Preserving the heart and soul of Delmarva
Who uses the Nabb Research Center?
The Center is open to scholars, historians and genealogists of all skill levels with an interest in the region of the Eastern Shore of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Researchers travel from across the country to visit the Center to utilize its resources and to acquire a richer understanding of the greater Delmarva region. Salisbury University students and faculty, local elementary and high school students, community and regional groups, and individual researchers use the materials, participate in classes and workshops and attend lectures and exhibits to broaden their understanding of the history and culture of the area.
The Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture was founded in 1982 as a history laboratory for students by Dr. G. Ray Thompson and Mrs. Sylvia Bradley of the Salisbury State College Department of History. They began acquiring microfilms of historical land records, wills, inventories, censuses, and other resources pertaining to the lower counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. Recognizing the convenience of having these diverse records in one central location, local researchers and family historians generously supported these efforts.
Over the next decade, after outgrowing its location in Holloway Hall on the main campus and merging with the Folklore Archives, headed by Dr. Polly Stewart from the Department of English, the collection of books, microfilms, archival materials and artifacts was moved to larger quarters on the school’s East Campus and became the Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture.
The Research Center became a popular repository for family journals and papers, surveyors' papers, maps, research notes of local historians, book and pamphlet collections, business records, and other ephemera donated by the public. Recognizing the Center's potential, the late Wilcomb E. Washburn, head of the American Studies Program at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, donated his personal library of more than 10,000 volumes to the Center. The Donner Foundation of New York created the Wilcomb E. Washburn endowment, in Dr. Washburn's memory, to support student and community scholarship in the form of awards for local research.
An endowment of $500,000 by Edward H. Nabb, Sr. in June of 1998 resulted in the renaming of the Center to the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture at Salisbury University. Support from other community members in the form of annual memberships, donations, fundraising events, and estate bequests has assured the steady growth of the Nabb Research Center.
Founded under the Fulton School of Liberal Arts, the Nabb Research Center is now part of the Salisbury University Libraries, under the leadership of the Dean of Libraries and Instructional Resources. In the summer of 2016, the Nabb Research Center moved back to the main campus onto the fourth floor of the Patricia R. Guerrieri Academic Commons, a new state-of-art facility housing the library. For more about the new building and naming opportunities that are available, follow this link.