If you think one person can't possibly make a difference in the battle to preserve our past, try telling that to Jacqueline Skinner. A 69-year-old suburban grandmother and genealogist, Skinner turned her concern about Delaware's endangered public records into a successful push for a new, $18 million, 80,000-square foot building. The new Delaware Public Archives should open late this year.
"The archives were in rather sad shape," says Delaware Genealogical Society president Jo Thompson. "There was water leaking in and part [of the archives] was under the parking lot and it wasn't holding up."
Skinner had spent years going back and forth from her home near Wilmington to the state archives some 50 miles south in Dover, the state capital, researching her three lines of Delawarean descent. Finally, she had enough of the "deplorable" state of the archives. So she did what she says people would have done in the old days — she launched a petition drive.