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Ohio Libraries


C. B. GALBREATH, State Librarian.


J. F. McGREW, President, O. E. NILES, CHARLES ORR.

Fred. J. Heer, State Printep




(House Joint Resolution, by Mr. Comings.)


f^elative to publishing an account of the condition and work of the public libraries
of Ohio.

Whereas, No detailed account of the condition and work of the public libraries
of Ohio has ever been published; arid

Whereas, The publication of such information would encourage library ex-
tension in Ohio as it has done in other states; therefore

Be it resolved by the General Assembly af the State of Ohio, That the board
of library commissioners is hereby authorized to prepare and have printed, in ad-
dition to their regular report for the year 1900, sketches of the public libraries
•of the state with such other information relating thereto as can be obtained, and
that not exceeding one thousand five hundred copies be printed for distribution by
*aid board of library commissioners.

A. G. Reynolds,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Jno. a. Caldwell,
President of the Senate.


Samuel H. Bright, Chairman.
Benjamin F. Wirt.


Horace Ankeney, Chairman.
Ross E. Holaday.
Andrew G. Comings.
Samuel V. Brown.
William L. Raub.
Hal. C. DeRan.
Stacy B. Rankin.



In the preparation of the following sketches, the compiler has placed a lib-
•eral construction on the term "public libraries," and has made it include all
-collections of books that are open to the public either for circulation or reference.

It was the original purpose of the Library Commission to have the work
ready for the Public Printer by January, 1901. The resolution authorizing this
publication made no provision for clerical assistance in the preparation of the work,
which fell to the lot of the state librarian, in addition to the usual duties of his
office in an unusually busy year. The work required extended correspondence
and was dependent entirely upon the voluntary assistance of those in charge of the
libraries represented. Responses to requests for sketches and statistics came in
very slowly. Some of the larger and more important libraries of the state were latest
in furnishing this material, and some have necessarily been omitted because of their
failure to co-operate. This has made it absolutely impossible to procure material
for a creditable publication at an earlier date. Delays, under the circumstances,
were to have been expected. This is the first attenmpt at such a work in Ohio.
It is hoped that when a second edition is issued the difficulties attending this
venture will be in a measure avoided.

By reference to the following pages it will be found that the free library
movement in Ohio is still in its infancy. Only sixty-seven free circulating and refer-
•ence libraries are reported in the state. Ohio suffers by comparison with many other
states. There was a time when she held high rank in this important field. Recent
years have witnessed a revival of interest which the friends of the library movement
believe to be prophetic of better things to follow. This has been accentuated and
accelerated by the intelligent philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie. Many of his gifts
have been made since the following sketches went to press. Appropriate recogni-
tion of his munificence must be left to a future publication.

The total number of volumes in all libraries reported is 2,300,074. Of these,
2,099,276 are bound, and 200,798 are unbound.

In the meantime, while we may not boast of our number of free libraries,
we may console ourselves with the reflection that Ohio has recently contributed
to the library cause some features that are unique, original and worthy of imitation.
The county library, suggested by Governor Salmon P. Chase as early as 1857,
has become a reality. The plan is on trial, and reference to the sketches of the
Cincinnati Public Library and the Brumback Library of Van Wert county cannot
fail to convince the reader that the plan is a demonstrated success and inspire the
hope that an important step has been taken toward the solution of the library prob-
lem. It is encouraging, in this connection, to note that very recently a county
library law, including among its provisions practically all of the features of the
act which made the Brumback Library possible, has been enacted in one of our
most progressive states. Some one has said that in educational matters Ohio is
a good follower. In the county library device, she bids fair to lead.

The traveling library system, state and local, gains steadily in popularity.
It is believed that the work done through this agency in Ohio, all things con-
sidered, will compare most favorably with that done in any other state. This is
fully set forth in the history of the traveling library department of the Ohio State
Library and the interesting sketch of the Free Traveling School Library of Frank-
Jin county.




