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Series Selected = Ohio History and Culture

Childhood in the Milky Way

How does a young boy discover his vocation as a poet in what is seemingly the least poetical of environments, the industrial Midwest of the 1950s and 1960s? By turns comic and dramatic, at once down to earth and otherworldly in its homegrown mysticism, A Childhood in the Milky Way answers that question, lighting up a special boyhood in one small corner of the galaxy.

Part memoir… >>Read more

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

100th Anniversary edition celebrates the National Historic Landmark

New edition. New images. New text.

As a boy who grew up in Akron, F. A. Seiberling tramped the fields and woods outside of the city, hunting the area where stone had once been quarried. Even then, the dramatic views of the Cuyahoga Valley, natural vistas that spread before him like paintings, woul… >>Read more

River, Reaper, Rail

River, Reaper, Rail: Agriculture and Identity in Ohio’s Mad River Valley, 1795–1885 tells the story of farmers and technology in Ohio’s Champaign County and its Mad River Valley from the beginnings of white settlement in 1795 through the decades after the Civil War. This is a story of land-hungry migrants who brought a market-oriented farm ethos across the Appalachian… >>Read more

Arn's War

This memoir of World War II, written by Edward C. Arn, an infantry captain who served in Company F, 2nd Battalion, 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, takes readers on a wartime journey in the European Theater of Operations through a clear and honest account of combat from the viewpoint of a sensitive and acute “civilian in uniform.” Arn entered combat and proved his wo… >>Read more

Walks around Akron

Walks around Akron: Rediscovering a City in Transition celebrates the simple pleasure of seeing a community at a slow pace from ground level. In March 1987, the Akron Beacon Journal began publishing a series of articles about Akron and its environs, written by Russ Musarra and illustrated by Chuck Ayers. These popular essays-with-art continued in the newspaper through the end of 2… >>Read more

Time to Dance

After retirement, Heinz Poll completed his memoir, A Time to Dance. In a distinctive voice both pungent and charming, he tells the compelling story of how a teenager forced to spend the last two years of World War II in the German navy eventually wound up directing a dance company in Akron, Ohio.

Following a beginning as a soloist in Germany, Poll had a successful career as princ… >>Read more

Chains of Opportunity

While “plastics” was a one-word joke in the 1967 movie The Graduate, plastics and other polymers have never been a laughing matter at the University of Akron, with its world-renowned College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. Chains of Opportunity: The University of Akron and the Emergence of the Polymer Age, 1909–2007 tells … >>Read more

Sunday Game

In the most complete and compelling account of the origins of professional football, The Sunday Game tells the stories of all the teams that played independent football in the small towns and industrial cities of the Midwest, from early in the twentieth century to the beginning of the National Football League shortly after the end of World War I. The foundations of what is now the most p… >>Read more

Famous Chefs and Fabulous Recipes

Hudson, Ohio, has all the charm of a Connecticut watercolor. A quaint clock tower stands on the village green. A little further up the road, the chiseled buildings of Western Reserve Academy, founded in 1826, dot the landscape. Red-bricked shops make downtown window shopping a weekend event. If Jimmy Stewart showed up as George Bailey, residents wouldn’t bat an eyelash.

 T… >>Read more

Written on the Hills

In warm and lively prose, Written on the Hills explores the natural and human history of Akron, Ohio. Drawing on geological studies, state and municipal records, local histories and personal reminiscences, Frances McGovern shows how the landscape has influenced the development of Akron, and how the layers of Akron's history are revealed in its modern landscape.

This midsize city, … >>Read more

Downstairs, Upstairs

Money and privilege no longer describe college students who, books in hand, stroll across fair campuses. Changes in American college life since the 1960s make the previous 300 years—from the founding of Harvard in 1636—benign by comparison. Today, universities in gritty downtowns admit welfare mothers who struggle to escape grinding poverty. Sometimes they have to take their babies … >>Read more

Dead Before Deadline

During the four-plus years that Robin Yocum was the police reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, he covered more than 1,000 deaths. Some were flukes; some were deserved. He interviewed decorated cops and transvestites, pimps, prostitutes, and pushers, killers and child molesters. He went on drug, porn, and moonshine raids. He waded through cornfields looking for missing planes and children… >>Read more

Ohio Hopewell Episode

Ohio has a unique prehistory which is written in large earthwork monuments across its landscape. In the Ohio Hopewell Episode, the author, A. Martin Byers, has presented a new interpretive reconstruction of the culture of the prehistoric Native American groups who were responsible for these monuments. Basing his interpretation on a careful analysis and classification of the monumental ar… >>Read more

Wheels of Fortune

Wheels of Fortune is a tale of two cities—both of them Akron. One city, built on rubber, turned itself into a model for Middle America industrial success. The other city has had to learn to live on in rubber's wake, to remake itself, to come to terms with its remade self. To tell this tale of two cities is to tell the tale of America's rubber industry. The stories interlock like tire and … >>Read more

