Cultural topics in Ohio. Free online works on Public Schools, Higher Ed, Theater, Folklore, Law Courts, Music, Art, Writing, Libraries, Architecture, Poetry, Literature
Adams, Deanna R.
Charleston, SC: Arcadia 2010
“Ever since Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed first called the records he was playing “rock and roll,” northeast Ohio has been a driving force in this musical phenomenon. It was those early years, from the 1950s on, that led Cleveland to becoming the “Rock and Roll Capital of the World” and ultimately home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.” -book cover. This book is arranged around a photo collection of Cleveland’s music history; each photo accompanied by an explanatory caption.
Anderson, Maggie; Gildzen, Alex, eds.
Kent, OH: Kent State University 1992
“At Kent State University on May 3-6,1990, more than 300 poets from around the nation came together to remember the four students slain and nine others wounded by the Ohio National Guard on May 4,1970, and the two students shot 10 days later at Jackson State College in Mississippi. The poets assembled to reflect on the tragedies and contribute to the healing process, an ancient function of poetry. This book presents 140 of their poems, many of which were written especially for the commemoration Others were chosen by important poets from their work to be read because of their historical resonance.” – book cover
Baumann, James A.
Orange Frazer 1997
With insight into the 52 four-year residential Ohio colleges, specialty schools, and community and technical colleges, Ohio cum Laude is a one-stop resource for students, teachers, parents, and counselors. The book includes financial aid information, how to choose a college, and scholarship information.
Philadelphia, PA: Running Press 2008
“When it comes to sports talk, no city has more to say than Cleveland. Its fans are hands-down the most passionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated in the country. Ask any Cleveland fan a sports-related question and you’re sure to find yourself in the middle of a lively, heated debate. Now Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston and Cleveland sports-talk radio star Greg Brinda bring their expertise to this entertaining compilation. Lists include: Biggest clutch performers in city history, most heartbreaking Browns losses ever, biggest busts in city sports, best and worst quotes by Cleveland athletes, over 30 guest contributors including Drew Carey, LeBron James, Mike Hargove, Don King, Jim Brown, A1 “Bubba” Baker, Bernie Kosar, Jim Tressel, Bob Feller, Brad Daugherty, and many others, much, much more!” – book cover.
Campen, Richard N.
Chagrin Falls, OH: West Summit 1973
This book, “with its interpretive essay and 550 half-tones provides an overview of 175 years of building in Ohio from territorial times (1798) to the present moment.” It covers historic landmarks, and also “captures the excitement of exemplary, post-war, contemporary building in articstically composed photographs. The accompanying captions are a gold mine of interesting and valuable information.” – book cover.
Carter, Alfred G. W.
Cincinnati: Thomson 1880
The author, Judge Alfred George Washington Carter, wrote in a very brief preface that the book’s purpose “…is fulfilled in showing mostly the sunny, or funny side of the old court house – only this and nothing more.” The subject court house was completed in 1819, and was destroyed by fire in 1849. In the introductory chapter the author provides the names of all judges and members of the bar in Cincinnati in 1819 (a total of 31), 1825, 1831, and after 1831 to 1849. The volume appears to consist entirely of amusing anecdotes, with witty and often caustic characterizations of lawyers and judges. Overall, it is a perceptive and frequently critical account of the legal system of the day.
Free Sports Magazines, plus Outdoors, Business, News & Economy
Cincinnati Art Museum
Athens, OH: Cincinnati Art Museum 2003
“This lavishly illustrated volume showcases the rich cultural history of Cincinnati, one of America’s foremost art centers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Published to accompany the opening of the Cincinnati Wing, it celebrates the eighteen thousand square feet of handsomely renovated gallery space at the Cincinnati Art Museum devoted to the museum’s renowned collections of painting, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, and metalwork by Cincinnati artists. The nine brief essays in this volume trace the thematic arrangement of the Cincinnati Wing galleries, situating the artwork in the context of Cincinnati’s unique history as it progressed from a frontier river town to an industrial powerhouse.” – book cover
Coggeshall, William Turner
NY: Follett, Foster 1864
Editor William T. Coggeshall (1824-1867) was a journalist and publisher, and editor of The Genius of the West, a literary magazine in Cincinnati. He served as State Librarian of Ohio from 1856 to 1862.
The editor wrote in his Preface that it was his intention to include in the collection every person “…legitimately belonging to the West, who has gained recognition as a writer of reputable verse.” It contains selections, with biographical notices, from the writings of 97 men and 55 women. 60 were residents of Ohio, 23 of Indiana, 14 of Kentucky, 13 of Illinois, 5 of Michigan and 4 of Wisconsin. Not more than 10 of these poets pursued literature as a profession. The volume contains poems from about 1815 to the early 1860s.
