Crowdfunding Before the Internet Made It Easy

This Saturday, August 29, a celebration will be held to honor the 50th anniversary of the Yellow Springs Community Library’s Xenia Avenue location (see Amy Magnus’ Yellow Springs News blog entry for a moving portrait of the library and its history).

Artist's rendering of the proposed library building

Artist’s rendering of the proposed library building

Next to the acquisition of the Whitehall property (which had its own anniversary celebration earlier this summer), the library building at 415 Xenia Avenue was probably the largest project to be funded by various community sources, and as will become evident, the methods of raising the funds were fare more “muscular” and involved a great deal more community cooperation, coordination, time and energy than current online click-donation activities. With the departure of major industries and the dwindling memberships in volunteer organizations in Yellow Springs and elsewhere, would such an undertaking even be possible today?

Beginning with a $21,000 purchase of land by the village and a $100,000 donation from the Vernay Foundation for building construction to honor recently slain president John F. Kennedy, additional funds would be required for architects’ and engineers’ fees, landscaping, furnishings and equipment, so the Library Association set a goal of $50,000 (of which $43,000 was eventually collected, including $5,000 from the YSLA’s own building fund) and asked the Junior Chamber of Commerce to organize and run the fundraising campaign, due to their previous success in raising funds for the community swimming pool.

The first fundraising event was a bake sale on February 5, 1964, at the hardware store.

The Jaycees added funds solicitation to their scheduling event for the bloodmobile on April 14, 1964, raised around $5,000 from a door-to-door campaign and arranged for the village utilities office to collect donations to the library fund with payment of utility bills over a five year period, and the halfway goal was met by mid-June.

On July 14th an auction held on the Community Nursery School grounds netted about $300 for the cause.

In late fall of 1964 the Library Fund Apple Project was launched, with the donation of C. S. Adams’ orchard crop and involved a remarkable array of volunteers in various capacities. The apples and apple products were purchased by the Antioch dining halls and the produce managers of the IGA and Luttrell’s. Labor was provided by the Lions Club, Boys and Girl Scouts and several classes of the Antioch School..

The fund was increased by a $3,000 donation by Miami Deposit Bank in addition to about $10,000 donated by other Yellow Springs businesses (including $5,000 from Morris Bean Co. at the campaign’s launch and $200 received from Marathon Oil Co. once the new library was opened).

The new library completed

The new library completed 

YSLA held a tour of “eight local homes of unusual interest” with tickets at $2 per family.

Looking at only the names recorded in the Yellow Springs News, let alone all the unsung donors, reveals the enormous scope of the effort (as well as a little highlight on formal etiquette even as late as 1965, when a woman would be referred to by her husband’s name in formal newpaper reporting):

Progress "thermometer" for the library fund

Progress “thermometer” for the library fund

C.S. (“Doc”) Adams — donation of apple crop for YSLA to harvest, make cider, and sell

Antioch Bookplate Company — donation of labels for Library Fund Apple Project

Mrs. Marvin Armstrong — YSLA solicitation area captain

Mrs. Josephine Augsburger — YSLA Treasurer

Norris Bayless — Jaycee financial chairman and consultant

Mrs. Harry Berley — YSLA solicitation area captain

Mrs. Mark Breiter — Library Fund Apple Project telephone work

Richard Burling — auction clerk

Tom Clemens — Jaycee records and reports chairman

Mrs. George Cornish — member of YSLA Ways and Means Committee

Sidney Davis — Jaycee solicitation area captain, general solicitation chairman

Mrs. Eugene Diehl — member of YSLA Ways and Means Committee, YSLA solicitation area captain

Kennerly Digges — Jaycee local business and industry chairman, auction clerk

Mrs. Paul Ebert — member of YSLA Ways and Means Committee, YSLA solicitation area captain

Frank Edwick — Jaycee chairman of solicitation

Burnell Ehman — Lions Club auction collection volunteer

Robert Englefield — Lions Club auction collection volunteer

Lloyd Everett — Jaycee out-of-town business, industry and foundation chairman

Skip Faust, manager of Antioch College dining halls — donation of lemonade and coffee for auction