Life, Liberty, and Property

In the fall of 1938, Alfred Winslow Jones, a Columbia University graduate student, interviewed 1,705 Akron, Ohio, residents in order to gauge attitudes toward large corporations. Jones selected Akron because it was "crucial," a hotbed of labor unrest and conflict between large manufacturing firms and their employees, where the sit-down strike in particular had polarized the community. If rigid … >>Read more

Biggest City in America

In a series of stories drawn from his own experience coming of age during the 1950s, Richard B. Schwartz revisits his boyhood in southern Ohio. His memories of adolescence bring back the birth of rock and roll, the rigors and absurdities of religion and parochial schools, trials of little league baseball, grueling summer construction work and caddying jobs, the thin pleasures of 3.2% beer, drag… >>Read more

Mysteries of the Hopewell

Buried beneath today's Midwestern towns, under several layers of earth and the accumulated debris of two thousand years, are the clues to an ancient mystery. A Native American people, now known as the Hopewell, lived and worked these lands, building earthworks which in some instances dwarf the ruins at Stonehenge. More significantly, these mammoth earthworks were built in different geometric sh… >>Read more

When Giants Roamed the Sky

Karl Arnstein's life was defined by the world wars which shattered Europe. But for these cataclysmic events, his life's work might have been far different.

From Zeppelin in Germany to Goodyear in Akron, Ohio, Arnstein participated in the design and development of more airships than any other engineer. He could have been a philosopher or mathematician, but a desire to be practical attract… >>Read more

Rich in Good Works

At the death of her husband in 1906, Mary Muhlenberg Emery (1844–1927) became one of the richest women in the United States. Recognizing her "vast responsibility," as she wrote in a letter to the American author, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, she embarked on a philanthropic program that endowed or initiated children's programs, hospitals and medical institutions, orphanages, colleges and unive… >>Read more

Fun, Cheap, & Easy

Frances McGovern gives an entertaining account of her life and the colorful people she knew in local, state, and national politics, from her start as a young lawyer in 1949 through 1964 when she quit politics after an unsuccessful run for Congress. An insightful memoir from an era when the industrial Midwest still dominated American politics and men dominated the industrial Midwest, McGovern il… >>Read more

Once and Future Union

While never one of the biggest unions in the United States, the Akron, Ohio-based labor organization, the United Rubber Workers (URW), wielded power for decades that seemed far disproportionate to the union's size. To tell the story of the URW is to tell a saga of conflict-internal and external. If the Rubber Workers were not battling a tire or rubber company at the bargaining table or on the p… >>Read more

Holden Arboretum

The Holden Arboretum is a living museum of forests and woodlands, meadows and display gardens, mountains and ravines, rock ledges and lakes, rivers and streams, wetlands and bogs, with an abundance of wildlife. It is a place of year-round beauty with tremendous scientific and ecological importance.

The Holden Arboretum was established on 100 acres in 1931 by people of vision and great g… >>Read more

Champions, Cheaters, and Childhood Dreams

Updated Edition, with Epilogue and Revised Appendices

From the mid-1930s, the All-American Soap Box Derby has enabled thousands of youngsters to use their curiosity, ingenuity, and determination.  Through first-person accounts, Champions, Cheaters, and Childhood Dreams chronicles a history of the race from a hillside in Dayton to the corporate-sponsored, star-studded even… >>Read more

Summit's Glory

Summit's Glory is George Knepper's eloquent personal history of The University of Akron. In this series of vignettes, he draws on 40 years as student, faculty member, administrator, and University Historian to discuss the University's evolution over a century and a quarter. Summit's Glory will appeal to readers with ties to The University of Akron and to others who enjoy the refle… >>Read more

How I Saw It

Jeff Iula grew up around the Soap Box Derby. His memories of  the race events over the past forty years are a treasure trove of the history of the gravity race, but also other aspects of the the Derby Downs race that are rarely covered. Aided by writer, Bill Ignizio, Iula has delved into his collection of Derby memorabilia to identify the most compelling images of cars and contestants, pro… >>Read more

Steps in Time

In the early years of the twentieth century, when technological advancements like the Model-T were changing the nature of the American landscape and the assembly line was impacting workers’ leisure activities, individuals with remarkable foresight began the process of creating natural havens for the “comfort and welfare of the citizens.” In 1921, the Akron Metropolitan Park Di… >>Read more

In the President's Home

Norman P. Auburn (1905–2003), tenth president of The University of Akron (1951–1971), was a husband and father as well as UA’s most important leader in the second half of its 150 years. His third-born child remembers the private man behind the public figure.

In 1926, a draftsman’s son met a minister’s daughter at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio’s se… >>Read more