New Castle, Delaware, was founded in 1651 by the Dutch as Fort Casimir. It was built to purposely pose a threat to the Swedish colony that had been established in the Wilmington area in 1638. The Swedes captured the town in 1654 and renamed it Fort Trinity but the Dutch quickly took the town back the next year. In 1663 it became part of the English colonies in the New World and was named New Amstel, and in 1664 the name was changed to New Castle. Other than a brief period in 1673 when it became Dutch again, it remained under English control until 1776.
Its location had much to do with its early success. New Castle was a port city on the Delaware River and was the landing point for the 14 mile journey overland to the Chesapeake Bay. It was the center of government for the Three Lower Counties on the Delaware River and served as the first seat of Delaware’s government upon the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
Now, this new exhibition located on the stage of The Bookshop in Old New Castle, also the second floor of Oak Knoll, will represent all aspects of New Castle life and history. (Even Oak Knoll’s building is historic as it was once the Opera House where many famous singers and actors performed!) Historical books on the city such as our recently published New Castle, Delaware: A Walk Through Time will be showcased, and other glimpses of the city will be featured in the books including:
- Local businesses and town organizations: Armitage Inn (no longer an inn), Goodwill Fire Company, church history, Day in Old New Castle
- Local people: Robert Montgomery Bird (author born at 212 Delaware Street), George Read (signer of the Declaration), Richard S. Rodney (Judge and Mayor of New Castle).
- Publishing in New Castle: New Amstel Magazine, Paul Wakeman’s private press called the Plough Press which printed a book by hand in a New Castle garage.
- Images: New Castle Whipping Post, Beers Atlas plates showing New Castle
- And the beautifully printed private press book by Miriam Macgregor including her pochoir plates illustrating New Castle scenes. Inspired by her visit to New Castle during an Oak Knoll Fest
Click here for a catalogue of the books that will be on exhibition.
I’m sure you have heard about the dramatic weather we’ve been having here on the East Coast. It all began last Tuesday when we experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. The quake happened a little before 2pm when I was coming back inside from my lunch break. As I was approaching the building, I noticed three of my co-workers standing outside next to a few others from neighboring businesses. I found it strange that so many folks were standing outside in the middle of the day, until I approached and quickly realized they were all outside because we had just experienced an earthquake. “What!” I exclaimed. “Are you kidding?” Much to my disbelief, they weren’t kidding. And even more to my disbelief, I hadn’t felt a thing! (The rate at which I was walking must have been faster than the rate of the quake) Now, while I didn’t personally experience the rumbling and rocking, my coworkers inside the building surely had, and they were all a little shocked when bookcases began swaying back and forth with books almost hopping off the shelves. Thankfully, no one was hurt and no damage was to be had on our store or the books.
It was only a few days after the earthquake that mother nature decided to shake us up again with Hurricane Irene. Making its large path across the East Coast, Irene began pouring down rain early Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, the baseball book signing and exhibition that we were supposed to hold at The Bookshop in Old New Castle had to be cancelled, and it wasn’t until Sunday, after many inches of rain and very large wind gusts, that the hurricane subsided. While many businesses and homes did get flooded out, Oak Knoll and The Bookshop in Old New Castle both remained dry and damage-free. We were extremely thankful for that, and happy to see the sun again by the next day.
All this crazy weather has definitely created more chatter around the office, but we are still hoping that we get through this next week without any more weather drama. We also hope that all of our customers and fellow booksellers got as lucky as us experiencing very little negative effects. Best wishes to all for a beautiful-weather week,
The newest exhibition at The Bookshop in Old New Castle includes baseball material from the personal collection of the owner of the Old Bookshop of Bordentown. Materials include How to Play Base-Ball by Connie Mack, America’s National Game by A.G. Spalding, The Mickey Mantle Story by Mickey Mantle as told by Ben Epstein, and more. The display also includes an 1877 issue of “Base Ball News” and the Slide Kelly Slide songster inspired by Mike “King” Kelly. This exhibition is for display only, but other books about baseball are available for purchase at the Bookshop. We hope to see you swing on by!