Ohio History Journal

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Book Notes

Book Notes




Covered Wooden Truss Bridges of Greene County, Ohio. A collection of photos

and data of a vanishing era. By James H. Shell. (Xenia, Ohio: Greene County

Historical Society, 1998. 76p.; illustrations, bibliography.) At first glance this

slender volume appears to be just another covered bridge picture book. Many of

this genre emphasize numbingly repetitive photos of bridge exteriors, and, in-

deed, the lead section of this book includes the expected "photo gallery." But this

publication actually strives to move beyond such superficiality. A chapter enti-

tled "What's Inside a Covered Bridge?" includes not only a brief descriptive text

but also photos of the various truss designs used in Greene County bridges.

Biographies of several important builders are included. The author's desire to

make this a Dragnet-like compilation of "just the facts" led to the inclusion of a

highly detailed tabulation of all known covered bridges ever built in the county.

The level of documentation, including name, location, builder, truss type, size,

cost, and a compendium of miscellaneous information gleaned from primary doc-

uments, is unprecedented in covered bridge books and greatly increases the vol-

ume's value to engineering historians.


Ohio Historical Society                                David A. Simmons



John Ogden, Abolitionist and Leader in Southern Education. By Dennis K.

McDaniel. By Dennis K. McDaniel. (Philadelphia: American Philosophical

Society, 1997. viii + 138p.; illustrations, notes, chronology, bibliography, in-

dex.) John Ogden (1824-1910) lived an exciting and varied life. According to the

author, he was principal, president, or superintendent of nine different schools,

county school systems, normal schools, or states departments of public instruc-

tion. Most notably he served as the first Superintendent-later Principal and

President-of Fisk School (now Fisk University). In the years after the War

Between the States, Ogden labored as Superintendent of Education for the

Freedman's Bureau in Kentucky and Tennessee. McDaniel noted that Ogden has

been overlooked by abolitionist biographers, most notably James McPherson in

The Abolitionist Legacy: From Reconstruction to the NAACP, who included in

his work both the second and third presidents of Fisk but not Ogden. This tiny bi-

ography is an effort to educate about one of the lesser known but equally worthy

nineteenth-century educational reformers and early civil-rights activists. Ogden's

colorful life is reason enough to read this work, but it also will meet the needs of

Ohio history enthusiasts as well.


Galloway, Ohio                                          James S. Baugess



Zane Grey: Romancing the West. By Stephen J. May. (Athens, Ohio: Ohio

University Press, 1997, xvi + 180p.; illustrations, notes, selected references, in-

dex.) Literary historian, essayist, and novelist, Stephen J. May explores the en-

during popularity of Zane Grey by analyzing the writer's life and novels. Placing

Grey firmly in the tradition of romance writing, May critically examines the nov-