1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Delaware

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DELAWARE (see 7.947).—In 1920 the pop. was 223,003, as compared with 202,322 in 1910, an increase of 20,681, or 10.2%. The number per sq. m. in 1920 was 113.5; in 1910, 103. In 1920 the native whites constituted 77.5% of the total, foreign-born whites 8.9%, and negroes 13.6%. Of 10,508 illiterates in 1920, 4,700 were negroes, 3,373 foreign-born whites, and 2,427 native whites. In 1920 for the first time the urban pop. exceeded the rural; urban 120,817, or 54.2%, rural 102,186, as compared with 97,085 or 45.8%, and 105,237 respectively in 1910. The change was due chiefly to the growth of Wilmington, as Kent and Sussex counties remained strongly agricultural. One county, Newcastle, showed an increase, the other two decreases. Wilmington, a centre of war-time manufactures, had in 1920 a pop. of 110,168, as compared with 87,411 in 1910, an increase of 22,757, or 26%. The pop. of the other chief towns in 1920 was as follows: Dover, the state capital, 4,042; Newcastle, 3,854; and Milford, 2,753.

Manufactures.—Delaware, especially Wilmington and the upper end of the state, was influenced by the great industrial activity of the World War period. Most noteworthy was the part taken by the duPont powder interests in supplying the needs of the Allies. The following table gives interesting comparisons between the pre-war period and the year following the Armistice.

1919 1914 1909
Number of establishments 668  808  726
Proprietors and firm members 593  735  722
Salaried employees 3,344  2,643  2,024
Wage earners (average number)  29,035  22,155  21,238
Capital  $148,207,598   $69,323,927   $60,905,671
Salaries 7,709,068  3,399,568  2,322,329
Wages 37,265,319  11,382,160  10,295,596
Cost of materials 85,432,938  31,649,265  30,937,801
Value of products 165,073,009  56,034,966  52,839,619
Value added by manufacture 79,640,076  24,385,701  21,901,818

In 1919 the principal industries were leather, pulp goods, cars and general shop construction and repairs by steam railway companies, iron and steel, canning and preserving of fruits and vegetables, and foundry and machine-shop products.

Agriculture.—After the passage of the Agricultural Extension Act (1911) the most significant movement was the development of coöperative associations, and especially (1918-21) the rapid growth of the Farm Bureau movement. In 1920 the number of farms was 10,140, as compared with 10,836 in 1910, a decrease of 696, or 6.4%. The preceding decade had shown an increase of 1,149, or 11.9%. The value of all crops for Delaware, in 1919, was $23,058,906. The total value of cereals was $9,638,010; of hay and forage crops $4,366,174; of vegetables, including potatoes, $6,271,714; and of fruits and nuts $2,566,807. As compared with 1909, the total value of all crops showed an increase of 166.6%; cereals 105.4%; vegetables 242.2%; and fruits and nuts 188.3%. These figures, of course, reflect the changed price level. The production of strawberries for 1919 was 4,362,473 qt., of apples 606,286 bus., of peaches 227,375 bus., and of grapes 1,445,121 pounds. The total value of live stock, horses, mules, cattle, swine, in 1919 was $7,373,260; of dairy products, excluding “cheese sold” (not reported), $2,442,253.

Education.—The most distinctive development in the decade beginning in 1910 was in the field of education. There was much discussion of educational matters, and an aroused public interest led to various measures for the strengthening of the public-school system. In 1913, a summer school was established for the training of teachers, and four years later the state agreed to pay the expenses of teachers in attendance. In 1913, also, the Women's College of Delaware was founded, affiliated with Delaware College, with the same president and board of trustees and in part the same faculty, but entirely separate in buildings, classes, and student organization. Delaware College showed rapid expansion. It had property worth $1,800,000 (1921), and an income of $382,000 (1920). The enrolment (1921) was 478,178 women and 300 men, not counting 80 ex-service men in vocational agricultural work. After 1913, following reorganization and reincorporation, the college was solely a state institution. In 1917 a commission was appointed to investigate educational conditions, and to recommend plans for unifying, revising and developing the public-school system of the state. The commission employed the General Education Board of New York to make this survey, and the results, when presented to the Legislature in 1919, were crystallized in the “New School Code.” The advantages claimed were: (1) the codification of the whole body of school law; (2) definite and fixed responsibility of school officials; (3) a modern and fairer system of taxation; (4) a carefully graded system of schools; and (5) a normal school year of 180 days for pupils from 7 to 14 years of age. The whole plan centred in a state Board of Education, composed of five members, with a state commissioner subordinate to them. Also, there were county boards and county superintendents in each of the three counties. In 1920, however, this system was considerably modified in the direction of lower taxation and greater local control, and in 1921, because of these influences, the ultimate fate of the Code seemed very uncertain. Wilmington grew so rapidly that its government, utilities, educational institutions, etc., were no longer adequate to its needs. In 1921 the city schools were surveyed under the direction of the national Bureau of Education and many needed reforms pointed out. At the same time proposals were being made for a new charter, providing for a commission form of government and a city manager.

