Poetry in Ohioana’s Collection

As National Poetry Month draws to a close, we’re sharing some beautiful vintage books by Ohio poets Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice and Phoebe Cary.

We’ve already shared biographical information and the cover of Li’l’ Gal by Paul Laurence Dunbar here. Today we’re sharing more covers from this Dayton-born poet, novelist, lyricist, and playwright.

Cover of "When Malindy Sings" with brown background and red flowers climbing up a white trellis.When Malindy Sings is one of Dunbar’s most popular dialect poems, and was written as a tribute to his mother, Matilda, and her habit of singing while she worked. Interestingly, Malindy herself never appears in the poem.

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of "The Uncalled" by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Dark blue background with gray Art Deco ornaments along left and right sides, gold metallic background behind title and author, and stylized author's monogram in black.The Uncalled was Dunbar’s first novel. Although it was not well received by critics, Dunbar went on to write three more novels while still producing multiple poetry and short story collections.

 

 

 

 

 

Cover image of "Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow" by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Dark green background with metallic gold lettering and floral decorations.

Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow, published in 1905, was one of the last poetry collections Dunbar produced before his death in 1906 at age thirty-three.

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of "Alice Carey's Poems," with taupe background, gold floral border, and color image of a woman in a long yellow dress standing in a garden.Although Alice and Phoebe Cary are not as well known as Dunbar today, they were extremely popular during their lifetimes. Alice Cary was born near Cincinnati in 1820; her sister Phoebe was born four years later. Although the girls received little formal schooling, they were educated at home and developed an affinity for literature and poetry. Both sisters published their first poems in newspapers when they were still teenagers. Over the course of the next ten years their work gradually garnered the attention of literary notables including Edgar Allen Poe and John Greenleaf Whittier. Their first book, Poems of Alice and Phoebe Carey, was published in 1850.

Cover image of "The Poetical Works of Alice and Phoebe Cary," with dark green background, black and metallic gold decorative ornaments along top and bottom edges, and metallic gold lettering.After the publication of their book, Alice and Phoebe moved to New York City, where they both became regular contributors to the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and other periodicals. Alice wrote novels and short stories as well as poetry; Phoebe published two volumes of her own poetry and wrote numerous lyrics that appeared in church hymnals. Both sisters were keenly interested in social justice.

The Carys were famous for their hospitality, and their home became a gathering place for New York literati. Although Alice was the more prolific writer (possibly because Phoebe devoted much of her time to keeping house and, in later years, caring for Alice), Phoebe later received strong critical acclaim. Alice passed away after a long illness in February of 1871; Phoebe died in July of the same year.

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Menus in the Ohioana Archives

Having actual food in the archives would be bad, but menus are another story. The Laura M. Mueller ephemera collection includes a selection of Columbus restaurant menus that spans most of the 20th century. We’re sharing a few sample menus below.

Henry Chittenden built a total of three hotels in the same location on the northwest corner of N. High St. and Spring St. The first two burned to the ground within a three-year period in the late 1800s, but the third (which was designed by Columbus architects Frank Packard and Joseph Yost and was built without any wooden structural elements) operated from 1895 until 1972. The eight-story hotel was one of the finest in Columbus, with luxurious décor and an equally luxurious restaurant. Below is the Hotel Chittenden dinner menu from May 3, 1908.

Chittenden menu int

Chittenden menu front

For a change of pace, we also have a menu from a downtown Walgreen ca. 1930.

Walgreen menu frontWalgreen menu int

The Neil House hotel stood across the street from the Ohio Statehouse. It had several incarnations, from the original 1820s tavern to the final hotel that was demolished in 1981. Notable guests of the hotel included Charles Dickens, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), opera singer Jenny Lind, Oscar Wilde, Orville Wright, Eleanor Roosevelt, and several U.S. presidents. This menu appears to date to the 1940s. (For an 1863 Neil House menu, visit the Hospitality Industry Archives at the University of Houston digital library here.)

TownCountry menu front

Finally, we have a menu from the Jacques Barn restaurant on Broad Street. The menu is undated, but visitors could get a porterhouse steak with fries, salad, rolls, and a beverage for 85 cents.

