I Found it in the Archives Winner!

Congratulations to Deborah M. Tracy the winner of the 2014 I Found it in the Archives Deborah M. Tracycontest! Deborah discovered her maternal great-grandfather name’s was Jasper Haddock, an ancestor previously unknown to her family, and that he served in the heralded 55th Massachusetts Colored Infantry, the unit consisting of the overflow of African-American recruits for the legendary 54th, featured in the 1989 movie, Glory.

Thanks to everyone who participated and voted!

Check out the results below:





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Meow! Cat Collecting in Ohio

From the Albert Ewing Collection. A girl sits on a chair with her cat as her portrait is taken, likely in Southeastern Ohio.

From the Albert Ewing Collection. A girl sits on a chair with her cat as her portrait is taken, likely in Southeastern Ohio.

Are you a cat person? While historically, dogs were more popular as domestic pets in the United States, cats are currently the most popular animal in the United States today with 90 million cats in 34% of home.

Ohioans have long appreciated the physical and personality traits of this domesticated creature. In honor of #MuseumCats day, we are taking a look at a few items in our history collection celebrating the feline.


H 23508

One of the earliest depictions of cats in our collection is a figurine. H 23508 was made in 1900 and used by a young girl in central Ohio. This felt tabby was well loved by its owner, perhaps because she was not allowed to own a cat in her house.

H 20048

H 20048

Another way cats were depicted in material culture was through samplers, quilts, and coverlets. H 20048 is a sampler made in 1927 by Mary Stofer of Mansfield, Ohio. Stofer was just a child when she created this intricate piece. The cross-stitched sampler shows a small brown and red house surrounded by trees, a red well, a brown fence, chickens, birds, a cat and a dog. At the center are two figures, a man and a woman with the words “Hame’s Best” underneath them. Stofer could have been portraying her own family and home, complete with a domesticated cat.

H 52235

H 52235

One of our most popular cat related objects (especially around Halloween!) is H 52235. This child’s wooden chair dates from 1930. Not much is known about the provenance and there are no markings indicating a company or artist. It was likely enjoyed by a child living near Marietta, Ohio. The black cats on the front legs of the chair stare into the eyes of the viewer; this has even frightened some visitors to the Ohio History Connection!

A Hello Kitty plush doll purchased by curator Emily Lang at King's Island in Mason, Ohio in 2002.

A Hello Kitty plush doll purchased by curator Emily Lang at King’s Island in Mason, Ohio in 2002.

Ohio still has a strong cat appreciation today. The “Grumpy Cat” meme franchise started in Ohio and still has its corporate headquarters there today. The Cat Fanciers’ Association, started in 1906 after breaking ties with the American Cat Association, is based in Alliance, Ohio. Ohioans still collect cat related material culture today, including members of our own staff!

Do you own a cat? Do you collect any cat material culture?

Emily Lang, History Curator

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“Public Health Protects You”: The American Lung Association of Ohio and the fight against Tuberculosis

In 1901, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in Ohio. One in every four Ohioans was affected by tuberculosis.[i] 

What is “dirt”? We don’t usually ask ourselves this question. At least I don’t. We wash MSS1556_1015_posterregularly and we instruct our children to cover their mouths when sneezing, but these aren’t habits we’ve always had. In the 1914 “Proceedings First Ohio Conference of Tuberculosis Workers,” Sarah Halbert, School Nurse of the Cincinnati Anti-Tuberculosis League, described a talk on health and sanitation she gave at a mother’s club. Prior to her presentation, one of the mothers complained that her children refused to eat from dirty dishes after attending Halbert’s school course on hygiene. The busy mother wasn’t thrilled about her children’s new habits. Yet, Halbert claims that this same mother became the leader in cleaning up her block after she attended Halbert’s talk at the mother’s club.

Identifying germs with “dirt” became more widespread in the late 19th century and contributed to preventing disease by encouraging personal hygiene and strengthening the public health movement. We see this in past campaigns against tuberculosis. In 1880, Dr. Robert Koch in Germany discovered the tuberculosis bacillus. Koch’s research showed that tuberculosis, also called ‘consumption’ and the ‘White Plague,’ was not inherited but contracted. This meant it could be prevented. The American Lung Association of Ohio (ALAO), or the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis (as it was first called), took on this cause in Ohio. The Society was initiated by the Director of the Ohio State Board of Health, Dr. Charles Oliver Probst, in 1901. He envisioned a society that would not just help combat tuberculosis, but one that would work toward public health and an improved quality of life.

