for transcription.  No attempt was made to modernize the spelling of certain words or correct misspellings of words used by Rodney, so long as the meaning of the words was evident. The same is true of punctuations and capitalizations. The letters involve myriad individuals.  A brief sampling includes Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Robert H. Morris, General George Washington, Thomas McKean, George Read,  John McKinly, John Haslet,  David Hall, Thomas Collins, James Tilton,  Samuel Patterson,  John Rodney,  John Vining,  John Jay, and many instances of Thomas Rodney. It also includes Rodney’s Orderly book.

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