The Benjamin Gettler Papers Project

By: Alex Temple, Gettler Project Archivist

Alex TempleHi, my name is Alex Temple, and I’m the Project Archivist who will be letting the life and work of Benjamin Gettler out of the box, so to speak.  While I am unpacking and learning, I will be using this blog to share with you some of the interesting footprints* left behind by Mr. Gettler throughout his accomplished life of service and business achievement.  To round it out, I will also be sharing with you my process and experiences with the project.

These “footprints” are currently stored in six boxes.  It is my job to sort through these boxes and arrange their contents in a way that best represents the life of Ben Gettler, and to describe the contents and arrangement to make his life easy for you to access and discover for yourself.  There will be detailed finding aid created, along with a web exhibit and select digitization of important documents.

Gettler papers boxesTo put another way, Mr. Gettler wore many shoes in his life while leaving these footprints, and I’ll be determining their style and occasion.  I will also be rehousing the collection to ensure that these records of his life will be preserved for long-term care, so with some luck we just might meet a cobbler on the way!

In his life, Benjamin Gettler worked as a lawyer, served on the University of Cincinnati’s Board of Trustees, and was deeply involved in Cincinnati public transportation, the Jewish community, and local, state, national, and international politics and philanthropies.  What are the contributions of Ben Gettler that you are interested in? Throughout this project, your thoughts are always welcome and encouraged!

To learn more about the holdings of the Archives & Rare Books Library and its ongoing projects, visit us on the 8th floor of Blegen Library, call us at 513.556.1959, email us at archives@ucmail.uc.edu, visit our web page at http://libraries.uc.edu/arb.html, or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArchivesRareBooksLibraryUniversityOfCincinnati.

 

*Visible Footprints is the autobiography of Benjamin Gettler, co-written with Michael G. Rapp and published in 2012.

Don Heinrich Tolzmann Collection Now Available for Research

By: Kevin Rigsby, ARB Intern, Fall Semester 2017

AbendschuleThe University of Cincinnati Archives and Rare Books Library announces the opening of the Don Heinrich Tolzmann German-Americana Collection.  This collection contains a wealth of material from the German-American community in the United States, especially from Germans in the Greater Cincinnati area.  Of particular note are several sets of German almanacs from the early 20th century, papers and photographs from prominent German-American organizations such as the Turners, and histories and biographies written by or about influential figures in the German-American community.  There are also German-language newspapers from the beginning to the end of the 20th century, along with histories of several German religious institutions from the Cincinnati area.  This collection provides a valuable resource for students and scholars researching the history of German-American culture, and we extend our great appreciation to Dr. Tolzmann for his important donation.

The online exhibit for this collection showcases some highlights from this collection and provides a glimpse of the materials it holds.  The exhibit can be found on the Archives & Rare Books Library website at http://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/exhibits/tolzmann-ga/.  And in looking at this exhibit, be sure to view other collections of German-Americana at https://libraries.uc.edu/arb/collections/german-americana.html, including the “Gut Heil! The 1909 Cincinnati German Turnfest and Urban Sport” exhibit and the “Sacred Spaces of Greater Cincinnati and the German Influence” exhibit.  To learn more about the German Americana Collection, which is one of the top collections in the world of its type, or the other collections in the Archives & Rare Books Library, visit us on the 8th floor of Blegen Library, call us at 513.556.1959, email us at archives@ucmail.uc.edu, view our website at http://libraries.uc.edu/arb.html, and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArchivesRareBooksLibraryUniversityOfCincinnati.

Developing Future Access to Cincinnati’s Third Protestant Memorial Church Collection

By:  Alia Wegner, ARB 2017-2018 Intern

Third German Protestant Church
The Third German Protestant Church located at 829 Walnut Street, photo taken in the 1920s.

One of my internship projects this year is developing a digitization plan for the Cincinnati German Third Protestant Memorial Church Collection (Accession number GA-09-03).  Acquired a decade ago, the Third German Protestant Memorial Church was formerly known as the Third German Protestant Memorial Church of Cincinnati, the German and Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Church, and the North German Lutheran Church.   This collection spans 1814 to 1982 and includes records of births, marriages, deaths, confirmations, along with financial records and a few photographs.  For the most part, it has been used by family historians but once it is digitized and available as a global resource, the records can be used by urban historians, religious scholars, ethnicity and immigration researchers, and many others, as well as providing excellent primary resources in teaching.