ALAO disseminated information on tuberculosis in several ways, including advertisements, MSS1556_B10F14_001school programs, and seminars. Their Christmas Seal campaign not only raised money for hospitals and educational programs, it also spread awareness about tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases. The campaign posters encouraged family safety through communal health and prevention. Catch phrases like “Tuberculosis Robs You, Public Health Protects You” and “A Fine Body May Conceal Tuberculosis, But Modern Methods Uncover it Before it Does Harm,” underscore ALAO’s work on both prevention and diagnosis. ALAO wanted to change health and sanitation habits in the home and in the work place. Probst mentioned how dusty work floors should be washed rather than swept, and machinery should be used to prevent workers from breathing in too much dust. ALAO also found ways to encourage sick people to seek treatment and helped provide for tuberculosis hospitals and tuberculosis professionals, such as visiting nurses.

Visiting nurses provided information directly to their patients. Charlotte Ludwig, Supervising Nurse of the Bureau of Tuberculosis, Division of Health in Cleveland, insisted that patient follow-ups should take place in their own home where the public nurse sees “that the instructions given at the dispensary are carried out, and that he [the patient] may be taught the necessity of cleanliness and ventilation.” After the patient saw the benefit of the nurse’s instructions “he repeats the instructions to his neighbor and recommends that he call upon the nurse.”[ii] In this way, the Association also spread information via the patients themselves. They introduced personal health and hygiene habits to patients who, they hoped, would then encourage others to do the same.

Visiting nurses also helped report cases of tuberculosis to health officials. This was significant because the public was generally hesitant to report such cases.  Probst himself took note of the opposition to requiring physicians to report tuberculosis cases. Patients were worried that it would restrict their liberty. Probst, however, suggested that it was not necessary to “give public notice of the case.”[iii] While reporting cases gave medical professionals the opportunity to provide information and disinfect the rooms occupied by patients, it was important not to instill fear. The Association did not want the public to feel hopeless or to panic. In 1914, Ludwig described how the common perception of tuberculosis:

“… exaggerated the hopelessness of attaining health, once the disease has manifested itself. Many patients are prone to accept a positive diagnosis only as a death warrant. Friends and neighbors visit the unfortunate to express their sympathy.”[iv]

Schools became a battle front against demystifying tuberculosis and teaching children MSS1556_B03F25_001health and hygiene. Testing and educational programs in schools informed children who then shared the information with their parents. The 1936 Christmas Seal campaign is one example. School children were asked to participate in a Health Day Program that partly involved interviewing different people about their roles in keeping them healthy.

By 1964, 750,000 chest X-rays and 300,000 tuberculin tests were provided to Ohioans annually.[v] Tuberculosis rates also began to drop dramatically. Consequently, fewer tuberculosis hospitals were needed and the ALAO began to look at implementing new programs to deal with non-infectious lung diseases. Today, the ALAO continues to hold awareness campaigns on lung related diseases and conditions.

How does public health affect your everyday life? For more information on the American Lung Association of Ohio Collection visit our manuscript catalog and come see the collection at the Ohio History Center.

Adria Seccareccia, Processing Assistant

[i] “The American Lung Association of Ohio: The Christmas Seal People.” American Lung Association of Ohio, MSS 1556. Box 3, Folder 16. Ohio History Connection, Columbus, Ohio.

[ii] “Proceedings First Ohio Conference of Tuberculosis Workers.” American Lung Association of Ohio, MSS 1556. Box 3, Folder 8. Ohio History Connection, Columbus, Ohio.

[iii] Probst, C. O., Dr. “Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis.” American Lung Association of Ohio, MSS 1556. Box 3, Folder 20. Ohio History Connection, Columbus, Ohio.

[iv] “Proceedings First Ohio Conference of Tuberculosis Workers.”

[v] “The American Lung Association of Ohio: The Christmas Seal People.”

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Unfurling a Piece of Civil War History

After a long journey one of Ohio’s Civil War battle flags has found its way home.

In a ceremony last January the Ohio Society Daughters American Revolution (DAR) transferred the regimental flag of the 89th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) to the care of the Ohio History Connection. On July 21, 2014 Ohio History Connection staff John Haas, Jessica Mayercin and Cliff Eckle along with SFC Joshua Mann of the Ohio National Guard unfurled the flag. It was unrolled so that it could be stored flat in an archival-quality storage cabinet located in the Follow the Flag exhibit on the museum floor of the Ohio History Center.

