The Archives and Rare Books Library has been working with Cincinnati Ballet to prepare for their 50th anniversary season which begins in 2013. As part of the celebration, David Lyman, the dance writer for The Cincinnati Enquirer, is working on a book about the ballet. Lyman was contracted to write the book by the Cincinnati firm, Allegori, who, in turn, has a contract for the book with Cincinnati Ballet. Lyman has been doing research on the ballet using Cincinnati Ballet records and the David McLain and David Blackburn Collection held in the Archives and Rare Books Library. Photos and slides from these records are currently being scanned for use in the book which will be released in 2013. Although the images in this blog post are not necessarily ones chosen for the book, they are a sampling of the some of the images in the collections.
-Not your colloquial Irish farewell, mind you, because that would have us skipping out when it is our turn to buy a round of drinks, and you just know we would never do that! Rather, a farewell to Archives Month in Ohio and its 2012 theme of “Ethnic Peoples of Ohio.” In southwest Ohio, the focus has been on Irish heritage and the Celtic contribution to our culture. From businessmen and women and Civil War soldiers to civic leaders and politicians, to writers and artists, Cincinnati and this corner of the state have been greatly enriched by the Irish.
In addressing this theme in October, we were very fortunate that it coincidentally embraced the annual Niehoff Lecture at the Mercantile Library, presented by Irish poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. It could have been happenstance, of course, but more likely cinnuint, or destiny to youse guys. On Saturday evening, October 20, Heaney spoke before an enthralled audience at the Westin Hotel as part of a lecture series that has helped mark the Mercantile as the center for literary life in Cincinnati. Continue reading Cead Slan, or, A Farewell to Archives Month
As Halloween approaches, many of us are preparing to celebrate the holiday, from trick-or-treating to haunted house tours. October is a month filled with a sense of the uncanny, and the Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection has many local examples from several research papers dealing with all things mysterious and ghoulish.
All communities have their collective legends and mysteries, and Clifton is no exception. Elise Maynard’s paper in the collection titled The Arlin’s Ghost in a Community Context features first-hand accounts from Arlin’s bartenders on the supernatural legends housed within this Ludlow Avenue bar. For years among the staff, there have been legends passed down about spirits that inhabit the building. The oral legends that passed down were brought to action when several bartenders and a few patrons conducted a séance in the basement. Continue reading Local Lore: Haunted Buildings of Clifton
The first delivery of scans depicting the 1920s subway construction project has arrived. These scans were made from a set of highly sensitive nitrate-based negatives, which are being digitized first due to their state of deterioration. A variety of factors have contributed to this deterioration, including the physical composition (an unstable silver nitrate emulsion held on a celluloid surface), age (many are from the 1920s-1930s), and environment (negatives had been stored in a location with dramatically fluctuating temperature and humidity levels prior to being stored at UC’s ARB repository), so it’s important to have them scanned as soon as possible. For safety reasons, the nitrate negatives will be destroyed once scanning is completed and image files are approved. Following the nitrate scanning, acetate-based negatives will be scanned. These negatives are also deteriorating due to similar factors but do not pose safety issues like the nitrate negatives, apart from their offensive vinegar smell…Following the negatives, the collection of prints will be sent for scanning. When completed, we will have over 8000 digital images of the subway and street improvements projects, images portraying Cincinnati from the 1920s through the 1950s, with over half produced as positive images from negatives.
As the election season draws to a close over the next couple of weeks, it seems appropriate to consider the story of Mike Mullen, perhaps corrupt in the eyes of muckraking journalists, but certainly beloved among his own kind – and isn’t that always the case when it comes to urban politics? A jaded opinion, you say? Maybe, I respond, but certainly one that is backed by the boisterous heritage of American city life. And, so in the spirit of Archives Month in Ohio and the democratic system of government, here we go… Continue reading Irish Cincinnati-Mike Mullen and Ward Politics
The Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection in the Archives & Rare Books Library’s Urban Studies Collection, is made up of several hundred small research projects of written and illustrated folklore that have been collected since the early 1970s by the students of professor emeritus Edgar Slotkin. In my efforts to make sense of such a wide variety of topics as I begin this year-long internship, I began sorting the papers into categories. In all, fifteen separate genres were discovered, among them proverbs, stories, jokes, children’s games, local festivals, the uncanny, bathroom stall graffiti, and food lore. Continue reading Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection
It has its roots in the fact that, historically, German and Irish Catholic congregants were often at odds in Cincinnati. On Mt. Adams, where both Irish and German working-class families lived, there were two Catholic churches, Church of the Holy Cross for the Irish, Immaculata Church for the Germans. Holy Cross parish was established in 1873 to serve the Irish immigrants on the hill and Immaculata was dedicated in 1860, fulfilling a promise made to God by a fearful and distraught Archbishop John Baptist Purcell when he crossed the Atlantic on stormy, tossing seas. With a German congregation, Immaculata was part of Purcell’s adroit handling of the ethnic differences in the 19th century Cincinnati archdiocese. Continue reading Stealing St. Patrick: Another Moment in Archives Month and the Cincinnati Irish
Molly Gullett is a fourth year History major at the University of Cincinnati and is the Archives & Rare Books Library intern for the 2012-2013 academic year. Each year, ARB selects an intern to work on one specific project from its collections. The intern must be an undergraduate of junior or senior standing or a graduate student, and must have taken courses relevant to the project. Other qualifications include the earning of academic credit within the intern’s major field of study. The project includes complete processing of a collection, the preparing of an Encoded Archival Description finding aid, and the design and preparation of a web exhibit that highlights the collection. The project will be completed by the end of spring semester of 2013.
Today’s image from the project is certainly an intriguing one: when the Rapid Transit Commission in Cincinnati went ahead with their intent to turn the Miami-Erie Canal route into a subway system, they hired a photographer to document every step of the project. His images detailing the particular day, time, and street location of the subway construction in the 1920s form the bulk of our digitization endeavor. He captured extraordinary exterior views of the canal bed being widened and deepened as tunnels were built, showing the streets and buildings along the route that is now Central Parkway in Cincinnati. However, the construction also led to these buildings being damaged – cracks in ceilings, walls, and foundations in private homes and businesses, for which the owners were submitting claims for repairs and restitution.
Digital Archivist, Cincinnati City Engineer Digitization Project
As the month of October begins, so too begins a new project for the Archives and Rare Books Library – digitizing and making available on the web the collection of negatives and prints documenting Cincinnati’s early 20th century subway development and street improvement program. New projects often require new hands to help facilitate, and it is my pleasure to join this project as Digital Archivist, marking my own beginning as I strike out on a new project in a new city. Continue reading Cincinnati Subway and Street Project Grant Underway