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Dorothy Miller papers


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

Dorothy Miller was born in Windber, Pennsylvania, in 1931 and received her BS in chemistry from Pennsylvania State University before going on to be an analytical chemist at DuPont. While employed at DuPont, Miller became vocal against the company's acquisition of White Clay Creek land for the intent of building a dam. An avid birder, Miller used her knowledge of the area's flora and fauna and consolidated the field notes of a number of Delaware naturalists to produce a report detailing the proposed dam's effect on wildlife. Miller believed that the best way to protect water resources was by protecting the land around them. It was this belief that influenced her civic involvement in water resource management and other development projects, like the Newark Bypass and the construction of Delaware Park.

Miller joined forces with Don Sharpe of the United Auto Workers and Dennis Neuzil of the Delaware Sierra Club, as well as 22 other organizations to fight to preserve White Clay Creek. Miller also served as a leader in new umbrella organizations, the Coalition for Natural Stream Valleys and the Citizens for White Clay Creek, and was an active member in several of the other civil engagement groups, such as the White Clay Creek Watershed Association.

A longtime resident of Newark, Miller routinely scoured newspapers for sheriff sales of contiguous property that the City of Newark and New Castle County could add to White Clay Creek State Park, including a 7.3-acre piece of land bordering White Clay Creek, Capitol Trail and Cleveland Avenue in 1976. This parcel of land was renamed Dorothy P. Miller Park in July, 2006. Miller passed away in 2016 at the age of 84.

Blackwell, Robert. "Dorothy P. Miller." Dorothy Miller Obituary - Wilmington, DE | The News Journal, 26 Feb. 2016, (accessed October 26, 2018). Biographical information derived from the collection.

In the 1950's, the DuPont Company, concerned about water supply issues in New Castle County, began looking for alternative solutions to supply water for its Newport and Edge Moor Plants. DuPont conducted a feasibility concerning the construction of a reservoir on the White Clay Creek and began encouraging local governments to plan for and build it. In 1956, DuPont purchased the Pennsylvania Railroad Company's land, as well as other properties along the Creek. The proposed White Clay Creek Dam, located at Wedgewood Road in Newark, would have flooded 1,160 acres and supplied 71 million gallons of water a day. In 1984, DuPont, at the suggestion of the National Park Service, donated land to the states of Delaware and Pennsylvania to establish a joint park: White Clay Creek Preserve.

In 1988, the heirs of S. Hallock du Pont announced plans to sell off 850 of the family's 2,000 acre estate, which had been held in trust for future generations. Seeking to limit the loss of open space, Governor Michael Castle began the purchase of 321 acres of the land which would connect Walter Carpenter State Park and the White Clay Creek Preserve to the Middle Run Valley Natural Area, a New Castle County-run park. The purchase was completed in the early 1990s, and in 1995, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. State Park, the Delaware portion of the White Clay Creek Preserve, and the du Pont estate lands were joined together and renamed White Clay Creek State Park.

In 2000, Congress designated the entirety of White Clay Creek watershed as a national Wild and Scenic River, making it the first complete watershed in the nation to receive that designation.

"Watershed History." White Clay Creek Wild & Scenic River, White Clay Wild & Scenic River Program/White Clay Watershed Association, (accessed October 26, 2018).Historical information derived from the collection.

The Dorothy Miller papers spans from 1965-2010, with the bulk of material situated within the 1960s and 1970s, at the time of the White Clay Creek Dam proposal. The collection includes notes, research materials, reports on White Clay Creek's flora and fauna, correspondence, speeches, land surveys, maps of the White Clay watershed, and both opinion pieces and news articles from local newspapers.

While the majority of the collection centers around the White Clay Creek Dam proposal and its aftermath, Miller belived that the best way to protect water resources was to protect the surrounding landscape. This inspired her to become involved in land acquisition surrounding White Clay Creek, fighting overdevelopment in Newark specifically, and New Castle County more broadly. The collection also documents Miller's work protecting water resources and monitoring residential/commercial and transportation development projects throughout Newark, such as the Creek Bend subdivision and the proposed Newark Bypass.

The collection is divided into five series:

Series I "Establishing and Maintaining White Clay Creek" contains material relevant to the acquisition, establishment, maintenance, and preservation of White Clay Creek land, as it was Miller's most notable accomplishment.

