Ohio history books, Ohio history textbooks, and other books & articles related to the distant and recent past in Ohio. Some were published in the 19th Century. This page has:
- Histories of Ohio, from the 1830s to the 2000s
- Ohio History School Textbooks, Vintage & Modern
- Encyclopedias & Reference Books of Ohio
- The 1970 Kent State University Shootings
- Collected Stories, Sketches & Profiles from History
- Primary Source Collection
- The 1937 Ohio River Flood
Books about Ohio History – Collection – Ohio History Books
About 180 free books online about Ohio history, at the Internet Archive.
The History of the State of Ohio: From the Discovery of the Great Valley, to the present time … – Old Book on Ohio History
Including Narratives of Early Explorations, the Struggles between France and England for the Possession of the Valley, the Wars with the Indians, Organization of the State, the Adventures of the Early Emigrants, Life in the Solitudes of the Wilderness, Biographical Sketches of All the Governors of Ohio, and of Many Others of Her Most Illustrious Sons, and Most of the Important Events Attending the Birth, Growth and Maturity of a State Now Truly Imperial in Population, Wealth and Power
Abbott, John S. C.
Detroit: Northwestern 1875
John Stevens Cabot Abbott (1805-1877) was an American historian and a pastor in Congregational churches in Massachusetts. He wrote a number of inspirational or religious books, including a history of Christianity and guides for Christian living. He also published a variety of popular histories, primarily on European subjects, and a History of the Civil War in America.
– Summary of info in Abbot’s Wikipedia entry
This 850-page early survey of Ohio was a popular rather than an academic history, with a good supply of anecdotes and an emphasis on lively action and stories of human interest. However, it seems fairly well-researched and wide-ranging for a popular history of that era.
A History of the State of Ohio, Natural and Civil – Ohio History Book
Cincinnati: Glezen & Shepard 1838
Caleb Atwater (1778-1867) was a Massachusetts Presbyterian minister and then a New York lawyer and businessman. In 1815 he moved to Circleville, OH (south of Columbus) and began practicing law. He later was a postmaster and state legislator. Today he is best known as one of the first people to study prehistoric earthworks and their artifacts in the Ohio Valley. The present-day Ohio historical marker in Circleville dedicated to Atwater says that “his life and work as a teacher, minister, lawyer, legislator and scholar greatly influenced early 19th century Ohio”, mentioning his critical role in the passage of Ohio’s Public School Law and his early thoughts in History of Ohio on conservation and ecology. The marker concludes by saying that “scholars today are still intrigued by this eccentric and fascinating visionary.” .
The Ohio Company of Virginia and the Westward Movement, 1748-1792; A Chapter in the History of the Colonial FrontierBook on Ohio History
Bailey, Kenneth P.
Glendale, Calif.: Arthur H. Clark 1939
The Ohio Company was the earliest and the most important of the great land companies of the west, and played a major role in the settlement of the frontier in the late 18th century. The author was a professional historian and made use of unpublished documents and manuscripts to reveal the full history of the company.
Baskin, John and O’Bryant, Michael
Wilmington, OH: Orange Frazer 2004
“A compendium of facts about the state of Ohio, including statistics concerning such diverse topics as education, geography, politics, business and industry and agriculture.”
The Story of Ohio – Vintage Ohio History Books
Boston: Lothrop 1888
A volume in a series called The Story of the States. It appears to be a popular history aimed at the general reader, from the perspective of the 1880s.
Dodge’s Geography of Ohio – Vintage History of Ohio
Bownocker, J. A.
Chicago: Rand, McNally 1906
This short popular book of the geography and history of Ohio was published by the atlas publisher Rand McNally at the beginning of the 20th century. Heavily illustrated with photos, as well as geographic and economic maps of Ohio.
Ohio – Ohio History Textbook
Mankato, MN: Capstone 1996
Gives an overview of the state of Ohio, including its history, geography, people, and living conditions.
The History of Ohio: from its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time – 19th Century Ohio History Textbook
Carpenter, William Henry and Arthur, T.S.
Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo 1854
A volume in the Lippincott series Cabinet Histories of the States.
The Frontier Republic: Ideology and Politics in the Ohio Country 1780-1825 – Ohio History Book
Cayton, Andrew R. L.
Kent, OH: Kent State University 1986
“Revolutionary movements generally splinter into different groups that compete with each other for the right to shape the values and structures of the new society. The Frontier Republic examines the form these conflicts took in the settlement of the Ohio Country, as thousands of Americans streamed onto the lands west of the Appalachians.”
Ohio Before 1850 – Ohio History Book
A Study of the Early Influence of Pennsylvania and Southern Populations in Ohio
Chaddock, Robert Emmet
NY: Columbia University 1908
A volume in the early 20th century series Studies in History, Economics and Public Law edited by the faculty of Political Science of Columbia University.
“The freedom of the individual and the broad basis for democratic representative government in the United States developed not in the older states but for the first time on the extending frontier of the Middle West. The contributions made to this social movement by the early populations of Ohio from Pennsylvania and the South form the subject of this paper.” – Preface
See our Century Past page on Ohio Society to read about immigrants, crime, ethnic groups, women, African Americans, pioneer life, and social issues.
A Sketch of the History of Ohio – Historic Ohio History Textbook
Chase, Salmon Portland
Cincinnati: Corey and Fairbank, 1833
This is one of the earliest Ohio state histories published. The author, Salmon Chase, was a New Hampshire native and was a young lawyer in Cincinnati when he wrote this. In the 1840s he would be a leading Ohio legislator, and was the Governor of Ohio from 1856-1860. He then ran for president, but lost the nomination to Lincoln. He served as Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury until 1864, when Lincoln nominated him for the U.S. Supreme Court. He served there as Chief Justice until his death in 1873.
The Ohio Gateway – Book on Ohio History
Crouse, David E.
Scribner’s Sons 1938
The focus of this volume is on the routes used by pioneers entering Ohio country from the eastern and southeastern states. He also covers the resistance of the Indians who lived there, and other geographical and economic factors that formed the gateway and affected the pioneers.
Frontier Ohio, 1788-1803 – Ohio History Book
Downes, Randolph Chandler
Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society 1935
Dr. Downes was a historian on the Western Pennsylvania Historical Survey, and this book was the third volume in the “Ohio Historical Collections”; a series sponsored by the State Archaeological and Historical Society and the History departments of several universities. Chapter headings are:
1. The Conquest, 1788-1795 – 2. The People of Frontier Ohio – 3. The Problems of Trade – 4. The Reign of Winthrop Sargent – 5. Political Reform – 6. The Statehood Contest – Cincinnati Phase – 7. The Statehood Contest – Chillicothe Phase – 8. The Making of the State.
Dodd, Mead 1970
Covers the shooting of Ohio students during an anti-war demonstration at Kent State University by Ohio National Guardsmen in May 1970.
Farm Security Administration
Akron: Akron Art Institute 1980
A photographic chronicle of American life during the Great Depression, organized by the Federal Government. The volume includes profiles of the photographers whose work is included here.
Galbreath, Charles Burleigh
Chicago: American Historical Society 1925
Vols 3-5 are biographical material. The index of names is near the front of vol. 1.
Nashville, Tenn: Rutledge Hill 1993
Stories about famous, colorful and influential people of Ohio.
The Fourth of May: Killings and Coverups at Kent State – Ohio History Book Online
Gordon, William A.
Covers the shooting of Ohio students during an anti-war demonstration at Kent State University by Ohio National Guardsmen in May 1970.
History and Geography of Ohio – Vintage Ohio History Textbooks
Gregory, William M. and Guitteau, William Backus
Boston: Ginn 1922
One of the authors was a geographer, and the other was the director of schools in Toledo. The book appears to have been a high school textbook.
The Journal of a Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany Mountains; Made in the Spring of the Year 1803 …
With A Geographical and Historical Account of the State of Ohio. Illustrated with original maps and views.
