Putting Ohioans to Work

October is Archives Month!

This year’s theme is Ohio in the Depression. This is the third in a series of blog posts highlighting photographs of people and places in Ohio during the 1930s.

Teacher Viola Davis...

WPA employed teacher Viola Davis with her students at the Butler County Emergency School, Oxford, Ohio, 1936.

Today’s Archives Month image is one of many photographs taken by the Federal Writers’ Project, part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), while writing the Ohio Guide. These photographs documenting the Great Depression are now part of the Ohio Guide Collection in the Ohio History Connection Archives/Library. This photograph depicts a class from the Butler County Emergency School. Mrs. Viola Smith taught this class in homemaking in Oxford, Ohio in the fall of 1936. Her class focused on cooking, food values, meal planning, sewing, quilting, and basketry. In order to raise money for materials for the class, the students wrote and put on a play in Stewart High School. The materials purchased from this fundraiser allowed them to make aprons and dresses, thereby enabling them to learn more about sewing, designing, and finishing garments.

Four children participating in the WPA "Learn to swim" campaign at the pool in Navarre, Ohio.   These "Learn to Swim" campaigns were part of the Works Progress Administration, a project that hired unemployed Americans to work on various government projects from April 8, 1935 to June 30, 1943.

Four children participating in the WPA “Learn to swim” campaign at the pool in Navarre, Ohio. These “Learn to Swim” campaigns were part of the Works Progress Administration, a project that hired unemployed Americans to work on various government projects from April 8, 1935 to June 30, 1943.


Viola Smith was one of thousands of teachers employed by the WPA. Created in 1935, the WPA offered employment to those in need on an unprecedented scale, spending federal money on a wide variety of programs – from highway construction to rural rehabilitation, reforestation, and schooling. The goal of these and other programs like it was to get people back to work rather than simply giving them a government handout for unemployment. As Harry Hopkins, the administrator of the WPA, said, “Give a man a dole, and you save his body and destroy his spirit. Give him a job and you save both body and spirit.”
Bookbinding project in Cincinnati Public Library, Cincinnati, Ohio.  WPA work relief programs included training in library instruction.

Bookbinding project in Cincinnati Public Library, Cincinnati, Ohio. WPA work relief programs included training in library instruction.


Hopkins’ philosophy worked. In the first six months, the WPA employed over 173,000 Ohioans. More than 1,500 of these were unemployed teachers, whom the WPA used to teach courses ranging from homemaking to reading. One of these teachers’ foremost tasks was to teach illiterate adults how to read. Others employed by the WPA included writers, who wrote the Ohio Guide and interviewed former slaves and who artists painted murals in public buildings throughout Ohio. The WPA continued to operate throughout the United States until 1943. By this time, the World War II was underway and unemployment had dropped drastically as war-time jobs were created in response to the need for munitions and supplies. During its nine years of existence, the Works Progress Administration completed over 1.4 million projects and employed about 8.5 million people, providing work and hope to those families during a time of widespread unemployment and hopelessness.

Interested in learning more about the Works Progress Administration and the Great Depression? Check out these links:

Lilly Library, Indiana University. “The Works Project Administration in Indiana.” Indiana University. http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/wpa/wpa.html.

Ohio History Central. “Works Progress Administration.” Ohio History Connection. http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Works_Progress_Administration?rec=1011.

PBS. “The Works Progress Administration (WPA).” PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/dustbowl- wpa/.

Caitlin Smith, History Collections Intern

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Victorian Mourning Culture: How Men Mourned

Between high infant mortality rates, periodic plagues, and military conflicts for an expanding Western empires, death was an everyday occurrence during the Victorian Period. As a result, an entire social structure developed around the idea of death and how to react in the public and private spheres. In this second in a series of posts about Victorian Mourning Culture, the idea of socially acceptable mourning practices for men is explored.

Mourning culture was divided along gender lines.  While mourning for women was a public display – one of the few ways to express emotion that was socially acceptable– for men, mourning was a private affair.  Males worked and lived in a more visible sphere then women; they were expected to hide their emotions from the larger world, grieving privately at home.

From the Ohio History Connection Archives. Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant taken in April 1865 after accepting General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Grant is wearing a black crepe mourning band on his arm in honor of President Abraham Lincoln after he was assassinated.

From the Ohio History Connection Archives. Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant taken in April 1865; Grant is wearing a black crepe mourning band on his arm in honor of President Abraham Lincoln.