JaquesBarn menu front

Zane Grey

Black and white photograph of Zane Grey's childhood home in Zanesville, Ohio. Photo shows a partial view of a two-story white house with a large tree in front.
Zane Grey’s childhood home, Zanesville

On this day in 1872, novelist Zane Grey was born in Zanesville, Ohio.

Grey’s ancestors were some of the early settlers of Ohio; Zanesville was founded by his maternal great-great uncle Ebenezer Zane. As a child Grey enjoyed fishing and baseball, and was also an avid reader of adventure stories. He attended Zanesville High School until his father moved the family to Columbus in 1889. When not in school Grey worked part-time in his father’s dental practice and also played summer baseball for the Columbus Capitols. After being spotted by a scout, Grey was able to attend the University of Pennsylvania on a baseball scholarship. He graduated in 1896.

Scanned cover of Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage. At top of greenish-grey cover is a color landscape of ground, trees, and the sky at sunrise or sunset. Book title and author's name appear in black type.Grey played minor-league baseball with several teams before establishing a dental office in New York City. He had practiced creative writing throughout college, and continued to write in the evenings after work. After marrying Dolly Roth in 1905, the family moved to Pennsylvania and Grey began writing full-time.

Grey’s first published novel was Betty Zane, released in 1903 and based on the story of his Ohio ancestors. His first major success, and ultimately his best-selling book, was Riders of the Purple Sage, published in 1912. By this time Grey had taken multiple trips to the American West; his photographs and detailed notes helped him create realistic settings and characters in his books. Grey would follow this pattern of traveling and writing for the rest of his career.

Although Grey is best known for his westerns, he also wrote books about baseball and the outdoors and was a regular contributor to Outdoor Life for many years. He died in 1939 at age 67.

The image of Grey’s childhood home shown above is from Ohioana’s scrapbook collection. The photo was taken by Mrs. Oliver Kuhn, an early Ohioana member who traveled throughout the state photographing locations connected to Ohio authors. We’ll share more of Mrs. Kuhn’s photos in a future post!

Civil Rights Photos of James Karales

Cover of the book "Controversy and Hope" showing a photograph of a young African-American man carrying the American flag while white soldiers and African-American children look on. Photograph was taken during the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights.In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this week we’re highlighting a recent addition to our collection: Controversy and Hope: The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales.

Karales was born in 1930 in Canton, Ohio. He attended Ohio University, switching his major from engineering to photography after seeing the work of his photographer roommate. After graduation, Karales moved to New York and eventually became a staff photographer for Look magazine in 1960. This job not only allowed him to travel the world, but also gave him the opportunity to document the civil rights movement over the course of several years. During this time he developed a professional relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and became one of only a few photographers who were granted access to King’s home.

The photographs in Controversy and Hope include a range of assignments between 1960 and 1965, culminating the historic Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights. Karales documented not only the major events of the civil rights movement, but also the preparations leading up to them, including quiet moments with the King family at home. Many of the book’s photographs are previously unpublished, providing a rare and unique view of events that changed the nation.

Vintage Christmas Books

This week we’re sharing a few vintage Christmas-themed books from Ohioana’s collection.

First is Christmas Every Day and Other Stories Told for Children by William Dean Howells, published by Harper & Brothers Publishers in 1893. We talked about Howells in our last post about decorative publishers’ bindings here. This particular book is a first edition donated to the library by Carl Vitz (1883-1981), who was an Ohioana Career Award winner, president of the American Library Association, and director of both the Toledo Public Library and the Cincinnati Public Library.Chr Every DayNext is Yule-Tide in Many Lands by Mary P. Pringle and Clara A. Urann. (Urann also wrote Centennial History of Cleveland.) The book was published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepherd Co. in 1916, when it was priced at $1.00.YuleTideManyLandsSanta Claus on a Lark, a collection of short stories by Washington Gladden, was published by The Century Co. in 1890. Gladden was a nationally recognized theologian who served at the First Congregational Church in Columbus for thirty-two years, served on the Columbus City Council for two years, and was considered for the presidency of Ohio State University. He was an outspoken advocate of labor rights and racial equality.SantaClausLarkFinally, we have Santa Claus’s New Castle by Maude Florence Bellar, published in Columbus, Ohio by Nitschke Brothers in 1896. You can see another work by Nitschke Brothers from Ohioana’s archives here.SCNewCastle

Mildred Wirt Benson

"The Hidden Staircase" was rumored to be Benson's favorite Nancy Drew book.
“The Hidden Staircase” was rumored to be Benson’s favorite Nancy Drew book.