"The Public Library in Ohio," by an eminent educator of the state, and the
full history of the school library of Ohio, included in the sketch of the Columbus
School Library are contributions of permanent value. The tabulated statistics are
self-explanatory. The list of libraries is not so complete as desired, but it includes
more names of Ohio libraries than have recently appeared in a single publication.
The Legislature made no provision for illustrations. Those found on the fol-
lowing pages were furnished at the expense of the libraries they represent.

With many thanks to all who have in any way assisted, and apologies to those
who early responded to requests for material and have waited long and patiently,
the first edition of the Sketches of Ohio Libraries is respectfully submitted, in the
>hope that it may prove helpful to librarians and "stimulate library extension."

C. B. Galbreath,
State Librarian and Secretary of the Library Commission.

-OHIO state; IvIBRARY— main room 1890.



The Public Library in Ohio 9

Ohio State Library 19

History of Ohio State Library, 1890-1901 25-

List of Traveling Libraries issued from Ohio State Library since the intro-
duction of the system to June, 1901 44

Growth of the Traveling Library Department, Ohio State Library 69*

Supreme Court of Ohio — Law Library 78

Franklin County Free Traveling School Librarj^ 80

Akron Public Library 81

Library of German Wallace College 83

The Philura Gould Baldwin Memorial Library 83

Bryan Public Library 85-

Bucyrus Memorial Library 86

The Cadiz Public Library 87

California Free Library 89-

Northeastern Ohio Normal College Library 89^

Cardington Public Library 90

Library of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio / 92

The Public Library of Cincinnati 96-

Young Men's Mercantile Library of Cincinnati 104^

Circleville Public Library • 106

Adeibert College Library of Cleveland 114

Library of St. Ignatius College, Cleveland 116

Case Library 11&

Cleveland Public Library 121

Other Libraries of Cleveland 131

Library of the Ohio Institution for the Education of the Blind 132'

Library of Ohio State University 133

Public School Library of Columbus (including account of Ohio School

Library) 140

Public Library and Reading Room of Columbus 152

Library of Pontifical College of Josephinum 172

Other Libraries in Columbus 173

Corning Book Exchange 174

Public Library and Museum of Dayton 175

Delaware City Library Association 178

Ohio Wesleyan University 182

Carnegie Library' at East Liverpool 185

Birchard Library of Fremont 188

Gallipolis Public Library 191

Kenyon College Library 192

Piatt R. Spencer Memorial Library 194

Germantown Public Library 195

Alumnae Library of Glendale College 195

Denison University Library 195

Greenfield Public Library 196



Free-Public School Library of Greenville 197

Hallsvillc Special District Library 197

Historical Sketch of the Lane Free Library of Hamilton 198

Hillsborough Public Library ^j.; 203

Briggs Library Institute . '. " 206

Citizens' Library Association of Jefferson 207

Lancaster Public Library 208

Laurel Social Club Library 209

Mechanics' Institute Library of l.clianon 209

Lepper Library of Lisbon 211

Lockland Public Library and Free Reading Room 214

Mt. Vernon Public Library 214

Mansfield Memorial Library 216

McClymonds Public Library 221

Marietta College Library 224

Marysville Library 227

Mentor Village Library 228

Newark Circulating Library .- 230

Historical Sketch of Oberlin College Library 230

The Western College Library of Oxford 234

Painesville Public Library 234

Schmidlapp Free School Library of Piqua 237

The Pomeroy Public Library 237

Salem Pulilic Library 239

Sandusky Public Library 240

Shelby Public Library ! 245

Sidney Public Library 248

Stokes Township Library 252

Warder Public Library of Springfield. 252

Zimmerman Library of Wittenberg College 255

Carnegie Library of Steubenville 260

Toledo Public Library 260

Urbana LTniversity Library ; 265

Brumback County Library of Van Wert 265

Warren Pulilic Library 275

Public Library of Washington C. H 281

Citizens' Library of Wauseon 281

Woodfield Public Library Association 282

Wooster University Library 282

Xenia Library Association 284

Yellow Springs Public Library 290

Reuben McMillan Free Public Library 291

Buckingham Librarj^ 291

Carnegie Library of Greenville 293

Van Wormer Library Building 295

Library of the University of Cincinnati 295

Roster of Boards of Trustees, 1899-1900 298

Gifts and Improvements 809

Ohio Library Statistics, 1899-1900 312

Library Laws of Ohio 325,^ ^^

Andrew Carnegie — His Gifts in Ohio 365

Appendix. — Newspapers and Periodicals in Ohio Libraries, and Ohio News-
papers in Library of Congress and .Library of Historical Society of



