So far during my internship I have gotten the chance to interact with a variety of historical documents in multiple types of formats.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
March is Women’s History Month, and to honor its purpose of “commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history” we would like to showcase Louisa Jurey Wright.
Image courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society
Image courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society
Louisa contributed much to the city of Lebanon, Ohio. She attended the National Normal University, where she graduated and later became a teacher at Lebanon High School. Her biggest accomplishment came in the form of being the first woman Superintendent for the school from 1867-1868. Her accomplishment was summarized briefly in this article from the Western Star dated June 24, 1915:
In addition to her teaching career and brief position as the Superintendent, Louisa led an active social life. She was involved in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and was known to have attended meetings for the Progressive Woman’s Club.
Western Star, November 8, 1888
Western Star, February 20, 1890
Western Star, July 20, 1905
The Lebanon City Schools sought to honor her memory in the 1960’s by naming one of their schools after her. The Louisa Wright Elementary School was demolished in 2018.
Recently we pointed out a large map cabinet that is located in our reading room. (If you haven’t seen it, be sure to go over and check it out on our Facebook page using this link: Warren County Records Center and Archives FB ) The outside is unassuming and seemingly just another piece of office storage. Contained inside though is a vast collection of the history of Warren County. One of our greatest reference tools for helping patrons and genealogists are the maps contained within our Records Center and Archives reading room.
One of our favorite uses of these township maps is to teach young students how to trace their local history by utilizing the information contained within the maps. We have been able to help these students create a real connection between where their schools and neighborhoods are to what was once there. What they have found are vast changes in the types of jobs that Warren County residents may have had, whether they lived in neighborhoods like we do today, changes in transportation within the county, and how the landscape has changed drastically in just a few short decades.
Creating this connection for patrons and students is always a joy to watch because it provides an understanding of how Warren County became what it is today. These maps also provide a quick reference point for old land records. We have helped people who were looking for old family plots of land or performing house histories to determine where and who owned the land! The maps included in our map cabinet date back to the early 1900’s and include township maps, Ohio railroad maps, cemetery maps, and even some county blue prints.
Clearcreek Township Map, Created in 1942 and approved in 1944
Hamilton Township Map, Created in 1942 and approved in 1944
Educational Outreach success! We would like to thank all of the teachers from the 2015-2016 school year who invited us into their classroom and gave us the chance to interact with their students. There is no greater success than knowing you are reaching out to younger generations to share your passion for history and for these primary documents. It was incredibly rewarding to see and hear their reactions to the content provided and to answer the many questions they formed around these historically rich documents.
During the summer of 2015, our intern Shelby Dixon established our Educational Outreach program. In the process of creating lesson plans and activities, that are free and accessible to teachers, she also reached out to a number of teachers in regards to in-class visits. Our first brave soul Emily Roewer requested that we come to her 3rd grade social studies class to help them out with their local history. This visit was so great! We were able to tailor Emily’s requests as far as the materials we brought for her students which included: large aerial photographs, maps dating 1875-2004, and estate packets for important local figures.
Once we got our feet wet with this first visit other teachers quickly came on board and we ended up visiting with 2nd, 4th, and 6th graders. This being our first year with the program we appreciate all of the teachers and schools who provided us with this invaluable learning experience. We look forward to revisiting many of these schools and improving the curriculum provided for the students.
Please stay tuned for new lesson plans this summer and feel free to reach out to us if you are interested in having us become a part of your classroom. Have a great summer!