Males did have some outward expression of mourning, but it was largely muted.  Unlike women, who normally wore bright colors, men’s dress was subdued; black, brown, and grey suits were the cultural norm.  Because of this, men did not have different mourning color clothing as women did.  Instead, they simply wore a black armband and added a black band to their hats to indicate that they were in mourning.

 

H 21915 001-2

H 21915.001-002

The black wool armbands (H 21915.001-002) seen in the photograph are an example of the type of mourning attire that would have been worn by males.  This set of armbands was sent to the parents of Irvin Danford by the Noble County Chapter of the American Red Cross after Danford was killed during World War I in 1919, after the Victorian Age.  Some aspects of the Victorian mourning culture re-emerged as a result of the massive number of deaths that occurred during World War I, including symbols of grief, like these armbands. There was even a revival in séances, as grieving families attempted to find closure with the loss of their loved ones who were often buried overseas where families were unable to visit the graveside.

H 50796

H 50796

 

Another way males participated in mourning was through the use of black-bordered stationary and calling cards.  This allowed males to indicate their mourning status to visitors and correspondents. Additionally, this prevented those grieving from having to repeatedly answer questions regarding the loss of their loved one.  One such example is Miss Maggie Hazlet’s calling card (H 50796).  While this black-bordered calling card is for a female, males would have the same border added to their cards and stationary.

Victorian men mourned the same length of time as their female counterparts; it was simply more private, with very few outward expressions of their grief.  Check back soon to learn how Victorian female mourning expression differentiated from male mourning.

Caitlin Smith, History Collections Intern

 

Sources:

Old Sturbridge Inc. “Historical Background on Mourning Rituals in Early 19th Century     New England.” Old Sturbridge Village (2003).       http://resources.osv.org/school/lesson_plans/ShowLessons.php?PageID=R&Lesso            nID=37&DocID=2043&UnitID=.

Taylor, Lou.  Mourning Dress: A Costume and Social History. London: George Allen        and Unwin, 1983.

Zielke, Melissa. “Forget-Me-Nots: Victorian Women, Mourning, and the Construction of a Feminine Historical Memory.” Material History Review 58 (2003): 52-66.

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Electronic Records Day this Friday 1010!

electronic records logo_2014 final

The Council of State Archivists (CoSA) is celebrating Electronic Records Day this Friday, 10.10. Electronic Records Day is an opportunity to raise awareness among government agencies, related professional organizations, the general public and other stakeholders about the crucial role electronic records play in our world. Now in its third year, Electronic Records Day was created by CoSA as part of its State Electronic Records Initiative (SERI).

Why do electronic records matter?
With the increasing reliance on information technology, the challenge to manage, preserve, and provide access to digital records and information continues to grow. Managing electronic records is an urgent issue!

Electronic records are subject to changes in software and hardware that can leave them virtually inaccessible after just a few years, if not monitored.

Electronic records require proactive management. The best time to plan for electronic records preservation is at the time records are created, rather than when software is being replaced or a project is ending.

Electronic records should be evaluated according to their information content, not their format, and be subject to the same retention schedules and public records requirements as physical records.

Paper records stored in good conditions can be read centuries afterwards; electronic records, however, can become unreadable very quickly, without proper management and care.

For more information on Electronic Records Day please visit CoSA’s website.

Did you find this post through Facebook or Twitter? Then check out the Ohio Electronic Records Committee’s Social Media Guidelines and Tip Sheet. The OhioERC has other electronic records management and preservation guidelines and tip sheets as well, including email, digitization and websites.

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Lucy Allen- The Ohio History Connection’s First Female Curator of Archaeology

Archaeology Curator Brad Lepper recently wrote this blog post about the Ohio History Connection’s first female Curator.

The Ohio History Connection traditionally has presented our roster of Curators of Archaeology as follows:

Lucy Allen (1901) from MAKIO, the yearbook of the Ohio State University.

Lucy Allen (1901) from MAKIO, the yearbook of the Ohio State University.

Warren K. Moorehead 1894-1897
Clarence Loveberry 1897-1898
William C. Mills 1898-1921
Henry C. Shetrone 1921-1928
Emerson Greenman 1928-1935
Richard G. Morgan 1936-1948
Raymond S. Baby 1948-1979
Martha Potter Otto 1974-2009

Loveberry actually only served from 7 October 1897 to 8 February 1898, a tenure of only four months, but he’s nevertheless remembered as our second curator.

