New Collections at Hagley Museum and Library

Hagley announces the addition of four new collections in the history of technology, covering the rise of shooting sports, computer developments at the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), a landmark gender equality battle at AT&T, and the formative years at Singer Manufacturing Company. The papers of the Wilmington [Delaware] Trapshooting Association, founded in 1916, include board minutes, financial ledgers, and photographs that outline the history of the club. These papers arrived along with a collection of records associated with the Grand American Handicap Tournament and the Delaware State Trapshooting Tournament, donated by Dr. Steven Hastings. Together, these collections document gun clubs and shooting sports in the United States and augment collections already at Hagley including the records of Irénée du Pont, Sr., John J. Raskob, DuPont/Vice Presidential Files of Hamilton Barksdale, DuPont Company Advertising, Aurora Gun Club, Kinloch Gun Club, and the scrapbook of Harriet Hammond, founder of the Nemours Gun Club, the first gun club exclusively for women in the United States Hagley Library has been providing access to portions of the David Sarnoff Collection as they are processed and become available. The papers of Joseph Weisbecker (1932-1990) cover his engineering career at the Radio Corporation of American (RCA), for more than thirty years. After graduating from Drexel, Weisbecker became staff engineer at RCA and worked on general computer development and design. In the early 1970s, Weisbecker developed a computer based on 8-bit architecture using the CMOS process released as COSMAC 1801R and 1801U, and integrated into the 1802 chip in 1976. Later, Weisbecker developed applications for the 1802, including light guns, card readers, and cassette interfaces. Weisbecker twice garnered the RCA Labs Outstanding Achievement Award, the Best Paper Award from the IEEE Computer Society, and the David Sarnoff Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement. Hagley added a significant segment to its Singer Company records that cover the years 1860-1880, a period in which demand for sewing machines was dramatically rising and shortly after Isaac Merritt Singer pooled his patents with other competitors and bought off challenges by Elias Howe, Jr. The development of sewing machine attachments, legal action, relations with sales agents and suppliers make up the bulk of the collection. Hagley has also made available the papers of Lois Herr. Herr worked as a manager for Bell Telephone Laboratory and other units in the Bell System for 26 years. Aware that few women rose into high managerial positions at AT&T, she fought for gender equality. By 1970, her efforts gained the attention of lawyers at the recently formed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who opposed AT&T’s request to the Federal Communications Commission to increase its rates. The EEOC, the National Organization for Women, and other civil rights groups applied pressure from outside AT&T while Herr and others worked to change AT&T from within. The case was settled in 1973 and affected how the communications giant, AT&T, and other firms monitored and approached equal rights in the workplace.