This past weekend, keepsakes and other items belonging to Nancy Drew author Mildred Wirt Benson were sold at auction in Toledo, where Benson worked as a newspaper reporter for nearly 60 years until her death in 2002. Items sold at the auction included a desk, typewriter, books, and a few hundred cancelled checks signed by Benson. The typewriter she used to write the Nancy Drew books had already been donated to the Smithsonian Institution.

Benson was born in 1905 in Iowa, and was the first woman to earn a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. In the late 1920s publisher Edward Stratemeyer, who specialized in producing inexpensive serial novels aimed at teen readers, hired Benson to revive his struggling Ruth Fielding series. Stratemeyer, who also created the successful Hardy Boys books, would generally create story outlines and then have ghostwriters expand the outlines into books. When he decided to create a female detective series he gave Benson the job, and Nancy Drew was born. Dana girls coverBenson is credited with shaping Nancy’s independent character. Although Stratemeyer thought Nancy was too “flip,” she resonated with young readers and became an inspiration for generations of young girls.

Benson wrote 23 Nancy Drew mysteries and 12 Dana Girls mysteries under the Carolyn Keene pseudonym (which was owned by Stratemeyer and shared by multiple ghostwriters), as well as nearly 100 other books. Under her own name she wrote the Ruth Darrow books (about a girl pilot) and the Penny Parker books (about a girl reporter).

The book covers shown in this post are part of Ohioana’s collection. To see additional books as well as correspondence, journalism scrapbooks, and more, visit the University of Iowa’s online Mildred Wirt Benson Collection.

Decorative Publishers’ Bindings

During the 1800s publishers began looking for an economical way to produce books in large quantities. Cloth covers replaced leather, and case binding (where the text block and cover were produced separately and the cover was then attached with glue) became the norm. Although these bindings were economical, they were often ornately decorated with gold or silver stamping and illustrations that reflected not only the book’s subjectPubBindRemington matter, but also the artistic style of the day. Following are a few examples of decorative publisher’s bindings from Ohioana’s collection.

Alfred Henry Lewis was born in 1855 in Cleveland. After working as a prosecuting attorney he gave up law and became a journalist, working as a reporter for the Chicago Times and as editor of the Chicago Times-Herald. During his career Lewis published numerous magazine articles and short stories and a dozen novels. Wolfville was his first published book; this 1897 edition was published by the Frederick A. Stokes Company and contains illustrations by Frederic Remington.

PubBindDunbarPaul Laurence Dunbar was born in 1872 in Dayton, where he was a classmate of Orville Wright. He wrote for Dayton community newspapers, published an African-American newsletter, and worked as an elevator operator while writing poetry. His work gained notice among literary figures including Indiana poet James Whitcomb Riley and Ohio-born novelist and Atlantic Monthly editor William Dean Howells. Dunbar eventually achieved international fame. Although he is best known for his poetry, he also wrote short stories, novels, plays, and songs. He died in Dayton in 1906.

This edition of Li’l’ Gal was published by Dodd, Mead and Co. in 1904. The cover and highly decorated interior pages were created by Margaret Armstrong; you can see her initials at the base of the bouquet. Armstrong was one of several prominent women designers working in publishing during the late 1800s and early 1900s. She specialized in nature-inspired themes and worked on several of Dunbar’s books.

PubBindHowells1Finally, we have two books by William Dean Howells. Howells was born in 1837 in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio. His father was a newspaperman, and Howells often helped with typesetting and printing as a boy. In 1858 Howells began to work at the Ohio State Journal, where he wrote poetry and short stories. As a reward for writing a campaign biography of Abraham Lincoln, Howells was appointed U.S. consul in Venice, Italy in 1861. After his return he became editor of the The Atlantic Monthly in Boston. In this position he helped introduce new European and American Realist authors to American readers, and supported such writers as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Stephen Crane, and Mark Twain (with whom he formed a lifelong friendship). However, some of Howell’s most critically acclaimed books were written after he left The Atlantic, including his best-known work, The Rise of Silas Lapham. Howells wrote more than 40 novels and short story collections before his death in 1920.

