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Voices and Votes: Democracy on Delmarva: Politicians and Political Collections

The Nabb Research Center holds and maintains multiple collections related to local political and civic leaders, regional politics, and special collections related to national politics. On this page, you can find information on political papers, ephemera, and manuscripts in the Nabb Research Center's collection.

Politicians and Civic Leaders

Mary L. Nock

The papers of Mary L. Nock document the professional and personal life of Senator Mary Nock, who lived from 1903 to 1987. The papers range from 1669 to 1992, as included in her possessions are colonial land grants as well as a copy of the Laws of Maryland which established Salisbury in 1735. Her personal papers document her life and the Layfield-Nock families through photographs, greeting cards, and genealogical research. Mary Nock’s professional papers include materials such as professional correspondence, speeches, drafts of her book It Was a Joy and a Pleasure, awards, and ephemera from her time as a politician. 

Finding Aid



Papers of J. Millard Tawes

The Papers of J. Millard Tawes consist of the political and personal papers of J. Millard Tawes and of historic Maryland records. The collection documents Tawes’ career as a politician from 1930-1979, including his service as the 54th Governor of Maryland from 1959-1967. It contains speeches, correspondence, photographs, publications and ephemera offering insight into fifty years of state and national politics. The collection includes Tawes’ speeches on the Freedom Riders and on the Cambridge Riots of 1963. It also includes correspondence between Tawes and Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

Finding Aid

Digitized Items from Collection


D. Page Elmore papers

D. Page Elmore was an Eastern Shore native and member of the Maryland House of Delegates, as well as a prominent businessman who was the CEO of Shore Disposal, Inc. His papers reflect his efforts to support local communities as well as reflections of his personal life.

Finding Aid

Digitized Items from Collection


Bertha Adkins

Bertha Adkins papers document the political life of Bertha Sheppard Adkins, originally from Salisbury, Maryland, 1950-1990. The bulk of the material encompasses Ms. Adkins political career when she attended the 1956 Republican National Convention in San Francisco, California. Materials include photographs of Ms. Adkins and noted politicians, newspaper clippings, magazines, and ephemera. Also included are promotional materials from the family business, E.S. Adkins & Company and printed materials about Ms. Adkins.

Finding Aid


Political Manuscripts, Correspondence, and Ephemera

This collection contains of an original typed manuscript authored by William Boyer, Charles P. Messick Professor Emeritus of the University of Delaware entitled: Governing Delaware: Policy Problems in the First State. The manuscript, which was published in 2000 by the University of Delaware Press, is an in-depth analysis of the political culture, governance, and major public policy issues of Delaware in the 1990s. Divided into three parts, it first discusses the state's economy, political parties and politics, and the governor as a leader. The second part considers Delaware's governance comprising state and local government and public administration and finance. The last part focuses on the quality-of-life policy problems of land-use planning, the environment, health, public education, welfare, and crime and justice.

This collection contains political ephemera from Wicomico County and the state of Maryland ranging from 1931 to 2001. Materials about candidates are documented via pamphlets and correspondence. There are two issues of Nutters Nuggets and a pamphlet about the downtown plaza in Salisbury.

The Danny Brown collection consists of ephemera and documents related to the history of Salisbury, Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula with items dating from 1896 to 2007 (the bulk of the materials range from 1908 to 1996). Included in the collection are two general or hardware store ledgers dating from 1908 to 1920, business and political advertisements, event programs, postcards, photo reproductions, newspaper clippings, and writings about Salisbury's history. Also included is a handwritten list of canneries along the Nanticoke River.

The papers of Wade Thompson Porter document his life and experiences, beginning with his childhood on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in the late 1800s until his eventual retirement in the 1940s. In addition to newspaper clippings and photographs, the collection includes several decades worth of personal correspondence which address contemporary social and political issues and recount Porter’s childhood memories of late-19th century rural America. Also, there are personal documents related to Porter’s service in the Spanish-American War, as well as his Masonic membership. A considerable amount of material focuses on genealogical research of the Porter family and their descendants, including comprehensive Porter and Twilley family trees dating back to the mid-1700s.

The Rudolph and Pamela Dolle collection includes a 1776 printing of the July 10 edition of the Pennsylvania Gazette; a November 1781 edition of the Gentleman's Magazine, and a World War I print of Columbia giving her son chivalry, 1915.