The collection forms an important part of the University of Cincinnati’s German-Americana holdings but poses some challenges for digitization. The TPMC collection is composed primarily of handwritten German documents that need to be transcribed as well as scanned.  Since transcribing foreign language documents adds an additional layer of processing, it is important to get a clear sense of the extent and composition of the collection. One of my first tasks in this project was creating a collection overview. Continue reading Developing Future Access to Cincinnati’s Third Protestant Memorial Church Collection

The Don Heinrich Tolzmann German-Americana Collection

By:  Kevin Rigsbee, ARB and History Department Intern

Tolzmann German Americana Turnfest PostcardThe University of Cincinnati Archives and Rare Books Library recently received the papers of Don Heinrich Tolzmann, a retired Senior Librarian at UC and the former director of German-American Studies.  He has served as president of the Society for German-American Studies and during his tenure of office, he helped commemorate the 1983 German-American Tricentennial to mark the establishment of the first German-American settlement at Germantown, Pennsylvania Tolzmann also led the 1987 campaign to establish October 6th as German-American Day in the United States.  He has also served on the boards of international and national organizations, including the Deutsches Auswandererhaus in Bremerhaven and the Friends of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. and he is currently president of the German-American Citizens League of Greater Cincinnati,

Dr. Tolzmann created the German-Americana Collection (also known as the Fick Collection because the initial bulk of the collection came from the library of noted Cincinnati educator and poet H.H. Fick) when he was on the University of Cincinnati Libraries faculty and built it into a world-renowned resource for research and teaching. This extensive collection contains materials from the nineteenth century to the present day, and ranges from periodicals and newspapers to personal letters, census records, and spelling books and almanacs. Continue reading The Don Heinrich Tolzmann German-Americana Collection

Revealing the Cincinnati Irish

By:  Kevin Grace

Mollie Gilmartin Death CertificateIn 1866, dozens of Cincinnatians, many of them veterans of the Civil War, helped launch an unsuccessful Irish invasion of Canada.  After capture by British and Canadian forces, these Cincinnati Irish were repatriated and they came home.  In 1894, a young Irish immigrant by the name of Mary “Mollie” Gilmartin, living in Cincinnati’s West End, was killed by a man who had stalked her from County Sligo.  Mollie was buried without a grave marker and then forgotten for almost a century.  In 1908, a little girl from the Avondale neighborhood wrote her Christmas letter to Santa Claus.  Elainae, the six-year-old of a wealthy family asked for a doll and for an Irish maid.  And in the 1920s, Ireland’s political leader Éamon de Valera came to Cincinnati to raise money for his emerging independent country.  The Cincinnati Irish had deep pockets with an abiding connection to their heritage.  These are all fairly disparate stories that touch upon just one of the ethnic groups that shaped Cincinnati then, but what meaning is to be found in them now?  How are commonalities with other groups, other eras, and other places discovered and studied? Continue reading Revealing the Cincinnati Irish

Caring for Cincinnati’s Children: The Cincinnati House of Refuge and Beyond

The Cinicnnati House of Refuge in 1856
The House of Refuge from the 1856 Annual Report of the House of Refuge

Last year, I wrote a short history of the Cincinnati House of Refuge for a website that is currently under development by some UC Librarians which will make the data from ARB’s digitized Cincinnati House of Refuge records more easily searchable.   While conducting research on the history of the House of Refuge, I became intrigued with how Cincinnati dealt with children whose parents for one reason or another were unable to care for them in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The Cincinnati House of Refuge was designed as a facility for juvenile delinquents, but over time it also came to house children who had nowhere else to go.  This fall I am beginning a research quest to piece together why this happened, and when and what alternatives to the House of Refuge were established.  I will be writing a series of blog posts on what I find.  This first one, though, will provide some background on Cincinnati’s House of Refuge. Continue reading Caring for Cincinnati’s Children: The Cincinnati House of Refuge and Beyond

What Do Martin Luther, a Hidden Paleontologist and German-Americans Have in Common? They are All in the Latest Source.

sourceRead Source, the online newsletter, to learn more about the news, events, people and happenings in UC Libraries.

