As my internship comes to an end and I begin to reflect upon my time working in the archives, I can’t help but feel grateful for the experience. I had the chance to meet some very wonderful people during my time, in and out of the archives, who have given me a great deal of memories to cherish. During my internship, I worked with two other interns on a project that eventually led to the creation of our Memories of Mary Haven Exhibit that just recently opened in the main lobby of the Warren County Administration Building that illustrates the history of the Mary Haven Children’s Home. The time I spent with the other interns working on this project was a great experience and I always enjoyed having our weekly meetings to discuss what new information we had found pertaining to the Children’s Home. My favorite part of working on this project was reading through all of the old newspapers, such as the Lebanon Western Star. It was very interesting to see what journalism was like back in the day and life in general during the late 19th and into the early 20th centuries through reading the newspapers. It was a fun project and I learned a lot about the local history.
The Mary Haven project that I assisted with, along with the other interns, wasn’t the only thing I worked on during my time in the archives. The majority of my time went into digitizing land deeds and military survey records. I have now come to realize the amount of time it takes to digitize some records depending on their condition and size. The record books I digitized would usually vary between five-hundred to seven-hundred pages in length. And at the end of my internship, I am finishing up digitizing my twenty-seventh record book.
Other things I got the chance to do during my time as an intern was going to the Warren County Historical Society to look at a collection of letters that pertained to the Mary Haven Children’s Home, learning how to splice and examine microfilm, and learning how to conduct oral histories. My time at the Warren County Records Center and Archives was well spent and I will truly miss the wonderful people I have had the chance to work with.
As I finish my internship, there are many things that I am excited to have been able to be included in. The first is the Mary Haven Exhibit which opened August 23, 2019. The exhibit was an interesting experience, because it was just the interns working on all the research and the main content. We, of course, were able to ask questions and get edits from the experienced staff when we needed it. The exhibit covers more than just the basic building history of Mary Haven Children’s Home. It highlights interesting stories of the community, the children, and the staff. It displays a range of stories from abduction and runaways to aliens and Santa Claus. This exhibit was helpful for me because it gave me more of an inside look into the many steps there are in creating an exhibit. We had to come up with the theme, the layout, the articles, sources and everything needed to fill the case while highlighting the collection itself. I hope the exhibit is liked well enough by everyone else because I think we did a good job!
Outside of the exhibit, I worked on some smaller projects like processing, oral histories, and analyzing a recently received collection. These smaller projects were a choice given to me by the staff. I could do them to gain more experience in all that is the archive or I could continue to work on the two big projects I was responsible for. Each small project was just as impactful as the large projects. I got more practice processing and using a different system. I got to remove staples, brads, and pins. I also updated a spreadsheet with the processing that I did.
The large scanning project had the most impact on me. I had no idea how much went into digitizing a collection or even just a document. I only scanned and edited the documents and it took me the entire internship to get through six small “boxes” of material that was actually only two archival boxes. There is even more that needs to be done before the material is available to the public. As archives get more digital, this was a much needed project for me to work on and get to figure out how much really goes into transferring to digital from paper documents and records. I will definitely miss the people at Warren County Records Center and Archives, they were very welcoming and they made my long drive to my internship worthwhile.
Hi everyone! I’m Brandon Kot and I have been working in the Warren County Archives as an intern. I have been working on a digitization project where I have been scanning numerous Virginia Military Survey Indexes and other land and deed records. This will allow for the records to be stored on a computer which helps preservation and access.
I have also been working on a project with the other two archives interns. The project will take the form of an exhibit and will be about the Mary Haven Children’s Home that was constructed in Lebanon and opened in 1874. This has been very interesting and fun project to work on. The time I have spent so far at the Archives has been great!
So far during my internship I have gotten the chance to interact with a variety of historical documents in multiple types of formats. The single project that I have done the most work on up through now has been processing probate records, specifically those having to do with estates and wills. This has given me the opportunity to work directly with records dating back to the 1870s while also allowing me to gain some hands-on experience in the actual processing. Another large-scale project that I recently completed was the scanning of photographic 35mm slides that originated from the Warren County Park District, which included photographs detailing the construction and opening of Landen-Deerfield Park and different flora and fauna from the county (just to name a few topics); a couple of these pictures have been included in the post so you all can see as well.
Throughout the internship I (along with the two other interns) have also been doing research to create an exhibit about the Mary Haven’s Children Home, which operated in at least some capacity as a county building from 1874 through 1996 and was eventually demolished in 2012. Working on this project has given me a great chance to interact with all sorts of records, including commissioner’s journals, will records, visitor’s ledgers, and newspaper collections (most notably the Western Star). The exhibit is still being finished, but I definitely urge anyone reading this to come and view it once it is complete so you can learn more about a county institution that operated for over a century and had an impact on countless lives while it was open.