Digitized Pennsylvania Gazette


University Archives

SUA-022 Winifred Helmes Papers


The Winifred Helmes Papers document the professional activities of Dr. Winifred G. Helmes from 1931 to 2005 with the bulk of the materials dating between 1954 and 1981. The collection consists primarily of correspondence and documents from her prolific career. From 1951 to 1954, Helmes was part of the executive staff for the American Association of University Women. In 1954, she became Assistant Director of the U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau. She was appointed Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1959. From 1961 to 1967, Helmes served as Academic Dean at the Foxcroft School and at the Samuel Ready School from 1967 to 1968. In 1968, Helmes joined the faculty at Salisbury State College and taught until her retirement in 1981.

Additional Political Collections

The Edgar Bennett Collection documents the personal and professional lives of Edgar T. Bennett and his wife, Margaret Truitt Bennett. Personal items from the collection include land grants, photographs, and correspondence. The bulk of the collection revolves around Edgar Bennett's professional life, mainly consisting of records from the former Red Star Motor Coaches, Inc. bus company, and Bennett's political career in the Republican Party, Maryland State Senate and Maryland State Roads Commission.

The Wayne Gilchrest papers document the political career of Congressman Wayne Gilchrest who represented Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Maryland’s Eastern Shore counties in addition to portions of Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties. The Wayne Gilchrest papers span his political career from 1989-2008, with the majority of the material dating from 1996-2008. The records encompass his extensive political career and are documented through volumes of correspondence and his congressional voting record including his environmental work and activism; as well as his opposition to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Also of note are his trips as a member of the Congressional Delegation throughout the United States and the world.

The E. Homer White papers document the political career of Edward Homer White, a Delegate from the Maryland State House and Senate, from 1946-1991 with the bulk of the material dating from 1962-1978. Materials include newspaper clippings, photographs and essays that document E. Homer White’s political campaigns, causes and career. Photographs and correspondence concern Delegate Homer’s campaign, his political stances, as well as events and receptions he had attended during his career. There are two scrapbooks which include newspaper clippings concerned with E. Homer White’s elections and political causes.

The Senator John J. Williams papers document his distinguished service as a United States Senator and his family history from Sussex County, Delaware1880-2011. Documenting materials include five scrapbooks that were compiled by Williams’ niece and former Salisbury City Council President Louise Smith document the extensive Williams family including the Senator’s parents and ten siblings through photographs, correspondence, and news clippings. In addition to the scrapbooks, national publications and audio-visual materials also contribute to the Senator’s political career and community involvement.

This collection documents Hall’s participation as a civic leader in Salisbury Maryland and surrounding regions from 1853-1889, 1932-1982 with the bulk of the material dating from 1945-1970. Hall’s leadership is identified through a series of political memorabilia including correspondence from Governor Millard Tawes and Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Also included in the collection are booklets from Avery W. Hall Insurance Agency relating to Peninsula Regional Hospital and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Project

The L. Thomas Parker collection contains the correspondence of Thomas Parker in 1922 when he was a member of the Maryland General Assembly. The majority of the letters were written by Salisbury residents and the topics range from conditions of colored schools, taxes, race track gambling and labor laws. Correspondents include the Salisbury Community League, Bethesda Methodist Protestant Church, Maryland Dept. of Education, Vermont Board of Charities and Probation, and The Jackson & Gutman Co (manufacturers of the Salisbury Shirts).

The Henry Shipley Parker Papers contains photographs, newspapers, plaques, awards, certificates, and political information ranging from the 1920s to 2012. This collection includes Henry S. Parker’s political information, including voting records, as well as government political information, including the 1957 Presidential Inauguration Program. Included are a US district court case involving the Black population in Wicomico county who felt they were suffering from a history of official discrimination and a soldier's World War I Bible.

The Louise Smith papers document the personal and political activities of Salisbury, Maryland’s City Council President Louise Smith from 1940-2011, with the bulk of the records documenting her political career from her initial entry into the race in 2007 through her decision not to run for re-election in 2011. Documenting records include photographs, official campaign documents, newspaper clippings, and speeches. The meeting minutes from city council meetings April 2007 – April 2011 including legislative, special, and closed meetings.

Digitized Items from Collection

The Margaret Stone papers are comprised of genealogy research conducted by Margaret Stone and relate to many different Wicomico County, Maryland families focusing specifically on the linage of Elihu and Annie “Nannie” Rider Jackson. Also contained within the collection are materials related to the Jackson Lumber Company of Riderwood, Alabama, and Tony Tank Manor. In addition, there are items related to Ehliu Jackson’s political career. The materials date from 1895, 1982-2000, specifically documenting when Ms. Stone conducted her genealogical research.

