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Research

Smith Library of Regional History

15 S. College Avenue, Oxford, OH 45056 (513) 523-3035 | fax (513) 523-6661 | sml@lanepl.org

Please contact us with any research questions or comments.

Hours :

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

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OHIO MEMORY MADNESS

Vote for your favorite historical image and you’ll automatically be registered to win a prize package. We encourage you to select the Smith Library picture in the Social Change category.  Just click the button next to the Freedom Summer training picture and scroll down to cast your vote. (You don’t have to vote in all categories.) Type your contact info for a chance to win. Round One ends Friday, March 20!

ABOUT SMITH LIBRARY

The Smith Library of Regional History opened in 1981 as a division of the Lane Public Libraries. It was named for William E. and Ophia D. Smith, whose published works and personal library formed the nucleus of the collection. Financial gifts from the Smith family were matched by others in order to build the Smith Library, which adjoins the Oxford Lane Library.

In addition to historical materials about Oxford, the Smith Library collects information on the history of surrounding townships, all of Butler County, other areas of southwestern Ohio, and for some topics, the entire state of Ohio. General historical studies on the Old Northwest Territory and the Ohio River Valley are also covered, with emphasis on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

OF SPECIAL INTEREST

The Smith Library has microfilm of the nineteenth-century federal non-population census records for Butler County, including both agriculture and industry.

The Smith Library has been a Freedom Station Affiliate of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati since 2007.

In 2013, the Smith Library was included in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom sponsored by the National Park Service.

 

Publications Sold at Smith Library

PROGRAMS

Past Programs at Smith Library

This collection showcases past events at the Smith Library of Regional History. These events, and their accompanying posters, show the scope of themes and presenters that Smith Library has to offer.

Arthur F. Miller African American History Fund

The fund, which honors the memory a longtime civil rights activist and Oxford’s first African American vice-mayor, continues to sponsor programs such as these.

DISPLAYS

In observance of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, Smith Library is exhibiting letters written by Private John Majors of the 13th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

Selected Past Displays at Smith Library

SMITH INQUIRY FORM

If you have not received a reply to an inquiry submitted between April and August 2014, please re-submit or email us directly at sml@lanepl.org.

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HOLDINGS

The non-circulating collection includes, but is not limited to, the following types of materials:

BOOKS AND OTHER MONOGRAPHS

County histories for nearly all Ohio counties and nearby Indiana Biographies of prominent men and women from the area Travel journals & other narratives Family histories in various formats Teachers’ guides for instruction in local history Historical fiction with southwest Ohio settings

PERIODICALS

Yearbooks from Miami University, Oxford College,Western College, and high schools: College Corner, Hanover, McGuffey, Morgan, Reily, Ross, Stewart, and Talawanda More than 20 subscriptions, including:

  • Ohio History
  • Ohio Valley History
  • Timeline
  • Ohio Genealogy News
  • Ohio Postal History Journal
  • Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly

Newsletters of local historical and genealogical societies Newspapers from Cincinnati, College Corner, Hamilton, Harrison, Oxford, and Ross in the 1800s and 1900s City and telephone directories for Cincinnati, Hamilton, Oxford, and other areas

MAPS

Fire insurance maps, topographic maps, and county atlases spanning two centuries

VISUAL IMAGES

Pictures of people, buildings, events, and more; photographs by Frank R. Snyder, Gilson P. Wright, George R. Hoxie, and Robert E. White

 

Clyde Bowden Digital Postcard Collection  is available online.

ARCHIVES

  • Records of Oxford Village and Township
  • Lemon Township civil dockets
  • Business records
  • Cemetery records
  • Church records
  • Records of clubs and organizations
  • Butler County birth, death, and marriage records
  • Butler County deeds and wills
  • Butler County tax re-appraisement records

MANUSCRIPTS

  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Scrapbooks
  • Research notes
  • Family histories

ORAL HISTORIES

Audio-recordings of Oxford World War II veterans can be heard at Smith Library and eventually on this site. Selected images may be viewed here.

Video-recordings of African Americans who moved to Oxford from the Jim Crow South can be viewed at Smith Library and online here:

Great Migration Oral History Collection 

Images of participants may be seen above.

Additional recordings and/or typed transcripts of interviews with:

  • Former slaves who moved to Ohio
  • Long-time residents of Oxford

HISTORIC DISTRICT WALKING TOURS

These booklets include descriptions and archival photographs of historic buildings in Oxford. Print copies are available for free from Smith Library or viewed as PDFs online.

The booklets are:

University Historic District

Uptown Oxford Historic District

Western College for Women Historic District

CLYDE BOWDEN DIGITAL POSTCARD COLLECTION

The Clyde Bowden Digital Postcard Collection includes over 300 images of Oxford, Miami University, Western College for Women, and other areas of Butler County, Ohio spanning over half a century. Bowden, a Miami graduate of 1952 and resident of Cincinnati, was a librarian at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County before his retirement.

The collection can be viewed online here: Clyde Bowden Digital Postcard Collection

OHRAB HISTORY HUNT

This letter by David McMechan tells of life in rural Butler County in 1813. McMechan was a recent Irish immigrant when he wrote to Matthew Linn in New York, asking for news of mutual friends.  The handwritten letter includes a report on the health of his family members and his desire to have more laborers to help clear the woods. In addition to owning a store, he also farmed, and his letter provides information on crops and livestock in Milford Township. Because he wrote in October of 1813, he provides a firsthand perspective on the War of 1812 in the western states and shares his optimism that the Americans will prevail over the British and Indians. (See if you can read the handwriting before looking at the typed transcript!

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RoccoPiano
This autographed publicity picture shows jazz musician Maurice Rocco, who was known for his boogie- woogie performances.  He was named Maurice Rockhold when he was born in Oxford, Ohio, in 1915, but he later adopted the stage name Maurice Rocco. Because he was too short to reach the pedals from a bench or stool when he learned to play the piano at age four, he played while standing up and continued to do so as an adult—as part of his stage performance.  He was a composer, arranger, pianist and singer, who played in many of the best-known nightclubs and theatres. Rocco had roles in several Hollywood movies before pursuing a career that took him to Europe and Asia.  He was murdered in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1976 and is buried in Oxford’s Woodside Cemetery. (Audio and video recordings can be found on the Web.)