Nabb Research Center- Explore the history and culture of the Delmarva Peninsula


at Salisbury University

Preserving the heart and soul of Delmarva


Map & Directions
Wayne and Power Streets
Salisbury, MD 21804
(410) 543-6312

Visiting Hours
Monday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Our Mission

The mission of the Nabb Research Center is to cultivate and sustain the advancement of scholarly research through collecting, preserving, disseminating and providing access to records and artifacts which illustrate the rich historical and cultural heritage of the greater Delmarva region.

As part of its mission, the Nabb Research Center also:

  • - introduces students, potential students and other interested persons to the vast historical, archeological and cultural heritage of Delmarva
  • - offers students a strong foundation in a variety of specialized studies in history, folklore and related fields
  • - serves as a foundation for life-long learning and research
  • - provides opportunities for interaction with the local and national community of researchers, educators, business leaders, family historians and others interested in Delmarva history and culture

Our Vision

As an integral part of the Salisbury University Blackwell Library, the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture will be a recognized institution in the Delmarva region and around the country for its advanced preservation and understanding of the area’s local history and cultural heritage.  The Center will become a primary resource for students, historical organizations and scholars for all of their research needs and individual learning purposes.

Our History

In 1982, when faculty members Dr. Ray Thompson and Sylvia Bradley decided that history was too important to be taught specifically for secondary education, the primary goal for most history majors at the time, they took measures in their own hands and started a research center for the use of all students. Recognizing that historical land records, inventories and wills dating back to earliest colonial days were contained in as many as 36 different repositories scattered throughout the peninsula, Dr. Ray Thompson and Sylvia Bradley initiated an ambitious program of microfilm acquisition, which was generously and enthusiastically supported by local researchers and family historians. Thus, the Archives Center (as the Nabb Center was formerly called) was born.

            During the next decade, the Archives Center underwent several changes including moving to a new location on the second floor of Holloway Hall, an addition of approximately 100 collections, and a merge with the Folklore Archives, headed at the time by Dr. Polly Stewart.  This collaboration with the Folklore Collection resulted in changing the name from Archives Center to the Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture at Salisbury State University.  In January 1992, the Research Center relocated once again to the Power Professional Building, where it presently resides.

            The Center quickly became a popular repository for family journals and papers, surveyors' and civil engineers' papers, maps, research notes of local historians, book and pamphlet collections, business records, and other ephemera. By 1995, approximately 1400 reels of microfilm were accessioned and shelved.  These microfilms contain permanent film copies of all kinds of documents from bank statements to newspapers and government records.  The microfilms are merely 1% of the document’s original size, perfect for condensed storage space, and can last up to 900 years when stored in special envelopes in the correct climate-controlled conditions.

An endowment of $500,000 by Edward H. Nabb, Sr. in June of 1998 resulted in greater funding from Salisbury University and the modification of the name to the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture. This remarkable donation is merely one installment of Edward H. Nabb’s generous nature.  Nabb was a member of the oldest law firm in Maryland, Harrington, Harrington and Nabb, for over forty years, he became the epitome of dedication.  As president of the Nathan Foundation for over twenty-five years, he oversaw the presentation of over $600,000 in scholarships awarded to students attending Salisbury University who otherwise could not have afforded to go.  Without a doubt, Edward H. Nabb, Sr. is one of the most imperative entities in the advancement of the Research Center and Salisbury University both.

The Research Center has assisted the greater Delmarva area for nearly three decades and will continue to do so in the future.  It has given a home to the stuff of family attics, storage sheds, and back offices; precious and irreplaceable documents which few citizens have the skills or resources to preserve for themselves, but now can be shared by the community.


Who uses the Nabb Research Center?

The Center is open to all scholars, historians and genealogists of all skill levels with an interest in the region of the Eastern Shore of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.  Many historians and genealogists have traveled from all across the country to visit the Center to acquire a richer understanding of the greater Delmarva region and to examine artifacts and documents from the area, the majority of which can be found only at the Nabb Research Center.

The Nabb Research Center has been endowed by Edward H. Nabb, an attorney and philanthropist of Cambridge, Maryland, as a repository for material pertaining to the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia).  The Nabb Research Center was established to provide a "laboratory" for history students and a liaison between Salisbury University and the lower Eastern Shore region.

This centralized repository of materials serves:

  • - The Delmarva community at large, as well as family and local history researchers from across the nation
  • - Professional business people including lawyers, surveyors and journalists
  • - Students and scholars researching material for doctoral dissertations, master's degree theses and school projects



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Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture
East Campus Room 190 | Salisbury, Maryland 21801 | 410.543.6312

Salisbury University