I Found it in the Archives Contest

archives21The Clark County Historical Society is sponsoring a local I Found It In The Archives essay and video contest to raise awareness for archives and to show how the items and information found in the nation’s archives touch peoples’ lives. We are seeking entrants who have found something special in our collections here at the Heritage Center in our library and archives.

Did your research here help you break through a brick wall? Did you uncover a really awesome story worth sharing? Was there a particular record, document, photo, or artifact that meant a lot to you? If you answered yes to any of these, you’ve got a great entry in the making!

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To Enter: between June 1-30, 2015, we ask that you submit either:
• A 400 word essay describing your quest for information and explaining why finding it has made a difference for you, along with a color photograph of you, OR
• A video of no more than 2 minutes in which you describe your quest for information and explain why finding it has made a difference for you. Please also include a color photo of you with your video submission.

This downloadable  entry form and waiver must accompany your entry and can be submitted with the essay or video as an attachment to clarkcountyhistory@gmail.com. You may also mail your entry and the entry form and waiver to our offices at the Heritage Center: Clark County Historical Society ATTN: Archives, 117 S. Fountain Avenue, Springfield, Ohio 45502.

Essays and videos of the finalists in this competition will be posted online for a public vote on our Facebook page. The entry with the most votes will be declared the winner and will receive a prize package:

  • One year annual family membership to Clark County Historical Society.
  • One year family membership to the Clark County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society.
  • Heartland, our museum exhibition catalog and county history.
  • Behind-the-scenes tour of the Clark County Historical Society’s collections area and archives.

RULES

You may submit only one entry.

You may submit your entry by email to clarkcountyhistory@gmail.com or mail your entry and entry form and waiver to:

Clark County Historical Society
ATTN: Archives
117 S. Fountain Avenue
Springfield, Ohio 45502

Your entry becomes the property of the Clark County Historical Society. We reserve the right to post your essay and photograph or video online. Materials will not be returned.

TIMELINE

Entries must be received by June 30, 2015.

Finalists will be notified by July 8, 2015, and their essays or videos posted online for a public vote.

The close of online public voting will be August 1, 2015. The winner of the competition will be notified on August 4, 2015.

The winning entry will be sent on to compete in a statewide competition. The statewide winner will be hosted at the Society of Ohio Archivists Fall Conference during the first week of October 2015.

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WHERE is it Wednesday for October 1, 2014

On October 1, we shared a photo of a building on our Facebook page to see if anyone could guess what it was.

Where could this be?

                                                                              Where could this be?

Apparently we chose a very recognizable place because there were many guesses and nearly every one was correct! The castle-like structure sits high on the hill at 901 W. High Street and was originally the home of industrialist P.P. Mast and later became “Castle Knoll,” the Knights of Pythias nursing home.

The home was built between 1880-1882 and was modeled after a castle in Italy that P.P. Mast admired during his travels in Europe. He chose the location for his “castle” on the highest knoll in the area, hoping to create a wealthy part of town on the west end. Mast brought over 29 Italian emigrants to work on the amazing woodwork and stonework inside and outside. (He also used local talent, including A.H. Mittendorf, a woodworker who was well known in the Dayton area). The first two floors of the home were the living area while the third floor was a ballroom. The woodwork in each room on the first and second floors was unique and intricate and the stained glass was brought in from France. Mast’s earlier home, built 1880-1881 at 910 W. High Street is right across the street and it was reportedly preferred by his wife Anna, who died in April 1895, a few months after a major fire at the “castle” across the street. Mast died in November 1898 and is buried alongside his wife in the Mast mausoleum in Ferncliff.

910 W. High Street

                                                                    910 W. High Street

Mast’s home was purchased by the Knights of Pythias and was rededicated as a home for the aged in October 1915. It remained the Pythian’s Castle Knoll nursing home until around 2005 when the home closed and the residents were transferred. The early records of the home (including the records of the children’s home) until about the 1930s are available in the historical society archives.

Ohio Pythian Home, mid 1980s

                                                          Ohio Pythian Home, mid 1980s

k of p brochure copyAnd now a bit more about P.P. Mast:
Phineas P. Mast was born on January 3, 1825 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His family, which included seven siblings, came to Clark County and settled near Urbana in 1830. He attended Ohio Wesleyan and graduated in 1849. He returned to the family farm and entered the grain and produce trade and also taught school. He married Anna Kirkpatrick in 1850 and eventually relocated to Springfield in 1856. He formed a partnership with John H. Thomas (whom we mentioned in our WHERE is it Wednesday post a few weeks ago) and formed Thomas & Mast, manufacturing agricultural implements. He bought out the company in 1871 and established P.P. Mast and Company. Mast founded Mast-Foos Manufacturing Company in 1876, producing wind engines, pumps, plows, and mowers (he also had the P.P. Mast Buggy Company).