Mills wasn’t hired until 1 June 1898, which leaves a curious gap. Who was running the shop between 8 February and Mills’ arrival in June?

Lucy Allen was a graduate student in Library Science at the Ohio State University during the Summer of 1898 and she also worked as an Assistant Librarian. In addition, she was employed in some capacity by the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society (now the Ohio History Connection) during the same period. We know, for example, that she was actively involved in the preparation of a state census of archaeological sites — the direct ancestor of today’s Ohio Archaeological Inventory — because Moorehead, in his report on the “Work of the Curator” for the Society’s 1898 Annual Report, stated that he was “particularly indebted to Miss Lucy Allen for her cooperation in the preparation of the state map for publication in this report and for her constant assistance in the museum.” And, in August, after Mills had taken the helm, Moorehead wrote to E. O. Randall, the Society’s Secretary, to “please arrange so Miss Allen can check off proof sheets of map synopsis from the original. A final check must be made in order that each county be correctly represented. Miss Allen knowing map better than any other person – next to myself – can do this. She has written me. I endorse her & will suggest that she be paid for the trouble. It is 40 or 50 hours work.”

Map showing the distribution of earthworks from the Archaeological Atlas of Ohio published in 1914 by the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society. William C. Mills is listed as the sole author. He gave no credit to either Moorehead or Allen in spite of the fact that they initially recorded more than 60% of these sites.

Map showing the distribution of earthworks from the Archaeological Atlas of Ohio published in 1914 by the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society. William C. Mills is listed as the sole author. He gave no credit to either Moorehead or Allen in spite of the fact that they initially recorded more than 60% of these sites.

After Loveberry abruptly departed for his new job, the Society’s Annual Report for 1898 states that “Miss Lucy Allen took charge of the Museum and performed the duties of Curator.” It is clear that this wasn’t simply an informal arrangement. The Annual Report of the Ohio State University indicates that Allen was serving as “Curator, arch museum” and being paid $20 per month for the months of February, March, April, May and June. Loveberry was paid $25 per month by the Ohio State University and another $15 per month by the Society. Mills got the same deal when he became Curator. I have not yet been able to determine whether or not Allen received the additional salary from the Society. Regardless, she received correspondence addressed to “Lucy Allen, Dept. Curator” and she sent out letters on Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society letterhead. So, even though she was paid somewhat less than her male counterparts, Allen was, indeed, the Ohio History Connection’s third Curator of Archaeology serving somewhat longer than Loveberry’s four months.

Why, then, has she not been enshrined in the annals of the Society as our first female curator – well, at least not until now, more than a century after her service?

The only answer I have been able to come up with is that it was precisely because she was a woman that she was not regarded as an equal of the men who held that position. It’s true that she did not direct any excavations or, as far as we know, participate in fieldwork of any kind. Nevertheless, her contributions to what would become the Archaeological Atlas of Ohio and her performance of the “duties of Curator” during the spring of 1898 entitle her to this long neglected recognition.

The only other female curator of archaeology I am aware of from this early period is Sara Yorke Stevenson, who became the Curator of the Egyptian and Mediterranean section of the Pennsylvania University’s Museum in 1890. Like Allen, Stevenson never did fieldwork, but she nevertheless made many important contributions to archaeology and had a tremendous influence on opening the discipline to women. Langdon Warner, one of the Monuments Men and Director of the Pennsylvania Museum from 1917 to 1923, wrote of Stevenson: “If women today find no difficulty in being recognized as scholars, and if their counsel is demanded in Museums, it is due to Mrs. Stevenson in a far greater measure than our casual generation will ever know.”

Our generation has been unable to know of Lucy Allen’s role in expanding the opportunities of women in science, because she had been written out of the Ohio History Connection’s institutional history. By giving her that recognition now, I hope to restore this missing chapter to the history of Ohio archaeology and to the history of women’s contributions to science.

Here, then, is a corrected Roster of Ohio History Connection Curators of Archaeology:

Warren K. Moorehead 1894-1897
Clarence Loveberry 1897-1898
Lucy Allen 1898
William C. Mills 1898-1921
Henry C. Shetrone 1921-1928
Emerson Greenman 1928-1935
Richard G. Morgan 1936-1948
Raymond S. Baby 1948-1979
Martha Potter Otto 1974-2009

Thanks to Ohio History Connection Curator Elizabeth Nelson for pointing out to me the reference to Lucy Allen in the 1898 Annual Report! And thanks to Linda Pansing, Juli Six and Aaron Odonovan (Columbus Public Library) for assistance with the research on Lucy Allen.

