Friends of Rockwood Fund

The Friends of Rockwood Fund was established in 2014 to honor the service of John Sweeney, Grayce Hess and Phoebe Loss to the Friends of Rockwood. The purpose of this award is to provide financial support, typically up to $1,500, for eligible University of Delaware graduate students in the humanities whose research addresses the material culture of the Victorian era.


Northwest view showing southeast elevation of 1851 portion of the Rockwood House – Rockwood, 610 Shipley Road, Wilmington, New Castle County, DE

About the Friends of Rockwood:

In 1974, the executors of the estate of Nancy Sellers Hargraves (decendent of Joseph Shipley’s nephew, the Bringhurst family,) through the Delaware Chancery Court, gifted Rockwood Manor House to New Castle County. In exchange, the County accepted the obligation of preserving the historical, aesthetic, and cultural character of Rockwood and of providing an example of Victorian life in Delaware to area residents and visitors through a museum setting.

In 1977, The Friends of Rockwood was incorporated to support the County in its effort to preserve and maintain Rockwood. The county did not want to purchase or own the original collection – furniture, accessories, textiles, books, letters, and photographs – which were left in the manor house. The Friends was asked by the County to raise funds to purchase and conserve that collection.

Since the establishment of this non-profit organization, The Friends has had great success in their fund raising endeavors. Most of the original furnishings in the manor house have been purchased, scores of objects restored, and the stone walls along Shipley Road rebuilt. The latest project was the opening of the reinterpretation of the 1895 kitchen for exhibit.

Additionally, they sponsor a variety of special events and provide the volunteer staff to assist with museum projects and programs. All of The Friends’ activities are geared toward increasing visibility, strengthening community support, and providing financial growth.

Rockwood Museum Website

The deadline for applications for support for the current academic year is March 17. We will begin accepting applications one month before the deadline. To apply, prepare a one-page statement, a brief budget, and a current CV. Also, please arrange to have your advisor send a letter of reference to Awardees agree to present the results of their research to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute or another appropriate public venue, and to submit a one-page report within one month of completing their research.

Please contact us at if you have further questions about this award.

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