USA Famous People of Delaware

Delaware Biographies

Richard Allen (1760 - 1831) Founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Starred Review.

 In this elegant and insightful biography, historian Newman (The Transformation of American Abolitionism) offers a vivid portrait of Bishop Richard Allen (1760–1831), a tireless preacher committed to ending slavery and fostering equality for blacks in postrevolutionary America. Born a slave in Philadelphia, Allen converted to Methodism when he was 17 during a revival held at his master's house. After obtaining his freedom, Allen helped to establish two of the most important black-led organizations in early America: the Free African Society, a benevolent organization, and Bethel Church, the birthplace of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, one of the most powerful African-American denominations in the United States. Although Allen is best remembered for his religious leadership, his work moved far beyond these circles. According to Newman, his ability to create independent black organizations as well as initiate a published discourse among free blacks established him as one of the nation's founding leaders. Newman's beautifully written study is not only a first-rate social history of the early Republic. • Richard Allen Books

Valerie Bertinelli (1960 - ) Actress married to heavy metal guitarist Eddie Van Halen, born in Wilmington. Welcome back to chez Bertinelli, where life is as crazy and comical as ever. In revealing talks with her longtime boyfriend, Tom, Valerie gets even more personal about her inner worries: her maternal anxieties about her son, Wolfie (he's fallen in love and, as she writes, "getting your sex talk from Eddie Van Halen wasn't recommended in any of the parenting books I read"); the challenges of dealing with a blended family; her mother's own new diet adventure; and a craving for a deeper relationship with a Higher Power ("I have experienced days of inner peace and connectedness with a larger spirit -- twice," she writes. "Why not more often?"). And as if these everyday challenges weren't enough, Valerie is work-ing to maintain her own very public weight loss. She even gets to thinking she might kick it up a notch, shed more weight and get so buff she can wear a bikini -- in public. • Valerie Bertinelli Books • Valerie Bertinelli Movies
Robert Montgomery Bird (1806 - 1854) Playwright, author, born in New Castle. Bird was born in New Castle, Delaware on February 5, 1806. After attending the New Castle Academy and Germantown Academy, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1824. He began to write fiction during his time in medical school and by 1827 had published in the Philadelphia Monthly Magazine. After graduating from medical school, Bird attempted to begin a medical practice but became discouraged after one year and left medicine to pursue a literary career.

In 1828, Bird's play Pelopidas won a $1000 prize offered by the actor Edwin Forrest, but was never produced. Instead, Bird wrote another play for Forrest, The Gladiator, which was produced in 1831. Bird wrote several other plays for Forrest. Forrest had promised to pay Bird more for these plays if they proved successful. Though they were, Forrest refused to give Bird additional money; Bird's frustration with Forrest pushed him into writing novels.These include Calavar (1834), The Infidel (1835), The Hawks Of Hawk Hollow (1835), Sheppard Lee (1836), Nick of the Woods (1837), and The adventures of Robin Day (1839).• Robert Montgomery Bird Books

Henry S. Canby editor, author, Seidel (September 6, 1878 – April 5, 1961) was critic, editor, and a Yale University professor.

Canby was born in Wilmington, Delaware and attended Wilmington Friends School. He graduated from Yale in 1899, then taught at the university until becoming a professor in 1922.

Following a four year stint as the editor of the Literary Review of the New York Evening Post, Canby became one of the founders and editors of the Saturday Review of Literature, serving as the last until 1936. • Henry S. Canby Books

Annie Jump Cannon born in Dover. (December 11, 1863 – April 13, 1941) was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification. With Edward C. Pickering, she is credited with the creation of the Harvard Classification Scheme, which was the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars based on their temperatures.

The daughter of shipbuilder and state senator Wilson Lee Cannon and his second wife, Mary Elizabeth Jump, Annie grew up in Dover, Delaware. Annie's mother had a childhood interest in star-gazing, and she passed that interest along to her daughter. She had four older step-siblings from her father's first marriage, as well as two brothers, Robert and Wilson. Annie never married but was happy to be an aunt to her brother's children. • Annie Jump Cannon Books

Felix Darley artist, Claymont Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1821–1888), often credited as F. O. C. Darley, was an American painter in water color and illustrator, known for his illustrations in works by well-known 19th century authors, including: James Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Clement Clarke Moore.

Darley was born in 1821 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a self-taught and prolific artist who started out as a staff artist for a Philadelphia publishing company where he was given a wide variety of assignments. After moving to New York, his work began to appear in magazines such as Harper's Weekly and in books by various publishers. Darley made 500 drawings for Lossing's History of the United States. Among his lithographic illustrations are those for Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", and some scenes in Indian life. The swing and vigor of his style, his facility, and versatility and the high average merit of his numerous works, make him one of the most noteworthy of American illustrators. • Felix Darley Books