Series II, "White Clay Creek Dam" (1963-2005) contains material relevant to the White Clay Creek Dam proposal. Within this series are scientific documents, correspondence between organizations like the Sierra Club to government officials, and press publicity which recounts the general opinion of the community via interviews and opinion pieces.

Series III, "Delaware Water Issues", documents various proposed solutions to Delaware's possible water scarcity concern after the White Clay Creek Dam proposal failed. This series includes proposals for reservoirs at multiple sites around Newark, Delaware.

Series IV, "Delaware's Development", highlights road and housing development projects proposed around the city of Newark that impacted White Clay Creek and its surrounding land.

Series V, "Personal" is dedicated to Miller's legacy, encapsulating the community's memories of a woman who made it her life's work to preserve White Clay Creek for the future. The series also includes personal notes and photographs which give insights into Miller's work.

  1. Box 1-4: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons
  2. Box 5: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons (6 inches)
  3. Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize 18" box
  4. Removals: Shelved in SPEC oversize mapcases

Gift of Dorothy Miller, 2006-2010.

Processed and encoded by Anna Nuzzolese, October 2018.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2018 October 24
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 Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents

This series includes documents pertaining to the acquisition, establishment, maintenance and preservation of White Clay Creek land. The series reflects the progression of White Clay as it grew in not only physical size but also in distinction, specifically in 2000 when Congress included it in the National Park Service's National Wild and Scenic River program.

White Clay Creek Park, 1965-1970.
Box 1 Folder 1
White Clay Creek Park, 1968-1970.
Box 1 Folder 2
White Clay Creek brochures, 1965-1970.
Box 1 Folder 3
Establishing White Clay Creek, 1970-1977.
Box 1 Folder 4
Map of original parcels of New Castle County, no date.
Box 1 Folder 5
White Clay Creek preservation, 1971-1977.
Box 1 Folder 6
Public acquisition of White Clay, 1974-1982.
Box 1 Folder 7
City park land , 1978.
Box 1 Folder 8
Draft letters to Dr. Trabant re: White Clay Creek lands, 1986.
Box 1 Folder 9
Early acquisition of Middle Run Valley, 1988.
Box 1 Folder 10
Middle Run "land bridge", 1988.
Box 1 Folder 11
Park access--Silverbrook, 1995.
Box 1 Folder 12
Bi-state Advisory Council for White Clay Creek Preserve, 1996.
Box 1 Folder 13
White Clay Creek press publicity, 1990-1998.
Box 1 Folder 14
White Clay Creek wild and scenic study, 1996.
Box 1 Folder 15
Improvements to White Clay Creek, 1999.
Box 1 Folder 16
White Clay Creek scenic status, 2000-2008.
Box 1 Folder 17
White Clay Creek National Wild and Scenic River-Watershed Management Committee, 2002-2007.
Box 1 Folder 18
White Clay Creek Greenbelt proposal, 1974-1975.
Box 1 Folder 19
Greenway fringe planning land use conference, 1987.
Box 1 Folder 20
White Clay Watershed Association-Greenway, 1997.
Box 1 Folder 21
Elwood Wilkins London Britain Township-Greenway, 2006.
Box 1 Folder 22

Scope and Contents

This series details the White Clay Creek Dam proposal. Its contents include scientific documents elaborating on the potential effects of a dam on the White Clay landscape, organizational correspondence between local environmental groups and government officials, and press publicity which not only recounts the proposal process, but also highlights the community's stance towards a dam via interviews and opinion pieces.

Proposed White Clay Creek reservoir, 1971-1976.
Box 1 Folder 23
Second proposal of White Clay Creek dam, 1977.
Box 1 Folder 24
Water Resource Management Plan for Northern New Castle County, 1977.
Box 1 Folder 25
White Clay Creek dam pamphlets, no date.
Box 1 Folder 26
White Clay Creek dam and reservoir preliminary phase, 1967.
Box 1 Folder 27
Scope and Contents

This subseries includes scientific testing and research done on additional water sources as well as various types of flora and fauna in an effort to assess the effects a dam would have on the area's biotic and abiotic communities.

Scope and Contents

Includes research done on water sources, like the Christina River Basin, in the area that could potential serve as solutions to the dam.

Studies, reports 1, 1966-1970.
Box 1 Folder 28
Studies, reports 2, 1969-1970.
Box 1 Folder 29
Surveys, 1970-1977.
Box 1 Folder 30
Scope and Contents

Reports encapsulate research done on species of flora and fauna found in and around White Clay Creek that were feared to be most vulnerable if the dam proposal were to go through. Noteworthy in this section is the report that Miller herself put together to serve as a reference (found in Folder 32).

