Museum Speaker Series
The Lewes Historical Society continues to offer educational and entertaining programs that explore the history of Lewes, and the surrounding area. All of these presentations are open to Society members, residents, and visitors of the Lewes community.
Presentations are held at the Lewes History Museum located at 101 Adams Avenue, Lewes. These events are included with museum admission and do not require a reservation. Remember, free admission to all LHS museums is a member benefit.
Immigration to Delaware and the Middle Colonies
Several waves of American immigrants and their descendants have contributed to building the Nation we know today. This great movement of peoples to our shores involved many factors both push and pull, varying in character depending on time and place.
Join Kyle Annerino, an immigration professional who has worked in both government and non-profit, for a presentation exploring the attitudes, groups, policies, and historical events that shaped the U.S. population.
Mary E. Hugg: Revolutionary Lewes Business Woman
In recognition of International Women's History Month, Join Lewes Historical Society's Assistant Curator, Lucie Allen, who will be presenting a lecture: "Mary E. Hugg: Revolutionary Lewes Business Woman. ''
Through research into wills, probate records, and account books learn how the widow Hugg transformed her family's business into a thriving cultural exchange destination for her Lewestown neighbors, from 1770-1773.
During an era of struggle when "taxation without representation" would become the rallying cry leading to the conflict of the Revolutionary War, Mary was navigating the regular provisioning of international products such as coffee, tea, and chocolate, in addition to fine textiles such as; muslin, calico, and calamanco cloth from destinations as far away as Spain!
Photo - "A Society of Patriotic Ladies at Edenton in North Carolina, 1775. British Museum"
The Impact of the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse on the US Lighthouse Service
Lighthouses are the sentinels that warn sailors of dangerous shorelines. Lighthouses in the US before the 1850’s were so poorly lit these beacons often lured sailors to dangers rather than offering fair warning. The original lighthouses constructed on US shores in the 18th and early 19th centuries were lit with whale oil lamps with simple parabolic mirror reflectors. On a clear night, the visibility could be measured in miles. The situation changed dramatically in Europe when a young French engineer, Augustin Fresnel, designed and manufactured a remarkable new type of lens that could project lighthouse beams more than 20 miles. These new “Fresnel” lenses were not adopted by the US Lighthouse Service until after a key measurement was made in the Delaware Bay comparing the brightness of the Brandywine Light with a newly installed Fresnel lens to the Cape Henlopen light with its simple parabolic reflector. When the young Naval engineer who performed the experiment showed the US Congress that the new lens also saved considerable whale oil, Fresnel lenses were rapidly deployed on the US coasts with considerable savings in lives and lost cargoes.
Fred Dylla is a physicist with a long interest in the history of science and technology. Before retiring to Lewes in 2015, he was the Executive Director of the American Institute of Physics.
Fred co-moderates the “Science and Society” series at the Lewes Public Library.
The Railroads and Lewes
Lydia Maria Child and Her Effect on the Republic: 1802-1880
Lydia Maria Child was one of the 19th century's most popular American writers and ranks among the most influential of 19th-century American women writers. She was a prominent and influential advocate for the abolition of slavery, and for Native American and Women's Rights. Carolyn Karcher, Professor Emerita, Temple University, stated that "For half a century, Lydia Maria Child was a household name in the United States. Hardly a sphere of nineteenth-century life can be found in which Lydia Maria Child did not figure prominently as a pathbreaker."
Join Debra K. Regan, as she provides a facinating look into Lydia Maria Child and her effect on the Republic.
Historic Visitor's Views of 18th Century Lewistown
While the often-lauded Founding Fathers, including Washington, Jefferson, and Adams may not have visited Lewes, an examination of their letters and papers, reveal other lesser-known Revolutionary, and Federal Era figures such as Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush, and artist Charles Wilson Peale did. Their experiences while visiting Lewes and interacting with its citizenry are demonstrated in some of their candid expressions, which might surprise the modern-day Lewes resident!
Join Marcos Salaverria, LHS Director of Education for this engaging presentation.
The Great White Hurricane
In early March 1888, a fierce nor'easter made landfall on the Delmarva peninsula and its fury was felt along the entire length of the Mid-Atlantic and North East coasts. Jim Bertholet recounts the story of that storm and some of the people who were in its path. Locally this storm came to be known as "The Great White Hurricane".
Jim is a Vietnam veteran who retired in 2010 after a 40-year career in sales, sales training, and sales management. He grew up on the New Jersey shore and always has an interest in maritime history, in particular, the US Life Saving and US lighthouse services. He moved to Delaware in 2010 and joined the Lewes Historical Society where he is a volunteer museum docent, tour guide, children's program guide, speaker, and member of the Wooden Boat Building Crew. He has been the guest speaker for a variety of local fraternal and charitable organizations.
Hiram Rodney Burton: The Man Who Does Things
When Lewes locals hear the name Hiram Rodney Burton, they may think of one of the houses that make up the Lewes Historical Society's collection of homes at 110 Shipcarpenter Street. But there is a lot more to the story. Like his campaign slogan when he ran for Congress in the early part of the 20th Century, Hiram Rodney Burton was a man of action and crammed a lot into his life as a local physician, politician, businessman, respected Lewes citizen, bank executive, and more.