Tuesday, January 28, 2014

History: Delaware State College, 1947-1993

Written by: Emily Cottle

This post is part two of a three part series about the history of Delaware State University. Be sure to check out last week’s post covering 1891-1947 available here. This week we pick up in 1947.

In 1947, the name of the State College for Colored Students was changed to Delaware State College (DSC) by the Delaware State Legislature. In 1948 there was a then-record graduating class of 49 students.

However, in 1949, Delaware State College struggled as its Middle State Commission on Higher Education accreditation was revoked. A state task force was created to study the role of Delaware State College in higher education in Delaware and to consider it becoming a junior college or being closed altogether. However, President Oscar Chapman was the lone member of this taskforce that fought to maintain DSC as a four-year institution.

DSC persevered and based on a 1954 report submitted by President Jerome Holland, DSC continued as a four-year institution and received then-unprecedented major capital funding from the state. This funding  provided for the construction of Memorial Hall, Conwell Hall (dormitory), an administration building (now Grossley Hall), and other campus renovations. It was also under Dr. Holland’s leadership that the College won back its full accreditation from Middle States. In 1960, the College’s enrollment had increased to 386.

Dr. Luna Mishoe’s 27 years at Delaware State College resulted in additional campus improvements with the construction of Laws Hall, the home economics building (now the Price Building), an agriculture building (now the Baker building), as well as the Education & Humanities Building, the original Martin Luther King Student Center, and the first phase of the William C. Jason Library. At the end of President Mishoe’s tenure, enrollment had increased from 386 in 1960 to 2,327 in 1987.

Additional highlights included the establishment of the first master’s degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction in 1981 and six other graduate degrees by 1987.
From left to right, Delaware State College Presidents: Dr. Oscar J. Chapman, Dr. Maurice E. Thomasson (acting president), Dr. Jerome H. Holland, and Dr. Luna I. Mishoe.

To reiterate those mentioned above, presidents during this period included the conclusion of Dr. Howard Gregg’s tenure until 1949, followed by Dr. Maurice E. Thomasson, serving his first of two stints as acting president  from 1949-1950. Dr. Oscar Chapman came onboard for the shortest tenure of any president from 1950-1951. After this was Dr. Thomasson’s second term as acting president from 1951-1953, followed by Dr. Jerome Holland from 1953-1960. His successor was Dr. Luna I. Mishoe, who had the second longest tenure of any president from 1960-1987. The last president in this time period was Dr. William B. DeLauder, who began in 1987 and whose tenure will continue into next week’s post on Delaware State University, 1993-present.

Again, I encourage anyone who wants to learn more about the history of Delaware State to check out a copy of Delaware State University by Dr. Bradley Skelcher. Come back next week for the final part in our series that will cover 1993 to the present.

"History." Delaware State University. http://www.desu.edu/history (accessed January 10, 2014).

"Presidential Tenure Highlights." Delaware State University.  http://www.desu.edu/administration/presidential-tenure-highlights (accessed January 10, 2014).

Skelcher, Bradley. Delaware State University. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishers, 2000. (accessed January 10, 2014).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

History: State College for Colored Students, 1891-1947

Written by: Emily Cottle

This post kicks off a three part series where we will explore the history of Delaware State University. Each post will include a different era of DSU’s history: part 1 will focus on the State College for Colored Students (1891-1947), part 2 will cover Delaware State College (1947-1993), and part 3 will cover the most recent history of Delaware State University (1993-present).
Delaware State University by Dr. Bradley Skelcher.

Established on May 15, 1891 by the Delaware General Assembly, the State College for Colored Students (SCCS) was created as a result of the second Morrill Act of 1890. This act required that existing land-grant institutions either open their doors to students of all races or create a new separate institution for black students. (The original land-grant institution in Delaware was the University of Delaware.)

Upon its official opening on February 2, 1892, five courses of study leading to a baccalaureate degree were available: Agricultural, Chemical, Classical, Engineering, and Scientific. A Preparatory Department was established in 1893 for students who were not yet qualified to pursue a baccalaureate degree upon entrance. In 1897, SCCS began offering a three-year normal course leading to a teacher's certificate.

The first graduates received their diplomas in May 1898. The teacher education program was expanded to four years in 1911 and students who successfully completed the program were awarded a Bachelor of Pedagogy degree. In 1912, the available areas of study changed to Academic, Agricultural, Mechanic Arts and Domestic Science, all leading to a Bachelor of Pedagogy. The Preparatory Department was phased out during the 1916-1917 school year and a Model Grade School was established that awarded a high school diploma upon successful completion of four years of study.