Mrs. Henry Federighi — member of YSLA Ways and Means Committee

Jim Felder — Jaycee advance solicitation chairman

Mrs. Johann Frank — YSLA Financial Secretary

Girl Scouts — auction babysitting, homemade elderberry jelly to sell during Library Fund Apple Project

Mrs. Donald Good — YSLA solicitation area captain

Mrs. Olive Hammond — member of YSLA Ways and Means Committee

Larry Harrah — Jaycee solicitation area captain

John Hart — Jaycee general chairman

Mrs. Stanley Hetzler — YSLA Secretary

Dave Hillman — Jaycee solicitation area captain, publicity and promotion chairman

James Hobson — volunteer auctioneer services

Mrs. Kenneth Hunt — YSLA President at start of campaign

Kenneth Hunt — auction clerk

Howard Hurst — Jaycee solicitation area captain

John Inman — Lions Club auction collection volunteer

Mrs. Lloyd Kennedy — chairman of YSLA Ways and Means Committee

Ray Klontz, Antioch College assistant plant superintendent — use of college parking lot for auction

Elmer Lawson — auction collection volunteer

Mrs. Richard McCleery — YSLA Vice President

Mrs. James Mitchell — YSLA Board Member, YSLA solicitation area captain

Mrs. Floyd G. Niswander — Chairman of the YSLA Building Committee, liaison with Jaycee committee, Library Fund Apple Project Committee

Kingsley Perry, Jr. — Jaycee solicitation area captain

Hope Pobst — Library Fund Apple Project Committee

Bob Rea — Jaycee solicitation area captain

Joe Robinson — Jaycee solicitation area captain

Elva Schaub — Library Fund Apple Project Committee

William Scott — Jaycee solicitation area captain

Victor Shaw — Lions Club auction collection volunteer

Arthur Soloman — volunteer auctioneer services

Perry Stewart — auction clerk

William Struewing — Lions Club auction collection volunteer

Eugene Tashima — Jaycee solicitation area captain

John Vennerholm — Lions Club auction collection volunteer

Earl Walker — Jaycee solicitation area captain

Don Welch — volunteer auctioneer services

Amy (5 years) and Leah (2-½ years) Wing — whose gift of two cents carefully attached to lined notebook paper was used to demonstrate that all donations were gratefully welcomed

Eddie Wingard — Jaycee solicitation area captain

Mrs. Stanley Wise — YSLA Board Member, Library Fund Apple Project Committee

Stanley Wise — Library Fund Apple Project work

Yellow Springs High School Students — donation of dance proceeds

Seth Young — Jaycee individual in charge of solicitation

John Zurbuchen — Jaycee solicitation area captain

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Summer Spot in Yellow Springs

Besides the grand sweep of woodland that is Glen Helen, Yellow Springs is favored with other spots to pause and listen to the cicadas in the heat of summer, a favorite among which is Ellis Pond, shown below in a photograph taken in  1976.

You can find the history of Ellis, for whom the pond is named, here:

THE Ellis of Ellis Pond

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4

Part 5     Part 6     Final

Ellis Pond, September 8, 1976

Ellis Pond, September 8, 1976

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Little Art Theatre Sample Schedules

The Little Art Theatre (previously featured in this post from 2011), besides being a downtown landmark, has recently expanded its offerings beyond first-run and independent films to rebroadcasts of stellar theatrical performances, but it might be of interest to compare what was shown in a couple of earlier years, from ads in the Yellow Springs News.

1973’s ad, taken from the issue announcing the end of the Antioch College lockout,  shows the Little Art’s continuing interest in appealing to both popular tastes and more intellectual challenges:


The 1956 ad was taken from a special 4-section edition of the Yellow Springs News celebrating the village’s centennial. (Future posts will share a lot more from this issue, since it had both in-depth articles on Yellow Springs history and the most complete array of ads reflecting the business environment in Yellow Springs during the mid-1950s.) The times of the showings are roughly the same, but note the prices!