John Haas, SFC Josh Mann and Cliff Eckle beginning to unroll the flag.

John Haas, SFC Josh Mann and Cliff Eckle beginning to unroll the flag.

History of the 89th OVI
The 89th OVI was organized in August 1862 with men from Brown, Clermont, Highland and Ross counties. The regiment fought at Chickamauga, the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea. Future Ohio Governor Joseph Foraker served in the regiment. The flag, known as the regimental colors, was purchased by the ladies of Brown County and sent to the regiment as a replacement for their flags that were captured at the battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. During the Atlanta campaign, this flag was captured by Confederate cavalry on August 18, 1864 when one of the sutler wagons carrying the flag broke down on a march.

Removing layers of tissue paper to reveal the flag.

Removing layers of tissue paper to reveal the flag.

After the War
After the war, William Barnes, a veteran of Company C of the 89th OVI and a Williamsburg, Ohio native, searched the southern states for the regiment’s lost flag. Barnes discovered the flag in the possession of a J.C. Duncan of Talladega, Alabama. Duncan had served with the Confederate cavalry unit that had captured the flag during the war. Barnes recovered the flag from Duncan on June 30, 1880. The flag remained in Barnes’ family until it was donated to the Ohio Society DAR in 2001 for display at the Camp Dennison Civil War Museum near Cincinnati. While researching preservation options for the flag, they learned that Ohio’s regimental battle flags could not be owned privately and were still under the auspices of the Ohio Adjutant General and the Ohio National Guard. Since 1971, the Ohio History Connection has partnered with the Ohio National Guard to preserve the battle flags. The Ohio Society DAR made arrangements to transfer the flag to the Ohio History Connection.

The flag completely unfurled.  The eagle pattern missing in the center of the flag was the Arms of the United States.

The flag completely unfurled. The eagle pattern missing in the center of the flag was the Arms of the United States.

Ohio Battle Flag Collection
The Adjutant General’s Battle Flag Collection contains 554 flags; the majority from the Civil War. Displayed in the Ohio Statehouse for many years, the collection has been under the care of the Ohio History Connection since 1971. In addition, the Ohio Army National Guard Historical Collections contain 328 flags, for a total of 882 flags. These flags were carried by Ohio units from the Mexican War through the Global War on Terrorism. It is one of the largest collections of flags in the country. To see images of the battle flag collection go to the Fight for the Colors online exhibit.

The unfurled flag being slid into the storage cabinet where it will be protected.

The unfurled flag being slid into the storage cabinet where it will be protected.

By Cliff Eckle, History Curator
Photography by Ty Pierce, Multimedia Coordinator

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Following the Clues

Recently, the museum received a donation of an old Huffman bicycle. It was well loved and came to the owner second-hand, so there were many questions we needed to answer in order to learn what we had! The bike had few visual clues as many of the stickers had been worn off over time, but after a little cleaning some numbers became clear which allowed us to start researching.

The mystery bike waiting in the storeroom for cleaning and identification.

The mystery bike waiting in the storeroom for cleaning and identification.

The first number found, surprisingly enough, was not the serial number for the bike but for the brakes. They were “Morrow” brand, which was a very popular choice from the beginning of the 1930s until about 1950. To narrow it even further, the number for the breaks began with “K2.” The first letter tells the year they were manufactured; in this case the “K” meant 1941. The number tells the month, “2” is the second month of the year. Therefore, these breaks were made in February of 1941. We had a date! But it was just for the breaks…

Morrow brakes have both their icon on the lever as well as their serial numbers on the drum itself.

Morrow brakes have both their icon on the lever as well as their serial numbers on the drum itself.

There was a serial number on the frame of the bike itself, but it did not match any of the known serial numbers for early Huffman bikes. However, it began with a C and 3, placing it among a few recorded bikes in 1941, confirming the date known for the brakes.  The next step was to research 1941 Huffman ads and records for a model that matched our bicycle. It was difficult to find one that had both the correct year as well as a model that matched, but eventually we learned from an old catalog that it was a Huffman Ladies’ Lightweight Model No. 91. This was great news as the Lightweight Line was an important part in the company’s history.

Huffman was started as the Davis Sewing Machine Company in Dayton, Ohio. It began manufacturing bicycles in 1892 when the owner, George P. Huffman, converted the shop due to the rising popularity of bikes. Business boomed with the Dayton Special Roadster and, later, the Dayton Racer. In 1925, George’s son Horace Huffman sold the sewing business and formed the Huffman Manufacturing Company, focusing only on bicycles. The company survived decreased sales during the Great Depression; by 1941, the company had developed a bike assembly line that greatly increased production. The Lightweight Line was created during that time and boosted the company’s sales enough that they could afford to manufacture bicycles for civilians, as well as assist the U.S. Government during World War II. They managed to send around 4,000 bikes to aid the war effort. After the war, the Huffman Manufacturing Company changed its name to the current world recognizable name, Huffy.