The book is very substantial in size and the biographies are sometimes surprisingly detailed. Entries are in chronological order, and the first ones contain valuable background detail about the early literary life of Cincinnati.
Ohio Authors and Their Books. Biographical Data and Selective Bibliographies for Ohio Authors, Native and Resident, 1796-1950
Coyle, William, ed.,
Cleveland: World 1962
This mid-20th century reference work has 700 pages of biographical sketches of Ohio authors.
Ohio History XXXV,April 1926, Number 2, 322-79
Dunn, W. Ross
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society
The author begins with the clauses in the Ordinances of 1785 and 1787 pertaining to public land designated for education, and reviews the many issues that arose in regard to support for education in the early years of land sales in Ohio Territory. Mechanisms had to be established to convert the lands to money and apportion the funds for education of children. There were as yet no school laws for the Northwest Territory, and little precedent for public education. The author goes on to trace the way in which a system of public education gradually developed.
See our Century Past page on Ohio Society to read about immigrants, crime, ethnic groups, women, African Americans, pioneer life, and social issues.
J. Wiley & Sons 2004
The 100-Yard War showcases two great football teams who want nothing more than to beat each other, celebrating their storied history and going behind the scenes with the players and the fans to reveal the bitterness, the passion, and the pride surrounding the Game.
ESPN called it the number one sports rivalry of the century. It transcends the years, the standings, and all other distractions. And thanks to the countless remarkable football games between Michigan and Ohio State—and hundreds of thousands of devoted alumni and followers—the rivalry is now an enormous cultural event.
Frary, Ihna Thayer
Richmond, VA: Garrett and Massie 1936
Includes photos of homes and of interior and exterior architectural features.
Galbreath, Charles Burleigh
An 8-page paper from 1909 covering the recent development of public libraries in Ohio. It includes a lot of data and a few good photos.
Galbreath, C. B., comp.
Columbus: Heer 1902
A comprehensive study of “all collections of books that are open to the public either for circulation or reference.” Compiled by the State Librarian in accordance with a resolution by the State Legislature.
Rutledge Hill 1993
In A Treasury of Ohio Tales you’ll discover: W hat American president was so big that the first peice of furniture he put in the White House was an oversized bath tub? W ho was the most successful baseball pitcher in history? W hat Ohio woman smuggled letters for the Confederacy and was captured by a Union general whose proposal of marriage she had once rejected?
Grove, Myrna J.
Morgantown, PA: Masthof Press 2000
This is a history of the one-room school in Northwest Ohio as well as surrounding areas and neighboring states. It includes all aspects of the schools, such as how they were experienced by teachers, students, and communities, how they were maintained, and where they fit into the educational objectives of states. The book contains a fine collection of the author’s photos of existing schools, including some that are now living history museums. Also some historic photos.
Guide to Ohio Newspapers, 1793-1973: Union Bibliography of Ohio Newspapers Available in Ohio Libraries
Gutgesell, Stephen, ed.
Ohio Historical Society 1974
The Guide to Ohio Newspapers 1793-1973 is a complete bibliography of all extant-newspapers published in Ohio from 1793 to 1973, an estimated 3500 titles. It includes a list of the newspaper holdings of over 200 academic, public, and special libraries in the state as well as data on titles of papers, span dates, and editions.
Harrison, Henry, ed.
NY: Harrison 1934
In the early 1930s the publisher invited about 100 known poets in Ohio to contribute their work for this volume. Although some did not reply, 90 poets selected some of their own work for inclusion.
The Buckeye Country: a Pageant of Ohio pp. 263-277
Ohio: G. P. Putnam’s Sons 1947
A chapter from Harlan Hatcher’s history of Ohio, which can be found on the Ohio General History page of this site. Hatcher was a Professor of American Literature at Ohio State University when he wrote this.
Hayes, W. Woodrow (Woody)
Woody Hayes was for decades one of the most famous head coaches in college football, leading Ohio State University to numerous championships. This short book, written fairly early in his career, was an attempt to pass on his philosophy and techniques to football coaches and players.
Green, OH: Guardian Express 2010
“Packed with trivia and history, the Ohio Book of Lists is a compilation of Buckeye facts. Chapters include sports, music, films, business, food, education and more! Lists include drive-in theaters, comedians, amusement parks, rock stars, inventors, films shot in Ohio, museums, authors, comic strip artists, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, deejays and radio stations, television shows set in Ohio, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Ohio State University, the Soap Box Derby, sports rivalries across the state, and hundreds more!” – book cover.
