The University of Delaware Library is the recipient of a gift from Doris Jolls Boyce and Barbara Boyce Meyer who contributed the Truxton W. Boyce Genealogical Research and Family Papers to the Library. This rich historical collection contains twenty-six three-ring notebooks and nine folders of genealogical research notes, original family photographs, documents and correspondence, and other ephemera related to nineteenth- and twentieth-century generations of Boyce’s family lines from Delaware and Virginia. Boyce’s research includes the Boyce, Justis, Morrow, Shreve, Wright, Brownley, Lawrence, Sebree, Adams, and Tuley families, as well as the family lines of his wife, Doris Jolls Boyce (including the Jolls, McColgan, Colge, Wise, Lutz, and Lorenz families). In addition to the genealogical focus of the collection, nine autobiographical scrapbooks document the family life of Truxton W. and Doris Jolls Boyce, who began their married life in 1942 in Newark, Delaware.
Truxton W. Boyce, native Delawarean and University of Delaware alumnus, was an avid genealogist and family historian. Boyce was born in 1919 to Elizabeth ("Bess") Armstrong Morrow Boyce and William Truxton Boyce, at which time the family resided in Stanton, Delaware, in what is now known as the Hale-Byrnes House. The Boyces were the last owner-residents of this historic home where, in 1777, General George Washington held a war council following the Revolutionary War Battle of Cooch’s Bridge. The Hale-Byrnes house is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to visitors.
Following graduation from Alexis I. du Pont High School in 1937, Boyce enrolled at the University of Delaware (B.A. 1941). There, he met his future wife of sixty-four years, Doris Lee Jolls Boyce. In college, Boyce played on both the tennis and soccer teams and was president of his junior class. Doris Jolls Boyce, who reigned as the 1941 May Queen and was active with student theater through the E-52 Players, graduated in 1942. After completing his degree, Truxton Boyce entered the United States Army Air Force, resigning at the rank of major in 1946.
Post-war, Boyce began his career with Sears Roebuck & Co. in Wilmington, later managing stores in Dover, Asbury Park, and Schuylkill Haven. He moved his young family to Allentown in 1953, joining the Stewart In-fra-red Commissary Company, a budding food franchise that used pre-microwave technology to quickly cook sandwiches for customers. Boyce moved with Stewarts to St. Louis and Boston, ultimately retiring to Wilmington in 1982.
In 1961 Boyce began researching the ancestral history of his mother, Elizabeth ("Bess") Armstrong Morrow, who descended from the Morrow family, which settled in Wilmington in the 1830s, and the Justis family, which first came to Delaware from Sweden in the 1630s. The Morrows emigrated from Ireland to Delaware in 1835 and owned a confectionery on Market Street in Wilmington in what came to be known as the Morrow building. The family is linked to several historic properties, including “the Tuleyries” in Virginia, the Hale-Byrnes House in Stanton, and the Morrow home at 708/10 Franklin Street in Wilmington. Over the next half-century, Boyce continued research into his and his wife’s ancestry and developed this multi-volume archive of genealogical records, family history, and personal scrapbooks. He was also interested in antiques and preservation, the history of America, Delaware, and Native American cultures, especially as these topics intersected with family history. Because he collected original family documents as well as supplemental sources, the Truxton W. Boyce genealogical research and family papers provide extraordinarily rich documentation that will benefit genealogists, historians, preservationists, and scholars from a wide range of disciplines.
Truxton Boyce passed away on April 25, 2007, two days after he celebrated his 88th birthday. He is survived by his wife and daughters, Barbara and Virginia.
About the Special Collections Department
Holdings of the Special Collections Department of the University of Delaware Library include books, manuscripts, maps, prints, photographs, broadsides, periodicals, pamphlets, ephemera, and realia from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century. The collections complement the general collections of the Library with particular strengths in the subject areas of the arts; English, Irish, and American literature; history and Delawareana; horticulture; and history of science and technology.
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