Laurel Historical Society Collection Summaries


Below are listed a few specialized collections within the general holdings of the Laurel Historical Society.  These represent some, but not all, of our resources.  We have yet to catalog all of our items but listing the general topics will help viewers discover all that we have to offer. An unprocessed collection means that it is not fully cataloged. We hope to have some collections on-line in the future. For further information, email us thorough the website at

Archival Collections - Includes documents, manuscripts, letters, maps, and other paper items

Nan Fooks Campbell Collection - over 250 original hand-drawn plats, deeds, surveys and receipts pertaining to Broad Creek and Little Creek Hundreds.  Dates from the mid-18th century through the first quarter of the 20th century.  Also includes early 19th century surveyor’s field books from Cyrus Windsor and Jacob Wootten.

Peoples National Bank collection - banking records including loan payments from area residents, c.1920-1930    Unprocessed.  Finding aid available.

Thomas Jackson (T.J.) Waller collection - records from the early days of Waller’s Mens Store in Laurel, c.1910-1965.  Finding aid is available.

Laurel School Bellman collection - school magazine published 1921-1926 when the school was run as a military academy under the direction of Col. A. Tanner.  Includes some photographs.

Laurel School Mirror collection - school newspapers covering the late 1930s through the end of the 1940s. Includes some photographs.

LHS Milestone yearbook collection – mostly complete run from 1928-1990.

J. Alton Knowles municipal records collection – Laurel Alderman’s Court records from the mid-20th century.  Unprocessed.

Family surname file – hundreds of obituaries, newspaper clippings, and some genealogical information about Laurel families.

Newspaper and supplement collection – random issues of Laurel’s newspapers: The Sussex Countian, The Delaware Patriot, and the long- running State Register.  Unprocessed.

Map collection - various maps of Delaware and the immediate area surrounding Laurel.  Includes Sanborn Insurance maps, the Pomeroy and Beers Atlas of 1868, Gray’s Atlas of 1877, and a Sussex County country school map.   Unprocessed.

Business Records collection – documents pertaining to local businesses.  Unprocessed.

Madeline A. Dunn children’s art collection  - art work created by Laurel students 1938-1948. Over 200 drawings and painting created during the Depression and WWII.  Unprocessed.

Subject Research files – three file drawers arranged by topic, covering a wide assortment of subjects pertaining to local people, sites, and events.

Football program collection- programs from the Thanksgiving Day traditional football game between Laurel and Seaford, covering the mid-20th century years.  Some team and player photographs.

Scrapbook collection- personal scrapbooks with newspaper clippings, invitations, obituaries, along with ones documenting civic group activities, i.e. 1976 Bicentennial, LHS history, UD Homemakers Clubs etc.

Manuscripts and letters collections- several small collections of personal letters, diaries, and manuscripts from 20th century Laurel residents.

Bill and Letterhead collection – hundreds of billheads, receipts, invoices from Laurel area businesses c. 1890-1980.  Unprocessed

Photographic Collections – includes photographs, negatives, postcards, and digital images

Albert and Norman Waller Photographic collection - thousands  of prints and negatives from the Waller Studio, starting in 1897 with the work of Albert H. Waller, and continuing until 1970 with the work of his son, Norman Waller.

Robert B. Collins photographic collection - personal photographs taken by Robert B. Collins over his lifetime 1900-1990. Includes photos from other Delmarva and mid-Atlantic locations.

Kendal T. Jones Collection of 20th century Laurel images - color photographs of Laurel houses, buildings, people, and events, including downtown demolitions pictures.  c.1960-2010.

Albert Waller family archives - includes family photos of Mr. Waller’s children and grandchildren, mostly from the 20th century.  Unprocessed.

Digital collection - VHS tapes and DVDs of former LHS programs and events and taping of the Life in Laurel discussion groups. Unprocessed.

Postcard collection - mostly early 20th century photographic postcards of local street scenes, buildings, and people.

Photograph album collection -early to mid-20th century personal photos from local residents.  Unprocessed.

1933 Laurel Flood collection - over 100 images of the Aug. 1933 storm that flooded Laurel and cut the inlet through at Ocean City, MD.

Objects – 3-D items other than paper or photographs

Textiles & Clothing collection​ - mostly early to mid-20th century, including uniforms, street clothes, children’s clothes and some formal ware. Quilts and coverlet from local families and civic groups.

Bible collection - small collection of personal Bibles, some dating to the first half of the 19th century. Some with genealogical information.

Blaine ceramic pottery collection - selections from the only handmade pottery made in Laurel in the 20th century.  c.1975

Cook House decorative arts and furniture collection - primitive and Victorian items from the Laurel area.

Church plate collection - 1950s fad, featuring images of approximately a dozen area churches.

Business ephemera collection – hundreds of advertising items from over 100 years of commercial operations in Laurel from the smallest pen or pencil, to the largest of outdoor signage.

Library reference books pertaining to the history of Laurel and its surrounds. All non-circulating

Reference Book collection - E. Charles Stump IV Memorial Library- selected titles from the personal collection of a noted Delaware historian.  These and other donated volumes all pertain to Laurel, Sussex County, or Delaware history.

Telephone book collection - local Laurel telephone directories as well as church membership/address books.  Various years.

Cemetery Book collection - abstracts from Laurel and Kent County, Delaware cemeteries.

Delaware Historical Society collection - Journals published c.1940-1999 from the Delaware Historical Society in Wilmington, containing various articles about all aspects of state and local history.

Multimedia Collections – Holdings that contain various forms of information

Donald Warrington collection- farm records and tools, logging equipment, photographs, clothing, banking records from a three generational farming family.

Oliphant family collection – mostly photographs and scrapbooks from the Franklin Oliphant family.

Elaine Wootten Fowler collection - digital photographs, and genealogical record of Elaine and the extended Wootten-Sirman- Marvil families.

Sesqui-centennial collection- large amounts of ephemera generated at the 1952 celebration.  All formats.  Unprocessed.

Jean Greene African American collection - includes unidentified photos of early West Laurel and its residents as well as much historical content for Mt. Pisgah AME Church.  Unprocessed.

Jimmy Green African American collection- family records from the Green family of Laurel.   Unprocessed.  Finding aid available

Christ United Methodist Church collection - includes architectural remnants, photographs, and other related documents from the former Christ United Methodist Church in Laurel.

Gov. Elbert N. Carvel collection- multi-faceted collection of items purchased at the estate sale of former governor, Elbert N. Carvel, a long time Laurel resident.  Includes but not limited to political ephemera, business items, and personal articles pertaining to family life. Of particular note is the run of day books chronicling his daily activities as politician, husband and father, and community activist.  Finding aid available.

Marvil Package Company collection – photographs, business records, and artifacts from the company that put Laurel on the map.

LHS classes by year collection - Class photos, graduation and classroom programs, reunion materials, and snapshots of class activities starting with the class of 1898 and continuing until the 21st century.  Cataloged but not assembled by location.