Current-day newspapers aren’t the only ones going online. Now you can read news of 1832 to 1879 online in one of Ohio’s leading newspapers of the era, the Ohio State Journal — a 19th-century predecessor of the 20th-century Columbus Citizen-Journal.
A Top Resource on 19th-Century Ohio
Scholars, students and genealogists value the Ohio State Journal, as one of the best sources on 19th-century Ohio politics, as well as on local events and people.
A $53,825 Library Services and Technology Act grant from the State Library of Ohio has enabled the Ohio Historical Society to microfilm and digitize the Ohio State Journal from 1832–1879 and make it available free online.
The Library Services and Technology Act program is funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and administered through the State Library of Ohio.
History of the Ohio State Journal
The Ohio State Journal was the main voice of the Whig and Republican parties in central Ohio, providing coverage of state and national politics.
During the 1842 elections, for example, the paper was vocal in its criticism of the Democratic Party’s plan to reapportion Ohio’s congressional districts, as it left only six of 21 districts with high Whig majorities. In August and September 1842, the paper published several whimsical cartoons about gerrymandering, using outlines of the proposed congressional districts to create “uncommon” animals, such as the Scioto Sea-Horse or the Richland Roarer, which Democratic legislators were attempting to capture for their menageries and Whigs wanted gone.
The Ohio State Journal reported extensively on the Civil War and later served as a driving force in the elections of several Ohioans to the White House — Ulysses S. Grant in 1868, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 and James A. Garfield in 1880.
In addition to state and national politics, the paper also featured state and local business news and advertisements; reports on social and cultural events, such as temperance and anti-slavery meetings, local music concerts and agricultural festivals; poetry; and other items of general interest. Among the many editors over its nearly 150-year lifetime were politician James Kilbourne, Union Army Brig. Gen. James M. Comly and brothers Robert F. and Harry P. Wolfe.
Accessing the Collection
The digital collection now contains issues from 1832 through 1857. More content is added every week. Over 60,000 digitized pages of the Ohio State Journal are expected to be freely available and keyword searchable on Ohio Memory by the end of January 2014. Ohio Memory is a collaborative digital library project of the Ohio Historical Society and the State Library of Ohio that includes collections from more than 360 cultural heritage institutions representing all of Ohio’s 88 counties.
The project has also created more than 50 reels of preservation microfilm of the Ohio State Journal, continuing the efforts of an earlier National Endowment for the Humanities initiative, the United States Newspaper Program, which enabled the Ohio Historical Society to locate, catalog and microfilm Ohio’s newspapers. The society holds the most complete Ohio newspaper microfilm collection in the state, comprising more than 50,000 rolls. You can view microfilms of many Ohio newspapers in the third-floor research room at the Ohio History Center in Columbus; many are also available for local use through interlibrary loan.
The Ohio History Center’s third floor research room is open four days a week: Wednesdays-Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Research Room is closed Sundays-Tuesdays. Questions about using the research room? Call 614.297.2510 or visit www.ohiohistory.org/archiveslibrary.
To view additional collections on Ohio Memory, visit www.ohiomemory.org.