About

The Collections blog is written by the Collections Services Division of the Ohio Historical Society. Contributors include staff from the following departments: Curatorial and Registrarial Services; Research Services; Preservation and Access Services and State Archives. Our goal is to help our users connect with the “real stuff” of history. To ask a questions or suggest a topic future blog posts, e-mail us at images@ohiohistory.org. 

OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
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The Ohio Historical Society is a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1885 “…to promote a knowledge of archaeology and history, especially in Ohio.” The society exists to interpret, preserve, collect, and make available evidence of the past, and to provide leadership on furthering knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the prehistory and history of Ohio and of the broader cultural and natural environments of which Ohio is a part.

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4 Responses to About

  1. Bill Whan says:

    I’d like to comment on the OHS blog entry “Ten most embarrassing moments of Ohio history,” specifically #5 involving the Passenger Pigeon. I have a copy of Wheaton’s “Catalogue of the Birds of Ohio” (1860) which I obtained from the OHS Library-. You assert that Wheaton’s “lack of judgment” cause him to write in that publication that “The passenger pigeon needs no protection.” These words are in fact those used by the Ohio legislature three years earlier in refusing to control the pigeon harvest. Wheaton always followed AOU protocols in capitalizing the names of species, and these words do not appear in the “Catalogue,” even if he had voiced this uncharacteristic sentiment elsewhere. Still more troubling is the blog entry’s endorsement of the Legislature’s action “that provided the first real protections for select game birds, song birds, and mammals”, as if they were friends of the passenger pigeon. It was the Ohio legislature that wrote in 1857 that “The passenger pigeon needs no protection. Wonderfully prolific, having the vast forests of the North as its breeding grounds, traveling hundreds of miles in search of food, it is here to-day and elsewhere to-morrow, and no ordinary destruction can lessen them and or be missed from the myriads that are yearly produced.” This is a big mistake, and you ought to correct it.

    • ohiohistory says:

      Apparently, embarrassing moments are not limited to history. Bill Whan is correct in that John Maynard Wheaton did not write the words: “The passenger pigeon needs no protection.” How did this error enter our report?

      Wheaton’s publication, Catalogue of Birds of Ohio, appeared in the publication:
      Ohio State Board of Agriculture. 1861. Fifteenth Annual Report of the Ohio
      State Board of Agriculture for 1860. Richard Nevins, State Printer, Columbus. His paper ran from pages 359 to 380 in this thick book. It is immediately followed by a report written by the Senate Select Committee on Senate Bill No. 12, “For the protecton of birds and game. While a careful reading shows this report was written by Wm. O. Collins of the Select Committee, I somehow missed that note and continued reading as if it were a continuation of Wheaton’s paper. The Senate Select Committee penned the words about the passenger pigeon needing no protection.

      The blame for this embarrassing moment in Ohio history belongs to Wm. O. Collins and the rest of the Senate Select Committee who reviewed the 1857 law and prepared a new law replacing that law in 1861. Wheaton remains blameless. The blame for a careless reading of the record and misrepresenting where the blame falls, belongs to me.

      Robert C. Glotzhober, Senior Curator, Natural History
      October 13, 2011

  2. Gary Overall says:

    I have a collection of letters written home during the Civil War to Martha Jane Overall of Gallia County. They were written by her husband while he served in the 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. I have full resolution scans and transcriptions here: http://www.goverall.wordpress.com. I hope they are interesting and useful to you.

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