Ohio History Journal







Attending the annual meetings of the Ohio College Associa-

tion in the late twenties the author noted that his fellow historians

were rarely present, even in the meetings of the Social Science

Section. After attending the Ohio History Conference arranged

by Dr. Harlow Lindley in the spring of 1931 he was convinced

of the desirability of some organization, however informal, which

would bring together the historians of the State. Such an organi-

zation, it seemed, might well fill a definite need for those who were

unable to attend national meetings for one reason or another, and

might also lead the historians as a group to assume their proper

responsibility for historical activity within the State. A number

of persons with whom he discussed the idea were encouraging,

especially Professor David R. Moore of Oberlin who agreed to

father the proposal, and joined in a circular letter asking for a

meeting at a luncheon in the Hotel Cleveland, at Cleveland, Ohio,

on April 8, 1932, at the time of the Ohio College Association

meeting in that city. It should be added that Professor Moore's

enthusiasm, more than any other single factor, led to the forma-

tion of the organization, and that on several occasions he risked

overtaxing his none too sturdy health to carry through its plans.

Twenty-five to thirty historians assembled on that day in

Cleveland. After listening to a paper by Professor R. F. Fletcher

of Oberlin, a "Program for a Proposed Association of Ohio Teach-

ers of History," by the author, and remarks by Dr. Lindley, Pro-

fessor Arthur C. Cole of Western Reserve University, Professor

Wilbur H. Siebert of Ohio State University, Miss Jessie L. Cook

of Lake Erie College, and others, this group adopted a motion to

constitute themselves into a society. A committee was charged with

the double responsibility of planning the organization's program of





spring meetings, and of carrying out Professor Cole's suggestion

for an informal and social week-end meeting in the fall. The name,

Ohio Academy of History, was chosen from three suggestions

made in the original meeting, by a poll of the members during the

ensuing year.

While the author's "Program," presented at this first meet-

ing, was in no sense formally adopted, nor intended to be, it was

in a way sanctioned by the decision to form the Academy. This

makes it a matter of some interest, after ten years, to recall some

of the points included:

1. The aim of the association should be social in the broadest and best

sense, in the sense of an opportunity to meet and discuss questions of com-

mon interest.

2.  . . . The first attention of the society ought to be given to plan-

ning for next year a program that will be wide in interest, and of as

high an intellectual level as possible. It might be wise to limit research

papers to those which will definitely command a general interest and lead

to some discussion. Papers and talks dealing with historical interpreta-

tions, historical trends, and what we might call historical "news" ought

to prove of general benefit and interest.

Some place should be found in the program for constructive discus-

sions of the problems of teaching college courses in history, problems of

the curriculum, of the content of courses, of the approach to subjects,

and of the bibliography of courses. Could we, perhaps, formulate a list

of history books which a student graduating from college should have


3. Should we have a session on Ohio history--a joint meeting with

the Ohio History Conference?

4. The formulation of further aims, and perhaps of a larger pro-

gram, ought to be postponed until the organization acquires some per-


5.  . . .

6. Some attention should be given . . . to the question of admitting

high school teachers into the organization.

Except for the years 1932 and 1935 the spring meetings have

been held in Columbus at the time of the Ohio College Associa-

tion meetings. In 1935 the Academy held its meeting in Cincin-

nati, at the time of the meeting of the Mississippi Valley His-

torical Association meeting there.

Professor Cole, with Dean Elbert J. Benton and Miss Bertha


OHIO HISTORY CONFERENCE, 1942          169


E. Josephson, all at that time of Western Reserve University,

planned and carried out the September week-end meetings at

Mitiwanga from 1932 to 1936, using the title Ohio and Midwest

Historical Conference part of the time. Sometimes it was hard to

decide whether these were gatherings of the followers of Clio or

of some more bucolic muse. Yet no one who took part in the

swimming, tennis, golf, and folk-dancing, or in the afternoons and

evenings of conversation, in all of which these meetings abounded,

as did the equally delightful ones at Gambier in 1937 and 1940,

and at Kent in 1938, will ever forget them. Nor should their

importance be overlooked from the standpoint of the broadly

social basis upon which the program of the Ohio Academy was

originally conceived. They, too, have undoubtedly contributed

indirectly to giving Ohio historians an increasing sense of respon-

sibility for all lines of historical activity within the State.

It was in the middle nineteen-twenties that Elbert J. Benton

caustically inquired in the American Historical Review whether

the lack of Ohio historical activity was not an indication of a "low

state of culture" in this "oldest community of the Old North-

west."* It is doubtful whether such a remark would be justified

today, and without mistaken exaggeration of the importance of

our relatively simple organization, one may venture the assertion

that the Ohio Academy of History, through the simple expedient

of bringing together many of the leaders of historical activity in

the State, has contributed to bringing about this change.

It was Professor H. C. Hubbart of Ohio Wesleyan Univer-

sity, who, as president during the years 1936-37, finally brought

the Academy to adopt the project broached in the original meet-

ing, of joining forces with the Ohio State Archaeological and

Historical Society in an annual conference. The author, as presi-

dent during the next year, had the pleasure of seeing this enlarged

program carried out for the first time. This arrangement with

the State Society has given the Academy a much larger program,

and has also made possible the publication of many of the papers

presented at these meetings during the past four years.



* American Historical Review (New York), XXXII (1926), 145-6.




At the spring meeting in 1941 the constitutional basis of the

organization was strengthened by adopting two provisions: one

for the election of a vice-president who would then become the

nominee for president the succeeding year, and one for an execu-

tive committee. The organization is now in an excellent position

to go ahead with some of the other suggestions made in the past

for making it the instrument by which the historical scholars of

the State may assume their rightful responsibility for historical

activity within the State along all lines: research, archives, his-

torical instruction in the schools, State historical activities and

publications, and the elevation of the general level of historical

consciousness throughout the State.