Brad Lepper

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Picturing Depression Era Cleveland

October is Archives Month!

This year’s theme is Ohio in the Depression. This is the second in a series of blog posts highlighting photographs of people and places in Ohio during the 1930s.

The Great Depression of the 1930s hit the city of Cleveland particularly hard. After years of steady growth and economic security, the citizens of Cleveland could only watch as it all slipped away. By January of 1931, upwards of 100,000 were unemployed. The various federal relief and assistance programs that were established as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Depression-fighting domestic programs under the New Deal, such as the Civil Works Administration (CWA) in 1933 and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1935 were desperately needed in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. In a fight for its very survival, the county applied the federal aid to a variety of public works projects, employing its people in a vast capital improvements program that saw the building of schools and streets, bridges, sewers and waterworks, and the establishment of the Cleveland Metroparks System. Included in the WPA was the Federal Arts Program (FAP) which provided jobs for artists, musicians, actors and writers. The Cleveland area put its unemployed artists to work creating murals, sculptures and paintings for public spaces, art that celebrated Cleveland’s heritage.

Scene o.n ... , Cleveland, Ohio

Scene on Scovill Avenue at East 32nd St. on a warm afternoon, Cleveland, Ohio by John Steinke.

One of the goals of the FAP was the completion of the American Guide Series, a compilation of guide books to each of the then 48 states. Created as part of the Federal Writers Project, each guide was to provide the history of the state and the major cities, as well as sections on art, architecture, music, literature, points of interest and touring information. Also included was a portfolio of photographs. Work on the Ohio Guide Project began in 1935 and completed in the fall of 1939. First published in 1940, the Ohio Guide was reprinted for several editions. The project employed 132 researchers, writers, photographers, editors and typists.

Dockworkers eating lunch ...

Dockworkers eating lunch by the Cuyahoga River by Frank Jafa.

While working under the Ohio Writer’s Project, Frank Jaffa took this photograph of Cleveland dock workers along the Cuyahoga River in 1940. The image was published in the Ohio Guide. Titled “Lunch at Riverside,” the photograph captures the workers in an idle moment, enjoying a break from their labors, having their lunch on a sunny day along the water’s edge near the Main Street Bridge. The dark days of the Great Depression may have brought Cleveland to its knees, but as “Lunch at Riverside” suggests, the 1940s would see the city rise again.

Matt Benz, Manuscripts Curator

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Victorian Mourning Culture: What Was It?

The Victorian Age, which roughly corresponds to Queen Victoria’s reign in England (1837-1901), was a time of many elaborate cultural rituals and societal expectations. From birth to marriage to social calls, many men and women acted in roles expected of them in society. Death and “mourning”, the time spent in grief over a death, was no exception. The Cult of Domesticity – a Victorian social system for the middle and upper class that emphasized femininity and specified a woman’s sphere of influence to the home and family, designating the greater world as the man’s sphere – heavily influenced mourning practices during the late 19th century. This culture of mourning will be explored throughout the month of October in a series of blog posts.

Handkerchief (H 21190) from circa 1867.  Item ranging from handkerchiefs to stationary were given dark borders to indicate that the user was in mourning.

Handkerchief (H 21190) from circa 1867. Item ranging from handkerchiefs to stationery were given dark borders to indicate that the user was in mourning.

How did this culture of mourning start?

The simple answer to this is one familiar today, the public followed the mannerism of a famous figure. Funerals were already elaborate and used as a way to display a family’s wealth. The death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, in 1861, and her subsequent mourning practices drastically increased the prevalence of such practices in both in the British Empire and in America. Queen Victoria plunged herself into “mourning”, only wearing black and refusing to leave her estates for years. She insisted on keeping her husband’s rooms intact as when he was alive and commissioning dozen of statues to be made of him.

Parasol (H 75792) from 1850-1875.  When in morning, parasols would be black and have limited decoration in jet, expressing that the woman using it was in mourning.

Parasol (H 75792) from 1850-1875. When in morning, parasols would be black and have limited decoration in jet, expressing that the woman using it was in mourning.

