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.
It’s a bit strange to sit here writing this blog post on the last day of my internship, if only for the fact that it feels like just yesterday that I was beginning it. In actuality it has been a full three months of work, but it hasn’t felt that long at all. During my time here I’ve gotten the chance to work on a number of interesting projects that encompass a wide range of topics and dates. As I write we are putting the finishing touches on our exhibit we have created about the Mary Haven Children’s Home, entitled “Memories of Mary Haven: Stories from the Warren County Children’s Home”. We began work on the project at the end of May, and since then it has gone from a collection of handwritten scribbles and jumbled assorted of Word documents containing vague ideas about our direction to a full-fledged exhibit that not only educates on the broader history of the building but also contains many assorted stories and tidbits from Mary Haven’s 100+ years of existence.
In regards to my own work on the exhibit, outside of the general sense of satisfaction at the exhibit as a whole, I am most proud of the research I did on the superintendents and matrons who were in charge of running the home from its opening in 1874 until it became a county home for juvenile boys in 1977. Although it was a long and winding process I was able to fully link the two periods together and compile a complete and thorough list, through the use of records we held here, newspapers (both through the Western Star and Newspapers.com) online resources from the Warren County Genealogical Society, and (to fill in the last, more contemporary, few) a little boost from Ancestry. If you are reading this and have not seen the exhibit yet I urge to come and look at if you have the chance; it’s located in the lobby of the Warren County Administrative Building and it is a great showcase of an important institution in the county’s history (as well as of the hard work of everyone involved in creating the exhibit themselves).
While the Mary Haven exhibit was certainly the most all-encompassing project I worked on these past few months it was not the only one. I spent quite a bit of time working with probate records concerning estates and wills, sorting them into proper order in the boxes they were contained in, removing any brads, staples, and other old fasteners attached to them, and then refiling them into new folders for easier access. Not only was this a great opportunity to work directly with older records (as most were from the 1870s through the late 1800s) but it also gave me a neat perspective into some of the little quirks and mindsets held by our forbearers in the past, whether it was the occasional doodle interspersed in the various documents and vouchers or the prices and items reflected in said vouchers. Fast-forwarding one hundred years, I also got to work with a number of photographic slides from the 1970s onward, which was a chance to continue to hone my skill at that work (since I had done so in a previous internship) as well as see what contemporary life was like in Warren County at that time. With that all said, although I am sad that my time at this internship is finally coming to an end, I am happy that I got the chance to experience it in the first place, and grateful to everyone at the records center who has helped me grow throughout.
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
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