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For the Public Welfare

Drive down Corry Street on a sunny day, and you are likely to see one or more of the gleaming vehicles of Miami Township Fire-Rescue parked at their office/garage building.

Compare the red and white sleekness with this undated photograph of an unidentified man at an unidentified location from the Yellow Springs Historical Society’s Carr-Brewster-Botsford collection.

Thanks to all the people, both paid and volunteer, who have worked so hard for the general welfare, often in anonymity, no matter what apparatus they use.


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From the Antioch Bookplate Archives — David Sallume

We pause the parade of bookplate designs from the 1930s and 1940s to provide a portrait of a major player in the history of the Antioch Bookplate Company. It is necessarily merely impressionistic, because the breadcrumbs of the trail of his life came from a single dusty box of business correspondence copies from the 1960s, a few pages in another’s autobiograpy and an obituary.

Many of the people involved in the history of the company are likely to have stories worth sharing, but the traces of their lives are even fewer than those found for David Sallume.

David Sallume


One does not typically look to business correspondence for entertainment, but then David Sallume was not your typical correspondent. (His own opinion of business correspondence: “The important thing in writing a business letter is that one have a high ratio of signal to noise. In other words, if I can tell what you mean I don’t give a hang what you call me.”) . A mainstay of the Antioch Bookplate Company on many levels between the 1930s and the late 1960s, for much of that time he was the main contact for anyone seeking to have a custom bookplate printed, and it is from some of this correspondence that the quotes are taken. (Sadly, most of the correspondence before the 1960s was included in the normal round of trash disposal.)

Routinely, Sallume would receive an inquiry from someone wanting a bookplate with a certain theme or image, and he would then negotiate with the potential customer as to the possibility of executing the idea, the printing color and paper stock, and the costs involved. Should the customer to go ahead, Sallume would then act as intermediary between the customer and the artist if modifications were needed to the artist’s initial interpretation.

Sallume’s idiosyncratic touch in these transactions was the inclusion of intensely personal details in his business correspondence, so that some of these letters read in part almost like diary entries. He led an extraordiniary life during his time at the Antioch Bookplate Company, as he was a dedicated member of the Socialist party (and organized the Miami Valley Socialist League), active in the Unitarian Church, the ACLU, the Yellow Springs Committee for Racial Equality, and was the last justice of the peace in Miami Township.

Ernest Morgan, co-founder of the Antioch Bookplate Company, described how Sallume came to be associated with the company in his autobiography Dealing Creatively with Life: The Life Adventures of Ernest Morgan, published in 1999 by Barclay House Publishers in New York (adventures being the operative word in this lively and engaging book!).

“It was about 1932, and the Depression was at its worst. Elizabeth [Ernest’s wife] was alone in the cottage one day when a strange man came to the door. He was a rough-looking fellow and huge: six feet tall and weighing over 300 pounds. Elizabeth was uneasy at first, until she noticed a little Socialist Party pin on his jacket. Then she relaxed. Our prominence in the Socialist movement made it natural for a visiting Socialist to look us up…

…Dave’s major interest when he came to Yellow Springs was in Socialist work, so his activities tended to center around the Bookplate Shop, where he collaborated with me in doing Socialist printing and secretaril work. I set up a cot for him in the back room of the shop and squeezed out $7 a week for him to subsist on.

…I never did actually hire him. In the course of time he just started helping with some of the Bookplate Company printing as need arose, and I started paying him. Dave was a brilliant fellow, well educated and with a remarkable memory. He was a connoisseur of poetry, which he could recite by the ream in his deep voice. ‘The elephant never forgets,’ he quipped, referring to his large size.”

