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Tom Carper

Through April 14: Congress Week exhibition

Photo courtesy of University of Delaware Library

Exhibition marks 200th anniversary of first permanent Senate committees

“Delaware in Committee: Senators Advocating for Delawareans in Congressional Committees,” an exhibition curated by John Caldwell, senior assistant librarian and political papers archivist at the University of Delaware Library, is on view through April 14 on the first floor of Morris Library.

The one-case exhibition coincides with the national celebration of Congress Week (April 1-7), an annual event sponsored by the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress (ACSC). An expanded online version of the exhibition is available online.

The exhibition commemorates the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the first permanent committees in the United States Senate. Responding to President James Madison’s 1816 State of the Union message to Congress, the Senate created 11 standing committees to manage specific legislative and investigative functions facing the expanding nation. Two centuries later, congressional committees continue to play an invaluable role in the day-to-day functioning of Congress, responsible for much of the legislative and oversight activities of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The constituent correspondence, Congressional reports, and draft legislation on view in Delaware in Committee highlight the work of three Delaware politicians on their respective committees: Sen. John J. Williams (U.S. Senate, 1947-71), a member of the Senate Agriculture and Forestry Committee; Sen. J. Allen Frear Jr. (U.S. Senate, 1949-61), a member of the Joint Congressional Committee on Defense Production; and former Rep. (now Sen.) Thomas R. Carper (U.S. House of Representatives, 1983-93; U.S. Senate 2001-present), a member of the House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs.

The ACSC encourages preservation of material documenting the work of Congress, including the papers of representatives and senators, and supports programs that make those materials available for educational and research use. The University of Delaware Library is an institutional member of ACSC, founded in 2003.

Modern congressional holdings at the University of Delaware Library include the personal papers of John J. Williams (U.S. Senate, 1947-71); J. Allen Frear Jr. (U.S. Senate, 1949-61); Thomas R. Carper (U.S. House of Representatives, 1983-93); Michael N. Castle (U.S. House of Representatives); Edward E. “Ted” Kaufman (U.S. Senate, 2009-10); and Joseph R. Biden Jr. (U.S. Senate, 1973-2009).

For information about Special Collections and Museums as well as current and past exhibitions, see the Special Collections website and the website for Museums.

Special Collections and Museums

Subject strengths of Special Collections of the University of Delaware include history and Delawareana, political papers, science and technology, art and literature, represented in books, manuscripts, archival collections, electronic materials, maps, prints and photographs from the 15th century to the present. Political papers, family papers to ships’ logs are among the primary source material. The recently gifted Mark Samuels Lasner Collection greatly enhances the collection’s strengths in British Literature of the 19th and early 20th century. For an introduction to the range of holdings, browse exhibitions at: https://library.udel.edu/spec/exhibitions/ and finding aids for unpublished materials at: http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/findaids/index.htm/.

The recent merger of Special Collections with the University Museums brought into the collection works of American art of the 20th century (especially prints, photographs and work by African American artists), European prints, Inuit art, Pre-Columbian art and minerals.

Exhibitions are offered in the Special Collections Gallery in Morris Library, Old College Gallery, Mechanical Hall Gallery and in the Mineralogical Museum in Penny Hall. All exhibitions and accompanying programs are offered to the UD community and general public without charge. Collaborative initiatives and programming with students, faculty and departments across campus foster diversity and enhance interdisciplinary research and teaching. For information about Special Collections and Museums as well as current and past exhibitions, see http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/ and http://www.udel.edu/museums/.



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