Christopher Ward served as president of the Delaware Historical Society from 1940 until his death in 1943. This brief period coincided in part with the demands of World War II, but it was a fruitful time for the Society. During his tenure, membership increased from 210 to 326, the Society hired its first professional librarian, and collections grew tremendously. Ward also urged the Society to increase its endowment—at the time, the Society’s annual income was only a little over $4,600.
Christopher Ward (1868-1943) came to Delaware as a child. He began his career as a lawyer, then after Delaware passed the General Corporation Law in the late 1890s he and Josiah Marvel founded the Corporation Service Company. The firm, still active today, provided services to businesses that incorporated but did not operate in Delaware.
But literature and history were his passion. After he retired from business, Ward devoted himself to those pursuits. During the 1920s he wrote popular parodies of current novels and produced important historical works including New Sweden on the Delaware (1938), The Delaware Continentals (1941), and The War of the Revolution (1952).
Ward also led the state’s celebration of the Swedish Tercentenary in 1938, coordinating an array of activities and events than included visits from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Swedish royal family.
Ward’s descendants have continued his commitment to the Delaware Historical Society. Several have served on the Society’s board, and the Research Library’s reading room is named in his honor.