Ohio History Journal

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Ohio Newspapers . . . A Living Record. By Robert C. Wheeler. (Co-

lumbus, Ohio History Press, Ohio State Archaeological and Historical

Society, 1950. 257p. $6.50.)

Ohio Newspapers . . . A Living Record is a fascinating new approach

to the history of Ohio. By facsimile reproduction of newspapers, dating

from 1690 to 1946, we are given an intimate view of history in the making-

"day by day impressions of common life and of the reactions of the people

to social and political phenomena."

One hundred and twenty-six newspapers have been reproduced on 11 by

17 inch pages, and are accompanied by one hundred pages of historical

commentary. The facsimiles themselves are legible photographic repro-

ductions of newspapers. Included as supplementary material are twenty pages

of illustrations tracing the development of the newspaper printing press.

The book does not attempt to tell a complete story of Ohio or of Ohio

journalism. Its primary interest lies in presenting "some of the important

periods and events in the history of the state." The newspapers included

in this collection form a continuous record, dealing with such incidents

as General Jackson's victory at New Orleans and the first public demon-

stration of the electric light, as well as accounts of the "Underground

Railroad" and Lincoln's assassination. And special attention may well be

given to the columns of advertising and want ads, for in these we come

dose to the needs and interests of the men living in Ohio's past.

It is instructive to the modern student of the newspaper to note that

matters of far-reaching importance to Ohio's economy-such as the drain-

ing of the Black Swamp in the northwestern section of the state-were

frequently dismissed with the slightest of comments. Historical trends which

now seem obvious were often overlooked, while matters now long forgotten

were elaborately discussed. In one paper, a discussion of the annexation of

Texas rates only eleven lines, while one hundred and thirty lines were

used to refute the belief that comets influence fruit crops and the nation's


We often raise the question today: What is the function of the news-

paper? Should it entertain or inform? The newspapers here presented faced

that same question.

Interestingly enough America's first newspaper Publick Occurrences (p.

22), which appeared only once in Boston on September 25, 1690, and was

then suppressed by an order from the British colonial governor and council,