Friday, August 30, 2013

I just learned of the death of Linda Cantara (Abbott), whom you may recall from the earliest days (2004) of the Greater Cleveland History Digital Library Consortium. It was her idea to apply for a grant to implement an OAI (Open Archives Initiative) metadata harvesting of our respective on-line local history collections and construction of a single point of access for them all. While we didn't get that grant, her idea lives on in the Ohio's Heritage Northeast project, a subset of her idea later enabled by OCLC's Multi-Site Server program for those of us running CONTENTdm. That's not wholly satisfactory -- ironically it omits Linda's employer at the time, CWRU, who doesn't use CONTENTdm -- and we're looking to see if the idea could be resurrected with a more inclusive OAI. Here's the information on Linda's passing. Her services are tomorrow (8/31/13) in Lexington, KY.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bernstein's Elbow in Cleveland

Someone asked me about Bernstein's Elbow, which was apparently a street that took a little jog to avoid the tavern of an influential city councilman, Harry "Czar" Bernstein. I'd never heard of it, but a little research in the collections turned up a 1912 map and some photographs of a short segment of East 14th Street, between Woodland and Orange Avenues.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Early Settlers' Assn Recognizes Cleveland Memory

The Early Settlers' Association of the Western Reserve has recognized the Cleveland Memory Project with its annual Herrick Memorial Award, given to me as they only award it to individuals. At the ceremony on Public Square July 20th, celebrating the city's 216th birthday in front of the Moses Cleaveland statue, some of the people who make Cleveland Memory possible posed with two previous winners. On the left end is John Cimperman, President of the ESAWR and the winner in 1991, whereas on the right end is John Vacha, District Coordinator for History Day in Ohio's local district and the winner in 2002. Between them are Cleveland Memory folks from the Michael Schwartz Library at CSU. From left to right are Joanne Cornelius, Supervisor of the Digital Production Unit where many of the digital images originate; Carolyn Hufford, long-time volunteer who created and builds the "Feeding Cleveland: Urban Agriculture" site in Cleveland Memory; Library Director Dr. Glenda Thornton; Me; Lauren Felder, the Web Specialist who designs the pages in Cleveland Memory; and Lynn Bycko, the Special Collections Associate who oversees the collections whence much of the content for Cleveland Memory originates. More...


Thursday, June 07, 2012

Drawing Card: A New Baseball Novel of Cleveland

Information just received from the author on an interesting new novel:

"Drawing Card: A Baseball Novel, just published by McFarland, is a Cleveland-based book written by an ex-Clevelander who was once a student at Cleveland State and maintains connections there"

"In writing this book I was inspired by learning from research that in the early part of the 20th century at least two female ballplayers were hired by minor league clubs, bit after signing contracts, they had their contracts cancelled by Commissioner Landis specifically because of their gender. These two women reacted to their rejection politely, as women were supposed to, and pursued other athletic careers. In my novel, a woman whose baseball contract is cancelled by Landis vows revenge."

In setting my story in Cleveland, I was able to use the neighborhood in which I grew up and many Cleveland landmarks as background. Then, in order to show the main character's violent nature, I used violent events in Sicilian history, beginning with the Olympic era, when Sicily was a Greek colony. This enabled me to demonstrate that throughout history many women enjoyed athletics but had little opportunity to engage in them."

"Today 's women ballplayers face the same discriminatory attitudes that those in the past had to fight against. Just reading one book, like Pam Postema's autobiography (she was an umpire), demonstrates what women in baseball face right now."

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Where Did the Mounds Go??

