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John Andrew Munroe

John Andrew Munroe, age 92, died Wednesday, September 6th, 2006,
after a brief  illness.   

John Munroe, one of Delaware’s best known and respected historians, was born in Wilmington in 1914,
educated in the city’s public schools and at the University of Delaware.  He began his career as an
educator in 1936 teaching English and history at Newark High School, prior to his graduation from
the university.  After a few years he entered the graduate program in history at the University of
. In 1942, while still a graduate student, he accepted a position as instructor in the History
Department at the University of Delaware, where he taught until his retirement in 1982. 

At the university he became an assistant professor in 1947, shortly after completing his Ph.D., and was
named H. Rodney Sharp Professor of History in 1962.  During this period he served as Assistant Dean
of the College of Arts and Sciences, Alumni Secretary, and Chairman of the Department of History
from 1952 – 1969.  

For ten months in 1951-1952 he traveled across the United States as a Ford Foundation Fellow, visiting
universities in the Midwest and on the Pacific Coast.  Dr. Munroe crisscrossed the country together with his
wife, Dorothy Levis Munroe, whom he met as a graduate student, and their young children.  In Colorado he
discovered a trove of papers of an eminent nineteenth-century Delaware statesman and businessman, Louis
McLane, who became the subject of a scholarly biography by Dr. Munroe some years later.  In later years
he and his wife continued to travel whenever possible, around Delaware and other parts of the globe.

John Munroe was a popular teacher, widely recognized as the foremost authority on the history of Delaware. 
For many years he taught most of the students attending the University of Delaware who were required to take
a course in Delaware History. “John A. Munroe was the perfect embodiment of the gentleman scholar,” according
to the university president David P. Roselle.  “He was revered as an accomplished historian, a learned professor,
a caring mentor, and a delightful friend.  He helped shape the history department here at the university, a department
now housed in a building that appropriately bears his name.  John Munroe served as a fount of knowledge about
the history of both his beloved home state and this university.” 

A prolific writer and speaker, John Munroe published over eighty professional articles and many more for
newspapers, encyclopedias, and magazines, including a regular column on topics of local historical interest
appearing in the Wilmington Morning News from 1959 to 1965.  He gave hundreds of talks to both scholarly
and community audiences and also presented two popular lecture series on Delaware history and government
on television, on WDEL-TV and WHYY. From 1969 to 1995, he was the editor of the Historical Society
of Delaware’s monthly publication, Delaware History.

His seven major books are Federalist Delaware; Louis McLane; Colonial Delaware: History of;
Books, Bricks, and Bibliophiles
and The University of Delaware: A History.  At the  age of 90
he published his last book, The Philadelawareans and Other Essays Relating to Delaware, which
also contains his literary autobiography. 

John A. Munroe was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and also a member of Phi Kappa Phi as well as an honorary
member of the Society of the Cincinnati. Dr. Munroe held positions as a visiting professor at UCLA, the University
of Washington, and the University of Wisconsin,  as a recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship in 1951 and 1952.
He was a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin in 1960, at Bath University in 1969 and at the New York
State Historical Association at Cooperstown in 1975.

Among the many honors awarded to him by the University of Delaware, his alma mater, were the Outstanding
Alumnus Award, Medal of Distinction, and the Francis Alison Award.  John Munroe also received recognition
from three governors of the state of Delaware, including the first Governor’s Heritage Award, which he received
from Governor Ruth Ann Minner in 2003.

John Munroe is survived by his wife, Dorothy, his three children, Stephen Munroe, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
Carol Munroe, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Michael Munroe, of Chesterfield, Virginia, their spouses, and
seven grandchildren.

A remembrance service followed by a reception will be held at the Newark Methodist Church, 69 East Main
, on Saturday, September 9, 2006, at 10:30 am. A memorial service will be held in October at the
of Delaware

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Department of History at the University of Delaware,
236 John Munroe Hall, 46 W. Delaware Avenue, Newark, Delaware 19716-2547; or to the Historical Society
of Delaware

Complete List of Works
Dedication of Munroe Hall
Links to All News Articles
Photgraphic History