"Educated, by Jove ! Educated," was the gleeful shout of a graduate
of a New England college, not many years ago, as he wa ved his much
prized parchment over his head on commencement day. More noted
for conviviality than for hard study, it is not strange that he failed to see
the difference between graduation and education. The popular idea that
graduation ends all must give place to the truer and more wholesome idea
that it marks but the beginning of true intellectual life. School training
is the foundation, and the stability and strength of the future struc-
ture will depend in no small degree upon the character of that foun-
dation. How often it happens that on account of rotten stone, soft
brick, freezing and thawing and general carelessness in the selection of
material and in doing the work, it becomes necessary to tear away the
foundation in part or wholly and to rebuild before further progress
is possible; and after all of this has been done it is a patched up job and
can never be anything more. On the other hand, how often it happens
that a good foundation, built of excellent materials and under the most
favorable circumstances, is allowed to stand until by the action of the
wind and weather it is unfit to support the superstructure which belongs
to it ; and even if completed, the style of architecture is out of harmony
with the age to which it belongs ; in other words, many graduates out-
Van Winkle Van Winkle himself in the profoundness of the slumber that
steals upon them when they think that they have been educated. Who
has not seen many a college graduate who, far from advancing and grow-
ing after graduation, has absolutely retrograded in knowledge and
mental power?

The library is the legitimate supplement and complement of the
work of the schools. How its influences may enter into the web and
woof of the foundation, is fji miliar to those who have thought on the
subject. How it has reached, and may continue to reach out and to
touch the entire community, is in a large measure the object of this
paper to show.

One of the principles of the ordinance of 1787 was that the means of
education should be forever encouraged in the northwest territory.
Recognizing the importance of this principle, the early settlers of this
great territory began to lay their plans at a very early day to secure for
themselves as well as their children the best educational facilities which
they could afford. Even before the little log school house had been
-erected, the public library began its work. It was well that it did so for

2 S. OF o. Iv. (9)


the love of knowledge which the parents themselves imbibed from the
books which they read has been transmitted to their children and the
school house and the college are but natural results. The history of
some of these early libraries reads like romance and the noble men
who brought these little foundations of knowledge over the mountains
to those small settlements in the wilderness are to be classed with the
Greek Heroes and the early settlers of Rome.

The first library of which we have any authentic history was the
Putman Family Library, established at Belpre as early as 1795 by Colonel
Israel Putman. It was afterwards known as the "Belpre Farmers'
Library," and still later as the "Belpre Library." The organization was
dissolved in 181 5 or 1816. General Israel Putnam had a fine library,
rich in history, travel and belles-lettres. At his death in 1790, this
library was divided among his heirs, and his. son brought a large part of
it to Ohio, which formed the nucleus of the Putman Family Library.
With the true spirit of fellowship, a stock company was formed and the
library put into circulation for the benefit of all the settlers who were will-
ing to share the burdens of its maintenance. Thus, in a large sense, it
became a public library. The following was found September 2, 1801,
in the records of the probate office of Washington county as an item in
the inventory of the estate of Jonathan Stone :

Marietta, Ohio Oct. 26, 1796.
"Received of Jonathan Stone, by hand of Benjamin Mills, Ten Dollars, for
his share in the Putman Famil}' Library.

W. P. Putman, Clerk.

About twenty-three volumes which belong to this library are still in
existence. Several of the books have the marks of the different libraries ;
e. g., one volume, the property of Captain Geo. Dana, entitled "John
Locke's Essays on Human Understanding," published in 1793, is No. 5
in the "Putnam Family Library" but was afterwards changed to No. 6,
"Belpre Library." These volumes should be guarded with sacred care for
they will become priceless relics in the centuries to come.