While Queen Victoria and a select minority of women chose to stay in mourning for the rest of their lives, for the rest of the public, there were set expectations as to how long it was proper to mourn. This varied depending on the relationship with the deceased. For example, a first cousin would warrant between six weeks and three months of time spent in mourning, whereas a husband would be mourned for two and a half years. These rules for lengths of time were varied and complicated, prompting help manuals to be published in ladies’ magazines to ensure they were following the correct protocol for the death of their loved ones. These manuals also included what was appropriate to wear, how the mourner should act, and when it was appropriate to move through the various stages of mourning. These magazines had advertisements for mourning clothing, accessories, and popular forms of memorialization. Books, such as A History of Mourning, published in 1890, contextualized the idea of mourning to largely middle and upper-class women, justifying seemingly bizarre traditions by connecting them to historical events of the past. Today, these magazine, manuals, books, and advertisements help historians and curators figure out the culture of mourning and the importance of the material culture left behind.

Hair comb (H 80253) from the 1890s.  Jet stones, like those featured on this comb, were one of the few decorations allowed on mourning attire.

Hair comb (H 80253) from the 1890s. Jet stones, like those featured on this comb, were one of the few decorations allowed on mourning attire.

Check back throughout the month to learn more about the differences in male and female mourning, the various accessories and popular forms of memorializing, and how this culture of morning changed throughout the centuries.

Caitlin Smith, History Collections Intern

 

 

Sources:

MacKethan, Lucinda. “The Cult of Domisticity.” America in Class: from the National Humanities Center. 2014. http://americainclass.org/the-cult-of-domesticity/.
National Park Service. “The Custom of Mourning During the Victorian Era.” National Park Service (2011): 1-5.

http://www.nps.gov/jofl/historyculture/upload/MourningArticle2011.rtf.

Taylor, Lou. Mourning Dress: A Costume and Social History. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1983.

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New Death Records Now Available Online in the Ohio History Connection’s State Archives

The Ohio History Connection’s State Archives’ online catalog of death records has expanded. On October 1, the Ohio Department of Health transferred nearly two million death certificates from the years 1954 to 1963 to the Ohio History Connection.

Previously, these records were only available in paper form and could only be obtained through a request with the Ohio Department of Health’s Office of Vital Statistics.

Visitors can view the expanded online collection by visiting the Ohio History Center’s Archives/Library. Death certificates from December 20, 1908 to December 31, 1953 are also available in the online catalog.

Death certificates from December 20, 1908 to December 31, 1953 are also available in the online catalog.
The new accessibility and availability of these documents could make it easier for family researchers to develop and discover new information regarding their family’s history. A death certificate can include information like the date and place of birth of the deceased, parents’ names, last known address and last known occupation. Each piece of information can be integral in the completion of a family’s story.

“These records provide an important tool to family researchers working to uncover their family’s history,” says Liz Plummer, manager of research services at the Ohio History Connection. “Making them available online makes it that much easier to learn key facts about specific family members.”

Death certificates can be viewed online for free at the Ohio History Center’s Archives/Library at 800 E. 17th Ave. in Columbus. Those unable to visit the Archives/Library can purchase a copy online from the Ohio History Store by visiting http://www.ohiohistorystore.com/.

The Archives/Library is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday at the Ohio History Center. Admission is free with an Archives/Library card. For more information about the Archives/Library at the Ohio History Center, or to learn about obtaining a library card, call 800.686.6124 or visit http://www.ohiohistory.org/collections–archives/archives-library.

The Ohio History Connection
As the State Archives of Ohio, the Ohio History Connection’s Archives/Library collects, preserves and makes available to the public written and graphic information concerning Ohio’s history. It is the designated repository for state government records of enduring historical value. For more than 50 years, the Ohio History Connection has been working with state and local governments to preserve the history of Ohio and its citizens. The State Archives at the Ohio History Center contain over 70,000 cubic feet of records, thousands of printed materials and several online collections that help people connect with Ohio’s past.

Ohio Historical Society is now Ohio History Connection
On May 24, 2014, the Ohio Historical Society changed its name to the Ohio History Connection. Established in 1885, this nonprofit organization provides a wide array of statewide services and programs related to collecting, preserving and interpreting Ohio’s history, archaeology and natural history through its more than 50 sites and museums across Ohio, including its flagship museum, the Ohio History Center in Columbus. The Ohio History Center is located at I-71 and 17th Ave. in Columbus. For more information about programs and events, call 800.686.6124 or go online at http://www.ohiohistory.org.

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