At the Warren County Archives and Records Center, I have already learned some diverse lessons when it comes to types of sources and information available. Prior to my start here, I only worked with public government documents a time or two. Mostly, I had used a few census records, but that was about my extent of knowledge. Now, I have looked at Estate Records, Will Records, an Atlas, maps from 1860s, and Commissioner’s Journals. I have also been using The Western Star and the Lebanon Gazette to figure out more information for an exhibit we have coming up in August.
This research is where I have really had the opportunity to use a variety of sources to gather information. I have yet to use all the resources available to me here, but I do believe that would take me an eternity. Outside of using traditional county archives records, I have gained the experience of networking with other archives, historical societies, and museums from Warren County. We all sat down together to go over events in the community and what kind of work we are doing.
Western Star, August 8, 1907
I have also been a part of the digitization of Old Common Pleas records. I have scanned records and edited them to prepare for them to be put up on the internet. I also will be assisting in the oral history project that is starting soon. I am not sure of my exact role in the oral histories, but documenting the past through the people who experienced it is important for so many reasons that I would not miss the opportunity to be a part of it. Therefore, I have been a part of research by interested parties, the research for an exhibit which I will continue to be a part of until we finish the installation, oral histories starting soon, scanning and editing of documents from the 1800s, and joining my supervisor and other interns on adventures to expand our network and see how history still impacts towns and people.
The Western Star, February 12, 2011
Today the Warren County Records Center & Archives had the pleasure of accepting the OHRAB Achievement Award, awarded by The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board. We won this award: for our work furthering the digital accessibility and archival preservation of Ohio’s public records, exemplified by the innovative use of its website to make its records easily available to researchers around the world.
We, as a department, have worked hard over the past few years to ensure the effort we put into digitizing, preserving, and indexing our historical records was not just for our use. It seems pointless to have these amazing records organized if they are not available to everyone. So thanks to our fearless leader, Jen Haney Conover, who made her vision for the Records Center & Archives a reality.
The purpose of making sure we share our work with anyone with internet access is because these records are typically hard to get a hold of. Many people aren’t comfortable trying to navigate public records, we are only open normal business hours so access can sometimes be an issue, and it can be extremely disheartening to reach out to us only to find out we do not have what you are looking for. Our end game result would ultimately be for as many people as possible to use our website for research and for each individual to find something truly unique to their story. By receiving distinguished awards such as this it helps put us in the eye of the County Officials and the eye of the public to help spread the word and for that we are truly thankful!
We hope you have had the chance to browse the indexes and images available on our website so far. If you haven’t please feel free to check out The Warren County Records Center & Archives County Index page.
Warren County Archives Staff left to right: Jana Wells, Shayla Wheat, Jen Haney Conover, Jenifer Baker, Tori Roberts, and Ted Hitchens
OHRAB Award Acceptance, Warren County Commissioners Meeting – January 15, 2019
Warren County OHRAB Achievement Award – Accepted January 15, 2019
Since starting my internship at the Warren County Records Center and Archives early May, I have already been involved in a few projects. I have alphabetically organized over seventy boxes from Child’s Services with the other intern, Autumn; cleaned documents and placed them into folders; read through various ledgers and documents from the early 1800s and mid-1900s; indexed information from the ledgers (one of which is the Black and Mulatto Record Book that is now online); also researching and looking through microfilm reels of the Western Star while preparing for two upcoming exhibits. Yet, I know this is just the beginning of what it means to work in an archive.
This internship is not my first experience in an archive. I have also worked at Wright State University’s Special Collection and Archives, back in 2016. Having completed my first year in the Public History program at Wright State, I already had an idea of what skills I would need to be an effective archival intern. Getting to apply those skills at the Warren County Records Center and Archives has been a completely amazing experience! It is a very humbling experience to work with such important documents, such as the Black and Mulatto Records Book. This is because I am learning about people who lived in a very different world than what we live in today.
Also, we are currently researching the Board of Elections and Foster, Ohio for upcoming display cases. I have lived in Greene County all my life and have never heard of Foster, Ohio. Learning about the history of that town from its beginning as Foster’s Crossing in the 1800s to what it is today, even actually taking a field trip there, is incredible. Foster is not a place that, with a simple Google search, people can learn everything about. Therefore, after looking through old newspapers, like the Western Star, and finding something fascinating about Foster’s history is a very rewarding feeling and I am so excited for this exhibit!
I am very thrilled to have my internship here and I cannot wait to see what else I will be able to work on and where this experience takes me in the future!
*Guest blogger: Archival Intern, Lauren Lyon