I love The Ohio Guide; ask anybody. I talk about it every chance I get. People make fun of me about it. They say my eyes light up and I get a big smile on my face. I eagerly share tidbits, pretty much at every opportunity. I can’t help it; the Guide has captivated me, and instilled a new sense of wonder and interest for our great state.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, I’ll briefly explain. The Works Progress Administration was created during the Roosevelt administration as a way to create jobs and stimulate the economy. They, in turn, created the Federal Writer’s Project, and were charged with employing writers, editors, historians, etc…. One of their projects was the creation of the American Guide Series. Every state was given the opportunity to make one.
Ohio’s was naturally called “The Ohio Guide” and was first published in 1940. You can still find it at most libraries, or buy used copies on the internet (but beware of fakes – reprints that look like they were done on a copy machine). You can also visit the Ohio Historical Societies Library/Archives to leaf through one. The first half of the book is chock full of descriptions for many Ohio cities, maps, and lists of some of the important places and buildings. There are also essays on the state’s economy, ecology, heritage, culture, history, industry, etc… The second half is devoted to 23 different “driving” tours around the state. I think they would be interesting to follow and see how many buildings and towns are still the same or how much has changed.
So, check back often, as I plan to post some cool and interesting photos from our Ohio Guide Photograph Collection on a regular basis.
Can’t wait? Check out the Ohio Guide Collection on Ohio Memory.
And then, there’s “Cincinnati: a guide to the queen city and its neighbors”, which may be even more super fantastic, if that’s possible…. look for more about this soon!
Thank you to Carla Zikursh, Ohio History Service Tech Corps member (2010-2011) at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!