Ohio Presidents

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In the spirit of election week, we’re featuring a few items from our Ohio Presidents collection. We’ve featured some ephemera from this collection in a previous post; today we’re sharing some pre-presidential correspondence.

Grant letterThis letter signed by Ulysses S. Grant was written in July 1865 to John Aaron Rawlins, Grant’s chief of staff at U.S. Army headquarters and later his first secretary of war. The two men first met in 1861, when Grant was forming a regiment in Rawlins’s hometown of Galena, Illinois to meet President Lincoln’s call for troops. Rawlins stayed with Grant throughout the war and played a significant role in maintaining Grant’s public image and encouraging his sobriety during the conflict. In the letter Grant mentions GarfieldTelegramRawlins’s return to Washington “…I hope with health materially improved.” This likely refers to the fact that Rawlins had contracted tuberculosis; he died in 1869 at age 38. Grant served two terms as president (1869-1877) and died in 1885 at age 63.

This undated telegraph message from James Garfield appears to have been written sometime during his nine consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Although Garfield’s congressional service had been long, his presidency lasted just six months before he was killed by an assassin’s bullet in 1881.

BHarrison LetterThis letter from Benjamin Harrison was written when he worked as an attorney in Indianapolis. In the letter Harrison attempts to negotiate a more favorable legal settlement for a client; however, an addendum at the bottom states that the original offer was the best the other party could do. In addition to his law practice, Harrison was active in both state and national politics: he served as reporter for the Supreme Court of Indiana, was a delegate to the 1880 Republican National Convention, campaigned for presidential nominee James Garfield, and was elected to the U.S. Senate. Harrison served as president from 1889-1893, and died in Indianapolis in 1901 at age 67.

Authors in the Ohioana Archives

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In addition to biographical files on Ohio authors, the Ohioana Library’s collection includes manuscripts, artwork, correspondence, and more. To celebrate the last day of National Archives Month, we’re highlighting some items from our Lois Lenski collection.

LenskiLtrLenski was born in 1893 in Springfield, Ohio, but soon moved to the small community of Anna. She was a voracious reader throughout her childhood. After graduating from Ohio State University, she studied at the Art Students’ League in New York and the Westminster School of Art in London, England. She began her literary career by illustrating the works of other writers such as Hugh Lofting (author of Doctor Dolittle) and Maud Hart Lovelace (author of the Betsy-Tacy books). The first two books that Lenski wrote herself–Skipping Village in 1927 and A Little Girl of Nineteen Hundred in 1928–were based on her own childhood in Ohio. Lenski went on to write numerous historical and regional novels for young people, and won the Newbery Award for Strawberry Girl in 1946. She died in 1974 at the age of 80.

In the 1930s Lenski began to donate original artwork and other items to libraries, where they would be available to the public. The letter above was written in 1944 to the director of the Ohioana Library, offering to donate pieces from her first two books. The images below show some of these items.

On the left is the cover from a small mock-up of A Little Girl of Nineteen Hundred, showing that the book’s title changed slightly during the development process. The mock-up includes several pages and is hand-stitched. The middle image shows a later version of the same cover, sporting a revised title and finished artwork. On the right is the final cover from Ohioana’s collection copy of the book, which is a later edition. It shows a few more changes, including gold accents and a new publisher. (The original publisher, Frederick A. Stokes, was acquired by J.B. Lippincott in 1943.)

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The image below left shows an interior page from the mock-up, including edits handwritten in pencil. At right is the same page from Ohioana’s collection copy.

LenskiPages

Magazines in the Ohioana Archives

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MunseyJuly1908The Ohioana Library’s collection includes periodicals focused on Ohio literature, people, and places. Although many of the titles are contemporary, the collection also includes titles from the late 1800s and early 1900s, including The Kit-Kat, The Buckeye Informer, and Buckeye Printerdom. There are also a few surprises…

The Munsey was originally founded in 1889. It became a huge success two years later when it was redesigned to appeal to a broad audience; typical content included articles about current MunseyApr1909events, entertainment/theater news, biographies, and popular fiction. The issue above right from July 1908 contains an article on Theodore Roosevelt’s cabinet (including Secretary of War William Howard Taft) and advertisements for the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and Oxford College for Women in Oxford, Ohio. The issue below right from April 1909 includes a story by O. Henry (who spent some time in the Ohio State Penitentiary) and an article about Judson Harmon, the 41st U.S. attorney general and the 45th governor of Ohio.

