1952: A Shortage of Library Collection Space…

By 1952 the Society was facing a shortage of library collection space in Old Town Hall. One of the most serious questions for the Directors of the Historical Society of Delaware was where to store the records. When the Record Room was built in 1937, it was thought to be all the Society would ever require. However, 15 years later, the space has become crowded with office files, reference books, and manuscript collections.

Recent acquisitions only furthered crowded the upper room in the Old Town Hall. Donated bound editions of the News Journal were greatly appreciated and needed, but required a wall of metal shelving. Every year more reference books were moved from the stacks to upstairs storage, but by 1952 upstairs space was at a premium. The Historical Society of Delaware consulted with engineers and it was determined that the upper room had reached its maximum storage weight limit. There was no more room upstairs.

Faced with little space and few options, the members of Museum and Library Committees offered a possible solution. It was suggested that books on the western states, which were reported to be “poorly represented and seldom consulted,” be removed the Society’s collections. They also looked to store library collections to other parts of Old Town Hall.

The issue of space was (somewhat) resolved in 1953. The books on the western states were donated to the University of Delaware Library. They also moved Smithsonian Ethnological Reports into the basement, in an accessible storage area


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