As can be seen from this photo, David E. Davis put great emphasis on the three mounds -- represented here with blue waves -- in designing his "Bridge to Knowledge II" sculpture, currently on display at the Sculpture Center compound. 
In 1984, the Beachwood Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library commissioned the original version of "Bridge to Knowledge," seen here:
Claudia Mesch said this about the mounds in the "Bridge to Knowledge" series:

"Davis pursued his interest in the three-dimensional volume of the triangle in his commission for the Beachwood Public Library, Bridge to Knowledge, of 1984.... He also suggests the origin of civilization on a more local level: the mounds of Bridge cite the effigy mounds of the Ohio River Valley, such as the Alligator Mound or the Octagon.  These sites are thought  to have been created by the ancient Hopewell Culture, the earliest residents of Ohio.  Bridge to Knowledge therefore unties the origins of civilization in language and in Ohio and indicates that these origins are preserved as texts in the repository which is the library for future generations." (Claudia Mesch, "A Discipline for Modern Urban Space: David E. Davis's Public Sculptures Since 1975," in David E. Davis: Artist and Humanist: Sculpture 1967 - 2002, (2003), p. 26.)

So it was with great surprise recently that I drove by the CCPL/Beachwood and saw this:

The three mounds, representing the Ohio element of ancient knowledge, had been filled in and a hedge planted around the top!  These mounds were the third of the sculpture Davis was sufficiently concerned with to accentuate with the blue element in the subsequent version.   Here it is today from the rear:

One of the problems with installing an outdoor sculpture is one never knows what people unassociated with the original project, such as physical plant folks, will decide to do years later.

A William McVey Sculpture in Pepper Pike

I was working with Jonathan Herr this morning, on a map of all the William McVey sculptures in Cleveland, but then had to run out to Pepper Pike to pick up a collection.  On the corner of Pepper Ridge Road and S.O.M. Center, I noticed this piece.  Inquiring about it, I was surprised to discover that it was by McVey.  It's untitled, best I can determine, and was vandalized a few years ago, but restored by the neighbors.  We'll add it to the Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory and the map of McVey's works.  Quite a coincidence!

Slight change of direction for my blog

Because I am actively involved with conserving and documenting outdoor sculpture in Cleveland and with theater and dance for the Michael Schwartz Library, I'm going to consider posting things from time to time on the arts in Cleveland, from a historian's and librarian's viewpoint.  For example, we have upgraded the Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory database and are now going to start correcting and expanding its coverage.  (And any comments and opinions I make here are of course solely mine, just as I've maintained all along was the case about CSU, too.)

New Mural at the Beck Center

According to, a new 51-foot mural by Natasha Turovsky now graces a wall in front of the Beck Center:

Friday, September 16, 2011

OHRAB Archives Institutional Achievement Award call for nominations

Announcement received:

The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board Achievement Award recognizes significant accomplishments in preserving and improving access to historical records in any format by an Ohio archival institution.

All Ohio institutions responsible for archival records that provide public access to at least a portion of their collections are eligible. Eligible accomplishments include recent special projects or on-going programs that:
- build significant collections
- implement successful preservation strategies
- enhance access to archives
- develop effective digitization programs

Preference will be given to projects or programs that can be adapted for use by other institutions.

Because the award recognizes institutional achievements, individuals are not eligible. Departments employing members of OHRAB are not eligible, but other departments in their institutions are eligible.

Nominating letters should be no longer than two pages, 12-pt, single spaced, describing the institution's program/project along with its goals, accomplishments, and significance. Each must include the nominee's institutional name along with a contact person's name, mailing address, phone, email address.

Send nominations via email or U.S. mail to:
Janet Carleton
Ohio University Libraries
Alden 322
30 Park Place
Athens, OH 45701

Nominations must be received by October 14, 2011.

Self-nominations are encouraged. Winner(s) will be selected by OHRAB at its October 28 meeting.

Winners of the 2010 Award were Cleveland State University's Michael Schwartz Library Special Collections Department and Montgomery County Records Center and Archives.

Download the flyer and see more info on last year's awardees:

Questions? Contact Janet Carleton at or 740-597-2527.

The Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board is the central body for historical records planning in the state. Board members represent Ohio's public and private archives, records offices, and research institutions.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Exciting Day West of the Cuyahoga

I'm often kidded about my east-side mentality and tendency to get lost on the west-side, but today we took in two west-side and one east-side neighborhoods for the terrific Garden Walk Cleveland and I came away thrilled by the Detroit-Shoreway area in particular.

Garden Walk Cleveland was modeled on a successful program in Buffalo and threw open over 100 private and community gardens in four neighborhoods: Harvard/Lee/Miles, Hough, Tremont, and Detroit-Shoreway, between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. today only. This was no expensive fundraiser, showing a dozen properties, but rather a free celebration of gardening all across town, though focusing on these four areas this year. What a treat!

We skipped H/L/M because we didn't think we would last through them all and it was the most spread out. I rarely last more than a couple of hours on foot, so we wanted more compact collections. So we started at Hough and it was really nice to get into that neighborhood, where historically many Clevelanders still associate with the civil unrest of the 1960s. We found it delightful and particularly enjoyed meeting a Mrs. McGregor, who was funny, friendly and full of stories about the plants -- especially cacti -- she's spread around to her neighbors. There was also a newly-constructed clay oven in the Blaine Avenue Community Garden that was being fired up to bake things later in the day. We wanted to come home and build one for ourselves.

Moving on to Tremont, which we visit from time to time anyway, such as during their art walks, we cruised up and down Literary, Professor, Jefferson and other streets, checking out some lovely gardens and interesting shops. Many of the restaurants and pubs weren't open yet, but we were amazed at how many intriguing ones there are and how few we've been in. We need to go back sometime for dinner, instead of always hitting the same places in the Heights.

But Detroit-Shoreway was the big hit. I have to confess to knowing little about it, beyond that it's on Detroit and that Gordon Square is the new cultural center of the area. We are regulars at the Ohio City home tours, but don't get that far out Franklin to experience Detroit-Shoreway. Today's garden tour was heavy up and down Franklin and Clinton streets, in the West Seventies, and it was a really nice experience. Architecturally, it reminds me a little of Lakewood, farther west, and I was most impressed with the sense of community these folks have. Everybody seemed to know everybody in the area and were especially welcoming and informative about their homes, their gardens and their neighborhood. Just a great group of people!

And wonderful gardens, too! We saw a rooftop garden of local prairie grasses and flowers that required almost no maintenance and had a beauty we hadn't seen since visiting the prairie grass garden in Chicago's Millennium Park. We saw a forest of pines and bamboo in an area that was a perfect spot for yard parties. We saw a double driveway behind a house that was completely ceilinged over with a low, thick grape arbor, giving the back yard a distinctive European feel. We even saw one yard that was completely filled with a large outdoor model train layout.

And everywhere we went we saw flowers. If you can imagine it and it can grow here, we saw it. In spades. Beautiful beds and banks of all manner of flowering plants and artful arrangements of herbs, ferns, hedges, bushes and small trees, laid out in rocky beds, brick walks, outdoor sculptures, fish ponds, and some man-made accent pieces. A lot of thought, time and even money went into these yards and we were glad to see them.

We also noticed at least three different houses sporting bee hives -- two of which were up on roofs -- and a couple keeping chickens, the latter something we couldn't do in Cleveland Heights.

But I was most happy to learn about Detroit-Shoreway, to see Gordon Square a little bit more and to discover a quaint little neighborhood called Italian Village closer to the lake. Surprisingly, we did the whole eight hours pretty much and the time flew by.

We're looking forward to next year's Garden Walk Cleveland, wherever it takes us that time, as this was a wonderful introduction to so many, many beautiful gardens. Almost too many, as we'd rather have had each neighborhood or two on a separate weekend, so we could get to see everything.

Thanks to ParkWorks for thinking it up and thank everybody for making it so special!

(This illustration is of a striking spiral garden arrangement, found in the Dunham Community Garden behind the Dunham Tavern Museum.)

Labels: , , , , , , ,