Old Northwest Genealogical Quarterly VIII, (1905) 136-40
Huntington, Peletiah W.
Columbus, Ohio : “Old Northwest” Genealogical Society
In this brief article the author reminisces about music in the 1840s through 1860s in Columbus, as residents heard it or performed. Mentioned are church organists, church choirs, the Oratorio society, amateur brass bands, and ballad singer Lillian Bailey.
Katz, Michael Jay
University of Michigan 1994
A collection of stories about Ohio including “The Zanesville earthquakes,” “Rattlesnake mound,” “The Corpse that wouldn’t bleed,” and “The headless horseman of Cherry Hill.”
Knight, George W. and Commons, John R.
Washington: GPO 1891
Authors Knight and Commons were respectively, professors of history and political economy. Rather than a state-wide history of higher education, this book consists of chapter-length histories of 33 individual colleges and universities up to 1890.
Lewis, G. W.
Samuel Lewis (1799-1854) was appointed Superintendent of Common Schools in 1838. When he accepted the position he traveled across Ohio to research the quality of existing schools, visiting 340 schools. He found intense animosity among Ohio residents toward the existing taxes for funding schools, even though the State legislature was allocating to the school districts just 14 cents per student. In 1838 Lewis issued a report that described the problems of Ohio’s 8,000 school districts that were educating almost 500,000 students, and recommended a course of action. The legislature took no action on his recommendations, and Lewis resigned in 1839.
Curses! Why Cleveland Sports Fans Deserve to be Miserable: A Lifetime of Tough Luck, Bad Breaks, Goofs, Gaffes, and Blunders
Cleveland: Gray 2005
“No, Cleveland owns bragging rights when it comes to the biggest, longest, worst drought In professional sports championships. And it’s not just The Fumble, The Drive. The Catch, Game Seven, and all our other big-game losses. We’ve endured enough bad luck, dumb trades, dud draft picks, and just plain goofy moments to keep us crying in our beers for decades. And they’re all collected here. This little book may not take away the misery, but at least it offers a little humor to go with the groans!” – book cover
Martzolff, Clement L., comp.
Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society 1911
Poems about Ohio by a variety of poets, throughout the 19th century. There are very brief biographical details for a few of the poets.
Educational Architecture in Ohio: From One-Room Schools and Carnegie Libraries to Community Education Villages
McCormick, Virginia E.
Kent, OH: Kent State University 2001
This architectural history includes not only the history of Ohio school architecture, but also has a chapter for “Academies, Seminaries, and Institutes”, another for “Colleges and Universities”, one for “Libraries”, and one for “Museums, Opera Houses, and Conservatories”. The text is accompanied by numerous photos.
Miller, James M.
Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society 1938
The geographic focus of this study is the area of the Ohio Valley from Pittsburgh to Lexington, KY, during the period the author defines as the “pioneer period”. This volume is a publication of a PhD dissertation, which was an effort to analyze how a “unique culture had been established in the Ohio Valley, one which has been vitally significant in molding modern America”.
A centennial volume, published by authority of the General Assembly
Ohio Teachers’ Association
Columbus, OH: Gazette 1876
This volume was funded by the State for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Many writers contributed parts of it, including school administrators, professors, and officials in the institutions covered. The scope is very broad, including not only the state school system and colleges & universities, but also educational legislation, teacher training and salaries, profiles of a number of specific high schools, a chapter on school supervision and administration, teachers’ associations, education in “penal, reformatory, and benevolent institutions”, biographical sketches, and description of a dozen educational periodicals.
Phelan, Rev. John J.
Toledo: Little Book 1919
The author was a minister who was concerned about the effect of immoral motion pictures on the youth of Toledo. He hoped with this study of cinemas in Toledo to promote legislation to enable laws to censor and control what was shown there. Section 1 of the book is filled with facts and figures about Toledo cinemas, Section 2 is entitled “Mental Effects and Educational Significance”, and Section 3 is “The Moral and Social Effects of the Movies. Section 4 profiles other, more moral amusements then available to Toledo’s young people, and Section 5 has appendices related to all the previous four sections.
comprising the definitions of all the syllabic words in that work; with copious illustrations in English etymology: forming an extensive definition class book for the instruction of youth: being American School Class Book No. 4
Picket, Albert and J.W.
Cincinnati: Picket 1831
This is an example of an early school instructional book that appears to have been used in Ohio, and one of a series authored by the two Pickets for teaching students reading and grammar. This book was intended for teachers rather than for students, who may not have used text books. This volume reveals much about educational approaches of the time period.