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mast foos002 copyfire1925 copy

pc0040120002-large copyMast envisioned a magazine that could help to promote his products and hired John S. Crowell to start the magazine and his nephew T.J. Kirkpatrick to serve as editor and thus, Farm and Fireside was launched in October 1877. In 1883, the firm known as Mast, Crowell, & Kirkpatrick acquired Woman’s Home Companion and later published American Magazine. (Several years after Mast’s death the company incorporated as the Crowell Publishing Company in 1906 and in 1919 purchased Collier’s Weekly and eventually merged with P.F. Collier Publishing in 1934 to become the Crowell-Collier Publishing Company).

MastCrowellKirkpatrick copyMast served on the Springfield City Council for 22 years, was mayor from 1895-1897, and president on the Board of Trade (later Chamber of Commerce). He was instrumental in the formation of the Clark County Historical Society (proposing the adoption of our name in August 1897). His home, life, and ventures are well represented in the historical society’s collection: trade cards, photographs, objects (Buckeye pumps, lawn mowers, a windmill), and magazines (we have nearly a full run of all the magazines published from the 1870s-1956 when Crowell-Collier closed). Many events of Mast’s life, career and his companies is recorded in the diaries of George Netts in the archives. Netts’s diaries span the years 1868-1933 and detail many major events in the history of Springfield.

George Netts diary entry from October 3, 1915.

                                                   George Netts diary entry from October 3, 1915.

Sources:

Springfield Illustrated 1889

Beautiful Ferncliff: Springfield Ohio’s Historic Cemetery and Arboretum by Anne E. Benston and Dr. Paul W. Schanher III

Literary Category – George Netts Diary Collection – Transcribed 1868-1933

Health and Care Category – Pythian Home Resident Index, Pythian Children’s Home Resident Index

Photographic Category – Architecture – Residential by Style and Street Collection

Associations Category – Knights of Pythias Collection

Architectural Category – Private Homes Collection

Architectural Category – Ohio Historic Inventory Collection

Small Collections Category – Bartley Collection

Small Collections Category – Ballentine Collection

Commercial Category – Trade Card Collection

WHO is It Wednesday photo for September 24, 2014

We shared a photo of a serious looking you man on our Facebook page on September 24 to see if anyone could guess the name of the man he grew up to be.

Who could this be?

Who could this be?

Guesses included James Leffel and Jonathan Winters, but the newspaper clipping actually shows a young Harry S. Kissell when he was about 12 years old. Harry Seaman Kissell was born on September 25, 1875 to Cyrus Broadwell (C.B.) and Lucretia Caroline McEwen Kissell. Harry graduated from Wittenberg in 1896, studied law for a couple of years, and worked as a newspaper reporter before entering the Kissell Real Estate business started in 1872 by Harry’s great grandfather Emmanuel and grandfather C.D. Harry married Olive Troupe, the daughter of drug store owner Theodore Troupe and they had two children: Roger and Mary Lucretia (Mary Lu).

Olive Troupe Kissell

Olive Troupe Kissell

Olive, Harry, and Mary Lu Kissell during their 1st trip to the White House, 1924.

Olive, Harry, and Mary Lu Kissell during their 1st trip to the White House, 1924.

Harry’s involvement in the local community and beyond was extensive. In 1907 Harry helped to organize the National Association Real Estate Boards (he also established the Ohio and Springfield Board of Realtors). He was one of the original organizers of American Trust and Savings, which merged with First National Bank, directed the Clark County Chapter of the American Red Cross, served on the Ferncliff Cemetery Association, on the Wittenberg executive committee, and was a founder of Ridgewood School. Harry served as the first chairman of the Springfield Community Fund, helped establish the Springfield Rotary Club (which just celebrated 100 years). He was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, the Springfield Polo Club, Springfield Country Club, Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and Sons of the American Revolution. He was elected Most Worshipful Master of Mason in Ohio in 1910 and headed a half a million dollar effort to construct a Masonic Temple in Springfield.

KissellRotary1944 copyOne of his most notable ventures was the development of Ridgewood, which is discussed in great detail (along with a fantastic history of Springfield as a whole) in the book “Ridgewood in the Country Club District” by Tamara Dallenbach.
Harry was stricken by a fatal heart attack during a business meeting in Cincinnati on February 14, 1946. He is buried in Ferncliff Cemetery.

