Merry Christmas to All!

37th Infantry Division soldiers celebrating Christmas, probably at Bougainville, Solomon Islands, December, 1943. Via Ohio Memory
37th Infantry Division soldiers celebrating Christmas, probably at Bougainville, Solomon Islands, December, 1943. Via Ohio Memory

It may be a few days early, but Merry Christmas from all of us here at Ohio Memory! We hope that everyone has a safe, happy and relaxing holiday–and that you find a few moments to explore some of the historic images of Christmas in the Ohio Memory collections. To get you started, here are some highlights from holidays of yore and traditions from all around Ohio…

White House Christmas tree in December of 1967. Via Ohio Memory
White House Christmas tree in December of 1967. Via Ohio Memory

Did you know that in December of 1967, Davey Tree Expert Company of Portage County, along with the Ohio Christmas Tree Growers Association, provided the official White House Christmas tree to President Lyndon Johnson and his wife? The tree was delivered to Washington DC by truck, where it stood in the “Blue Room” of the White House. A painting of the decorated tree even appeared on the First Family’s Christmas cards that year! Each year since 1966, the provider of the official tree has been chosen by a contest of the National Christmas Tree Association, while the decor theme is chosen by the First Lady. Ohio last provided the official tree in 1996–a Colorado Blue Spruce from Coshocton, Ohio.

Terex earthmovers decorated as reindeer for Christmas, ca. 1965-1970. Courtesy of the Hudson Library and Historical Society via Ohio Memory.
Terex earthmovers decorated as reindeer for Christmas, ca. 1965-1970. Courtesy of the Hudson Library and Historical Society via Ohio Memory.

The Terex and Euclid Divisions of the General Motors Corporation in Hudson, Ohio, often celebrated the holidays with unique heavy equipment displays like the one seen above. Terex manufactured scrapers, pans, dozers, crawlers, loaders, and other earth-moving equipment between 1958 and the mid-1980s, and was a major employer in and around Hudson. Terex products were used for mining, logging, landfill, excavation, and heavy construction.

Kinder Key carolers and bell ringers in front of Columbus City Hall, 1969. Via Ohio Memory
Kinder Key carolers and bell ringers in front of Columbus City Hall, 1969. Via Ohio Memory

Kinder Key, a fundraising group for  Nationwide Children’s Hospital, was established in 1954, and began the “Caroling for a Cause” tradition that same year. Each December, volunteers go caroling and sell ornaments to raise money for the hospital. The tradition is still going strong today, and all proceeds go to supporting the hospital’s Heart Center.

Christmas card sent by Lloyd B. Mignerey to his family on November 22, 1918. Courtesy of Otterbein College via Ohio Memory.
Christmas card sent by Lloyd B. Mignerey to his family on November 22, 1918. Courtesy of Otterbein College via Ohio Memory.

 

Lastly, an interesting historical item comes to us courtesy of the Lloyd Burdette Mignerey Collection at Otterbein University. This Christmas card was sent by Mignerey to his family in Mowrystown, Ohio, on November 22, 1918. He was stationed at a hospital in France, where he served in the Medical Corps and drove an ambulance during World War I. The back of the letter reads:

Christmas love to all the dear folks at home. At last “Peace on Earth”–next for the “good will among men”!

Written just 11 days after the armistice between the Allies and Germany went into effect, this letter provides a unique glimpse of the meaning of the holiday spirit during a pivotal time in world history. Mignerey, an Ohio native, returned to Ohio after briefly studying at the Sorbonne following the war, and spent time working for the Temperance movement, as a missionary, advocating for the universal language of Esperanto, and as a military chaplain during World War II and the Korean War.

These images are just a sampling of what you can find on Ohio Memory. We invite you to explore other Christmases gone by, and happy holidays!


Thanks to Lily Birkhimer, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!

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