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Lewes, Delaware
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April 10, 1998     Cape Gazette
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April 10, 1998
 

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Brittingham to speak on starting a library at LHS meeting April 17 Scharf's "History of Delaware 1609-1888" is her "bible." Runk's "History..." is a key resource she couldn't live without. "Some Records of Sussex County Delaware" written in 1909 by C.H.B Turner, rector of St. Peter's Church in Lewes, is another of her favorite books. No light reading, these. But when it comes to knowledge about Lewes and Sus- sex County, this individual doesn't take history lightly. A stickler for the facts, she's a walk- ing encyclopedia of people, places and lore about things past. She is, of course, Hazel Brit- tingham, Lewes native, historian extraordinaire and recognized ex- pert on Lewes, who for more than 50 years has devoted her efforts to find out the who, what, why, where and when that paved the BRITTINGHAM paths of histo- ry centuries or perhaps merely a generation ago. At the Friday, April 17 meeting of the Lewes Historical Society, Brittingham will present "Lewes Between the Bookends," a program about the key sources she uses to trace the historic trappings of our fore- bears. Her presentation begins at 8 p.m. in St. Peter's Episcopal Church parish hall, Mulberry and Second streets. The primary aim of her talk will be to focus on how to create a li- brary on Lewes or Delaware. "I would say that you could start a basic library with a few easy to obtain informal historical ac- counts," she explains. " 'The His- tory of Lewes Delaware,' 'A Vic- torian Walking Tour of Lewes' and 'A Ferry Tale' are three small paperbacks produced locally which are still available." Other books such as the "Siconese Indi: ans of Lewes, Delaware," by C.A. Weslager and Dr. James Marvil's "A Pictorial History of Lewes," can still be found in Lewes shops, she said. Collecting the older volumes is more of a challenge according to Brittingham: "When we moved into our house on Second Street in the early 1950s I discovered the Scharf's history had been left in a closet. I had it rebound and today. it's a priceless resource." Accord- ing to Kevin Moore of Lewes who is a knowledgeable collector Of Delaware books and materials, the two-volume set, consisting of nearly 2,000 pages, is very desir- able and a key for any serious col- lector or historian. For example, Scharf's includes a passage on Lewes that identifies the founders of the town. Their surnames are familiar to many 31 Lewes households: "Lewes was incorporated by an act of the As- sembly passed February 2, 1818 and Samuel Paynter, James F. Baylis, Benjamin Prettyman, David Hazard and Peter F. Wright were named as commissioners to survey the bounds, streets and lanes of the town and to have a map of the same made." As she puts it, she "has always had an intellectual curiosity about everything. Even though I have an insatiable appetite for history, I'm a sharer and want to share what I've learned to help others learn about their past." She believes that people are the key to any historical account. She cites a signed, well-worn copy of C.M. Warrington's "A Mighty Fortress Called Miles." The book starts out explaining that it is a "...story of the beginning and end of a mighty harbor defense fortifi- cation ... and of the Cape Hen- lopen area where the fort was built, about the people living there before the white man landed at this beautiful place." Brittingham's collection con- sists of numerous hard- and soft- bound volumes whose tides may not be on any best seller list, but many are prized and sought after by historians and collectors of Delawareana. "The Bombardment of Lewes by the British April 6 and 7, 1813 by William Marine," and "The History of Lewes, Delaware" written in 1903 by Pen- nock Pusey are just two such ex- amples. Also in her collection are neatly ordered shelves of ring binders filled with newspaper and maga- zine clippings, old photographs, pamphlets and other printed mate- rial on Lewes, the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse, Sussex County, any- thing Delaware. Her reference ma- terials are carefully cataloged and organized so she can easily verify a historical event or fact. She also collects works by Delaware au- thors such as Weslager, Munroe, Hoffecker, Bryan, Maull and dozens more, whether they may have written one book or a dozen. Brittingham has authored two informal histories: "John Clowes, Broadkill Patriot" is about the Milton native who was second in command under Caesar Rodney. "Everett's Story" is a little booklet about a Lewes pharmacist who, through his hobby of photography, pictorially documented the lifestyles of the people of Lewes in the post-Depression era. She has recently written a new book in collaberation with Lewes resident Elaine Ippolito, dried "Lantern On Lewes: Where the Past is Pre- sent." It is a collection of stories about the people and places of the town. It is currently in production and she expects it to be available in early May. To promote audience participa- tion, Brittingham requests people bring books, articles, photos or stories about Lewes to the meet- ing.historical. The meeting is free and open to the public. If You Want A Suit That Fits... Just Say The Magic Word! when you need something special, REHOBOTH CAPE GAZETYE, Friday, April 10 - April 16, 1998 - 31 OCEAN TRAVEL Announces New Spring Evening Hours -- Beginning April 6th - Monday - Friday 9 to 5 Tuesday 9 to 7 4377 Highway One Rehoboth Beach 227-1607 SOUTH MOON UNDER Casual Clothing & $wimwear for Men & Women Rehoboth Beach 120 Rehoboth Ave. 227-3806 Rehobolh Ocean Cily Towson Bethesda Annapolis Subscribe to the Cape Gazette - 645-7700