1870s Sketchbook — Part 8

The first in the set of sketches is an oddity, and one wonders what was the inspiration – a class assignment? The rigidity of the plaid is a contrast with the relaxed natural forms of most of the sketches (links to all sketches shared in the blog can be found under the “Blog Multi-Part Series” tab above).

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YSLA History — Part 4

Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

A month after the new library opened the Yellow Springs Board of Education moved its offices to the old library building, which it occupies today. The Yellow Springs Library is also still in the same place; it hasn’t yet outgrown the Xenia Avenue home the community
built for it in 1965. A major interior renovation in 1999 provided much needed space for the library to expand. During the renovation project the library set up temporary quarters in the Village Council room in the Bryan Community Center. The Yellow Springs Library collection that began in 1899 with 77 volumes has grown to one that included 58,861 items in 2000.

Following are some other figures for 2000 that speak volumes about the Yellow Springs Library’s importance in the community.

Current library under construction in early 1965
  • Circulation in Yellow Springs was 195,763,
    which works out to 34 items per capita, as
    compared to 8.8-17.6 for the rest of the Greene
    County libraries.
  • The number of borrowers per capita in Yellow
    Springs was .59; in the rest of the county
    libraries, the number was .186-.298.
  • The number of library visits in Yellow Springs
    amounted to 117,875 in 2000, or 23 visits per
    capita. That compares to 5-15 visits per capita
    for the rest of the county.
  • The Yellow Springs Library in 2000 answered
    about 20,462 reference questions, or about 4
    questions per capita; the libraries in the rest of
    the county fielded .9-1.5 reference questions
    per capita.

People in Yellow Springs, it’s clear, get a lot of use out of their library. The library of today is no longer dependent on the pies, cookies and bread that sustained the library of 100 years ago. The Greene County Public Library system is responsible for its operating expenses, and the Village of Yellow Springs is responsible for the building as well as major maintenance projects. At one time the Library Association served in an advisory capacity to the Village Council; today the Library Commission, a separate board, fulfills that function. Its charge is to coordinate the efforts of all interested parties in maintaining the library building. The Commission includes a member of Village Council, the head librarian, the director of the Greene County Public Library, and Council as well as
Library Association appointees.

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Yellow Springs in 1896 – Northeast Corner

Some names are familiar (Wheeling Gaunt, e.g.), but some are currently unfamiliar (who was “Mussleman”?).

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A Truly “Moving” Woman of Yellow Springs

During this summer week, when one can get a glimpse of The Riding Centre horses and their riders from the bike path just south beyond Allen Street, and the Yellow Springs Theater Company is mounting a production of Othello behind Mills Lawn Elementary School, it seems particularly appropriate to share this entry from Women of Greene County, for a woman whose obituary appeared in such publications as Variety and The New York Times.

Louise Soelberg (1904-1994)

Louise Soelberg had two careers during her long, active life. Her first career was as a pioneer in modern dance in both England and the United States. She was a lead dancer and choreographer, founded a dance school, headed a dance tour group and taught dance. Much of her dance work was done in England before World War II. In 1947 she returned to the United States to work in the East. She came to Yellow Springs in the early ’50s to teach dance at Antioch College and choreograph for the Antioch Shakespeare Festival. All of Shakespeare’s plays were performed over a period of five summers.

A ruptured disc limited her dance activities so she turned her attention to a childhood love—horses. When a house, barn, and pasture on the edge of Glen Helen became available she turned it into the Riding Centre, with the cooperation of Antioch College. An association of horse owners and parents of young riders was set up The association helped make Centre policy and raised money to develop the property, purchase the equipment and a small herd of Centre-owned horses. This cooperative venture helped keep the cost of riding down and the spirit of community high. Soelberg insisted that all students learn how to catch, clean, feed, and monitor the health of their horses as well as ride. One parent wrote, “I’m convinced that lives of young people…were wondrously enhanced by their experience of working at the Riding Centre with one another, but also by Louise’s character, kindness, skill, discipline, and the love and respect she showed for horses at every turn.”

Soelberg had two husbands. By each she had a daughter: Eloise Elmherst and Jessica Langton. Langton was born during an air raid in London in World War II. Soelberg lived alone in the house on the Centre property during the twenty-five years she managed it.

Of her transition from dancing to riding she once said: “It’s a very closely linked thing. I think the biggest part of riding is this harmony, this reaction of the rider to the horse’s movement. To me, there’s a delight in watching a rider and a horse who move together with one movement—to me, that’s the harmony of dance.”

In 1974 Soelberg established The Therapeutic Riding Program. This program provides an opportunity for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities to learn to ride. In recognition of her work, Soelberg received the National Senior Citizen of the month award in 1978.

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From the Antioch Bookplate Archives — Part 11 (plus one private bookplate)

The first group of bookplates were part of a collection of products designed specifically for Christmas use. They were smaller than standard bookplates and had gold foil highlights.


The second group of designs continued the interest in noted children’s book illustrators.

