Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15





Director, Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio


Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlemen:

Here in Columbus on December 31, 1831, there was formed

the first historical society west of the mountains. That Society,

the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio, later removed

to Cincinnati. So in coming to Columbus as the representative

of that Society, I am coming back to the birthplace, back to the

old home town, back to our raising.

It seemed to your committee and me that it might be appro-

priate to bring out this evening some impressions of our region

as it was at the time the Historical and Philosophical Society was

founded--i. e., the decade of the 1830's. Ohio by that time had

come out of its pinafores and was running about in knee pants.

A disproportionate share of this talk is going to revolve

around Cincinnati, not because my bump of narrow civic con-

sciousness is overdeveloped, but rather because some aspects of

life in Ohio which I want to talk about are best illustrated in

Cincinnati newspapers and periodicals.

The ambition and desire for improvement which impelled

gentlemen of the State to establish a historical society in the

1830's are traits highly characteristic of our region at that time.

Everybody knows that people were coming out here because the

desire for personal improvement could be gratified best in a new

country. That lust evinced itself in a multitude of ways. News-

papers and travelers' accounts convey the impression of restless

energy, of a region with a head full of extravagant dreams,

erratic passions, and a willingness to try anything--the charac-

teristics of a boy in knee pants.