In response to letter of inquiry regarding custom bookplates, Sallume wrote of his family:

“Since no one can ever resist talking about himself I will tell you that my family name is Syrian in origin. The emigration occurred when my father’s elder brother found that it was impracticable for him to be simultaneously court interpreter to Abdul Hamid II and a Young Turk. He solved his problem by swimming out into the Constantinople harbor where some British friends had a yacht at anchor, and never returned, not even when T.E. Lawrence offered him the premiership of the new kingdom of Hejaz. Uncle Najib was a prudent man, and ended a long life in the practice of medicine in Toledo, Ohio. He had somehow found time in the interstices between learning 18 languages and serving as a general in the Turkish army, to have picked up a medical degree at the Sorbonne. After he established himself in America he sent for his younger brother, who turned out to be my father. The name is, of course, transliterated from the Arabic. Uncle Najib originally spelled it Salloum, and I have seen it on billboards in Chicago as Zaloom and on billboards in Rochester, New York as Sallome. I have never encountered the spelling I use outside of the immediate family.”

On himself:

“In the days before I had my heart attack, and lost 150 pounds, I wore a small beard, and was continually mistaken for Burl Ives. I didn’t really mind this until people ask me to sing. Mr. Ives should be very thankful that I never complied.”

“Thank you very much for your suggestion about lunch, but the nearest I get to Chicago nowadays is when I visit my daughter in Kalamazoo. At least that’s the nearest I get by intention. It did happen this spring that when I was flying up from Mexico the plane was delayed by fog so that I messed my flight reservation to Dallas. The next flights to Dallas were booked solid, and in order to find a place to sleep I had to shift the flight plan for Chicago, where I was pushed about a mile and a half in a wheel chair over the corridor carpets of the O’Hare Motel. There may be longer corridors in the Pentagon, but I never saw ones as long in any hostelry, not even in the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, where the corridors are made delicious by the flying bats…there really are bats in the corridors of the Chateau Frontenac. Bats navigate by radar, and the corridors are wide. The dear little creatures go, straight as a mason’s line, right down the geometric center and about head high. Thus ladies with beehive hair-dos are perfectly safe so long as they keep within arm’s reach or so of a corridor wall. When they must cross a corridor transversely, a swift scramble on all fours is recommended by management. I have never heard of one of the bats meeting a disaster in flight.”

In correspondence with Mrs. Donald M. Pague of Scio, Oregon, Sallume noted:

“No, I have never doubled as a flight director. A top executive in a small corporation, and perhaps especially in a corporation like this, one is called upon for expertise in a wide variety of fields, many of which are connected only very remotely, if at all, with the graphic arts. Areas in which I have been called upon to play Solomon would include medical hypnotism, marine biology, seamanship, aircraft carrier design, and leather tannage, to mention only a few. Flight direction I am more than willing to leave alone.”

“Our Mediterranean cruise was, on the whole, a very satisfying experience. With only a couple of exceptions it was just like the beautiful cruise folders. The principal sour note was that I came down with pneumonia in Majorca and in order to treat the pneumonia the ship’s doctor took me off of my heart medication with the result that by the time we reached Barcelona my lungs had nearly filled with water and I was drowning in my berth. Heroic work with syringes full of diuretics swiftly brought this under control, and by the time we reached Naples I was able to “do” Pompeii and the Amalfi Drive. On the return voyage the ship’s engines broke down about midway between the Azores and New York, so that we were adrift for a couple of days in the Sargasso Sea while temporary repairs were being made, and finally limped into port four days late. This wouldn’t have been bad except for the fact that it brought us into port on Friday night instead of Monday morning, and getting a taxi from the docks to Kennedy Airport during the rush hour on Friday verges on the impossible. I had arranged to be met at the dock on Monday by a New York friend who owns an automobile, but he had to leave New York on Tuesday to meet a business commitment in Virginia so I was at the tender mercies of the New York cabbies. American Airlines only had to hold the plane five minutes for us.”