Note that through page 258, there are repeated lists of words, followed by definitions, presumably to enable the teacher to drill students on the spelling, pronunciation and definition of each word. The level of difficulty seems suited for older students. At page 259 begins “Easy Lessons, for Reading, Synonomising, Paraphrasing, &c”. This section is based on brief moral essays, which start out with simple vocabulary but quickly escalate in complexity. Beginning at page 360 is a section on poetry, with a number of poems for the teacher to read to students.
Some mid-19th Century school textbooks are at: Great Lakes Region Cultural History: Education, the Arts
Ohio History XXVIII, July 1919, Number 3, 255-79
Randall, E. O.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society
Emilius Randall was a professor of Law and the Secretary of the Ohio Historical Society. This paper was delivered as an address to the Ohio Society of New York at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. In it he begins with a number of topics in Ohio’s earliest history, including the classical training of some of Ohio’s founders which was revealed in early place names; Ohio’s first school teachers, and the first library. He then names some of Ohio’s early newspapers and top journalists, noting that Ohio had 16 newspapers in 1810. He also reviews several of Ohio’s earliest as well as the most famous poets in the first half of the 19th century, and then discusses several popular prose authors. He finishes with a review of a few nationally-known (Ohio-based) humorous writers.
See our Art Books PDF
Robinson, William H.
Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art 1996
This book of essays was published to complement an exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art that celebrated artists with Cleveland ties. Each essay examines, through a theme or a medium, a number of works and artists represented in the exhibition. Many illustrations of the works are included.
Ohio History XXV, January 1916, Number 1, 1-22.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society
The author says the region covered by this paper “includes Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia; Southern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois; and Kentucky and Tennessee. Her method is to review, one after the other, specific schools for girls that were established in the early nineteenth century throughout the region. The earliest school in Ohio for girls was the Cincinnati Lancaster Seminary established in 1814 for 1400 pupils. Boys and girls were taught in the same classes, with boys on one side of the room and girls on the other. Also mentioned are two early boarding schools for girls in Cincinnati, apparently established in the 1830s.
Pioneer Schools and Schoolmasters
Ohio History XXV, January 1916, Number 1, 36-51
Shilling, D. C.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society
The author first describes some of the earliest schools in Ohio, including a section on “Lancastrian” schools. Then there is a brief history of “The Rise of Public Schools”. In 1825 the first law was enacted making public schools mandatory. Even then the funds allocated were so inadequate that school directors would announce free school for ten days, after which there would be a fee. The next section of the paper is on “The Pioneer School House”, and describes the typical township school structure in the early days. The final section is “The Pioneer School Master”.
Shotwell, John B.
Cincinnati: School Life Company 1902
Some of the many chapter headings are:
Walnut Hills High School, Sign School for the Deaf, Hughes High School, Music in the Public Schools, Drawing Department, University of Cincinnati, Medical College of Ohio, Ohio College of Dental Surgery, Public Night Schools, Physical Culture, German Department, Lane Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College, Y.M.C.A. Law School, Natural History Society, Cuvier Club & Audubon Society, Agnostic Sunday School, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Ohio Military Institute, Laura Memorial Woman’s Medical College, Ohio Mechanics Institute, Watters Business College, Cincinnati College of Pharmacy, House of Refuge, Bartholomew-Clifton School, Cincinnati Teachers Association, Colored Schools, Ehrgott Vocal School, Miss Satlers School, Wesleyan Female College, Ohio Conservatory of Music, American Book Company, Kindergartens, New Citizens Educational League, Cincinnati Veterinary College.
NY: Harper. 1868
Solomon Franklin Smith (1801-1869) began his career as a theatre manager in Cincinnati in 1823, forming a partnership in 1835 to manage a traveling theatre company. This volume is autobiographical, but mainly consists of anecdotes, helpfully listed at the front in an index of nearly 80 “anecdotal sketches”. Smith explains in the Preface that when people took long journeys in stage-coaches, they often passed the time by singing songs or taking turns telling stories. As a member of a traveling theatre company, Smith probably spent plenty of time in coaches, and here he puts his vast stock of amusing stories on paper.
Resource Library (July 3, 2009)
Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art
This short but informative paper covers a wide range of topics in Cleveland art from the 1830s through the 1870s. Early paintings of Cleveland landmarks are discussed in terms of how the compositions “elevate specific buildings to the status of emblems representing Church and State”, and how the objectives and values of the merchants who commissioned such paintings were reflected on canvas by the artists.
Painters Jarvis Hanks and Allen Smith, Jr are profiled as painters who successfully “positioned themselves in the life of the community”, with Hanks painting signs, regimental colors, Masonic aprons and other items, as well as portraits. The author interprets the symbolism of poses and props in some representative portraits, and discusses techniques used in mid-century by portrait painters to make use of photographs. There is also a section of the paper describing how residents of Cleveland could become amateur artists, and a description of traveling art exhibitions, including gigantic panoramas of historic events.