This 1941 Huffman Lightweight bicycle has a connection to World War II, Huffy, and even Dayton, Ohio. However, we never would have known how important it was without a little detective work. Do you have anything in your attic or basement that could be a hidden treasure? Find out! Serial numbers are a great place to start; the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a helpful search tool on their website to help you start your search.

Jessica Sells, Registrar Intern


BMX Museum. “Huffy History.” Bikes. Last modified July 5, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2014. http://bmxmuseum.com/bikes/info/152/?pg=3.

Huffman. “The Lightweight Line.” Huffman Bicycle Catalog, 1941.

Huffy Corporation. “Company History.” About Huffy. Last modified 2013. Accessed July 17, 2014. http://www.huffybikes.com/About/History.aspx.

Miller, Jeffrey. “Morrow Hub Dating.” Morrow Artifacts. Accessed July 17, 2014. http://www.strandcruisers.com/morrow/morrow_hub_dating.htm.

Scott [37fleetwood]. “Huffman Serial Number Project” The Cabe, July 20, 2007. Accessed July 17, 2014. http://thecabe.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?1162-Huffman-serial-number-project&p=4329#post4329.

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Countdown to the Moon Landing: T +2 Days

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step foot on the moon, saying as he did, “That’s one step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” After two and a half hours on the surface of the moon conducting experiments, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin returned to the Columbia and fellow crewmember Michael Collins and began the journey back to Earth, arriving on July 24th.

Cuff Links ImageThe last object in our Moon Landing Countdown is a pair of cuff links (H 63264).  These cuff links commemorates the moon landing with headlines from Findlay based newspaper, The Republican-Courier.  The front page pictured was printed on July 21, 1969 with the headline, “Moon Walk of Astronauts Fulfills Dream of Mankind.”  It features a photograph of Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon.

Forty-five years later, we are still celebrating this feat – from the Summer Moon Festival this past weekend at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, OH, to NASA’s May 2014 rededication of their flight research center in Edwards Air Force Base, CA, changing the name from the Dryden Flight Research Center to the Armstrong Flight Research Center.

You can see more moon landing and Ohio astronaut objects in person at the Ohio History Center in Columbus and the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta.

Caitlin Smith, History Collections Intern

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Celebrating Over 700 Blog Posts!

This week, the Ohio History Connection Collections Blog reached a milestone, marking its 700th post.  To celebrate, we looked through our collections for objects that have a connection to the number 700.

Necklace ImageThe first object has 700 in its catalog number – the number that is assigned to an object, connecting the physical object with the record associated with it.  H 15700 is a 1920s necklace worn by the First Lady Florence Harding.  The necklace measures 20 inches and is made of brownish-green celluloid beads and seven celluloid elephants of varying sizes.  Florence fiercely supported her husband, Warren G. Harding, in his Florence Photopolitical career and was photographed wearing this necklace in his successful 1920 presidential campaign.  The Harding Memorial Association donated the elephant necklace to the  Ohio History Connection in 1979.


The number 700 is part of the history of the second chosen object (H 84415).  This wool U.S. flag has 34 white stars on blue in four rows of eight, with an additional star inserted between the first and second rows and third and forth rows, respectively.  The thirteen red and white stripes complete the national flag. This flag served as the national colors for the Black Brigade of Cincinnati, which written on the middle white stripe.  The Black Brigade was comprised of Flag Image700 African-American men who were rounded up by the police in Cincinnati on September 2, 1862, to build fortifications near the border between Ohio and Kentucky.  At this time, Cincinnati was under martial law and on September 1st, all men were ordered to help defend the city against possible Southern attack.  After three weeks of fortification-building, the Black Brigade was released from service.  Many of the 700 men of the Black Brigade later served in the first Union African-American regiments, the 54th and 55th Massachusetts and the 127th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  This flag and other objects related to the Black Brigade of Cincinnati are an important part of Ohio’s history.  Check out these past collections blog posts for more on the men of the Black Brigade:




Milestones and objects are exciting and worth celebrating.  We look forward to celebrating another 700 blog posts!

Caitlin Smith, History Collections Intern

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