Civil Rights Photos of James Karales

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Cover of the book "Controversy and Hope" showing a photograph of a young African-American man carrying the American flag while white soldiers and African-American children look on. Photograph was taken during the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights.In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this week we’re highlighting a recent addition to our collection: Controversy and Hope: The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales.

Karales was born in 1930 in Canton, Ohio. He attended Ohio University, switching his major from engineering to photography after seeing the work of his photographer roommate. After graduation, Karales moved to New York and eventually became a staff photographer for Look magazine in 1960. This job not only allowed him to travel the world, but also gave him the opportunity to document the civil rights movement over the course of several years. During this time he developed a professional relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and became one of only a few photographers who were granted access to King’s home.

The photographs in Controversy and Hope include a range of assignments between 1960 and 1965, culminating the historic Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights. Karales documented not only the major events of the civil rights movement, but also the preparations leading up to them, including quiet moments with the King family at home. Many of the book’s photographs are previously unpublished, providing a rare and unique view of events that changed the nation.

McGuffey Readers

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Scanned cover of McGuffey's First New Eclectic Reader. In center of cover is a black and white illustration of three children reading in a garden with a dog sitting nearby.
McGuffey Reader, 1857

Because of the holidays and the sub-zero temperatures that landed in Ohio last week, this is the first full week of school since mid-December for many Ohio students. We thought we’d mark the occasion by looking at a few McGuffey Readers from Ohioana’s collection.

William Holmes McGuffey was born in 1800 in Pennsylvania. In 1802 his family moved to the Ohio frontier, where he grew up. After graduating from college in Pennsylvania, McGuffey became a traveling instructor in Ohio, Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania, where he would take part-time teaching jobs in subscription schools. In 1826 McGuffey became a professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He went on to become president of Cincinnati College and Ohio University and later a professor of philosophy at the University of Virginia, where he taught until his death in 1873.

Scanned page from 1879 McGuffey Reader. Black and white illustration shows a dog running outdoors. Text says "The dog. The dog ran."
McGuffey Reader, 1879

In the mid-1830s, during his time at Miami, McGuffey wrote the first edition of his Eclectic Readers. By the end of the century they had sold more than 100 million copies. Some historians believe the popularity of the Readers was due to their use of everyday objects (“A is for ax“) and text that both students and parents found upbeat and enjoyable. In 1879 Cincinnati artist Henry Farny redesigned the Readers with realistic sketches that closely followed the text and helped maintain the books’ popularity through the end of the century.

Altogether the Readers educated five generations of schoolchildren. Although their popularity waned in the early 1900s, people remembered McGuffey and his books with a sense of nostalgia. The first McGuffey Society was formed in 1918 in Columbus, Ohio by attorney John F. Carlisle and Edward Wilson, editor of the Ohio State Journal. In the 1930s Henry Ford republished the 1857 edition of the Readers at his own expense for use in company classrooms and had the log cabin in which McGuffey was born moved to his Greenfield Village museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Today memorials to McGuffey exist at his Pennsylvania birthplace and at several of the schools where he taught.

Vintage Christmas Books

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This week we’re sharing a few vintage Christmas-themed books from Ohioana’s collection.

First is Christmas Every Day and Other Stories Told for Children by William Dean Howells, published by Harper & Brothers Publishers in 1893. We talked about Howells in our last post about decorative publishers’ bindings here. This particular book is a first edition donated to the library by Carl Vitz (1883-1981), who was an Ohioana Career Award winner, president of the American Library Association, and director of both the Toledo Public Library and the Cincinnati Public Library.Chr Every DayNext is Yule-Tide in Many Lands by Mary P. Pringle and Clara A. Urann. (Urann also wrote Centennial History of Cleveland.) The book was published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepherd Co. in 1916, when it was priced at $1.00.YuleTideManyLandsSanta Claus on a Lark, a collection of short stories by Washington Gladden, was published by The Century Co. in 1890. Gladden was a nationally recognized theologian who served at the First Congregational Church in Columbus for thirty-two years, served on the Columbus City Council for two years, and was considered for the presidency of Ohio State University. He was an outspoken advocate of labor rights and racial equality.SantaClausLarkFinally, we have Santa Claus’s New Castle by Maude Florence Bellar, published in Columbus, Ohio by Nitschke Brothers in 1896. You can see another work by Nitschke Brothers from Ohioana’s archives here.SCNewCastle

Mildred Wirt Benson

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"The Hidden Staircase" was rumored to be Benson's favorite Nancy Drew book.
“The Hidden Staircase” was rumored to be Benson’s favorite Nancy Drew book.

This past weekend, keepsakes and other items belonging to Nancy Drew author Mildred Wirt Benson were sold at auction in Toledo, where Benson worked as a newspaper reporter for nearly 60 years until her death in 2002. Items sold at the auction included a desk, typewriter, books, and a few hundred cancelled checks signed by Benson. The typewriter she used to write the Nancy Drew books had already been donated to the Smithsonian Institution.