CosmoFeb1918Cosmo looked very different in the early 1900s! Originally established as a family magazine, Cosmopolitan soon became a leading source of fiction from writers including Jack London, Willa Cather, and Upton Sinclair. This issue from February 1918 includes a story by Cincinnati native George Randolph Chester and illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy, an Ohioana award winner and creator of the popular “Christy Girl.”

Ephemera in the Ohioana Archives

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As we continue to celebrate National Archives Month, we’re sharing some ephemera from Ohioana’s archival collections. Although these items were designed to be thrown away after they had served their purpose, paper can be surprisingly resilient. Today they provide a unique, often fun, and sometimes beautiful glimpse of everyday life.

PumpShowPCloresBecause the 2013 Circleville Pumpkin Show is now history, we thought we’d share this postcard promoting the 1912 show. Although it’s difficult to see in this image, the pumpkin is embossed. Note that the postcard was provided by Crites’ Book Shop and printed by the Circleville Union-Herald, a weekly newspaper that ran under that title from 1888-1927.

LabDayticketloresAlthough this pass for the 1912 New London Labor Day Celebration is not as well-preserved as the postcard above, the beautiful typography is still visible.

The 1938 Ohio State Fair ticket shown below was provided by the Ohio State Journal, which began as the Western Intelligencer in 1811. It was central Ohio’s first newspaper, and was published in Worthington with James Kilbourne as its original editor. When Columbus became the state capital, the paper moved downtown and served as the official reporting newspaper of the Ohio General Assembly. After several name and ownership changes, it became known as the Ohio State Journal in 1840. Although the paper became part of the Dispatch Printing Company in 1950, it continued to be printed under the same name until 1959, when it merged with the Columbus Citizen to become the Columbus Citizen-Journal.

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And finally, some advertising ephemera from Circleville.

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The Civil War in the Ohioana Archives

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JMooreCWletter1In addition to numerous books about the Civil War, Ohioana’s collection includes several archival items. This letter from Joseph Moore to his father describes the difficult conditions he encountered as he traveled from Atlanta late in 1864, fought in the Battle of Nashville, and traveled on through Cincinnati and Columbus before arriving in Washington in early 1865.

The collection also includes a notebook owned by William J. Knight describing his participation in Andrews’s Raid. In April 1862, civilian scout James J. Andrews, another civilian, and a team of volunteers from the 2nd, 21st, and 33rd Ohio Infantry regiments hijacked a train on the Western and Atlantic Railroad as it made its regular run from Atlanta to Chattanooga. Their goal was to destroy telegraph wire, bridges, and track behind them, thereby crippling the Confederate Army’s ability to send supplies to Chattanooga. However, the raiders were unable to cause permanent damage to the track and abandoned the train when it ran out of fuel just south of the Tennessee state line. All the raiders were captured by the Confederacy within two weeks, and eight (including Andrews) were hanged. Eight others (including Knight) escaped. The remaining raiders were eventually exchanged for Confederate prisoners of war in 1863.WKnightNBcomb

Six members of Andrews’s Raiders were honored in the very first Medal of Honor ceremony on March 25, 1863. Although Knight was not part of this first group, he received a Medal of Honor for his role in the raid on September 17, 1863.