Harry Kissell's Residence on N. Fountain Blvd, 1939

Harry Kissell’s Residence on N. Fountain Blvd, 1939

Ridgewood Ad, 1921

Ridgewood Ad, 1921

More from the Kissell-Noonan Collection:

Harry Kissell, Age 12

Harry Kissell, Age 12

Harry Kissell, 1925

Harry Kissell, 1925

With Teddy Roosevelt (on his left) during Roosevelt's 1918 visit to Springfield.

With Teddy Roosevelt (on his left) during Roosevelt’s 1918 visit to Springfield.

With President Roosevelt, 1933

                                                              With President Roosevelt, 1933

Sources:

Beautiful Ferncliff: Springfield, Ohio’s Historic Cemetery and Arboretum by Paul W. Schanher III and Anne E. Benston

Ridgewood in the Country Club District by Tamara Dallenbach, Orange Frazer Press, 2011.

Biographical Category – Kissell-Noonan Collection

Biographical Category – Harry Kissell Collection

Commercial Category – Kissell Ridgewood Collection

Biographical

WHAT is it Wednesday artifact for September 17, 2014

On Wednesday, September 24 we shared a photo of an artifact on our Facebook page to see if anyone could guess what it was.

What could this be?

                                                              What could this be?

There were some good guesses: soap, coaster, hot pad, etc., but there were a few people who guessed correctly….this is a prescription pillbox from Schmidt’s Drugstore. The boxes had a hinged lid so as to prevent it being mixed up with other prescriptions since the instructions for taking the medications were included on the box lid.

Hinged pillbox with prescription instructions inside.

                                        Hinged pillbox with prescription instructions inside.

Some of our volunteers in the archives recall that Schmidt’s Pharmacy, located at 63 W. Main Street, was the last of the locally owned drugstores that still mixed their own medicinal concoctions. The founders of Schmidt’s, Adam Schmidt, started out in business with Charles A. Smith around 1870 before forming his own store, Schmidt’s in around 1887.

Schmidt's Drugstore, located at 63 W. Main Street, Springfield, Ohio

Schmidt’s Drugstore, located at 63 W. Main Street, Springfield, Ohio, 1940, W. Huston Moores Collection

Some other items from our collection relating to local pharmacies include a cork compressor that pharmacists would use to size the corks properly for prescription bottles and a prescription “recipe” book used by Theodore Troupe at Troupe’s Drug Store.

Cork compressor

                                                                     Cork compressor

Prescription recipe ledger from Theodore Troupe's Drug Store.

                            Prescription recipe ledger from Theodore Troupe’s Drug Store.

The pillbox became a nickname for military guard posts that were used in WWI and WWII in Europe. The concrete pillboxes had holes from which weapons could be fired.

Dover Quad Pillbox, used in WWII, Dover, Kent. Source

Dover Quad Pillbox, used in WWII, Dover, Kent.                           Source

A popular fashion item also took it’s name from the pillbox: the pillbox style hat, which was popularized by Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy (and today by Kate Middleton).

Sources:

W. Huston Moores Photograph Collection

Springfield City Directories

Commercial Ledger Collection

WHERE is it Wednesday for September 10, 2014

On our Facebook page on Wednesday, September 10, we shared this sketch of an early Clark County home to see if anyone could guess where it was.

Where could this be?

                                                              Where could this be?

This was a tricky one! It showed a sketch of a home from the 1875 Clark County Atlas, the home of Jacob Thomas. It was formerly located on the northeast corner of N. Limestone and E. McCreight at 1206 E. Limestone and it was the home of Jacob and Sophia Thomas, who came here from Maryland in 1851. Jacob Thomas and his sons owned quite a bit of land farther north on Limestone and it appears that the home pictured in the 1875 atlas was built around 1870 according to the Springfield City directories. The corner where the house was built was right on the corporation line for the city of Springfield at the time, so until the late 1800s it was JUST outside the city limits.

1882 Atlas showing the corner of Limestone and Cooper (later McCreight) where the home stood.

     1882 Atlas showing the corner of Limestone and Cooper (later McCreight) where the home stood.

The last Thomas in the home was Jacob’s son Thomas. The house was torn down around 1923 and was later home to a gas station and is now where Muffler Brothers is located on North Limestone.

Our archives didn’t yield a lot more information on Jacob Thomas, but one of his sons, John H. (J.H.) Thomas was a very prominent Springfield citizen. John founded the Thomas and Mast Company with industrialist P.P. Mast in 1855 and the specialized in Buckeye grain drills, seeders, and cider mills.

