If you are researching local or family history on the Delmarva Peninsula, there are many fine libraries from Wilmington down to Accomac, VA. that can help. Some are large, university affiliated repositories, while others are non-profit, stand-alone institutions located in some of region’s small towns. As I travel from one end of Delmarva to the other using these resources, I will highlight a few of the smaller collections that help individuals piecing together puzzles from the past.
The National Historic Register town of Odessa, a community of about 300 people, has the Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library. Established in 1847, it is the oldest free lending institution in Delaware. Tucked away in one room of the facility and spilling out into the main stacks and basement where it fills more shelves and file cabinets, patrons find the A. Leslie Calloway Del-Mar-Va Collection. This large cluster of local history materials was created through money bequeathed by Mrs. Calloway in 1993 specifically to document the cultural heritage of the Delmarva Peninsula. It’s a particularly strong array, featuring more than 9,000 books, maps, postcards, ephemera, broadsides, and other artifacts.
Anyone doing research on Delaware and Eastern Shore families, businesses, churches, schools, communities, or organizations will find plenty of material here to help. These holdings attract a variety of people including those researching family roots, working on school papers or investigating something in the community. And there are plenty of treasurers here you won’t find online.
Situated in the idyllic village of Odessa, Corbit-Calloway’s collection is a place to go for its volumes, serials, and manuscripts densely packed with narratives about Delmarva’s heritage. Plus the helpful staff goes out-of-the-way to assist patrons using the holdings, searching the World Wide Web, and pinpointing places for added work.
So if you need issues of the Middletown Transcript from years ago, practically any published Delaware history, serials from the Maryland or Delaware Historical Societies, postcards and much more, you should check out this place as there are an astonishing variety of materials there that will help anyone puzzling together some aspect of earlier times. While that strong collection is important, you will also find an excellent small town library staff that routinely provides superior patron services to every patron walking in the door.