Local History in the Ohioana Archives

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In observance of National Archives Month and Columbus Day, we’re featuring this program from the “Columbian Centennial Celebration of the Discovery of America,” which was held on October 21, 1892 in Columbus. The celebration was sponsored by the Board of Education; in addition to the program for the evening, the booklet includes lists of board members, departments, schools, teachers, and staff.ColCennCover

The cover is signed “Zaner” in the lower left corner, indicating that it may be the work of Charles Paxton Zaner, founder of the Zanerian College of Penmanship in Columbus (later known as the Zaner-Bloser Company). He authored many of the texts used at the college, created new instructional models, and was described as “the world’s best all-around penman.”ColCennTitle

The program was printed by Nitschke Brothers, another Columbus company.ColCennPressCropped

Other items in Ohioana’s archival collection that relate to local history throughout the state include correspondence describing daily life (some dating back to the 1700s), advertising and other ephemera related to local businesses, church histories, and approximately 50 scrapbooks focused on state and county history.

Music in the Ohioana Archives

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As part of National Archives Month we’re highlighting archival items in several areas of our collection, starting with music. In addition to nearly 10,000 pieces of sheet music, Ohioana’s collection includes nineteenth- and twentieth-century songbooks, scrapbooks, and other items related to music and composing.

This handwritten and hand-bound songbook appears to have belonged to A.M. Barber of Pennsylvania in 1820 and later to Thomas C. McEwen, although other signatures are also present. It contains 28 numbered pieces as well as scales written for the “clarionett,” or clarinet. Ohioana also has several printed songbooks from the nineteenth century, many from Cincinnati music publishers.hw music 1hw music 2hw music 3

The items below are from a scrapbook containing approximately 100 pages of newspaper clippings, essays, concert programs, and other ephemera documenting the 1874-75 and 1875-76 concert seasons in Cincinnati.

cinti concert prog 2cinti concert prog 1

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Ohioana’s scrapbook collection also includes two scrapbooks documenting the activities of the Ohio Federation of Junior Music Clubs in 1935-37 and 1939-41 (with some hand-painted pages) and a scrapbook compiled by pianist Molly Rittman containing programs from piano recitals, greeting cards, mementos from trips to Chicago and Detroit, correspondence, and press releases for Rittman’s weekly radio performance.

If you’d like to learn more about these or other archival items in Ohioana’s collection, feel free to contact us!

October is Archives Month!

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aam_c_0Throughout the month of October we’ll be highlighting archival items in the Ohioana Library’s collection–including scrapbooks, postcards, correspondence and other personal papers, photos, and manuscripts. Stop back often to see images of these rare and one-of-a-kind items!

Click here to learn more about archives and archival materials.

Banned Books Week 2013: Dav Pilkey

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captunderpantsOhioan Dav Pilkey appears twice on the American Library Association’s list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009: at #13 for his Captain Underpants series, and again at #47 for The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby. Captain Underpants is also listed at #1 on the ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Books of 2012.

Pilkey was born and raised near Cleveland, Ohio. In elementary school he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia; he first created the Captain Underpants character during “time outs” in the school hallway. Although Pilkey’s teachers throughout elementary and high school discouraged his drawing, one of his college professors saw his work and encouraged him to try writing children’s books. His first book was published in 1987.

Pilkey’s book The Paperboy was a Caldecott Honor book; The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. He was recently selected to illustrate a picture book version of “One Today,” a poem written by Richard Blanco and read at President Obama’s 2013 inauguration.

Banned Books Week 2013: Toni Morrison

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ToniMorrisoncoversOhio native Toni Morrison has three books on the American Library Association’s list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009: #15 The Bluest Eye, #26 Beloved, and #72 Song of Solomon. Beloved is also #10 on the ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Books of 2012.

Morrison was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio. After receiving degrees in English from Howard University and Cornell University, she worked as a university professor and book editor. She began writing fiction as part of an informal group that met to discuss and critique each other’s work. She went to one meeting with a short story about an African American girl who wished for blue eyes; this later became her first novel, The Bluest Eye. To date Morrison has written ten novels as well as children’s books, nonfiction, plays, and a libretto.

The president of the Ohio Board of Education recently criticized The Bluest Eye and questioned its inclusion on the recommended reading list for high school juniors. You can hear Morrison’s response and comments by Ohioana Library Executive Director David Weaver here.

Morrison won the 1977 National Book Critics Circle Award for Song of Solomon, a 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved, and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 for her body of work.

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