Joe Long was an American athlete, soldier, railroad worker, and politician born in 1921 in Delmar, Maryland. The Joe Long collection contains material compiled by Joe Long and his wife Mabel, who acted as his campaign manager during campaigns. Materials included are newspapers, government bills, speeches, cards, letters, books, scrapbooks, and photographs compiled and saved by the Longs since the late 1930s

Digitized Items from Collection

The collection includes a biographical sketch of William S. Moore and extensive materials relating to Mr. Moore’s service as a financial officer in Europe during World War II, including information on his role in securing German gold hoards in East Germany before the area was taken over by the Russians. The career series relates to matters of the Wicomico Board of Education, the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, Delmarva Power & Light Company, and local real estate. Series III contains personal and career information plus curriculum vitae. Civic matters, politics, Lion’s Club, United Way, and general Delmarva dedications are contained in Series IV. The last series contains material on legal, estate, and financial matters.

The Lankford Family Papers document the Somerset County, Maryland family's activities through extensive correspondence, land records, photographs, newspaper clippings, genealogical notes, and other materials. While the collection dates between 1683 and 1975, the majority dates between 1812 and 1897. Much of the correspondence revolves around Benjamin Lankford (1798-1886), who served in the Maryland General Assembly between the 1840s and 1870s, as well as his wife, Susan, and her sister Mary Jane Guillet. The correspondence in the collection is described at the item level.

Digitized Items from Collection

The papers of the Bayly family extensively document the Cambridge, Dorchester County, Maryland family from 1706-1934, with the bulk of the material dating from 1820-1865. This comprehensive collection documents the lengthy legal and political career of Maryland Attorney General Josiah Bayly, as well as the prolific medical practices of his son, Dr. Alexander Hamilton Bayly. Simultaneously, the collection documents family education practices, and thoughts on the American Civil War through scrapbooks and correspondence. Leisure activities are observed through a variety of fictional publications from the Library of Select Novels, and the Shakespeare Quarto Illustrated. Additional printed materials include local and national newspapers, almanac’s, weekly satirical magazines, Godey’s Lady’s Book and Blackwood’s Edinburg Magazine.

Digitized Items from Collection

The Tull and White Families papers include an extensive volume of personal and professional materials including photographs and graphic advertisements from the 1820s to the 1980s. Of particular interest are large amounts of correspondence, popular advertisements, and photographs. The correspondence documents contemporary social and political thought on the Eastern Shore from a variety of perspectives. The collection also includes some materials which do not pertain directly to the family and include genealogical information, photographs, receipts, and correspondence.

Digitized Items from Collection

Special Collections

The Harold Boyer collection documents the political culture of youth from 1960 to 1970. Campaign materials in this collection were gathered by Harold Boyer most likely off the floor of the 1964 democratic convention that supported the election of Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert Humphrey for President and Vice President, respectively. These items include paper pennants, a campaign sticker, two posters, a 1960 Victory Manual for College Chairmen, a Young Americans cartoon, an LBJ volunteer envelope, and two Young Citizens for Johnson Folders. In addition, there are several counter-culture publications that were collected by Harold Boyer. This collection includes: Bijou Funnies, Tasty by the Washington Free Community, Quicksilver Times, the Washington Free Press, and The Realist.

The Pro-Segregation pamphlets include 9 pamphlets published in the 1950s that supported racial segregation. Eight are from the Citizens' Council (of Greenwood, Mississippi) and one is from the Georgia Commission on Education. These pamphlets were used to rally public and political resistance against the Supreme Court's 1954 ruling on school segregation. The Citizens' Council encouraged resistance to integration through legal means and education through propaganda like these pamphlets rather than through physical and violent actions like those of the Ku Klux Klan.

The two Diaries of Orren Perkins are dated 1862 and 1863, but there were documents within the pockets of the diary that date to 1865. The diaries consist of daily entries by Universalist minister, Reverend Orren Perkins of Winchester, New Hampshire. Perkins was also a politician who, at the time of the diaries, served in the Lower House and Senate of the New Hampshire Legislature. Perkins wrote about his personal life, church activities, and local and political topics, including the American Civil War. He also has one spell of depression and a serious illness due to his "poisoned" ear. Documents from within the diary pockets include war widow benefit receipts from 1862, a newspaper clipping about a Senate Convention involving Perkins in 1865, and miscellaneous notes. Perkins kept a detailed record of his purchases in the back of each diary.

The Diary of Minerva Null Hough was written in 1920 and 1921 by the Connellsville, Pennsylvania widow. Her husband was a veteran of the American Civil War and prominent businessman and politician in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Hough wrote daily and included entries about local deaths from operation complications, as well as comments on prohibition and women's right to vote. She wrote about her first time going to vote on November 2.