Creative Education 2003
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University 1994
This book covers over 300 places in Ohio to go looking for birds. It is organized by regions: three chapters cover the Northern tier of counties, the West-Central tier, and the South and Eastern counties. The fourth chapter covers the birds of Ohio. Over 50 maps accompany the text.
Tressel, Jim, et al
Kent, OH: Kent State University 2001
“Takes the reader from the city’s first professional theatrical presentation in 1820, through the heyday of vaudeville, to the grand reopening of the newly renovated Allen Theater in 1999, and the return of touring Broadway shows to Cleveland.” – book cover
Ohio History Vol 1, September 1887, Number 2, 201-5
Venable, William H.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society
Author William H. Venable was a leading authority on Ohio literature in the late nineteenth century. This article is actually a five page list of 60+ literary periodicals that appeared in the Ohio valley from 1819 to 1860, with a short description and history for some of them.
See also: Venable, William H., Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley; Historical and Biographical Sketches on Great Lakes Cultural History
Venable, William Henry
Columbus: Heer 1904
Also see Venable’s article on this page and his book on the Great Lakes Cultural History page. This address on 19th century writers of literature and in other professions has the following sections:
– Pioneer Books and pens in Ohio – Early Periodical Literature – Some Ohio Journalists – Personal Histories, Memoirs, etc. – Histories, Local and General – Science – Law and Medicine – Theology and Denominationalism – Miscellaneous – Fiction – Humorous Writers – Poetry – List of Ohio Authors who have written within Recent Years (nearly 300) – Poetry. Some Ohio Writers of Verse and their Works. (Nearly complete list of poets who published books) – Prose Writers – Supplemental List (about 500 Ohio authors, with titles and years of publication)
Vitz, Robert C.
Kent State University 1989
Cincinnati reigned as the most important cultural center west of New York during much of the 19th century. This general history of the city’s artistic heritage examines the growth of music, art, literature, and theater against a background of economic growth and eventual stagnation.
Orange Frazer 1989
“We want to inform the reader about ironic and anecdotal aspects of Ohio; to introduce him to events, institutions, and people he does not know; and to deepen his acquaintance with those he does.” – Foreword
Orange Frazer 1990
The classic little Ohio book of facts for every Ohio teacher, student, native, and visitor. Educational, whimsical, inspirational, and unexpected, the author hunted and gathered every unusual piece of information about Ohio.
Orange Frazer 2001
It Features Youngstown’s great Mill Creek Park, designed in the 1890s; the fabulous houses of Toledo’s West End; Columbus’s nineteenth-century German Village and pioneering late twentieth-century Wexner Center; and where to find Ohio’s best barroom in Canton. And in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Akron, it finds the three best man-made landscapes, Ohio’s places of perfect beauty. Building Ohio, A Traveler’s Guide to Ohio’s Urban Architecture is the first architectural guidebook ever for Ohio — and the first book at all on Ohio buildings in almost 30 years.Writer Jane Ware spent years tracking down over 600 buildings chosen from a statewide perspective. Two centuries of Ohio courthouses, skyscrapers, museums, houses, churches, and factories appear with photos, drawings, floorplans and directions on exactly how to find them. Here are the famous architects who came from other places to design buildings in Ohio, as well as the now largely forgotten local architects who built beautiful places. Building Ohio’s first volume, a look at architecture in eight Ohio cities — their buildings show just how great, how ambitious, how rich, how smart, how much fun — those cities once were.
Orange Frazer 2006
See them at their best! Moments of leadership, pulling the ball out of the sky, charging through a tenacious d-line, eluding a tackle, appreciating the fans, or simply clowning around. This is not the Bengals of old, this is the new Bengals, a team of great players who posses even greater character, and here is the photo book to prove it.
The Literature of the Western Reserve
Ohio History 100 (Summer-Autumn 1991) 101-28.
Wheeler, Robert A.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society
In the words of the author, who was a professor of History at Cleveland State University, “This essay will trace the literature written about the Reserve, from the early nineteenth century writers who described, embellished and maligned the region to suit their own purposes, to the mid-century residents who preserved the pioneer past in county histories”. The latter part of the paper seems to be a review of 20th century scholarly works on 19th century Western Reserve literature.
Mentor, OH: Rosewood 2003
The author visited all 88 counties of Ohio to photograph old barns that wee selected as Bicentennial Barns, and to interview their owners. The book contains the author’s barn photos along with brief histories of the families and some of the stories they told her.