PubBindHowells2The edition of Tuscan Cities above right was published in Boston by Ticknor and Company in 1886. The Daughter of the Storage, a collection of short stories and poems, was published by Harper & Brothers Publishers in 1916.

To see more decorative publishers’ bindings, visit Publishers’ Bindings Online, a joint project of The University of Alabama, University Libraries and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.

The Gettysburg Address

writgettycoverlgOne hundred and fifty years ago today, Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most famous speeches in U.S. history. In honor of this we’re highlighting a new book in Ohioana’s collection: Writing the Gettysburg Address by Martin P. Johnson.

Johnson, an assistant professor of history at Miami University, conducted extensive research using numerous primary sources and contemporary accounts of the speech. His book traces the creation of the Gettysburg Address from the first draft through revisions the morning of the ceremony and Lincoln’s delivery of the address itself. Along the way Johnson sheds light on many of the myths surrounding the speech, and also shows how the speech’s evolution mirrors Lincoln’s intellectual and emotional journey from Washington to the battlefield.

For more information, including images of two handwritten drafts of the Gettysburg Address and a photograph of Lincoln on the podium, you can visit the Library of Congress “Gettysburg Address” online exhibit here.

Thomas Edison

EdisonCover lowresToday we’re highlighting a recent addition to Ohioana’s collection: Edison and the Rise of Innovation by Leonard DeGraaf. The author is an archivist at the Thomas Edison National Historic Park, and it shows; almost every spread contains images such as family photographs, Edison’s homes and laboratories, advertising ephemera, correspondence, and pages from Edison’s notebooks.

Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, and also worked for a while as a telegraph operator in Cincinnati. The book covers his life in detail, including major accomplishments such as electric lighting and the phonograph as well as lesser-known inventions such as a talking doll and an electric pen. Throughout, DeGraaf focuses not just on the  moment of discovery, but also on the process Edison used to design, manufacture, and market the products developed in his labs.

Ohioana is currently looking for book reviewers! If you’d like to review this book or another one in our collection, you can visit this page of our website for more information. You can also visit our “to read” shelf on Goodreads to see what’s available.

Edison letterFinally, we’re sharing an Edison item from Ohioana’s own archives. This 1913 letter was signed by Edison and sent from his lab in West Orange, New Jersey. It is part of the library’s collection of correspondence signed by prominent Ohioans.

Ohio Presidents

In the spirit of election week, we’re featuring a few items from our Ohio Presidents collection. We’ve featured some ephemera from this collection in a previous post; today we’re sharing some pre-presidential correspondence.

Grant letterThis letter signed by Ulysses S. Grant was written in July 1865 to John Aaron Rawlins, Grant’s chief of staff at U.S. Army headquarters and later his first secretary of war. The two men first met in 1861, when Grant was forming a regiment in Rawlins’s hometown of Galena, Illinois to meet President Lincoln’s call for troops. Rawlins stayed with Grant throughout the war and played a significant role in maintaining Grant’s public image and encouraging his sobriety during the conflict. In the letter Grant mentions GarfieldTelegramRawlins’s return to Washington “…I hope with health materially improved.” This likely refers to the fact that Rawlins had contracted tuberculosis; he died in 1869 at age 38. Grant served two terms as president (1869-1877) and died in 1885 at age 63.

This undated telegraph message from James Garfield appears to have been written sometime during his nine consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Although Garfield’s congressional service had been long, his presidency lasted just six months before he was killed by an assassin’s bullet in 1881.

BHarrison LetterThis letter from Benjamin Harrison was written when he worked as an attorney in Indianapolis. In the letter Harrison attempts to negotiate a more favorable legal settlement for a client; however, an addendum at the bottom states that the original offer was the best the other party could do. In addition to his law practice, Harrison was active in both state and national politics: he served as reporter for the Supreme Court of Indiana, was a delegate to the 1880 Republican National Convention, campaigned for presidential nominee James Garfield, and was elected to the U.S. Senate. Harrison served as president from 1889-1893, and died in Indianapolis in 1901 at age 67.