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David T. Marvel family correspondence


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

Delaware native David T. Marvel (1851–1931) was a lawyer who held several important posts in the state government before becoming a state Supreme Court justice in 1893, a post he held until the adaptation of the new State Constitution in 1897.

Born November 2, 1851, in Nanticoke Hundred, Delaware, Marvel graduated Princeton College in 1873. Following college, Marvel studied law with Thomas F. Bayard for two years and passed two years of study at Harvard Law School before being admitted to the bar in Delaware in April 1879. He began his practice in Georgetown, Delaware. He was listed as a solicitor for the Court of Chancery of Sussex County.

David T. Marvel married Mary Robinson Wootten, daughter of Judge Alfred P. R. and Mrs. Rhoda Wootten. Judge Wootten was the Attorney General of Delaware at the time of his death in 1864. The Marvels had one daughter, Ann Burton Marvel.

Marvel was also editor of the

Sussex Journal from February 7, 1880 until January 27, 1883. He purchased the newspaper in 1880 with McKendree Downham. In 1882 J. B. Clark became editor with Marvel, and Clark continued as editor after Marvel's retirement in 1883.

Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Delaware 1609-1888. Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co., 1888. pp. 461, 565-566, 592, 607. Jones, Daisy (Marvel). "A Brief History of the Marvel Family." Unpublished, 1960. 13 pp. Available at the Delaware State Archives in Dover.

The sixty-five letters in the David T. Marvel Family Correspondence span the dates 1876–1905. In addition to letters from David Marvel to his wife Mary and his daughter Ann, the collection includes letters from Mrs. Rhoda B. Rondebush to Mrs. Marvel, several letters from different individuals to Judge E. Wootten (Marvel’s father-in-law), and a letter from Thomas F. Bayard to David Marvel.

The collection also includes a variety of notes responding to the various dinner or wedding invitations from the Marvel family.

The following are names of other correspondents in this collection: Mary D. Budlong, Helen T. Scott, Mr. Baldasseroni, Florence Curtis Cullen, John J. Turlto, Mame Riondas, Mrs. Lofland, Dr. Martindale, George Collins, Louise W. Kidder, J. P. Comegys, Willis and Hiesler Harrington, Dail Coulbourn, Phyllis Ridgely, Dorman Robinson, Alfreda Wootten, Willie S. Van Leuman, Ruth Maples Day, and Lloyd P. Rayner.

Most of the family correspondence deals with the marital and family concerns of David T. Marvel and his wife Mary Robinson Marvel, as well as the education of their daughter, Ann Burton Marvel. The letter from Thomas F. Bayard discusses Delaware politics in 1880, and several letters to Judge Wootten regard legal questions. The collection is arranged in chronological order.

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes

Gift of Harold W. T. Purnell, 1962.

Processed by staff, 1962. Revised by Anita A. Wellner, August 1993. Encoded by Thomas Pulhamus, February 2010. Further encoding by Lauren Connolly, June 2015, and Tiffany Saulter, November 2015.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2010 February 19
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

1876-1892, 1876-1892.
Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Includes the letter to David Marvel from T. F. Bayard (1880).

1895, 1895.
Folder F2
1897-1898 Aug, 1897-1898-08.
Folder F3
1898 Aug-Sep, 1898-08-1898-09.
Folder F4
1898 Oct-1899, 1898-10-1899.
Folder F5
1901-1905, 1901-1905.
Folder F6
Folder F7

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