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
- - 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
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.
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?
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.
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
- 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