Dr. G. Ray Thompson dedicated his professional life to the preservation of buildings and artifacts of the Eastern Shore and been a professor and mentor at Salisbury University for 44 years. Upon his recent retirement, Preservation Maryland will recognize Dr. Thompson with the Gearhart Professional Service Award at our Best of Maryland awards ceremony in May. Learn more about this great preservationist:


Dr. G. Ray Thompson has dedicated his life to education and historic preservation of our historic homes and artifacts on the Eastern Shore, and as as a professor of Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian history at Salisbury University. Along with professor Sylvia Bradley, he co-founded the Delmarva Historical Archives which was their idea of allowing history majors to not just read about history,but to use anthropology, archaeology, and records to see the cultural and social development of an area. The Delmarva Historical Archives was to become the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture at Salisbury University.

What began as a couple of file cabinets in a closet sized office has become a large beautiful space in the new library on the University campus. Because of Dr. Thompson’s outreach efforts in the community, not only has he acquired countless donations for family research, books on Native Americans, African Americans, church and cemetery records of the Eastern Shore, he also has had donations of many thousands of dollars to support the Nabb facilitiy as well as furnishings, portraits and clothing from the last three centuries on the Eastern Shore.

Not only do students use Nabb Center, but it is frequented by the public who come in to do research on genealogy, books they write or to look up historic places. Many people would stop by to see if Ray was in just to chat, and often would end up mentioning that they had some family papers, or a relatives WWII nurses uniform that Nabb just might be interested in, and they would return with the donation. Many scholarships for history majors were set up from people who trusted in his wisdom to find the best use of their financial donations for his students.

Dr. Thompson has also been involved in historic preservation of our many historic sites on the Eastern Shore. He has been involved with Rackcliffe House on Assateague, Pemberton Hall, Poplar Hill Mansion, Whitehaven Hotel, and many more. As a member of Wicomico County Historic Properties Inc. he has helped restore several historic buildings in the area, and he is also a member of Preservation Trust Wicomico.

In addition to being the Executive Director and co-founder of Nabb, Dr. Thompson continued as a professor and mentored many students who love and respect him. He has received many awards for service including being named the first recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award given at the University, two National Endowment in the Humanities Awards, and has served on the Governor’s Advisory Board to the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.

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