Eleuth่re Ir้n้e du Pont (1771 - 1834) Industrialist and founder of the DuPont Company; lived on a farm on the banks of the Brandywine River. 1920. With Illustrations. A history of the company written by Bessie Gardner du Pont. E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company was founded in July 1802 as a gun powder mill by Eleuthere Irenee du Pont on Brandywine Creek, near Wilmington, Delaware. Du Pont later evolved into one of the world's largest chemical companies, and in the 20th century led the polymer revolution by developing many highly successful materials such as nylon, teflon and kevlar. •
Henry Heimlich - Surgeon and inventor, developed the Heimlich Maneuver to save choking victims (born Henry Judah Heimlich, 3 February 1920), an American physician, has received credit as the inventor of abdominal thrusts known as the Heimlich maneuver, though debate continues over his role in the development of the procedure. Heimlich also advocates the controversial and unproven use of malaria to treat HIV. Heimlich, born in Wilmington, Delaware to Philip and Mary (Epstein) Heimlich, graduated from New Rochelle High School (NY) in 1937 and from Cornell University (where he served as drum major of the Cornell Big Red Marching Band) with a B.A. in 1941. He received his M.D. from the Weill Cornell Medical College in 1943. On 4 June 1951, Heimlich married Jane Murray, daughter of ballroom-dancing entrepreneur Arthur Murray. Heimlich's wife co-authored a book on homeopathy and herself wrote What Your Doctor Won't Tell You, which advocated chelation therapy and other alternative therapies. •
John Phillips author, Wilmington (1631 - 1706), was an English author, the brother of Edward Phillips, and a nephew of John Milton.

Anne Phillips, mother of John and Edward, was the sister of John Milton, the poet. In 1652, John Phillips published a Latin reply to the anonymous attack on Milton entitled Pro Rege et populo anglicano. He appears to have acted as unofficial secretary to Milton, but, unable to obtain regular political employment, and (like his brother) chafing against the discipline he was under, he published in 1655 a bitter attack on Puritanism entitled a Satyr against Hypocrites (1655). In 1656 he was summoned before the privy council for his share in a book of licentious poems, Sportive Wit, which was suppressed by the authorities but almost immediately replaced by a similar collection, Wit and Drollery.

In Montelion (1660) he ridiculed the astrological almanacs of William Lilly. Two other skits of this name, in 1661 and 1662, also full of course royalist wit, were probably by another hand. In 1678 he supported the agitation of Titus Oates, writing on his behalf, says Anthony Wood, many lies and villanies. Dr Oates's Narrative of the Popish Plot indicated was the first of these tracts. • John Phillips Books

Howard Pyle (March 5, 1853 – November 9, 1911) An American illustrator and writer, primarily of books for young audiences. A native of Wilmington, Delaware, he spent the last year of his life in Florence, Italy.

In 1894 he began teaching illustration at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry (now Drexel University), and after 1900 he founded his own school of art and illustration called the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art. The term the Brandywine School was later applied to the illustration artists and Wyeth family artists of the Brandywine region by Pitz (later called the Brandywine School).

Some of his more famous students were Olive Rush, N. C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, Elenore Abbott, Ellen Bernard Thompson Pyle, and Jessie Willcox Smith. His 1883 classic The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood remains in print to this day, and his other books, frequently with medieval European settings, include a four-volume set on King Arthur that cemented his reputation. • Howard Pyle Books

George Read (1734 - 1798) Jurist, signer of Declaration of Independence; lived in the county of Newcastle. He was a native of the province of Maryland, where he was born in the year 1734. His grandfather was an Irishman, who resided in the city of Dublin, and was possessed of a considerable fortune. His son, John Read, the father of the subject of the present memoir, having emigrated to America, took up his residence in Cecil county, where he pursued the occupation of a planter.

Read was then elected to the first Legislative Council of the Delaware General Assembly and was selected as the Speaker in both the 1776/77 and 1777/78 sessions. At the time of the capture of President John McKinly, Read was in Philadelphia attending Congress, and after narrowly escaping capture himself while returning home, he became President on October 20, 1777, serving until March 31, 1778. During these months the British occupied Philadelphia and were in control of the Delaware River. • George Read Books

Caesar Rodney (1730 - 1783) Patriot, signer of Declaration of Independence; lived in Kent county. Grade 3-6–Rodney, one of Delaware's representatives to the Second Continental Congress, who suffered from asthma and a cancer that was slowly destroying his face, made a grueling 80-mile carriage and horseback ride to cast his crucial vote for independence. Beginning with a period map of the Philadelphia area, this book discusses his torturous journey and the significance of his vote. Unfortunately, few facts about Rodney's life are presented, aside from a description of his cancerous wound and the surgery he underwent. The main text and sidebars tell about some events leading to the Revolutionary War, with an emphasis on the colonists' objections to the various taxes imposed by England. • Caesar Rodney Books
Elisabeth Shue (1963 - ) Actress, famous for roles in movies like The Karate Kid and Leaving Las Vegas; born in Wilmington. Shue was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Her mother, Anne Harms (n้e Wells), was a bank executive who was the vice president of the private division of the Chemical Banking Corporation. Her father, James Shue, is a lawyer and real estate developer who was the president of the International Food and Beverage Corporation and was active in Republican politics, having once unsuccessfully run for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey. Her younger brother, Andrew, is also an actor.

Shue grew up in Bergen and Essex counties in New Jersey. Her parents divorced while she was in the fourth grade. Shue graduated from Columbia High School, in Maplewood, New Jersey, and attended Wellesley College and Harvard University, from which she withdrew to pursue her acting career. She returned to Harvard to finish her degree in Government in 2000. Shue was awarded entrance into Columbia High School's Wall of Fame in 1994, along with her brother, the actor Andrew Shue • Elisabeth Shue Books • Elisabeth Shue Movies