Library Makes Electronically Available John Munroe’s 1963 “History and Government of Delaware”


March 16, 2011----The University of Delaware Library announces the online availability of the 15-part series taught by the late John Munroe, H. Rodney Sharp Professor of History. The exciting re-mastered digital collection is entitled “History and Government of Delaware” and was originally broadcast in 1963 by WHYY TV, Wilmington, Delaware.

The programs are available as streaming video at a high resolution. There have been numerous requests for an electronic version of the television series from users throughout the state.

The John Munroe lectures can be accessed globally via the Internet using the Library web page [www.udel.edu/library] and then clicking on the digital collections option to find “History and Government of Delaware by John Munroe” or directly at [www.udel.edu/library/digital/HistoryOfDE/index.html].

The 15 topics of the program of the series, as originally filmed in 1963 are:

John Munroe was one of Delaware’s best known and most respected historians. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware, and received a B.A. from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1942, he accepted a position as instructor in the Department of History at the University of Delaware, where he taught until his retirement in 1982. In 1962 he was named the H. Rodney Sharp Professor of History, and at various times he also served as assistant dean, alumni secretary and chairman of the history department.

A prolific writer and speaker, Munroe published over 80 professional articles and many shorter pieces for encyclopedias and magazines. Between 1959 and 1965, he wrote a regular newspaper column on topics in Delaware history. He spoke frequently to fellow scholars and to community groups and also developed two popular sets of televised lectures on Delaware history. Munroe was widely recognized as the foremost authority on the history of his state, and for many years he taught most of the students at the University of Delaware who were required to take a course on the history of the state.

The University of Delaware honored Munroe with the Francis Alison Award; the Outstanding Alumnus Award; and a Medal of Distinction. He also received awards from three Governors of Delaware, including the first Governor’s Heritage Award, which was given by Governor Ruth Ann Minner in 2003. Munroe Hall was named after him on November 2, 1997.

Munroe’s major books included Federalist Delaware; Louis McClane; Colonial Delaware; and The University of Delaware: A History. At the age of 90 he published his last book, The Philadelawareans and Other Essays Relating to Delaware.

Munroe’s greatest contribution to scholarship may have been his 763-page biography of the prominent 19th century politician and businessman Louis McLane, Louis McLane: Federalist and Jacksonian, 1974. McLane was a congressman, senator, secretary of the treasury, American ambassador to England, and president of two of the nation’s largest business enterprises, the Morris Canal and Banking Co. and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. In 1951-1952, Munroe discovered two large caches of family correspondence that were still in the hands of McLane’s descendants in Colorado. In The American Historical Review, the historian Chales M. Wiltse of Dartmouth College described Louis McLane: Federalist and Jacksonian,  as “an immensely readable book” that “add[ed] measurably to our understanding of the Jackson period, of the fascinating characters who peopled it, and of the inter-woven events that swept it forward.”

“The re-master of the original TV broadcasts to streaming video was accomplished with partial funding from private sources,” stated Susan Brynteson, vice provost and May Morris Director of Libraries. “Students, faculty and scholars who study the history of Delaware will benefit greatly from this wonderful resource and hundreds of alumni will appreciate viewing the young dynamic John Munroe who taught them.”

The project manager was Gregg Silvis, assistant director for Library Computing Systems. Others associated with the project were Mark Grabowski, cita IV for Library Computing Systems; Shwu Leung, cita III for Library Computing Systems; Meghann Matwichuk, associate librarian for Instructional Media Collection Department; Ronald Peterson, associate librarian for Library Computing Systems; and Francis Poole, head of the Instructional Media Collection Department.

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