Ecology of White Clay Creek, 1970-2005.
Box 1 Folder 31
Flora and fauna of White Clay Creek, 1969-1993.
Box 1 Folder 32
Scope and Contents

Report calls out 33 species of mammals, 27 species of amphibians and reptiles including the endangered bog turtle, 24 species of fish, and 93 species of birds as being potentially endangered by the proposed dam.

Bank Swallow, 1986-1988.
Box 1 Folder 33
Canada Thistle, 1984.
Box 1 Folder 34
Dam's effect on wildlife, 1970-1971.
Box 1 Folder 35
Approach to hunting potential study-White Clay Creek State Park, 2000.
Box 1 Folder 36
Topsoil, 1971-1972.
Box 1 Folder 37
Correspondence about topsoil, 1970-1972.
Box 1 Folder 38
Scope and Contents

This subseries houses all of the documentatin pertaining to various environmental groups, like the Delaware Sierra Club or United Auto Workers, who actively worked within the campaign to stop the dam proposal. Contents of this sub series range from meeting minutes to drafts and final copies of position statements and media releases.

Newark Planning Commission, 1971.
Box 1 Folder 39
Sierra Club-Delaware Group 1, 1969-1970.
Box 1 Folder 40
Sierra Club-Delaware Group 2, 1970-1971.
Box 1 Folder 41
Sierra Club, 1970-1973.
Box 1 Folder 42
Letters, 1969-1970.
Box 1 Folder 43
Position papers and releases, 1969-1970.
Box 1 Folder 44
Scope and Contents

This subseries is a compilation of newspaper clippings and other print media that speak not only to the progression of the decision-making process pertinent to the dam, but also the opinion of the community via opinion pieces, letters to the editor, and interviews.

Newspaper clippings, 1968-1970.
Box 2 Folder 45
Newspaper clippings, 1972.
Box 2 Folder 46
Newspaper clippings, 1974.
Box 2 Folder 47
Newspaper clippings, 1975.
Box 2 Folder 48
Newspaper clippings, 1977.
Box 2 Folder 49
Newspaper clippings, 1978.
Box 2 Folder 50
Newspaper clippings, 1979.
Box 2 Folder 51
White Clay press publicity 1, 1968-1970.
Box 2 Folder 52
White Clay press publicity 2, 1969-1970.
Box 2 Folder 53
White Clay press publicity 3, 1970.
Box 2 Folder 54
White Clay press publicity 4, 1973-1986.
Box 2 Folder 55
White Clay press publicity 5, 1980-1984.
Box 2 Folder 56
White Clay newspaper clippings, 1972-1980.
Box 2 Folder 57
New Castle County water use issues 1, 1971-1972.
Box 2 Folder 58
New Castle County water use issues 2, 1973-1974.
Box 2 Folder 59
Civic involvement, 1969-1970.
Box 2 Folder 60

Scope and Contents

This series documents the various proposals to counter Delaware's water scarcity issue after the dam proposal failed. The series also includes water management education pieces that narrate a growing dialogue about water issues that begins to flourish throughout the state.

