The Ohioana Library Association is excited to announce that its Ohio Literary Trail has expanded with the addition of seven new sites honoring Ohio literary greats.
Introduced in 2020, the Ohio Literary Trail connects readers and Ohio writers and shines the spotlight on Ohio’s unique role in shaping culture and literature worldwide.
Among the notable Ohioans honored with new sites are the first Black woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, the journalist and travel writer who introduced the world to “Lawrence of Arabia,” the greatest female humorist of the past 60 years, a science fiction writer and screenwriter who wrote the script for The Empire Strikes Back, and the Union general who won the Civil War and penned the most acclaimed memoir of any American President.
Criteria for inclusion on the Trail includes nonliving people or places that illustrate Ohio’s contributions to the literary landscape or literature nationally or internationally. The sites are physical places tourists can visit year-round and share information to educate a visitor, such as museums, permanent library displays, historical homes, and Ohio Historical Markers. There are more than 1,800 markers across the state, administered by the Ohio History Connection, Ohio’s statewide history organization, including more than 50 literary themed markers on the trail.
The new additions to the Ohio Literary Trail include:
- Northeast Ohio Region: Lorain County, Lorain Historical Society Carnegie Center, 329 W. 10th St. Toni Morrison Historical Marker. The trail’s newest site, dedicated August 12, 2021 and sponsored by Ohioana with the Lorain Historical Society, Ohio History Connection, Lorain YWCA, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, this marker honors Ohio’s most acclaimed author. Morrison, winner of many awards including the Nobel Prize, was born in Lorain in 1931 and died in August 2019. The Carnegie Center is the former Lorain Public Library where Morrison worked as a youth.
- Northeast Ohio Region: Cuyahoga County, next to the Columbus Road Bridge or at the corner of Columbus Rd. and Merwin Ave. Hart Crane Memorial Park features a tribute sculpture by Ohio artist Gene Kangas honoring American poet Hart Crane (1899-1932), who is considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. The Park is stewarded by Canalway Partners.
- Northeast Ohio Region: Trumbull County, Kinsman Square at 6086 Ohio 5 in Kinsman. Kinsman/Leigh Brackett Historical Marker. Born in California, Brackett moved to Kinsman with her husband and lived there about 20 years. The science fiction writer who perfected the subgenre of “space opera” in her writings was nominated for a Hugo Award for The Long Tomorrow (1955). As a screenwriter, she wrote the script for The Empire Strikes Back/Star Wars II.
- Southwest Ohio Region: Montgomery County, University of Dayton campus, Zehler Dr. on the north side of St. Mary’s Hall. Erma Bombeck Historical Marker is on the campus where the celebrated columnist and author graduated in 1949. She went on to become a household name in the 1970s and ‘80s. For more information visit https://ermabombeckcollection.com/.
- Southwest Ohio Region: Clermont County, Point Pleasant and Brown County, Georgetown. Two-term 18th President of the United States and victorious military commander of the Union Army, Ulysses S. Grant, worked tirelessly to complete his autobiographical manuscript before his death. It became one of the most acclaimed memoirs of the 19th century, Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. Several Ohio sites offer a glimpse into his life: U.S. Grant Birthplace (1551 State Route 232 in Point Pleasant) and U.S. Grant’s Boyhood Home (219 E. Grant Ave. in Georgetown) and Schoolhouse (508 S. Water St. in Georgetown).
- Southwest Ohio Region: Darke County, Garst Museum at 205 North Broadway in Greenville. Lowell Thomas’ 1880s restored Victorian Gothic style-home and the museum collection honor the TV and Cinerama producer and author of some 60 books, who flew around the world more than 30 times. His adventures included traveling with T.E. Lawrence, which led to Thomas’ book Lawrence in Arabia, and the movie Lawrence of Arabia.
- Southeast Ohio Region: Jefferson County, 407 S. 4th St., Steubenville. Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) and the Carnegie Library of Steubenville Historical Marker in front of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County honors Ohio’s first Carnegie Library, which was approved for funding in June 1899.
The Ohio Literary Trail can be accessed at: http://www.ohioana.org/resources/the-ohio-literary-trail-2/