The second public library was put into operation at Cincinnati, on
March 6, 1802, with L. Kerr as librarian. Thirty-four shares of $10.00
each were sold, Arthur St. Clair being among the subscribers. But for
some reason it ceased to exist at an early day.

The celebrated "Coonskin Library," which was long supposed to be
the first in the state, was not organized- until 1804, in Ames township,
Athens county. It was incorporated February 19, 1810, as the "Western
Library Association." The Dayton Library Society was incorporated
February 21, 1805. A library was established at Granville, which was
then in Fairfield county, January 26, 1807, and another at Newton, Ham-
ilton county, February 10, 1808.

Intellectual growth is so unobtrusive and subtle that it is not easy
to measure the degrees of advancement ; but the good work done by these



pioneer libraries is amply attested by the pioneer thinkers of the Buckeye
State. Says Amos Dunham, who built his log cabin in the woods ten
miles south of Marietta, in 1802 : "The long winter evenings were rather
tedious, and in order to make them pass more smoothly, by great exertion
I purchased a share in the Belpre Library, six miles distant. From this
T promised myself much entertainment, but another obstacle presented


oft lie

Arics^^ERX Lip, \l \ki

aiiSociKtioii. xs^ t.^^^W-^" 4

w _ i



Reduced fac simile of title page of Minute Book of Western Library Association,
l"Coonskin" Library ) Original in possession of Sarah J. Cutlrr, Marietta, O.


iitself — I had no candles ; however, the woods afforded me plenty of pine
-knots — with these I made torches by which I could read, though I nearly
-spoiled my eyes. Many a night have I passed in this manner till twelve
or one o'clock reading to my wife, while she was hatchelling, carding or

The early patrons of the "Coonskin Library" were of the same in-
telligent class, ever hungering after knowledge and getting it, too, regard-
less of difficulties that might stand in their way. So scarce was money,
that Judge A. G. Brown declares that he cannot remember ever having
seen a piece of coin until he was a well grown boy. But true to their Yan-
kee instincts, these early settlers were not long in devising a medium of ex-
change that answered for all purposes, barring the slight inconvenience
of handling and carrying it about in the vest pocket. Those were the days
of John Jacob Astor. They were, also, the days when wolves, bears,
> coons and other fur-bearing animals abounded. Thus the means were
not wanting. Samuel Brown, going to Boston on a business trip, was
loaded down with skins to be converted into books for a Western Library —
a journey quite as remarkable as Jason's Quest 6f the Golden Fleece.
Thomas Ewing threw into the enterprise all his accumulated wealth,
which consisted of "ten coon skins." On the 17th of December, 1804,
fifty-one books thus purchased were accepted, Ephraim Cutler elected
librarian and the Western Library Association began its work. What
a boon for the young pioneers who were thirsting for knowledge. Says
Thomas Ewing of this early library : "It was well selected ; the library
of the Vatican was nothing to it, and there never was a library better

Is it any wonder that we have a great state and have furnished great
men to the nation and to the world, when the elements which entered into
its early citizenship are taken into account ? Burning with unquenchable
thirst to drink from the fountain of knowledege and an unsatisfiable
hungering for intellectual food, they were elements of which heroes are
made. We may justly feel as proud of the early settlers of Ohio as of
those who first cast their lot on the "wild New England shore." New
England had its own peculiar notions of government — the outgrowth of
its own history and conditions. The cavalier settlers of Virginia had
different ideas of government, the reflection of their habits of life and
the institution of slavery. These two streams of western civilization
flowed together in this new state of the northwest. The problem of Ohio
was to unify the Plymouth and Jamestown ideals and cause them to
blend as one. It was no easy task. Discussions were numerous and
spirited but the little library often came in as the great arbiter and served
to modify the ideas of each and bring them into a closer bond of fellow-
ship. The early settlers were Americans and believed in open and free
discussion, hence the silent influence which went out from these library
centers can never be fairly estimated. That the early Ohio statesman