0112-0 Janell Cannon’s Stellaluna

0113-9 Leaping sunfish detail from Jan Brett’s illustrations for The Owl and the Pussycat

0114-7 Jane Dyer – “The Girl in the Golden Bower”

0115-5 Mary Collier



Finally, this private label bookplate design is shared in memoriam to its owner, Arte Johnson, the actor/comedian who passed away this week at the age of 90.
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We Wish You a Happy Fourth…

To all those, past and present, who have created and maintained Yellow Springs’ own unique independence: the educators, civil servants, artists, writers, merchants, volunteers, business people and builders, residents of short or long duration.

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“Hooey” Excerpts

“The Hooey” was the newsletter of the CCC Camp at John Bryan State Park, noted in a previous post. Every so often we will share interesting articles and graphics.

As you might guess, the Little Theater Yellow Springs was the forerunner of the Little Art Theatre.


In return for the courtesies extended to us by the Little Theater, we have decided to run a notice of coming attractions. Note is made by the names of some of the pictures of the ratings given them by some of the movie magazines that were in the library at the time this article was written. (**** is the best rating given by some magazines, while * is the best rating given by Photo Play mag.)

Friday & Saturday, Dec. 27-28.
with Ann Sothern, Edmund Lore.
Also Star Gazine with Radio Rogues and Fox News.

Sunday & Monday, Dec. 29-30.
with Ann Dvorak, Dick Powell.
Also comedy and news.

Wednesday & Thursday, Jan. 1-2.
with James Dunn, Claire Dodd.
Also Nutville – a Pepper Pot.

Friday & Saturday, Jan. 3-4.
METROPOLITAN (**** M.P. *** Liberty)
with Lawrence Tibbett, Virginia Bruce.
Also Comedy and News.

Sunday & Monday, Jan. 5-6.
SHE COULDN’T TAKE IT (*** Liberty)
with Joan Bennett, George Raft.
Also Pardon My Scotch – Bdy Brevity and News.

Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, Jan. 7-8-9.
IN OLD KENTUCKY (* Photoplay, *** Liberty)
with Will Rogers.
Also Comedy.

Friday & Saturday, Jan. 10-11

It is not currently known just where the John Bryan Arboretum was located.

Attracting National Interest

The arboretum now being designed for the John Bryan State Park located in a 200 acre tract east of the state highway and extending south to the gorge is a place where the trees, shrubs and vines native to the State of Ohio will be planted for scientific and educational purposes.

The plants will be located in forest groups typical of the different sections of the State; such as the beech and maple forest around Cleveland; the pine and oak forests along the Pennsylvania and West Virginia border, the hickory and oak forests of north-west Ohio, the elm forests of central Ohio, the hemlock and white pine ravines, the cedar and juniper hillsides, the hawthorne slopes, etc.

All the groups will be blended in together to make a natural effect and many beautiful views up the different valleys as most of the planting will be on the high ground, leaving the valleys open.

This arboretum is one of few of its kind in the United States and already there is a national interest in the design and development.

The first planting in the arboretum will start this coming spring as soon as the weather permits us to work in the ground.

R. W. Mefferd
Landscape Architect

The drawing of the camp was done by an artist introduced in this post.

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J. Peery Miller Memoirs — Part 10

The section introduces some of the games played during recess. “Town-ball” and “Bull-pen” have a touch of Calvinball.

In the early days School-houses in Ohio were not equipped with blackboards for class work as now. A small board frame, about 4 ft x 8 ft, painted black, was placed back of the teacher’s desk for his use only. I remember that our teacher printed the punctuation marks at the top of this board; also the Roman letters used as numerals. This copy stood in plain view of the whole school and was always ready for memory drill in name and use.

For practical work in arithmetic slates were used at our seats. No classes were formed in this subject. During the period assigned to this work each pupil ciphered until he got the answer to the problem. The teacher would incidentally keep track of our work and offer suggestions now and then. In our school it was the custom of the teacher to make the round of the school-room, perhaps the half-hour before the noon recess or the evening dismissal, to ask the arithmetic pupils if they had any difficulty. Especially was this the custom of the Harrison Hardacre, one of the most proficient teachers of that subject. I always found him willing and ready to lead me through the difficulties of a problem by a system of judicious questioning, the answers to which helped to develop the reasoning faculties. I have great reason to be thankful for the systematic drill received in the study of Stoddard’s mental arithmetic under his teaching. As I remember, order among the pupils in the school-room was as good as that which prevails now-a-days. Occasionally a scholar would need punishing for violating the rules of conduct on the playground, or for going beyond the prescribed distance from the school-house during the recess periods. Sometimes a fight between two hotheaded boys would result in both receiving a threshing from the teacher as the best method of discouraging fighting without showing partiality to either of the participants.


Town-ball, the fore runner of the modern base-ball, was quite popular, though not very scientific as played by the country boys. The play-ground was laid out with corner bases somewhat after the plan of base-ball but the number of bases was not limited to four. There might be five or six as we played the game. Captains were chosen and the players were divided into opposing sides by the alternated choice of these respective heads. The captains would determine by lot which side would bat first. I never saw any printed rules of this game if there ever were any. In fact, I think the rules varied in accordance with the wishes of the individual players of each community. One point I do remember which would make the modern base-ball player smile. The basemen need not stand on his base to catch the batted ball or touch the runner with ball in hand in order to put him out. The runner was out if the ball was thrown across the path between him and the base he was trying to reach. We called this “crossing out”.