Harris, Thaddeus M.
Boston: Manning & Loring 1805
Thaddeus Mason Harris (1768-1842) was a Harvard-educated Unitarian minister and librarian at Harvard. In 1803, suffering from illness and depression, he was advised by his doctor to travel. He and his brother then started out for Ohio, traveling through Pennsylvania by carriage. Part 1 of the book was written from Harris’ travel journal notes, beginning near Shippensburg, PA, describing their trip over the Alleghenies to Pittsburg, on to Wheeling by carriage, and then to Marietta, Ohio by keelboat. The comparatively brief Part 2 is an account of his return trip. These travel accounts contain descriptions of geographical features and accounts of the significant towns.
The remainder, and majority of the book, is entitled “Geographical and Historical Account of the State of Ohio”. Written largely from information provided by General Rufus Putnam and several other men that Harris met in Marietta, it must have been one of the earliest attempts at a comprehensive history of Ohio. Ohio history books.
The Buckeye country : A Pageant of Ohio – Free Textbook of Ohio History
NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons 1947
Harlan Hatcher was a Professor of American Literature at Ohio State University when he first published this book in 1940. He later served as President of the University of Michigan, from 1951 to 1967. Chapter headings are:
– Grandfathers – The Lay of the Land – Almost Forgotten Men – The Fight for the Land – A Frenchman and a few Englishmen – The Wars come to Ohio – Forests and Fences – Settlements and Villages – Fashioning a State – The River called the Beautiful – The National Pike – Lake Erie and the Ohio Canals – Floods – Johnny Appleseed – The French Five Hundred – Blennerhassett’s Island – God’s Kingdom in Ohio – Ohio’s Taste in Houses – A Commonwealth of Colleges – Arts, Artists, and Museums – Among Ohio Writers – Ohio Men in the White House – What is Ohio? – Bibliography. Ohio history textbook, state of Ohio history.
Ohio: A History – Ohio History Book Free Online
Urbana, IL: University of Illinois 2001
Although published by a university press, this appears to be a popular history for the general reader rather than for university classes or an academic audience.
River to the West; Three Centuries of the Ohio – Ohio History Book PDF
A popular history of the Ohio River Valley since its earliest history.
Michigan travel books
Historical Collections of Ohio: Containing a Collection of the Most Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, Etc. …
Relating to Its General and Local History, with Descriptions of Its Counties, Principal Towns and Villages : Illustrated by 177 Engravings Giving Views of the Chief Towns, Public Buildings, Relics of Antiquity, Historic Localities, Natural Scenery, Etc.
Cincinnati: Derby, Bradley 1850
History both general and local, geography with descriptions of its counties, cities and villages, its agricultural, manufacturing, mining and business development, sketches of eminent and interesting characters, etc., with notes of a tour over it in 1886. Illustrated by about 700 engravings. Contrasting the Ohio of 1846 with 1886-90.
Cincinnati: State of Ohio 1896, 1907
Henry Howe (1816-1893) was born and raised in Connecticut. In 1840 he sought out John W. Barber, who had recently published Historical Collections of Connecticut; a book that greatly impressed Howe. It had been written for the general reader, and, in Howe’s words, “it seemed, in its variety, to have something adapted to all ages, classes and tastes…” “The book, therefore reached more minds, and has been more extensively read, than any regular state history ever issued”. Howe suggested to Barber that together they research and write a similar book for New York State. They became partners, first producing Historical Collections of New York, and then similar volumes for New Jersey and Virginia.
In 1846 Howe and Barber began preparing for a history of Ohio with a tour of the state that would last more than a year and take them to 79 of 83 counties. Historical Collections of Ohio appeared in late 1847, becoming Ohio’s best-selling history book of the entire century. In 1848 Howe married and became an Ohio resident by moving to Cincinnati. He continued to write history for many years, and Ohioans often asked him about the possibility of an update to the Ohio Historical Collections. Finally, nearly 40 years later, he started out in 1885 to retrace his steps and collected material for a 3-volume set that contrasted Ohio of the 1880s with Ohio of the 1840s. He completed the project but unfortunately it ended as a financial disaster for Howe and he died deeply in debt.