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John Thomas left the company in 1872 and in 1874 he formed the Thomas Manufacturing Company with his two sons, William and Findley. The company made a variety of products including hay rakes, steam engines, lawn mowers, pumps, disc harrows, bicycles, grain drills, and seeders.

ThomasAd copy

thomas cultivator copy IMG_1657 copy

We have a grain drill and a Thomas bicycle on display in the museum along with a few products from Thomas and Mast. John Thomas was a major philanthropist in the community, serving on city council and the Snyder Park board. He and Ross Mitchell gave a large financial gift that allowed for the establishment of the Mitchell-Thomas hospital on E. Main street, which was in use from 1887-1904.

MitchellThomasHospital1887_1904 copy

Mr. Thomas has the distinct honor of having THE tallest monument at Ferncliff cemetery.

Sources:

Springfield City Directories

Beautiful Ferncliff: Springfield, Ohio’s Historic Cemetery and Arboretum by Paul W. Schanher, III and Anne E. Benston

Health and Care Category – Medical Collection – Mitchell-Thomas Hospital

Manufacturing Category – Thomas Manufacturing Co.

1875 Clark County, Ohio Atlas

1882 Springfield Atlas

WHO is it Wednesday for September 3, 2014

On Wednesday, September 3, on our Facebook page we shared a WHO is it Wednesday photo of this woman here:

Who could this be?

Who could this be?

She had a familiar face to a few who made guesses; her horn rimmed glasses seemed to give her away as a teacher! This is Thelma A. Dunn, Wittenberg associate professor of education who taught from the time she graduated from Wittenberg in 1924 until her retirement in 1966. She was a 1921 graduate of Springfield High School and received her master’s degree from the Ohio State University. During her more than 4 decades at Wittenberg University, she supervised the practice teaching of over 2,500 students. It was her aim, she said, to impress upon her students that teaching is a job to be done and not merely a time clock to be punched. Several of our own retired teacher volunteers at the Heritage Center remember studying under Miss Dunn; one recalls her saying, “If you must yell at your students, be sure to lower your voice.” Thelma was honored with the Golden W award from Wittenberg in 1974. She died in 1979 and is buried in Ferncliff Cemetery. Thelma’s collection of materials in the historical society archives contains a wide range of items including a fair amount of artwork done during her earlier school years at Central school. Items pictured here out of her collection include more pictures of her from high school and college, her Wittenberg freshman grade card, a response from President Richard Nixon, school work, her mileage ration card, and a ticket for Ferncliff Cemetery.

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Sources:

Biographical Category – Thelma Dunn Collection

WHAT is it Wednesday for August 27, 2014

On Wednesday, August 27, we shared a photo of an archival item from the Geneva Fath Brown Collection on our Facebook page to see if anyone could identify it.

What could this be?

                                                What could this be?

A few people recognized right away that it was some sort of game and a couple knew it for what it was: a fortune telling game!  This fortune telling alphabet game is from around 1910. We came across this several years ago with processing the Geneva Fath Brown Collection, mixed in among some really powerful (and sometimes humorous) correspondence between a young Geneva Fath and soldier friends in World War I. As near as we can tell, the way this game worked was that you had a list of words from A-M and a corresponding list of boys (or girls) and you would count randomly down the list to assign the people to the words. For example, on this list Ralph H. wants to Marry you, Harry G. Adores you, Will C. thinks you’re Cute. This was a fun find because we started reminiscing about similar games like the origami fortune teller (Cootie Catcher), and M.A.S.H seen above. It goes to show the while things change, some things stay the same!

We looked through some of the materials in our Educational Materials Collection to see if there was anything else fun to share and found some Dick and Jane paper dolls from the 1960s.

Dick, Jane, and Sally paper cutouts used with a 1960s curriculum guide for Kindergarten and 1st Grade students.

In 2008 exhibit we put together a large exhibit on Education in Clark County that showcased a lot of the photos and artifacts in the historical society’s collections.  We built two model classrooms as a way to display some of the neat educational materials and nostalgic artifacts in the historical society’s collections.

Turn of the century replica classroom.

                                     Turn of the century replica classroom.

1950s replica classroom.

                                              1950s replica classroom.

There’s a lot of great stuff in our collection: text books, yearbooks, report cards, diplomas, TONS of class photos, school building dedication programs, desks, cubbies, maps, games, toys, and more. For more info on our school related collections in the archives: http://heritagecenter.us/education.cfm. For more pictures from the 2008 exhibit “Education in Clark County”.

Sources:

Biographical Category – Geneva Fath Brown Collection

Education Category – Educational Materials Collection