Delaware archives curates extensive Storm of 1962 online exhibit

Silent film of aerial footage shows damage to Delaware beaches, businesses and homes
March 3, 2022

In advance of the 60th anniversary of the Storm of 1962, the Delaware Public Archives staff have dug deep into its vaults, and have digitized and curated a treasure trove of previously unreleased photographs from one of the most destructive storms in the First State’s recorded history.

The majority of these never-before-seen images were digitized from printed photos and scanned from acetate negatives.

The three-day nor’easter started Tuesday, March 5, 1962, continued to slowly grind up the Atlantic coast Wednesday, March 6, and moved away from Delaware Thursday, March 7. By the time the skies cleared and the winds calmed, the damage along Delaware’s Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay coasts was substantial, with cost estimates of $50 million, which would amount to roughly $465 million today. The storm claimed seven lives in Delaware and a total of 40 lives along the East Coast.

This collection comprises more than 500 photographs from the Delaware Public Archives General Photograph Collection; the State Highway Department of Transportation Photograph Collection; the Department of Natural Resources Photograph Collection; and private photograph collections the Frank B. Calio Collection and the Harold W.T. Purnell Collection.

A highlight of this 60th anniversary retrospective is a newly encoded 17-minute Delaware State Police silent film comprising aerial footage of the damage to Delaware beaches, businesses and homes. Areas shown are Bowers Beach, Slaughter Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, the Indian River Inlet, Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island, Oak Orchard and Massey’s Landing in Millsboro.

This new print shows the film in its entirety. Also included in the virtual exhibit are selected papers from the Gov. Elbert Carvel collection including correspondence from the public and officials pertaining to the 1962 storm, a speech delivered by Carvel, notes from the governor’s secretary, and a telegram from President John F. Kennedy.

To access the virtual exhibit, go to


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