Finances and Taxation.—The state system of finances and taxation underwent considerable modification and extension. After 1917, Delaware raised and spent about $i ,500,000 annually. For a number of years previously the state's expenditures exceeded the revenues, but at the close of 1918 the balance in the general fund was $533,692.89, and on Jan. 1 1920 the balance was $1,367,733.57. This swift change was due both to the creation of new sources of revenue and to the increased returns from old sources, especially the latter. The railway tax was established in 1897, the corporation tax in 1899, the automobile tax in 1907. One new source of revenue was the state income tax of 1917, the first $250,000 of this going to the school fund, the surplus, if any, to the highway department. In 1917, also, the collateral inheritance tax was changed to a direct graduated inheritance tax, with a consequent revenue for 1919 of $199,033. Apart from these sources increased sums came from fees and from the corporation, automobile and franchise taxes. The much-discussed corporation tax became the state's main reliance as a revenue producer. A state banking department was created (1919), with a banking commissioner and a deputy, whose duty it was to examine every bank at least once a year. In 1917 the budget plan was adopted for a two years' trial, but in 1919 it was not continued. In 1921 the plan was again under discussion with a reasonable chance of adoption. State finances were reënforced by the “Federal Aid” revenue. In 1919 the receipts from the Federal Government were $135,294.52, distributed as follows: (1) $50,000 to Delaware College under Federal grants; (2) $9,472.69 for vocational education; (3) $75,821.83 for road construction.

History.—The two dominant facts in the history of the state in the period 1910-20 are: (1) the passage of a considerable number of modern and progressive laws, and (2) the reaction of the state to the strenuous demands and activities of the World War. In the latter respect, Delaware met the situation squarely and was well organized, with the various war-time activities centred in the state Council of Defense, of which Secretary of State E. C. Johnson was the directing spirit. The number of troops furnished by the state in the World War was 7,484, and the amount raised in Liberty and Victory loans $103,898,350. In this period two progressive governors, Charles R. Miller and John G. Townsend, by their qualities of leadership, accomplished much for the state. During the administration of the latter, for example, a number of important statutes were enacted, including a Child Labor law (1917), a Workmen's Compensation Act (1917), laws for the regulation of hours of labour for women, an Income Tax law (1917), a Direct Inheritance Tax law (1917), an Act creating a state banking department (1919), and a thorough revision of the school laws, known as the New School Code (1919). These Acts, together with the Agricultural Extension Act (1911), mark a new era in the development of the state. After 1910 the Republicans maintained their control of state affairs, electing the following governors: Simeon S. Pennewill (1909-13); Charles R. Miller (1913-17); John G. Townsend (1917-21); and William D. Denny (1921-). Much of the time, however, the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives, and in 1916 they elected part of their state ticket. In 1921 the senior U.S. senator, Josiah O. Wolcott, was a Democrat; the junior senator, L. Heisler Ball, a Republican. In the presidential election of 1921 the Democrats carried the state, in 1916 and 1920 the Republicans won by a considerable margin. A third characteristic of the period should be mentioned. Public-spirited citizens of the state contributed large sums for education, for public highways, for child welfare, for charitable purposes, and for other worthy causes. It has been estimated that the gifts of Mr. Pierre S. duPont to public education total $3,653,540.35. Gen. Coleman T. duPont completed and presented to the state a modern highway 20 m. in length, extending from Shelbyville to Georgetown. Under a state highway commission this work was extended by a magnificent system of highways, either under construction (1921) or projected.

See Henry C. Conrad, History of Delaware, 3 vols. (1908); Edgar Dawson, “Public Archives of Delaware,” in The Annual Report of the American Historical Association for 1906, II, pp. 129-148; Adelaide R. Hasse, Index of Economic Material in Documents of the States of the United States, Delaware, 1789-1904 (1910); Amandus Johnson, The Swedish Settlements on the Delaware, 2 vols. (1912); Delaware School Code (1920). (E. V. V.)