1984: Thomas Companius Holm’s book acquired

In 1984, Charles Dorman donated many rare and unique items of Delawareana to the collections of the Historical Society of Delaware. Included in that gift was a notebook used by Thomas Rodney from 1784 to 1795 to record his thoughts on politics, religion, and science as well as The Renowned History of Little Good Two-Shoes, a collection of moral tales for children published in Wilmington in 1793.

But perhaps the most noteworthy item in this gift was Thomas Companius Holm’s Kort Bescrifning om Provincien Nya Swerige uti America (A Brief History of the Province of New Sweden in America). The book was published in Sweden in 1702 and is based on notes and diaries kept by Johan Companius Holm, the Lutheran minister who served in the Delaware colony between 1643 and 1648. The book includes some beautiful and unique renderings of the Delaware Indians and life in New Sweden.

Although the book was published after the fall of the Swedish colony, it is one of the few items in our collection that dates to that period in our history. Also in our library collections from that time is a medical book that belonged to Tymen Stidham, the first doctor-barber in New Sweden. Together, these items provide a rare glimpse into life in New Sweden.


Peter Lindstrom's late 17th century rendering of Delaware Indians which appeared in Holm's book.
Peter Lindstrom’s late 17th century rendering of Delaware Indians which appeared in Holm’s book.

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