– The Wikipedia entry for Howe was a source for these notes.
The 1880s Collections, originally a 3-volume set, was consolidated into two large volumes in later editions, like those offered above. Ohio history books, state of Ohio history, vintage Ohio history books.
Also see histories of regions and cities of Ohio in: History of Ohio Cities, Counties & Regions
Ohio: Our State – Ohio History Textbook Free Online
Howe, Robert T.
Ohio history textbook, apparently intended for Junior High School students.
Ohio in the Time of the Confederation – Free Online History of Ohio
Hulbert, Archer Butler, ed.
Marietta, OH: Marietta Historical Commission 1918
Introduction: A Territory in the Making – Part 1: The Antecedents of the Ordinance of 1784 – Part 2: Ohio in the Papers of the Continental Congress – Part 3: Journal of John Matthews. Ohio history books.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1891
“The special significance of the book is seen in the explanatory title. While admirably qualified for his task, the writer maintains some opinions that, to say the least, are doubtful, as that the Old Congress insisted upon its jurisdiction over the Old Northwest. He minimizes, too, the legal value of the Ordinance of 1787.”- Literature of American History; a bibliographical guide 1902.
Ohio and Its People – Free Ohio History Book
Knepper, George W.
Kent, OH: Kent State University 1989
A survey of the history of Ohio from French exploration through the 1980s.
The Growth and History of Ohio – Free Online Ohio History Text
An Elementary History Prepared for Use in Schools, and for the General Reader
Laning, Jay Ford
Norwalk, OH: Laning 1897
Ohio history textbook.
Ohio: Adventures in Time and Place – Elementary Ohio History Textbooks
NY: Macmillan McGraw-Hill 1997
Textbooks for an Elementary school course in Ohio History & Geography
Fifty Stories from Ohio History – Ohio History Online
Martzolff, Clement L.
Columbus: Ohio Teaching 1919
The author of this early 20th century book was the head of the Department of History at Ohio University. He wrote that “this collection of stories is the response to a feeling which the writer has had for years that too little is known by the boys and girls in our schools concerning the origin, growth and development of our state … The basis of selection has been to secure such stories as are representative of the different periods in our state’s history.”
Ohio Annals: Historic Events in the Tuscarawas and Muskingum Valleys, and in other portions of the state of Ohio …
Adventures of Post, Heckewelder and Zeisberger; legends and traditions of the Kophs, Mound builders, red and white men; Adventures of Putnam and Heckewelder, founders of the state; Local history, growth of Ohio in population, political power, wealth and intelligence
Mitchener, Charles H. ed.
Dayton: Odell 1876
This 1870s popular history seems to be drawn from a wide variety of sources, although none are listed. Much of the book is an early history of the state, beginning with its geological origins but mostly consisting of the last quarter of the 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th. It emphasizes dramatic incidents and heroes. It is interspersed with about 30 “Legends and Traditions”, which seem to be stories or incidents that had been passed down orally, often by local Native Americans. Toward the end of the volume there is a focus on the history of particular regions (as indicated in the title), and the last chapter includes a collection of lists and tables.
Overman, William Daniel
Akron: Atlantic 1958
Each town gets a brief description as well as some info about the origin of the name, if available.
Pearson, Francis B. and Harlor, J.D.
Columbus: Heer 1903
This book for the general reader at the turn of the 20th century appears to consist almost entirely of stories of people who were prominent in Ohio’s history.
Porter, M. E., Mrs.
Cincinnati, Elm Street 1871
A non-technical, promotional description of Ohio’s geography and economy in 1870. Chapter headings are:
Buckey Blossoms – Railroads of Ohio – Churches of Ohio – Counties of Ohio, Alphabetically arranged – State Officers – Ohio’s Soldiery – Schools of Ohio – Cities of Ohio – State Charities – Public Buildings. Ohio geography book.