A list of the officers who have served the Academy is ap-

pended. The author's records show vice-presidents elected in 1934

and 1935, but the present secretary has no records to confirm this

fact. Perhaps some member of the Academy, or the parties con-

cerned can confirm or deny it, so that the principle of two wit-

nesses agreeing may be properly observed. A list of participants

in programs is also appended. Here it should be noted that the

list does not include papers presented in the meetings of the

Committee on Archives and Medical History of the Archaeological

and Historical Society, nor those of the Columbus Genealogical

Society, both of which have met jointly with the Academy during

late years. It does, however, include participants in the joint pro-

grams of the Academy and the Ohio State Archaeological and

Historical Society.


Temporary Chairman, organization meeting, 1932--Elbert J. Benton

President                                     Vice-President       Secretary

1932-33 David R. Moore                    .........                     Harold E. Davis

1933-34 Wilmer C. Harris  George A. Hedger                  Harold E. Davis

1934-35 George A. Hedger H. Clyde Hubbart                  Harold E. Davis

1935-36 Howard Robinson                 ..........                    William D. Overman

1936-37 H. Clyde Hubbart                  ..........                    William D. Overman

1937-38 Harold E. Davis                     ..........                    William D. Overman

1938-39 A. Sellew Roberts                 ..........                    John Marsh

1939-40 Albert T. Volwiler                 ..........                    William D. Overman

1940-41 William T. Utter                    ..........                    William D. Overman


OHIO HISTORY CONFERENCE, 1942                     171


President          Vice-President                                                             Secretary

1941-42 Clarence P. Gould                        Benjamin F. Pershing William                       D. Overman

1942-43  Benjamin F.                                   William  E. Smith     William                          D. Overman



Bloomhardt, Paul F., "The Great Man in History," 1941.

Binkley, Robert C., "Should the College History Curriculum  Be Altered

to Conform to the Present World Situation?" 1935.

Cameron, Meribeth E., "The Russian Angle," 1938.

Cole, Arthur C., Report of Mitiwanga meeting, 1934.

---------------, "Some Aspects of the Early Attack upon American Puritan-

ism," 1939.

Cook, Blake, "Judge John Tyler--Pioneer Jurist," 1939.

Dater, Henry M., "Albert Gallatin and the Ohio Valley--the Evils of

Speculation," 1937.

Davis, Harold E., "Program for a Proposed Association of Ohio Teachers

of History," 1932.

----------, "Mexico, the Key to Hemisphere Solidarity," 1941.

Davis, Stanton L., Chairman, 1940.

DeWeerd, Harvey A., "Some Observations on American Industrial Mobili-

zation for War, 1917-1918," 1940.

Dorn, Walter L., "Romanticism and Hitler" (announced); substituted:

"Strategy and Politics in General v. Ludendorff's Conduct of the War,"


-------------, "Future of Historical Study," 1938.

Fletcher, Robert F., "Early Oberlin History," 1932.

---------------, "The Course in American Cultural History," 1934.

Garrison, Curtis W., "A President's Library," 1939.

Gray, Raymond J., "Origins of the Medieval Coronation Ceremony," 1940.

Hail, William J., "What China Fights For," 1938.

Harris, Wilmer C., "What Should Constitute a History Major?" 1933.

Hatcher, Harlan H., "Historical Opportunities Offered through the Writers

Project," 1938.

Hedger, George A., Discussion leader, 1933.

Hill, Lawrence F., "Some Implications of the Present War for the West-

ern Hemisphere," 1940.

-------------, Chairman, 1941.

Hoover, Thomas N., "Beginning of Higher Education in the Northwest

Territory," 1941.

Howe, George F., Chairman, 1941.

Hubbart, H. Clyde, "Should There Be a Basic History Course?"   1933.

Jordan, Philip D., "An Ohio Surgeon in Paris, 1830-1832," 1940.




Josephson, Bertha E., "Critical Investigation versus Careless Presentation,"


La Monte, John, "Cultural History," 1934.

Leebrick, K. C., "The Study of History--a Hindrance or a Help in the

Perfecting of International Organization," 1940.

Lindley, Harlow, Discussion, 1932.

----------, "Plans for the History of Ohio," 1938.

McMurtrie, Douglas, "The Record of the American Press," 1938.

McNeal, Edgar, "Teaching Cultural History of the Middle Ages," 1934.

McNiff, William J., "The Kirtland Phase of Mormonism," 1941.

Miller, James M., "The Spiritual Force in Early Western Culture," 1940.

Moore, David R., "United States-Brazilian Relations and Hemisphere

Solidarity," 1941.

Patterson, Grove, Address, 1939.

Price, Robert, "Johnny Appleseed--the Myth and the Man," 1938.

Roberts, A. Sellew, "Should There Be a Basic History Course?" 1933.

Shetrone, Henry C., "The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical So-

ciety--a Quarter Century of Progress," 1938.

Vinacke, Harold M., "Internal Changes and Foreign Policies in Japan,"


Volwiler, Albert T., "Harrison, Blaine, and American Foreign Policy, 1889-

1893," 1939.

Washburne, George A., Chairman, 1940.

Wenner, Thomas B., "Danger Spots in the Caribbean Area," 1941.

Wilson, Charles R., "Should the College History Curriculum Be Altered to

Conform to the Present World Situation?" 1935.

Wittke, Carl, "German Universities," 1933.

Work, Ernest, "Life in Ethiopia," 1936.