Benson was born in 1905 in Iowa, and was the first woman to earn a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. In the late 1920s publisher Edward Stratemeyer, who specialized in producing inexpensive serial novels aimed at teen readers, hired Benson to revive his struggling Ruth Fielding series. Stratemeyer, who also created the successful Hardy Boys books, would generally create story outlines and then have ghostwriters expand the outlines into books. When he decided to create a female detective series he gave Benson the job, and Nancy Drew was born. Dana girls coverBenson is credited with shaping Nancy’s independent character. Although Stratemeyer thought Nancy was too “flip,” she resonated with young readers and became an inspiration for generations of young girls.

Benson wrote 23 Nancy Drew mysteries and 12 Dana Girls mysteries under the Carolyn Keene pseudonym (which was owned by Stratemeyer and shared by multiple ghostwriters), as well as nearly 100 other books. Under her own name she wrote the Ruth Darrow books (about a girl pilot) and the Penny Parker books (about a girl reporter).

The book covers shown in this post are part of Ohioana’s collection. To see additional books as well as correspondence, journalism scrapbooks, and more, visit the University of Iowa’s online Mildred Wirt Benson Collection.

Toni Morrison and the Nobel Prize

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Today we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of Toni Morrison’s Nobel Prize in Literature!

Unlike other literature prizes that are awarded for a specific book, the Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded for a body of work. When Morrison won the award in 1993, she had published six novels: The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981), Beloved (1987) and Jazz (1992). All six books are part of Ohioana’s collection, and some of our copies are signed by the author:

TMorrisonSig

Morrison, who was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, is the last American to win the Literature prize. To learn more about the Nobel Prize, other Literature winners, and Morrison’s award, visit www.nobelprize.org.

Decorative Publishers’ Bindings

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During the 1800s publishers began looking for an economical way to produce books in large quantities. Cloth covers replaced leather, and case binding (where the text block and cover were produced separately and the cover was then attached with glue) became the norm. Although these bindings were economical, they were often ornately decorated with gold or silver stamping and illustrations that reflected not only the book’s subjectPubBindRemington matter, but also the artistic style of the day. Following are a few examples of decorative publisher’s bindings from Ohioana’s collection.

Alfred Henry Lewis was born in 1855 in Cleveland. After working as a prosecuting attorney he gave up law and became a journalist, working as a reporter for the Chicago Times and as editor of the Chicago Times-Herald. During his career Lewis published numerous magazine articles and short stories and a dozen novels. Wolfville was his first published book; this 1897 edition was published by the Frederick A. Stokes Company and contains illustrations by Frederic Remington.

PubBindDunbarPaul Laurence Dunbar was born in 1872 in Dayton, where he was a classmate of Orville Wright. He wrote for Dayton community newspapers, published an African-American newsletter, and worked as an elevator operator while writing poetry. His work gained notice among literary figures including Indiana poet James Whitcomb Riley and Ohio-born novelist and Atlantic Monthly editor William Dean Howells. Dunbar eventually achieved international fame. Although he is best known for his poetry, he also wrote short stories, novels, plays, and songs. He died in Dayton in 1906.

This edition of Li’l’ Gal was published by Dodd, Mead and Co. in 1904. The cover and highly decorated interior pages were created by Margaret Armstrong; you can see her initials at the base of the bouquet. Armstrong was one of several prominent women designers working in publishing during the late 1800s and early 1900s. She specialized in nature-inspired themes and worked on several of Dunbar’s books.

PubBindHowells1Finally, we have two books by William Dean Howells. Howells was born in 1837 in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio. His father was a newspaperman, and Howells often helped with typesetting and printing as a boy. In 1858 Howells began to work at the Ohio State Journal, where he wrote poetry and short stories. As a reward for writing a campaign biography of Abraham Lincoln, Howells was appointed U.S. consul in Venice, Italy in 1861. After his return he became editor of the The Atlantic Monthly in Boston. In this position he helped introduce new European and American Realist authors to American readers, and supported such writers as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Stephen Crane, and Mark Twain (with whom he formed a lifelong friendship). However, some of Howell’s most critically acclaimed books were written after he left The Atlantic, including his best-known work, The Rise of Silas Lapham. Howells wrote more than 40 novels and short story collections before his death in 1920.

PubBindHowells2The edition of Tuscan Cities above right was published in Boston by Ticknor and Company in 1886. The Daughter of the Storage, a collection of short stories and poems, was published by Harper & Brothers Publishers in 1916.

To see more decorative publishers’ bindings, visit Publishers’ Bindings Online, a joint project of The University of Alabama, University Libraries and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.

Children’s Book Art Auction

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abffe_online_auction_badgeEarlier this year we did a special series of blog posts in support of Banned Books Week. From now until December 2 you have a unique opportunity not only to support the freedom to read, but also to score some great holiday gifts in the form of original artwork by children’s book illustrators!