New Castle County water supply 1, 1967.
Box 2 Folder 61
New Castle County water supply 2, 1971.
Box 2 Folder 62
Resource conservation and development plan, 1972.
Box 2 Folder 63
Summary analysis, 1972.
Box 2 Folder 64
Water supply and resources, 1974-1980.
Box 2 Folder 65
"The Economic and Engineering Feasibility of a Unified Water System for New Castle County, Delaware", 1969.
Box 2 Folder 66
Statewide water resources framework 1, 1975-1976.
Box 2 Folder 67
Statewide water resources framework 2, 1977.
Box 2 Folder 68
Water supply, 1989-1999.
Box 2 Folder 69
Water supply reports, 1996.
Box 2 Folder 70
Water demands trend report and response, 1997-1998.
Box 2 Folder 71
Water Resources Agency for New Castle County, 1996.
Box 2 Folder 72
Water Resources Agency for New Castle County clippings/correspondences, 1996-1999.
Box 2 Folder 73
Water Resources Agency for New Castle County clippings/correspondence on water supply, 1997.
Box 2 Folder 74
Water Resources Agency for New Castle County other correspondences, 1996-1997.
Box 2 Folder 75
Water Resources Agency for New Castle County other correspondences 2, 1996-2006.
Box 2 Folder 76
Delaware River Basin Commission Comprehensive Plan, 2006.
Box 3 Folder 77
Coastal zoning, 1986-1974.
Box 3 Folder 78
Water pollution, 1974.
Box 3 Folder 79
Sewer line pollution, 2004.
Box 3 Folder 80
Federal Water Pollution Control Act-Section 202, 1974.
Box 3 Folder 81
Federal Water Pollution Control Act-Section 404 regulations, 1975-1976.
Box 3 Folder 82
New Castle County Waste Treatment Program-summary report, 1972.
Box 3 Folder 83
Delaware River Basin Commission equitable apportionment, 208, 1974-1976.
Box 3 Folder 84
Christina River basin study, 1975.
Box 3 Folder 85
Betz Environmental Engineers, 1977.
Box 3 Folder 86
State Rivers Heritage Program, 1977-1979.
Box 3 Folder 87
Preliminary draft of Watershed Management Plan, 1997.
Box 3 Folder 88
Reservoir 1, 1996-1999.
Box 3 Folder 89
Reservoir 2, 1996.
Box 3 Folder 90
Churchmans Reservoir, 1988.
Box 3 Folder 91
Churchmans Reservoir environmental impact statement project 1, 1996.
Box 3 Folder 92
Churchmans Reservoir environmental impact statement project 2, 1996.
Box 3 Folder 93
Churchmans Reservoir environmental impact statement project 3, 1996.
Box 3 Folder 94
Churchmans Marsh Reservoir-White Clay Watershed Association, 1996.
Box 3 Folder 95
Churchmans Reservoir-Water Resources Advisory Committee, 1996.
Box 3 Folder 96
Churchmans Reservoir newspaper clippings, 1995-1996.
Box 3 Folder 97
Scope and Contents

Oversize removals.

Thompson Station Reservoir Environmental Impact Statement, 1997.
Box 3 Folder 98
Thompson Station-Delaware River Basin Commission, 2006.
Box 3 Folder 99
Water funding newspaper clippings, 1997.
Box 3 Folder 100
Watershed press publicity, 1998-1999.
Box 3 Folder 101
Lamborn Run 1, 1996.
Box 3 Folder 102
Lamborn Run 2, 1996-1997.
Box 3 Folder 103
Lamborn Run-DuPont, 1991.
Box 3 Folder 104
Photos of Lamborn Run, 1996.
Box 3 Folder 105
Wilmington Metropolitan Area Planning Coordinating Council-documents and publications, 1974-1975.
Box 3 Folder 106
Rivers and watershed directories 1, 1996-1997.
Box 3 Folder 107
River and watershed directories 2, 1997-1998.
Box 3 Folder 108
Supplemental water resources material, 1997-1999.
Box 3 Folder 109
National Park Services workshop: Tributary to Estuary, 1990.
Box 3 Folder 110
Water education publications, 2003-2005.
Box 3 Folder 111
Delaware Policy Forum Series: Land Use Change and Water Quality, 2003.
Box 3 Folder 112
Delaware Policy Forum Series: Water Matters, 2005.
Box 3 Folder 113
Orion Grassroots Network. Professional Training Package., no date.
Box 3
River, Network, and David M. Bolling. How to Save a River: a Handbook for Citizen Action. Island Press, 1994. Print., 1994.
Box 3

Scope and Contents

This series details transportation, commercial, and residential develoopment projects that would directly affect White Clay given their geographical proximity to the watershed. Miller's belief that the best way to protect the water was by protecting the land around it greatly influenced her involvement in pushing for stricter regulation of developmental projects.

Impact of transportation needs on White Clay Creek, 1977-1990.
Box 3 Folder 114
Scope and Contents

Highway proposed by the Delaware Division of Highways that would run along White Clay Creek for two miles. After much opposition from environmentalists and residents who lived along the route, the plan was scrapped. In 1980, a scaled-down version of the beltway was proposed for a mile and half south of the original plan.