This latest issue of Source includes an article from Xuemao Wang, dean and university librarian, about UC Libraries core beliefs and their role on how we achieve our mission “to empower discovery, stimulate learning and inspire the creation of knowledge by connecting students, faculty, researchers and scholars to dynamic data, information and resources.” Kevin Grace, university archivist and head of the Archives and Rare Books Library, writes about a hidden bust of a famous 20th-century paleontologist and philosopher. Two important gifts are announced in this issues of Source – the first, an endowment from the Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation for the German-Americana Collection; the second, a legacy gift from Sandra and Robert Cohan to benefit musical collections in the Albino Gorno Memorial Library. Exhibits highlighting the Archives and Rare Books Library’s Shakespeare Collection, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and a book display for Hispanic Heritage Month are also featured in this issue of Source. In addition, a collaboration between the College of Medicine and the Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library to create a grant program to partner medical faculty with library informationists is announced.

Read these articles, as well as past issues, on the web at http://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/source/ and via e-mail. To receive Source via e-mail, contact melissa.norris@uc.edu to be added to the mailing list.

Shakespeare, Beethoven, Bearcats and More – All in Latest Issue of Source

sourceRead Source, the online newsletter, to learn more about the news, events, people and happenings in UC Libraries.

This latest issue of Source includes an article with Xuemao Wang, dean and university librarian, about how UC Libraries is utilizing Organizational Development to help bring about transformational change. Kevin Grace, university archivist and head of the Archives and Rare Books Library writes about the Enoch Carson Shakespeare Collection and how it will be a part of autumn 2017 Shakespeare celebrations in Cincinnati. Another great reading collection, the Cohen Enrichment Collection, is also featured in this issue.

Other articles in Source include an update on two UC Libraries Strategic Plan initiatives – eLearning and Digital Literacy and the Digital Scholarship Center, a recap of the most recent annual Cecil Striker Lecture and the addition of Beethoven’s “Life Mask” in the Albino Gorno Memorial (CCM) Library. Read these articles and more.

Source is available on the web at http://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/source/ and via e-mail. To receive Source via e-mail, contact melissa.norris@uc.edu to be added to the mailing list.

Shakespeare and Cincinnati’s Dramatic Festival

By: Sydney M. Vollmer, ARB Intern

In the spring of 1883, Cincinnati held its first Dramatic Festival at Music Hall, performing for a consecutive six days.  The show had a lineup of performances of all sorts of dramatic works, with many of them holding Shakespearian titles.   The festival was such a big deal that even the Chicago Tribune sent someone over to see what it was all about but unfortunately, the Tribune was less than impressed with Cincinnati’s efforts, claiming that the largeness of Music Hall drowned out the performances of almost all the actors.  However, the critics did have some kind words for the orchestra as well as the performances of Hamlet and Julius Caesar. Apparently, these were the only two plays that were “great” enough to be worthy of performance while simultaneously using the space effectively. It certainly helped that in the role of Hamlet was the famous thespian James E. Murdoch.

Dramatic Festival Continue reading Shakespeare and Cincinnati’s Dramatic Festival

History of the Philomathic Society of Cincinnati College

By Leah Wickett

ARB and Ohio Valley History Intern

Cincinnati College, 1819

Founded in 1819, Cincinnati College was home to two literary societies, the Philomathic Society and the Erophoebic Society (which had a bit of a rivalry between them).[1] Students of the College formed the Philomathic Society prior to the opening of the College, on January 18, 1818.[2] The Society’s aim was “for mutual literary improvement” and its first members were John Hough James, Junius James, George Mackey Wilson, Lemuel D. Howells, Robert T. Lytle, and Edward L. Drake.[3] Soon after its creation, the student members created a separate branch of the Philomathic Society for elected members consisting of William Henry Harrison, Thomas Peirce, Daniel Drake, Benjamin Drake, Peyton Short Symmes, as well as “other gentlemen, well known at that day… interested in literary affairs.”[4] On April 3, 1821, Daniel Drake invited the members of the Philomathic Society to join the public commencement of the Medical College being held the following day at Cincinnati College’s Chapel.[5] In the early part of 1821, the Society created a semi-monthly paper called The Olio, which featured local literature and was “the first effort on the part of a literary society, in the West, for development of poetic ability.”[6] The publication contained historical essays, articles, poetry, and the occasional “humorous essay.”[7] The Olio, published and edited by John H. Wood and Samuel S. Brooks, ended after just one year of publication.[8] Continue reading History of the Philomathic Society of Cincinnati College