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is holding a holiday auction. Children’s book illustrators who have contributed original artwork include Eric Carle, Judy Schachner (of Skippyjon Jones fame), Tom Angleberger (creator of Origami Yoda), and Ohio’s own Adam Rex. You can head on over to the auction by clicking the image above, and you can learn more about the ABFFE by clicking here.

A Thousand Days

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Today we have a guest post by Ohioana’s executive director, David Weaver, who served as development director for nearly eight years before assuming his new position in September. On the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, David reflects on his memories of that day and on the Ohio connection to one of Kennedy’s trusted advisors and friends.

KennedyHeadline“Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – an event that no one who was alive and old enough to remember will ever forget. I myself was a sixth-grade student at East Linden Elementary School. I can still vividly remember my teacher, Mrs. Rogers, ashen faced as she told us, “I don’t know quite how to tell you this, but the president has been shot.” Soon we learned that the man everyone knew as JFK was dead. Like all Americans, my family spent the next three days transfixed before the television. I read the special edition of the November 23, 1963 issue of the Columbus Citizen-Journal and put it away as a keepsake that I have to this day.

From Ohioana's copy of A Thousand Days
From Ohioana’s copy of A Thousand Days

You may not know this but there was a close Ohio and Ohioana connection within the Kennedy White House. Columbus-born Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., was a noted teacher and historian who had won the Pulitzer Prize and two Ohioana Book Awards by the time he joined the Kennedy administration in 1961. Schlesinger had been a friend of Kennedy’s since they had been classmates at Harvard. He served Kennedy in a number of capacities: speechwriter, historical consultant, adviser. But mainly he was there to document the administration in preparation for the memoir Kennedy planned to write once he left the White House. The assassination, however, changed those plans irrevocably. Schlesinger decided to take the notes he had compiled during the thirty-four months of JFK’s presidency and wrote A Thousand Days. (The title was taken from one of the passages in JFK’s memorable inaugural address). The book, the first by a member of Kennedy’s inner circle, was released in 1965 and won both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.

Schlesinger would continue teaching and writing for four more decades. He famously coined the term “imperial presidency” in the title of his book about the Nixon administration and its abuses of power. In 1979, Schlesinger won a second National Book Award for Robert Kennedy and His Times.

In 1992, Schlesinger came to his native Columbus to receive Ohioana’s highest accolade – the Career Medal. At the ceremony Schlesinger admitted that since his family had moved to Iowa when he was only five he did not have many memories of his birthplace. But he spoke of the summers he spent at his grandmother’s farm in Xenia and told the audience, ‘I have always felt an Ohioan in spirit.’

Schlesinger remained active to the end of his life; he was one of the first contributing bloggers when the Huffington Post was launched in 2005, two years before his death at the age of 89. During his long career he produced more than thirty books. A Thousand Days remains probably his most famous work, one that is both a historical record and at the same time a memoir of and a tribute to the friend whose life and presidency were cut tragically short on that sunny day in Dallas.”

The Gettysburg Address

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writgettycoverlgOne hundred and fifty years ago today, Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most famous speeches in U.S. history. In honor of this we’re highlighting a new book in Ohioana’s collection: Writing the Gettysburg Address by Martin P. Johnson.

Johnson, an assistant professor of history at Miami University, conducted extensive research using numerous primary sources and contemporary accounts of the speech. His book traces the creation of the Gettysburg Address from the first draft through revisions the morning of the ceremony and Lincoln’s delivery of the address itself. Along the way Johnson sheds light on many of the myths surrounding the speech, and also shows how the speech’s evolution mirrors Lincoln’s intellectual and emotional journey from Washington to the battlefield.

For more information, including images of two handwritten drafts of the Gettysburg Address and a photograph of Lincoln on the podium, you can visit the Library of Congress “Gettysburg Address” online exhibit here.

Thomas Edison

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EdisonCover lowresToday we’re highlighting a recent addition to Ohioana’s collection: Edison and the Rise of Innovation by Leonard DeGraaf. The author is an archivist at the Thomas Edison National Historic Park, and it shows; almost every spread contains images such as family photographs, Edison’s homes and laboratories, advertising ephemera, correspondence, and pages from Edison’s notebooks.

Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, and also worked for a while as a telegraph operator in Cincinnati. The book covers his life in detail, including major accomplishments such as electric lighting and the phonograph as well as lesser-known inventions such as a talking doll and an electric pen. Throughout, DeGraaf focuses not just on the  moment of discovery, but also on the process Edison used to design, manufacture, and market the products developed in his labs.

Ohioana is currently looking for book reviewers! If you’d like to review this book or another one in our collection, you can visit this page of our website for more information. You can also visit our “to read” shelf on Goodreads to see what’s available.

Edison letterFinally, we’re sharing an Edison item from Ohioana’s own archives. This 1913 letter was signed by Edison and sent from his lab in West Orange, New Jersey. It is part of the library’s collection of correspondence signed by prominent Ohioans.

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