Environmental impact of Newark Ring Arterial, 1973.
Box 3 Folder 115
Newark bypass press publicity, 1974-1980.
Box 4 Folder 116
Political cartoon: Road Saga, 1977.
Box 4 Folder 117
Newark beltway land use, 1975.
Box 4 Folder 118
Delaware route 4 beltway, 1977-1978.
Box 4 Folder 119
Route 4 environmental impact statement, 1977.
Box 4 Folder 120
Route 4 connector/beltway, 1980.
Box 4 Folder 121
Newark beltway plans, 1988-2010.
Box 4 Folder 122
Christina River Bridge, 1976.
Box 4 Folder 123
Thompson Station Road closure, 1992.
Box 4 Folder 124
Thompson Station Bridge repairs, 1995.
Box 4 Folder 125
Thompson Station Bridge, 2000.
Box 4 Folder 126
Lamborn Run Bridge, 1996-2000.
Box 4 Folder 127
Foxden Road Bridge, 1996.
Box 4 Folder 128
Tweeds Mill Road Bridge 1, 1999.
Box 4 Folder 129
Tweeds Mill Road Bridge 2, 1999.
Box 4 Folder 130
Creek Road Bridges, 1999.
Box 4 Folder 131
Creek Road emergency repairs, 1999.
Box 4 Folder 132
Bridge 2625 maintenance , 2000.
Box 4 Folder 133
Scope and Contents

The Delaware Department of Transportation proposed to replace a 12-foot, 66-foot long bridge that bordered the wildlife preserve and state park with a bridge that measured 40 feet wide by 120 feet long. Environmentalists worried that, along with the immediate lsos of a significant portion of the wildlife preserve, an expanded bridge would influence future highway studies to allow for the widening of roads throughout White Clay Creek Preserve.

Hopkins Bridge reports 1, 1989.
Box 4 Folder 134
Hopkins Bridge reports 2, 1990.
Box 4 Folder 135
Hopkins Bridge 1, 1989.
Box 4 Folder 136
Hopkins Bridge 2, 1989-1990.
Box 4 Folder 137
Hopkins Bridge 3, 1990.
Box 4 Folder 138
Hopkins Bridge 4, 1990.
Box 4 Folder 139
Hopkins Bridge 5, 1990.
Box 4 Folder 140
Hopkins Bridge 6, 1990.
Box 4 Folder 141
Hopkins Bridge 7, 1990.
Box 4 Folder 142
Hopkins Bridge/Anne Rydgren, 1984-1990.
Box 4 Folder 143
Hopkins Bridge supplemental, 1989-2010.
Box 4 Folder 144
I-95 environmental assessment, 2004.
Box 4 Folder 145
Corps Engineers documents, 1986-1990.
Box 4 Folder 146
Kermit Justice scandal, 1992.
Box 4 Folder 147
Housing task force, 1971-1972.
Box 5 Folder 148
Creek Bend subdivision, 1978-1979.
Box 5 Folder 149
Senior citizen housing plans, 1979.
Box 5 Folder 150
Delaware industrial development, 1999-2005.
Box 5 Folder 151
Delaware Park-Wynnmoor Gold Club, 2000.
Box 5 Folder 152
Delaware Park-Wynnmoor Golf Course, 2000.
Box 5 Folder 153
Delaware Park-Wynnmoor Golf Course-Coalition for Natural Stream Valleys, 2000.
Box 5 Folder 154
Delaware Park and Racetrack, 2000-2005.
Box 5 Folder 155
Deerfield Golf and Tennis Club, 2005-2006.
Box 5 Folder 156
Deerfield acquisition, 2004-2005.
Box 5 Folder 157
MBNA-Deerfield acquisition, 2005.
Box 5 Folder 158
Greenspace for Delaware, 1991.
Box 5 Folder 159
Cool runs/wetlands, 1996.
Box 5 Folder 160

Scope and Contents

This series, dedicated to Miller's legacy, encapsulates the community's memories of a woman who made it her work to preserve White Clay Creek. Her notes, personal photographs, and insights give a greater understanding to the importance of the White Clay Creek proposal, and what it could have meant for the area if not for Miller and her friends' work.

Dorothy and governor, 1975.
Box 5 Folder 161
Newark/environmental newsletters, 1999-2006.
Box 5 Folder 162
Dorothy's notes, no date.
Box 5 Folder 163
Dorothy's file copies, 1970-1979.
Box 5 Folder 164
Dorothy's file copies, 1997-1999.
Box 5 Folder 165
Civic involvement/environmental activism, 1997-1999.
Box 5 Folder 166
Dorothy's legacy, 2006.
Box 5 Folder 167

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