History of Ohio: The Rise and Progress of an American State, Vol 1 – Ohio History Books
Randall, E O, and Daniel J. Ryan
New York: Century History 1912
Emilius O. Randall (1850-1919) of Columbus, OH was a Law Professor at Ohio State University and the official reporter of the Ohio Supreme Court. Appointed by the Governor as a Trustee of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, he also served as Secretary and Editor. He edited 28 volumes and authored several books and numerous articles for the Society. Daniel Joseph Ryan (1855-1923) was a Republican politician in the Ohio state legislature and an historian of Ohio.
“The first two volumes written by Mr. Randall, cover the pre-state period of Ohio history; volume 3, written by Mr. Ryan, shows how in the two-score years ended in 1837, the Ohio wilderness was tamed and how popular government and statehood was established; in volume 4 Mr. Ryan undertakes to present an accurate and impartial history of the state of Ohio from 1837 down to the present time. The fifth volume contains treatises by selected writers on the literary men and women of Ohio, the Judiciary, the doctors and medical colleges, the state’s relation to the Great Lakes, and the manufacturing interests of the state.”
– The Book Review Digest
Randall wrote in the Preface of Vol 1 that he carefully consulted all publications of second-hand authority available, and examined reprints of original documents. He also visited nearly every site in the state that touched upon his narrative. He said these volumes were written “with the purpose of concisely portraying the more important events in early Ohio history and presenting them in their relative and chronological order, in simple narrative form for the general reader. A history for the public should be first reliable, second readable.”
Always a River: The Ohio River and the American Experience – Ohio River History
Reid, Robert I, ed.
Bloomington : Indiana University 1991
“Always a River views the Ohio through the perspective of history, geography, political science, economics, and literature. Essays by Scott Russell Sanders, John A. Jakle, Hubert G. H. Wilhelm, Michael Allen, Darrel E. Bigham, Leland R. Johnson, and Boyd Keenan tell about the settlement period of the river, its economic importance, the different phases of engineering over a long period of time, and the river as an eco-political system.” – Book cover
A History of Ohio – Ohio History Textbook PDF
Roseboom, Eugene Holloway and Weisenberger, Francis Phelps
NY: Prentice-Hall 1934
Written by history professors, this 1930’s survey of the state’s history was intended for undergrads or general readers.
Smart, Ted; Gibbon, David
NY: Crescent 1980
A book consisting almost entirely of color photos, with a few captions.
An Ohio Reader – Ohio History Textbook
Smith, Thomas H.
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans
“A documentary history of the Buckeye State. Its readings provide contemporaneous, eyewitness accounts describing national battles and street riots, congressional speeches and heated debates, bossism, labor exploitation, and race and sex discrimination.” Book cover
NY: Somerset 1994
History of the State of Ohio 1650-1787 – Ohio History Book
Taylor, James W.
“As the dates on the title-page indicate, the work is devoted entirely to the aboriginal history of the State, previous to the Territorial period. The early Jesuit Missions, the wars of the Eries and Iroquois, the border warfare which was raging for nearly a quarter of a century between the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, and the Delawares, Shawanese and Wyandots, are the subjects which nearly fill the volume. Besides the mass of matter which such a volume is expected to contain, portions of the following narratives are given: “Gist’s Diary,” “Roger’s Expedition,” “Bradstreet’s Expedition,” “Bouquet’s Expedition,” “Clark’s Campaign,” “Crawford’s Campaign,” “Smith’s Captivity,” etc. Taylor’s Ohio was intended as a text book for schools.” -Peter G. Thomson.
For works on the Old Northwest under the French regime (until about 1760), see: Great Lakes General History
Thwing, Charles Franklin
NY: Pearson 1901
A volume in the series The Story of the States, published by Pearson’s Magazine. Includes many illustrations. Historic Ohio, Ohio State History.
Columbus: Backroad Chronicles 1990
“Presents the complete collection of Ohio’s 256 historic corporate limit markers along with narrative descriptions that tell the stories behind the inscriptions”
Utter, William T.
Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society 1942
This is Volume 2 in the 6-volume series History of the State of Ohio, sponsored and published by the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society in the early 1940s. The author was a professor of history at Denison University.
Footprints of the Pioneers in the Ohio Valley: A Centennial Sketch – Ohio Frontier History
Venable, William H.
Cincinnati: Ohio Valley Press 1888
William H. Venable (1836-1920) was born in Warren County, Ohio and was a teacher for most of his adult life. He also was a prolific writer, poet and historian; and was an authority on literature in the Midwest. You can find his book Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley; Historical and Biographical Sketches on the Great Lakes Cultural History page of this site. Chapter headings, with a few of the topics within, are:
– France and England in the Western World. Conquest of New France, Ohio Land Company of Virginia.
– Massachusetts Colonizes the Ohio Country. The Ordinance of 1787. The Ohio Land Company of Massachusetts.
– The Queen City and the Buckey State. The Symmes Purchase, Losantiville and Filson. The State of Ohio.
– Westward by Hoof, Wheel, and Keel. Tracking Forest Paths. First Wagon Roads to the West. Down the River in 1792. The Wagoner of the Alleghanies, Thomas Corwin on the The Great West.
– Rapid Settlement of the Central States. A Century’s Increase of Population and Growth of Settlements. “Go West, Young Man!”, Pioneer’s House and Home.
– Log-Cabin Life in the Ohio Valley. Costume and Furniture. War on the Woods. The Apple Cutting and the Frolic. The Primeval Forests of Ohio.
Vexler, Robert I. and Swindler, William F., eds.
Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana 1978
The plan for this series of books for each U.S. state is that each will have 6 divisions: 1. Chronology of selected events; 2. short biographical directory of principal public officials; 3. short biographical directory of prominent personalities; 4. first state constitution; 5. text of some representative documents; 6. selected bibliography for those seeking further or more detailed information.” – Introduction.
Wilmington, OH: Orange Frazer
“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
University of Chicago 2011
“The first comprehensive history of one of the most destructive disasters in American history. In the early days of 1937 the Ohio River, swollen by heavy winter rains, began rising. The Ohio and the Mississippi rose to record heights. Nearly 400 people died, while a million more had been run from their homes.”
Descriptions of Ancient Works in Ohio – Ohio Archaeology Book
Washington: Smithsonian Institution 1851
This small archeological study contains descriptions and drawings of 18 ancient sites in Ohio. The Table of Contents lists the sites:
– France and England in the Western World. Conquest of New France, Ohio Land Company of Virginia. – Massachusetts Colonizes the Ohio Country. The Ordinance of 1787. The Ohio Land Company of Massachusetts. – The Queen City and the Buckey State. The Symmes Purchase, Losantiville and Filson. The State of Ohio. – Westward by Hoof, Wheel, and Keel. Tracking Forest Paths. First Wagon Roads to the West. Down the River in 1792. The Wagoner of the Alleghanies, Thomas Corwin on the The Great West. – Rapid Settlement of the Central States. A Century’s Increase of Population and Growth of Settlements. “Go West, Young Man!”, Pioneer’s House and Home. – Log- Cabin Life in the Ohio Valley. Costume and Furniture. War on the Woods. The Apple Cutting and the Frolic. The Primeval Forests of Ohio.
The History of the State of Ohio, Vol 1 – Ohio History Textbook
Wittke, Carl Frederick, ed. and others
Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society 1941-1944
This is a 6-volume series, but Vol 6 is not available online. Titles and authors of Vols 1-5 are:
Vol 1. The Foundations of Ohio, Bond, Beverley W. Jr
Vol 2. The Frontier State 1803-1825, Utter, William T.
Vol 3. The Passing of the Frontier 1825-1850, Weisenburger, Francis P.
Vol 4. The Civil War Era 1850-1873, Roseboom, Eugene H.
Vol 5. Ohio Comes of Age 1873-1900, Jordan, Philip D.