“It has been a busy summer thus far, with visiting grandchildren and numerous other diversions. Not the least of these was that my wife decided that what we needed more than any other one thing was a fifth cat, so that she got me, for Father’s Day, a champion frost point Siamese from a breeder friend of our daughter who lives in Kalamazoo. We are finding it no simple matter to introduce a two year old stud into an established cat household, and I have picked up a few scars along the way. Our crippled Burmese tom has apparently done his duty by a Burmese queen belonging to an acquaintance of ours who is visiting from Denver. When we are sure of this, we will have the Burmese tom neutered, and life may perhaps become more peaceful. We have had two sets of hormone shots administered to the frost point (one hates to neuter a champion) but he is still pretty much of a male cat, with a disposition not unlike LeRoy’s.”

“Many years ago, when I was a justice of the peace ‘in and for the state of Ohio’ I somehow picked up the impression that the more complicated things were, the happier it made the lawyers. Perhaps a new trend is setting in.

I remember very vividly indeed one of the last cases I heard as a ‘squire.’ The plaintiff in the eviction action was represented by the common pleas judge, while the defendant was represented by the county prosecutor who was, by virtue of his office, my official legal advisor. All I had to do was to rule on the facts and the law. My degree in chemical engineering was never more useless.”

Bookplate correspondence:

“I have been holding your recent letter about the special bookplate on my desk for the past several hours wondering how I ought to answer. I have d iscussed it with Mr. Ernest Morgan of the A.H.A. Board of Directors, and with Doris Sargent, whom I think you know. Both agreed that the depicted design presents a semantic or ideological problem, even though there is no special mechanical problem involved. I am afraid we would have to give the alligator a good deal less personality than he has in your sketch if we are to avoid the possibility of interpretations of this design which are, I am sure, wildly divergent from what you had in mind. If you can suggest some symbol of the Everglades other than the alligator, it might be well to use it.” [Unfortunately, no sample of this bookplate has been discovered, so either it was never completed or it was lost.]

“From the speed with which our Accounting Department deposited your second check, you would be entitled to conclude that we are engaged in a breathless race to keep ahead of the sheriff.”

Not all bookplate transactions were successful:

“I think it is safe to say that any drawing of a female nude symbolizes something — perhaps the beauties of spring, perhaps the flowering of the human spirit — perhaps degradation and defeat — perhaps the glories of sex — or what have you. Our chances of creating a bookplate which will be pleasing to you will be greatly enhanced if you can tell us with some precision just what it is you want the drawing to symbolize or say.”

“Your letter of September 10th and the contents of the package makes me wish that you and I could sit down together so that I might explain to you the requirements for two color art. It is pretty clear that I haven’t succeeded too well in communicating by letter. It would be startling if you weren’t pretty thoroughly exasperated with us by now, and I, on the other hand, feel a bit as though I had been trying to drive nails under water.”

“The situation is not that I do not wish to work with you ‘without an unjustified surcharge.’ It is simply that I do not wish to work with you at all. I found our previous associations so disagreeable that I forfeited an art investment of $65.00 to get out of the relationship. Having done this it would be witless of me to resume the relationship without the forfeiture being made good.”

“If the bookplates we shipped are of any value to you, you are entirely welcome to keep them. If they are not, then I am certain that the New York City Department of Sanitation will be able to cope with the situation.”

“I would be pointing out to the shipping clerk the sinful error of his ways except for the fact that he left us recently to take a situation with the Post Office Department.”

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Looking Back at Center Stage 1989-1990

YSCSLogo-CollageA couple of years including revivals and guest performances.







The Colored Museum

The Colored Museum

February 17-19 and 23-26, 1989 — by George C. Wolf, directed by Cheryl Welch.





