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.

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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!

Honoring James Garfield

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Garfield memorial 1 lowresJames Garfield was born in a log cabin in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. After working various jobs to support himself, he graduated from college and worked first as an educator and then as a lawyer. He served in the Ohio Senate from 1859-1861, then served as an officer in the Union army. He was first elected to Congress in 1862, where he served until winning the 1880 presidential election.

However, Garfield’s presidency lasted just 200 days. On July 2, 1881 he was shot twice from behind by Charles J. Guiteau, who had been rejected for a foreign service post. President Garfield died on September 19, 1881 as a result of his wounds.

This invitation to the congressional memorial service for Garfield is part of the Ohioana Library’s Ohio Presidents collection. The recipient is not identified.

Garfield memorial 2 lowres

Robert McCloskey and “Lentil”

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McCloskey clipping 1929 OPSRobert McCloskey was born on September 14, 1914 in Hamilton, Ohio. As a child he liked music and electronics; his interest in art surfaced later when he began creating illustrations for his high school yearbook. After studying art in Boston and New York, McCloskey initially struggled to make a living as an artist. After a conversation with a children’s book editor, he returned to Ohio and based his first book, Lentil, on his experiences and observations there. Many of his other books were also based on places where McCloskey lived, including Make Way for Ducklings (set in Boston, where he attended art school) and Blueberries for Sal (set in Maine, where he lived with his family). McCloskey was the first two-time winner of the Caldecott Medal for children’s book illustration, and won two Ohioana Book Awards: in 1949 for Blueberries for Sal and again in 1958 for Time of Wonder.

The newspaper clipping above from The Columbus Citizen describes McCloskey’s visit to the Lazarus book shop in May, 1940 to promote his first book, Lentil. The image shows McCloskey presenting an inscribed copy of the book to Ohioana’s director, Florence Roberts Head. The inscription is shown below–complete with a buckeye!

Lentil inscription lowres cropped

Ohioana on Ohio Memory!

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This page documents the 1943 Annual Meeting and Book Awards. The place card in the upper left corner was handmade.

The Ohioana Library is pleased to announce the completion of its first major collection digitization project! Seven publicity scrapbooks that document the library’s activities from its founding in 1929 through the 1970s have been scanned and are now available for viewing on the Ohio Memory website as the Ohioana Scrapbooks collection.

This project marks the first step in making some of our unique collection items more easily accessible to the public and in further sharing Ohioana’s mission and history. The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, photographs, ephemera, correspondence, and administrative documents that describe Ohioana’s founding and accomplishments. The majority of these scrapbooks focus on the 1940s and early 1950s; topics include author teas, day trips, county literary news, and extensive coverage of the Ohioana annual meetings and award banquets.

Florence Roberts Head helped Martha Kinney Cooper establish the Ohioana Library and served as its director for more than two decades.

Digitization of the scrapbooks was a joint project between Ohioana and the Ohio Historical Society, with support from the State Library of Ohio and a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act program. We’ll be digitizing additional scrapbooks and other collection items as resources allow!

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