Academic programs continued to evolve and expand. In 1923, a Junior College Division was added. Four-year curricula in the Arts and Sciences, Elementary Education, Home Economics, Agriculture, and Industrial Arts were established in 1932. In June 1934, the College graduated its first class of bachelor-degree candidates completing one of these four-year courses of study.

All of this academic growth culminated the College receiving its first provisional accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 1944.

Throughout this period, the State College for Colored Students had four presidents. The first president of the college was Wesley P. Webb, whose tenure lasted from 1891-1895. He was followed by William C. Jason, whose tenure from 1895-1923 remains the longest of any president. Richard S. Grossley was president from 1923-1942, succeeded by Dr. Howard D. Gregg from 1942-1949.
From left to right, State College for Colored Students presidents: Wesley P. Webb, William C. Jason, Richard S. Grossley, and Dr. Howard D. Gregg.

For more information about the history of Delaware State, including a large number of wonderful pictures, come to the library and check out a copy of Delaware State University by Dr. Bradley Skelcher.

Come back next week for post 2 and learn about the institution after our name was changed to Delaware State College.


"History." Delaware State University. http://www.desu.edu/history (accessed January 10, 2014).

Skelcher, Bradley. Delaware State University. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishers, 2000. (accessed January 10, 2014).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Digitization: Delaware Heritage Collection

One aspect of our grant objectives includes digitization of collection items. Once scanned, items will be made freely available online through the Delaware Heritage Collection.

Delaware Heritage Collection homepage
The homepage for the Delaware Heritage Collection.

The Delaware Heritage Collection is a program sponsored by the Delaware Division of Libraries. It is described on their website as follows:
Documents, artwork, maps, newspapers, slides, photos, audio/video and other important items documenting Delaware’s rich history and culture can now be explored online! Through the Delaware Heritage Collection, items previously available only in local libraries, archives, museums, historic sites and other cultural institutions are being digitized and made available to anyone who has access to a computer.
This exciting project creates an online portal that makes it easy to search, discover, retrieve and view items and information. The technology offers many user-friendly tools and options that help bring Delaware’s history and heritage to life.
The Delaware Heritage Collection is a wonderful resource for students, educators, historians and anyone who enjoys exploring the people and events that created the Delaware we know today.
So far, DSU has contributed only a few items, but we will be consistently adding to it throughout the course of our IMLS project. Items to be digitized will be selected based on a number of criteria, including fragility, anticipated use, and correlation to scheduled exhibits or outreach initiatives. Fragile items will include those that are in danger of being irreversibly damaged through additional handling. Having digital surrogates in place will help lessen the burden of use on items found to be particularly susceptible to damage.
You can view Delaware State’s collection here.

Delaware State's collection within the Delaware Heritage Collection.
The first items to be scanned are going to be early issues of our school paper, The Echo, dating from 1909-1912. We expect to have the first batch uploaded by the end of the month, so stay tuned for an announcement here with a link when that happens.

Update: As of January 23rd, the first batch of The Echo is available in the Delaware Heritage Collection. Issues will continue to be added in the coming months.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

More about our project

Written by: Emily Cottle

Happy new year, readers, and welcome back!

The application for this IMLS grant project was submitted in January 2013 (the FY2014 deadline was in December. Guidelines for FY2015 should be available late next year, but until then you can view the FY2014 guidelines for informational purposes).
Screen capture of the FY2014 guidelines from the IMLS website.
Our proposal included two main goals: strengthen the archival profession through the provision of quality entry-level experience for young professionals, while at the same time continuing to build the newly formed University Archives at Delaware State University through the provision of additional personnel.

Our project will create two nine-month archival fellowships. These individuals will be recent graduates from archives programs. Through the fellowship, they would broaden their experience by getting to work on a variety of tasks, including: processing, digitization, reference, outreach, and collection development. The grant also provides funds for two summer interns (one for each summer of the grant) who will work full-time for 8 weeks to gain experience while still pursuing their archives degree.

In the second year of the project, the focus will shift to increased outreach across the campus as the grant team works to create a historic campus walking tour. We will be creating a brochure as well as placing signs around campus providing historical information and then and now photographs.

Initial priorities of the project are to get collection materials processed, starting with our photographs collection. Currently photographs of the campus and its buildings, as well as major events (Commencement, Convocation, Parents’ Day, and Founders Day) are all that have been processed. What remains are a wealth of images documenting athletics, campus life, university faculty and staff, and much more. Processing of these photographs will include rehousing into appropriate archival folders and photo sleeves, and providing description of the items.

Come back next week for an entire post dedicated to the digitization work that will accompany this project as we tell you more about our involvement in the Delaware Heritage Collection.