Arsenic and Old Lace (REVIVAL)

Arsenic and Old Lace (REVIVAL)

April 14-16 and 20-23, 1989 — by Joseph Kesselring, directed by Rubin Battino




The Gin Game

The Gin Game

July 7-8 and 13-16, 1989 — by D. L. Coburn, directed by Leon Holster


The Marriage (REVIVAL)

The Marriage (REVIVAL)

November 10-12 and 16-19, 1989 — by Nikolai Gogol, directed by Leon Holster & Rebecca Eschliman



Harold and Maude

Harold and Maude

March 2-4 and 8-11, 1990 — by Colin Higgins, directed by Cheryl Welch




The Nerd

The Nerd

May 18-20 and 24-27, 1990 — by Larry Shue, directed by Jim Lockwood



[sometime during the summer of 1990] —Pop and Bodie Wagner in Concert

Night Breath

Night Breath

October 26-28 and November 1-4, 1990 — by Dennis Clontz, directed by Terry Farren




[sometime in November of 1990] — The Yellow Springs Arts Council presents Pirates, a children’s concert


A Christmas Carol (REVIVAL)

A Christmas Carol (REVIVAL)

[sometime in December of 1990] — by Charles Dickens, adapted by Jeffrey Hooper, presented by Little Miami Theater Works







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Xenia Avenue Snapshot

This photo in the Antiochiana archives shows Xenia Avenue looking south from the corner at Corry Street. About the only business still here today at the same location is the Tavern.

How can we determine when the photo was taken? The automobile models? The buildings and businesses no longer in existence?

Xenia Avenue north end

Xenia Avenue north end

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From the Antioch Bookplate Archives – 1930s/1940s part 11

Another motley collection, with some designs for general interest and a few fairly specific themes.

Antioch bookplate F-639

F-639, unusual for being printed in dark blue

Antioch bookplate F-641

F-641, designed by either Virginia Phillips or Dorothy Oakes

Antioch bookplate M-16


Antioch bookplate M-21


Antioch bookplate M-29

M-29, initials “F.D.” indicate that Francis Dawson was the likely designer.

Antioch bookplate M-32


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Family Reunion?

Another photograph from Antiochiana’s collection of unidentified subjects.

Large_FamilyWho were they, and what was the purpose of the gathering? To whom did the house belong, and is it still standing?

At least somewhat buffered by the comfort of air conditioning as we are, can we appreciate what it must have been like to spend hot and humid days in multiple layers, and would at least some of the members of this party have taken refuge behind the hanging ivy to cool off after the photographer left?

Almost the entire assembly has a sober attitude and are holding still for the photographer, which makes the detail of the blur of the wriggly little girl at lower left all the more charming.


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Public Records Curiosities — Counting the Votes

mtTreasures_rThese days vote tallying is a matter of bits, bytes and pixels, but in the 19th century (and much of the 20th) vote counts were noted in a series of carefully drawn tick marks in official poll tally forms, like this local example from 1887.

Because public records like this one must be maintained by law, smaller communities like Miami Township might have a hard time preserving them, but there are official regional archives approved to collect and maintain such documents. Wright State University Library is the approved archive for our region, and the Miami Township public records found in storage have now been turned over, and once the collection has been processed, it will be available for research.

Because small local governments have little or no staff to devote to historic records maintenance it is possible that volumes or single documents may have “wandered off,” and anyone who frequents estate auctions, flea markets or online sources like eBay may run across a volume or booklet, raising the thorny question of how to retrieve them to make sure they get included the archival collection. It’s unlikely that a local government agency has the budget elastic enough to pay the vendor. Should one contact the local government staff or the regional archive staff? Greene County for several years now has had its own official and professionally maintained records archive and may be a good source of advice. [Additional comment from retired archivist Gillian Hill: “…public records remain public records and should not be sold.  They belong to the public at large.  If someone holds a public record, he or she should contact the State Archives, Local Government Department at the Ohio History Connection in Columbus for the appropriate local government records repository to send it. (And certainly, the Greene County Archives on Ledbetter Road in Xenia could also advise.)”]

Also, please observe that all of the records sampled for this blog so far are done in cursive handwriting (often quite beautifully!). If cursive is no longer taught as regular part of elementary education, who will be able to read them in the next decades? Will cursive handwriting be relegated to a required course for a public history major at college or post-graduate level?


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