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Kent County, Delaware, School District 83 attendance records


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

These attendance records were created by teachers and other administrators within Kent County, Delaware’s 83rd School District. One of the typed attendance rosters identifies the school as Ham’s Branch Academy, but it is unclear where in Kent County this school was located. In 1875, the Delaware General Assembly passed legislation to provide greater state administrative control of schools; the text of this act is reproduced on the inside of the volume’s back cover. However, this legislation did not change local school district organization, and in 1886 there were 131 separate school districts in Kent County. It is possible that School District 83 was the Cheswold district, situated just north of Dover, Delaware. J. Simpson Bradley was a teacher at the school and recorded attendance from September 1881 to December 1882. At the time of his marriage in 1881, he was described as a school teacher in Kent County, but no further information was provided.

Mowrey, Roger C. Delaware School District Organization and Boundaries. Dover, DE: Delaware State Department of Public Instruction, 1974. Delaware, Marriage Records, 1806-1933 [database on-line] (accessed on April 19, 2017)Information derived from the collection.

This volume and its associated materials contain attendance records from School District 83 in Kent County, Delaware. The records were kept from 1878-1879 and 1881-1883.

These school attendance records contain demographic data about students and information regarding the school’s curricula. Both male and female students attended the school, although their relative numbers fluctuated throughout the year. Female students tended to outnumber male students in the Spring, Summer, and early Autumn, while male students greatly outnumbered female students in the Winter months. Several rosters include students’ ages, which ranged from 5 to 20 years of age. However, most students were between 6 and 15 years old while attending school. Monthly school attendance also varied greatly. Some students attended school regularly, Mondays through Fridays, while others came only a few days a month. There were several breaks in the school calendar, including a vacation during the strawberry-picking season in June.

The records also show that students learned a variety of subjects, including reading, writing, spelling, written arithmetic, mental arithmetic, grammar, geography and U.S. history. A few students also received special instruction in algebra, rhetoric, bookkeeping, general history, and astronomy.

The volume is bound with black cloth over paper covers with the inscription “DELAWARE SCHOOL REGISTER” gilt-stamped on front cover. Information on the inside cover identifies the volume as the Delaware School Register for District 83 in Kent County. The volume contains 40 pages of printed attendance rosters. The names of students, attendance information, and other data are handwritten in black ink. Printed on the inside of the back cover is “An Act in Relation to Free Schools in this State,” passed by the Delaware Legislature in 1875 and amended in 1879. This act describes the use of text books and the duties of the state superintendent, school commissioners and teachers. Nine leaves of paper with typed attendance lists accompany the volume.

Item 0047: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097

Gift of Harold W.T. Purnell, 1963

Processed and encoded by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, July 2017.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2017 July 7
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Kent County, Delaware, School District 83 attendance records, 1878-1879, 1881-1883.
Item 0047
Physical Description

1 volume and 9 leaves

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