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Dec. 7: Lecture: ‘John Dickinson: America’s Rights Advocate’

Graphic by Sean Diffendall

Retired Delaware Supreme Court Justice to lead UD Library lecture on founding father John Dickinson

The public is invited to delve into the works of Founding Father John Dickinson with retired Delaware Supreme Court Justice, scholar and author Randy J. Holland, who will speak on “John Dickinson: America’s Rights Advocate” at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The lecture will take place in the Class of 1941 Lecture Room in Morris Library on the University of Delaware campus. A reception will follow.

The lecture is held in conjunction with the exhibition “John Dickinson: Penman of the Revolution,” (https://library.udel.edu/special/exhibits/john-dickinson- penman-of- the-revolution/) on view through Dec. 15 on the second floor of Morris Library near Special Collections. The exhibition celebrates the 250th anniversary of the publication of “Letter from a Farmer in Pennsylvania,” the first of 13 letters that would be published as a book in 1768, in the Boston Chronicle.

The University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press (https://library.udel.edu/) expresses its gratitude for the generous support for the event from The Thomas H. Fooks V Memorial Fund of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Delaware. The Society is dedicated to collecting and preserving colonial relics, records, manuscripts, rolls and other documents; providing suitable commemorations or memorials relating to the American colonial period; and inspiring the fraternal and patriotic spirit of the forefathers in its members, as well as respect and reverence in the community for those whose public services made our freedom and unity possible.

Although John Dickinson initially hoped the conflict between the American colonies and British parliament would find a peaceful resolution, he was disappointed as transgressions against the colonies continued. Dickinson’s articulate advocacy for America’s rights, evidenced in works, including the 1767 “Letter from a Farmer in Pennsylvania,” earned him the moniker “penman of the Revolution.”

Justice Holland will discuss Dickinson’s writings, including his criticism of the Stamp Act in The Late Regulations Respecting the British Colonies (1766); Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania (1768); The Olive Branch Petition (1775); Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms (1775); and Letters of Fabius (1788), which supports ratification of the United States Constitution.

Justice Holland was appointed in 1986 to the Delaware Supreme Court, from which he retired in March 2017. He has written, co-written or edited nine books, including The Delaware State Constitution of 1897; The First One Hundred Years; and The Delaware State Constitution, the second edition of which was published in 2017 by Oxford University Press. Holland published Middle Temple Lawyers and the American Revolution (2007), a study of lawyers—Dickinson among them—educated in the Middle Temple in London and drawn into the vortex of the American Revolution, with co-author and British colleague Eric Stockdale.

Following his undergraduate studies at Swarthmore College, Justice Holland graduated from University of Pennsylvania Law School cum laude, and received a Master of Laws in the Judicial Process from the University of Virginia Law School. He was awarded Doctor of Law degrees by the Delaware Law School and Swarthmore College.

The lecture and reception are free and open to the public, though RSVPs are encouraged. If you plan to attend, please email rsvp-library@winsor.lib.udel.edu.

Special Collections and Museums

Special Collections and Museums is part of the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press. An interdisciplinary collection of rare and unique materials can be accessed for study and research, and is also featured in exhibitions in the Special Collections Gallery in Morris Library, Old College Gallery, Mechanical Hall Gallery and the Mineralogical Museum in Penny Hall. All Special Collections and Museums events and exhibitions are free and open to the public.

The collection has particular strengths in the subjects of history and Delawareana; science and technology; art and literature; primary source material such as political papers and ships’ logs; American art of the 20th century, especially prints, photographs and work by African American artists; European prints; Inuit art; Pre-Columbian art; and minerals. In addition, the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, gifted to UD in 2016, strengthens the collection’s focus on British literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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