Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Essay and Comment

Essay and Comment



A general characteristic of Americans has always been the overemphasis on quan-

tity and competition to the point of blurring a full consideration of the advantages

of quality and cooperation. The rapid changes of the twentieth century resulting

in the formation of a complex of ever-increasing interwoven relationships between

people and their institutions necessitates the redirection of traditional patterns of

behavior. The effect of the prevailing competitive mood on the historical profes-

sion, especially in Ohio, in the field of library and archives has been to encourage

major research centers--usually graduate universities, state and municipal histori-

cal societies, and private libraries--to operate as introspective units justifying their

existence solely on their own accomplishments rather than in terms of their role

in the overall historical collection process. This egocentric attitude must be aban-

doned or collections in the research institutions will become so proliferated by the

last quarter of this century that both quality of service and the possibility of coop-

eration between centers will be in jeopardy.

Ohio has the greatest need of the nation's large, industrial urban states to break

through the shibboleths of the past and devise an uniform statewide formula that

will insure the preservation of historically important materials within the state. The

key element making Ohio different from other states is the decentralization of its

population and educational centers. Rather than having the population polarized

in one or two areas, Ohio has six major metropolitan regions.1 The political and

economic power bases in the state are also in these areas. Higher education in

Ohio reflects this division as the state has developed a series of twelve regional

state-supported schools, and all but Central State University are now offering grad-

uate degrees. Higher education is centered in the six major urban areas: nine of

the twelve schools are in the six metropolitan areas, and the four private graduate

universities--Case Western Reserve University, John Carroll University, Xavier

University, and University of Dayton--are located in large cities.

The growth of graduate programs has been developed on the local levels with-

out benefit of a statewide plan. Proliferation of advanced degree-granting institu-

tions is seen in the dramatic surge of history graduate programs from two Ph.D.

programs in 1960 to seven in 1970 and another two ready to begin in a year or

two, and in a similar rise in M.A. programs from eight in 1960 to sixteen today.2

Once again Ohio appears to have achieved a noble record of quantity without

building at least one graduate history program up to the quality level of such tra-

ditionally strong midwestern schools at the universities of Wisconsin, Michigan,

and Chicago.3 This emphasis on expansion of centers of higher education in Ohio

will have far-reaching consequences for history research centers. The presence of

1. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Akron in order of population.

2. The Ph.D. degree granting universities are: Akron, Case Western Reserve, Cincinnati, Kent

State, Miami, Ohio State, and Toledo. Two schools, Ohio University and Bowling Green State Uni-

versity have Regent approved programs about ready to begin. In addition to these nine schools, all of

which grant master's degrees, are six others that grant only the master's and not the Ph.D. degree:

Cleveland State, Dayton, John Carroll, Wright State, Xavier, and Youngstown State.

3. In the most recent rating of graduate schools by department, not one Ohio history department

placed in the top twenty schools, yet Ohio is fifth in the nation in population and fourth in wealth.

See American Council on Education, An Assessment of Quality in Graduate Education (Washington,

D.C., 1966), 38-39.