No special one acted as umpire to decide points in the game. If a player was “out”, the opposing side would soon proclaim the fact vociferously – the louder the outcry the more convincing that the decision was correct. Sometimes, in cases of legitimate doubt, a vigorous protest might be offered by the loser, which, if backed up by his side, gave threat of mob-like vengeance. But generally disputes were settled in a spirit of democratic fairness.

Bull-pen was a game in which no batting was done. The players were divided as in the case of town-ball, one side playing from the bases and the other side promiscuously occupying the space within the ring formed by an imaginary line connecting the bases (we called them corners).

In commencing the game the ball must be passed from base to base around the circle before it could be considered in play. This process was called getting the ball “hot”. After the ball was “hot”, any basemen catching the ball when thrown to him by one of his side, could throw it with all his might to hit a man in the ring. If he missed hitting any one he was out, and some other one from his side took his place at his base. Then the ball must be put in play again by making it hot by the above mentioned process before the hitting process can be resumed.

In case a baseman hit a ringman (a man in the “:soup”, as he was called) the next play is for the latter or any one in the ring (soup) to pick up the ball and hit a baseman, the most convenient one at hand To prevent being hit all the baseman run from their bases in any direction, keeping a sharp lookout for the man with the ball so as to dodge it at the proper moment if he should be selected as the mark. The distance that the ringmen might chase the baseman from the ring was limited by rule – probably fifty or one-hundred feet. If in the chase the baseman is hit, he is out and must vacate his base in the same manner as if he had thrown the ball at a ringman and missed; but he is missed he holds his base and the ringman that got “soaked” must retire and the game continues with one less in the ring. After this manner the game continues until one side or the other is all out. Athletically the importance of this game consists in acquiring skill in throwing the ball so as to hit on the part of one side, and the ability to dodge a swiftly thrown ball by the other side.

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1870s Sketchbook — Part 7

Is the first one a tree trunk? a cliff?

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YSLA History — Part 3

Part 1 and Part 2

Though the library had become an important part of the community, it almost failed in 1913, when the Methodist and Presbyterian churches decided to remodel their buildings, tasks that absorbed much of the surplus funds in town. But Association members “girded themselves anew” and managed to raise enough money to keep the library afloat until 1926, when the library merged with the Greene County Public Library. The merger lifted the burden of support, or at least part of it, from the weary shoulders of the Library Association. The Association continued for some time to provide funds for rent, heat, the librarians’ salaries and incidentals. Local groups also continued to support the library: The Shakespeare Club, for instance, donated the books it used at the end of each year, and the Bridge Club donated the money used for light refreshments at their meetings for the purchase of new books. In 1926, that amounted to $12.

Home of the library on Walnut Street from the 30’s to the early 60’s, now office for the School Board

The Little Art building was remodeled in 1930, and the library moved again, taking up temporary residence in the home of J. N. Wolford (the red brick house at Short and Walnut streets).

Long before this move, the Association had a goal in mind, beyond just paying rent. Its members wanted a building, a library building. The seed money for their building fund came in 1908, in the form of a $50 donation from the Young Ladies Guild of the disbanding Christian Church. By the early ’30s, there was $1,200 in the building fund, enough to pay the Presbyterian Church $500 for a piece of property it had for sale directly across the street from the library’s temporary quarters.

Next came the building. Village Council issued a bond that netted $3,000 for materials, and federal government employment relief programs provided $9,000 for labor costs, making the library the first depression-era project in Greene County to get funds through the Public Works Administration. Stone from the Antioch quarry was donated for construction of the new library. Designed by Max Mercer, the library was dedicated “in a blaze of glory” on June 27, 1935.

By 1962, it was apparent the library had once again outgrown its clothes, and the Association began a new building fund. Nothing much happened, however, until the summer of 1963, when a piece of property at Davis Street and Xenia Avenue came up for sale. Several phone calls, meetings, and days later, the decision was made to buy the property and build a new library on it. Village government purchased the site for

$20,000, and in November of that year, the Vernay Foundation gave the project a major boost, when it donated $100,000 for the new library in memory of President John F. Kennedy.

To supplement the Vernay gift, the Association continued its fundraising efforts. It sponsored a tour of local homes, an auction of donated “treasures” and, with the help of the Girl Scouts, the harvest and sale of an apple crop donated by a local resident. The Jaycees also lent a hand, launching a fund drive that raised almost $50,000 in two weeks. An ad in the Yellow Springs News advised potential donors that those who wished to make larger contributions could elect monthly payments, payable with the Village utility bill. Donations came from all over town, from loads of pennies to checks from businesses.

The new library opened on August 30, 1965. Its first eight customers were Leslie Diehl, Carla Cordell, Susan Hollister, Kevin Jackson, Craig Cordell, Steve Asakawa, Grundy Vernet and Drew Diehl. Circulation that day totalled 722, breaking all previous one-day circulation figures.

Original building on site of current library, 415 Xenia Avenue

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