saw the good in both sections is well known and that he was trusted by
north and south is a matter of history. Thought, whether gathered from
the printed page or the reflex influence of the contact of mind with mind,
is the sunlight which nourishes intellectual and moral growth. Plant
the church, the school house, the library, for they are the harbingers of
civilization and humanity, but the enemies of barbarism and inhumanity.
Andrew Carnegie has struck the key-note in the "Gospel of Wealth"
"He who dies rich dies disgraced." Truly a broad and noble thought
beautifully applied in the number of public libraries which the noted
millionaire has established in many parts of the country. He says that
when he was a working boy in Pittsburg that Col. Anderson of Allegheny
threw open his library of four hundred volumes to boys. He held this
in such grateful remembrance that he resolved that should he ever become
wealthy he would establish free libraries that other poor boys might en-
joy their benefits. How well he has kept his vow, the whole world
knows. What greater blessing can young people enjoy than the compan-
ionship of good books ? If all poor boys who have received similkr bene-
fits were to express their gratitude in the same way, the world would soon.
be full of free libraries.

From these early beginnings, small though they seem, the work has
grown to its magnificent proportions of the present day. The work
moved slowly but steadily forward until 1854, when a general revival
set in by the establishment of the Ohio School Library prepared for every
school district in the state. The law which distributed this magnificent
collection of books marks the beginning of a more liberal policy in the
management of public libraries. Subscription gave place to taxation
and the shelves were thrown open to all. Up to that date, according to
reports sent in to the Commissioner of Education for the United States,
there were in this state forty-four libraries. Of these only two, the libra-
ries of Cincinnati and Dayton, were strictly public libraries. Only three of
the public school libraries in existence at that time have maintained a con-
tinued organization to the present — The Hughes and Woodward High
School Libraries of Cincinnati and the Public School Library of Troy.
The Boys' Industrial School Library at Lancaster was established under
the provisions of the Ohio School Library in 1854.

The library of the Ohio Institution for the Deaf and Dumb was
established at Columbus in 1851, and now contains between 3,000 and
4,000 volumes, but its circulation was very properly limited to those at-
tending the institution. The number of College, Seminary, and Law
School libraries organized up to 1854 was twenty-six. The oldest of
these was the Ohio University Library, antedating any other college
library by at least twenty years. It may be interesting to note that the
libraries of the Cincinnai Law School and Lane Theological Seminary
were established in 1836, just two generations ago. These did their work
in furnishing intellectual food for the leaders of thought in church and


State and, in this way, exerted a wonderful influence on the young com-
monwealth. Prior to 1854, there were eight society libraries covering
science, history, law, and medicine. With the exception of the Atheneum
of Zanesville, all of these special libraries were located in Cincinnati.

Is it any wonder that with the enterprise of her early citizens and
with a monopoly of the literary wealth ot the state during the first half
of he 19th century, that the City of the Ohio Valley should take the lead
in literary productions and scholastic attainments? Such a result was
natural and to be expected. But since the general diffusion of libraries
in 1854, a new spirit has taken possession of all quarters of the state
and she must look well to her laurels in the future or she will be out-
stripped by the cities of the lake and all may revolve around the great
center of Columbus.

The movement in 1854 to establish the common school library is an
indication of the grasp which the early educators had of the importance
of collateral work in developing literary attainment and high moral ideals.
It is sometimes charged that too much encouragement is being given to
the ordinary class of people; that many a child is inspired to seek a
profession who ought to follow the plow or pound the anvil. I see no
easier way of establishing class distinction in America than to discourage
the sons and daughters of our industrious yeomanry and working men.
The well-to-do are not going to ask their young to don overalls. Brains
or no brains they are to be given the first chance at the professions and
the so-called respectable vocations of life. Every instinct of Americanism
cries out aginst such unjust sentiments and demands that every son and
daughter of America be given the same opportunity to develop what is
in him. The public school system, and especially the high school, is the

Online LibraryOhio. State Library BoardSketches of Ohio libraries → online text (page 1 of 58)