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Samuel M. Donnell account books

Identifier: MSS 0096-Item 0081

Scope and Content Note

The account books of Samuel M. Donnell span the dates 1852 until 1880 and encompass both Donnell's real estate concerns and his farming and household interests in Newark, Delaware. Divided into four volumes, three of the volumes include numerous accounts. Volume 1 contains accounts for the sale of houses in Montgomery, Alabama, as well as a list of deposits and withdrawals for Donnell's account at the National Bank of Newark. Volume 2 consists of a cash book for Donnell's household expenditures. Volume 3 includes Donnell's accounts for employees for both his farm and his household, in addition to an account Donnell held with Lorenza Long. Volume 4 serves as a form of address book for individuals who owe interest on loans made by Donnell. It is obvious from these volumes that Donnell was a man of substantial income who interacted with a large number of individuals who impacted early Newark history. The list of citizens includes Joseph Hossinger, John Lewis, A. Lowber, S.W. Wilson, members of the Cooch family, C.W. Blandy, David Choate, and A.J. Lilley.


  • Creation: 1852-1880
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1866-1880


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

Samuel M. Donnell was a prominent citizen of Newark, Delaware, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Donnell was the son of Andrew, a farmer, and Rosa (Mathewson) Donnell. While little biographical information exists, a Delaware directory from 1882 lists Donnell's occupation as farmer. According to an 1884 directory, his occupation had changed to real estate. By 1888, Donnell was advertising his services in the Delaware directory as a notary public, real estate agent, general collection broker, insurance agent, and loan negotiator. The advertisement also stated that Donnell's offices were located opposite Delaware College. Between 1888 and 1914, Donnell acted as an insurance agent for Fire Association of Philadelphia and the Royal Insurance Company of Liverpool, England.

Donnell married Mary Bedford Cooch, the daughter of Levi G. Cooch and Sarah Conant Wilkins. They had no children. Widely active in the affairs of the Newark community, Donnell served as president of the town council in 1885, as commissioner on the town council in 1887, as secretary of Hiram Lodge #25 in 1882, and served numerous terms as town mayor. Samuel Donnell owned many properties within the city of Newark, including his farm, located just off Main Street and New London Road. Donnell also purchased a parcel of land from the estate of Albert G. Lewis and conveyed it to the Board of Education. The tract is now occupied by the Christina School District.

Cooch, Frances A.Little Known History of Newark, Delaware and its Environs. Newark, Del.: The Press of Kells, 1936. Hanby, Egbert G. and Jas. L. Vallandigham, Jr.Newark, Delaware: Past and Present. Newark, Del.: Delaware Ledger Print, 1982.

Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Delaware: 1609-1888 , Vol. 2. Philadelphia: L.J. Richards & Co., 1888.

The Delaware State Directory . Wilmington, Del.: Jenkins & Atkinson, 1882, 1884, and 1888.


4 volume ; 34 cm


The account books of Samuel M. Donnell span the dates 1852 until 1880 and encompass both Donnell's real estate concerns and his farming and household interests in Newark, Delaware.


Gift of Mr. Groff, 1976.

Materials Available in Alternative Format

Digitized copies of the account books are available at the University of Delaware Digital Institutional Repository.

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 0096 Item 0066 Samuel M. Donnell insurance records for Newark, Delaware

MSS 0130 Lewis family papers

MSS 0206 James Hossinger papers

MSS 0377 Wilbur T. Wilson map collection

MSS 0388 Alexander Wilson papers

MSS 0432 G. Burton Pearson, Jr. papers (Cochran family)

This item forms part of MSS 0096 Account Books and Ledgers collection.

Shelving Summary

  1. Item 0081: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0096

OCLC Number


Processed by Theresa Hessey, July 2004. Encoded by Lora J. Davis, August 2011.

Finding aid for Samuel M. Donnell account books
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2011 August 3
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA