Program April 7: Tales of Roosevelt’s Tree Army in Yellow Springs

Tales of Roosevelt’s Tree Army in Yellow Springs

On Sunday, April 7, 2019, at 2:00 pm in the Yellow Springs Senior Center Great Room, Dave Neuhardt and David Casenhiser will present a program on the activity of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in John Bryan State Park and other New Deal projects in and around Yellow Springs.

The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

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The Book of Antioch – Map Part 1

A book of modest size and unremarkable blue cover might be overlooked as an out-of-date textbook, but it turns out to be The Book of Antioch 1853-1929, with no author/editor attribution and printed by the Antioch Press.

Within the covers you will find essays, poems, reprints of letters to the editor of Antiochian, pictures of class members, and engravings.

A whimsical map forms the endpapers, “observed and depicted by Virginia Gates Myers and Robert B. Sprague.” (Sprague was one of the Antioch students whose artwork Ernest Morgan used on bookplates – see here and here.) Portions of this map will be featured in separate posts so that the details can be appreciated.

Endpapers map in its entirety
Endpapers map – upper left corner
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Bygone Entertainment

One of the items in the Historical Society’s collection is something for family entertainment pre-television. Stereoscope cards collected by families might be of national monuments and world tourist attractions, but there was also a big business creating stereoscope cards of local interest (see previoius posts here and here).

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From the Antioch Bookplate Archives — Part 7

This group represents that last designs sold in a simpler world, since they are the last originally sold with product numbers in the “B series”. From this point on, all Antioch products would be sold with the ISBN as their product number, making Antioch products fit in with major customers’ computer systems, but making proofreading catalogs and order forms a nightmare, since hundreds of products would be included in any season’s offering. (To understand some of the weird world of product numbering, see this early post.) To complicate things even further, in later years bookplates would be sold in packages of different amounts (box of 50, packet of 12, etc.), and each different package required a different ISBN.

For a change there are no new cat designs, but these designs appeal to a variety of interests and age groups.

B-337 — Norfin Trolls, a pop culture license of the time

B-338 — based on a painting by Renaissance artist Melozzo da Forli

B-339 — by Jeannette Leuers, a contemporary British painter mostly known for gentle landscapes

B-340 — Another design by perennially popular illustrator/artist Mary Engelbreit

B-341 —”Book-Woman” by German-born Mexican artist Kiki Suarez

B-343 — Contemporary graphic artist/illustrator Sudi McCollum

B-344 — taken from the illustrations by children’s artist/illustrator Christopher Manson’s work for The Tree in the Wood: An Old Nursery Song.

B-345 — (see where it was previously sold as B-108) from a painting, “When Things Are Quiet,” by American artist Philip R. Goodwin (1881-1935) known for portrayals of wildlife, the outdoors and the Old West

B-346 — design for the Christian market based on a collectible plate design by Donald Zolan whose paintings of early childhood were licensed by Pemberton & Oakes. Includes Biblical quote Proverbs 2:10.

B-347 — Another design for the Christian market by Sara Eyestone, a contemporary American painter specializing in florals. Includes Biblical quote 1 Corinthians 16:14

B-348 — Revamped design of the Serenity Prayer (originally W-45) against a background taken from a classical marble endpaper.

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A True Community Woman

Women of Greene County is a rich source of information about various women from the area’s early history up until the late twenthieth century. Women’s History Month provides an opportune time to rediscover some of the women who helped to create the community of Yellow Springs.

Margaret Elsas (Ebertshein) Ebert (1898-1981)

Margaret Ebert grew up in a well-to-dol German-Jewish family in Karlsruhe, Germany. She was surrounded by love, music, art, maids, and a younger brother. She graduated from Heidelberg University with a Ph.D. In economics.

During World War I she was a volunteer nurse and was decorated by the German government for her work. In the mid-twenties she married an attorney, Paul Ebertshein. She had a daughter, Hanna, and did volunteer work in her community, as did most middle class women.

As Hitler’s anti-semitism began to control all facets of society, her husband had to quit the practice of law because he was Jewish and hadn’t actively participated in World War I. November 9, 1938, Krystal Nacht (Crystal Night), Nazi troops broke windows in Jewish-owned businesses and went to homes to round up all Jewish males. Ebert’s father was taken to a concentration camp and released in a week. Her husband was not taken because the downstairs tenant lied about his presence. The Eberts realized they had to leave their homeland. His parents were dead and her parents were elderly. Some of their family had already left, and Jews able to obtain visas had fled.

Ebert’s husband obtained a visa and went to Scotland for retraining and then to the U.S. Her parents died, and she could leave. She and her daughter left with their health and some luggage for Genoa, Italy, in April of 1939. They sailed to the United States. The family lived in New York City where Ebert cared for her family and her brother-in-law’s children because their mother was in a concentration camp. The family changed its name.

Ebert and her husband moved to Yellow Springs in 1953 because their daughter, Hanna Ebert Northway, and family had settled there. Ebert’s husband did library work at the Fels Institute of Human Development. War reparations from the West German government helped the Eberts build a modest home in Yellow Springs.

In Yellow Springs Ebert had a twenty-five year career of service to the community. She initiated the celebration of United Nations Day at the local schools. Speakers from other countries were often part of this celebration. At Halloween she organized the children to carry UNICEF boxes along with a trick or treat bag. Hundreds of dollars were collected each year. At Christmas time her home was headquarters for the sale of UNICEF cards, games and calendars. She was an active salesperson, reminding people by phone and setting up sales tables in stores downtown or at the post office. In 1977 UNICEF awarded her for having one of the highest sales.

Ebert was active in the Friends Meeting, Community Council, and Girl Scout Council. Her six grandchildren and many other children knew her well and called her “Omi,” German for grandmother. Though she came to Yellow Springs when she was fifty-five years old, her communityh work, and forceful attitude made her well known and respected. People smiled forgivingly at her poor driving skills. They knew her travels around the Village were for a good cause. The agony of her years in Germany had not destroyed her generous, indomitable, outgoing nature.

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J. Peery Miller Memoirs — Part 6

This section covers his childhood memories of cider making.

The meaning of term “pomace cheese” may have been lost over the years.

Typical horse-driven cider mill

A cider mill, erected by my father in the year 1835, stood in the orchard about one-hundred yards from the house. (Brother Samuel gave a brief description of this mill in his printed pamphlet on “Early Settlers and Early Times”, page 11.) Being of a primitive type its use was abandoned in the late 50’s, but the frame work stood as a relic of the old style mill until the farm was sold to its present owner (1869).

The accompanying cut (pg. ) shows the crude machine for mashing the apples by means of wooden-fluted rollers turned by horse power. The press with its heavy beam is more difficult to reproduce from memory, but the method of working it is still clear to my mind. I was too young to be of service in the heavy work of cider making but not too young to watch the others do it and to enjoy drinking the cider as it came fresh from the press. A tincup was ready at hand to catch a drink as it ran from the press-board through a gutter surrounding the four sides of the immense pomace cheese under the heavy press-beam. The inclination of the gutter carried the cider from all sides of the pomace cheese to the center of the lowest side where it met a V shaped spout. Under this spout was placed a large wooden tub holding one or two barrels. From this tub the cider was conveyed to barrels by hand, using a large dipper and a two-gallon wooden funnel. The latter was made by a cooper, using oak for staves, the bottom ends of which were cut to fit the curvature of the barrel when placed over the bunghole.

The boy who stood near the press when the men were filling the barrels was always welcome to a drink of cider if he could get his tincup under the spout, but when the beam pressure was accelerated by the man at the sword-lever he was liable to get splashed by the overflow as the result of the sudden squeeze. I well remember that with my eagerness to satisfy my thirst for a drink I would get a shower bath instead, much to the amusements of the by-stander.

Our cider mill accommodated the Bethel neighborhood from the year 1835 until the new cylinder grinder and screw press came into general use. Father’s account book mentions sale of cider by the barrel commencing October 1835, at $1.00 to $1.85 per barrel. The last sales mentioned were in the year 1850, which indicates that from that time on the neighbors were taking their apples to the new mills of improved machinery which would produce more cider from a given amount of apples with far less labor. After a few more years of private use of the old mill we, too, abandoned its use and became patrons of the new.

Two or three wagons with large box-beds, holding from 25 to 40 bushels each, were drawn into the orchard to be filled with cider apples the day before starting to the mill. It was necessary to start early in the morning to insure an early turn at the mill. First come, first served was the rule. At nine or ten years of age I was delighted to be permitted to go with this outfit. Of course it took stalwart men like my father and older brothers to do the heavy work, but there was so much to be seen that a boy could enjoy that to him the occasion was one of great expectation. The early rising was invigorating; the jolty ride seated on top of the loaded wagon was said to aid digestion; the meeting of neighbor boys at the mill, who came with their parents in a similar manner, gave opportunity to improve our social qualities and enlarge our circle of boyhood acquaintances. In boyish manner and language we could discuss the wonderful improvement of the rapid whirling cylinder for grinding apples over the slow motion of the fluted nut-masher now discarded; also the merit of the screw press over the dangerous beam in hastening the pressing process. Give boys a chance to talk unhampered by conventualities and they will find plenty to say.

The cider made, the barrels filled and rolled into the wagon bed over skids placed at the rear end, we were ready to start home. If successful in getting an early turn at the mill, we might get home in time to get a good start at boiling down the cider for apple-butter in the afternoon. The apple-butter boiling was done outdoors in a large copper kettle suspended to a pole, the two ends of which rested on forked limbs set firmly in the ground (See cut, pg. ).

By boiling the cider was decreased in quantity and increased in strength until the proper consistency was obtained for thickening with apples. For thickening the largest copper kettle was selected and the choicest fruit prepared; then another long process of boiling and stirring until a practiced tester pronounced the mixture to be real cider apple-butter, done to a finish – sweet or sour according to the quality of the apples and the amount of sugar used. The latter, being expensive, was used very sparingly, if used at all.

Before canning in hermetically sealed jars became prevalent all fruit butters were boiled down to a consistency sufficient to preserve them in open top jars or crocks. When filled these were covered with wooden lids over heavy cotton cloth tied down to the top rim with wrapping twine. No parafin was used as a top-covering as is done today.

  • I wish to note that the large copper kettle that did service at our old home at Bethel during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s of the last century was purchased by brother Harrison at the sale of personal property after father’s death. He took this kettle with him to Illinois when he moved to that state. It is now (1927) in the possession of his grandson Roy W. Miller, who lives on a farm in Tazewell Co., Illinois, near the village of Armington. Roy is preserving this kettle as a relic of “Ye olden times”.
Scene from the Yellow Springs Apple Butter Festival in the early 1950s, taken from Why They Came, page 53
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Yellow Springs Rocks

One can’t go very far in Yellow Springs without coming across local limestone, whether as building material (the former library, now School Board building , at the corner of Limestone and Short Street) the stream bed next to the Bryan Center or the vast stretches of cliffs in the Glen.

Historical resources such as those mentioned in the previous post have chapters devoted to local geology, not only because it shapes the contours of where the village came to be, but also because it was economically important.

This blog has already featured one picture of a local quarry, and another was found in the Howard Kahoe glass negative collection (“Quarry, Antioch Power Plant” in the collection’s notes).

Another Kahoe collection picture shows a collection of labeled rocks, but the note attached is enigmatic – “older girls group in basement”.

The Yellow Springs Community Library is offering a program on Ohio Geology at 1:00 pm Saturday, March 16 by geologist Garry Getz.

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Sources of Local History

When researching the history of Yellow Springs, there are two books with a wider scope that contain Yellow Springs-specific sections, available either at various libraries and the Greene County room within the Greene County Public Library system. Although these are mostly reference copies that cannot be taken out, there is a workaround for anyone who wants to study them at length — they have been available as PDF downloads through Google Books.

Because of the early dates of publication of these two sources, it is wise to look for more contemporary sources to corroborate or correct the information. In addition, there are occasionally social attitudes which need to be taken into consideration. What other print sources are there to serve as good research possibilities?

The first is a single-volume work, Greene County 1803-1909, with a publication date of 1909.

In addition to photographs, the book contains illustrations by John Davidson.

The second reference source is a two-volume work edited by the Michael. A. Broadstone (and several libraries within the system have copies that can be checked out) titled History of Greene County Ohio: Its People, Industries & Institutions and published in 1918.

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1870s Sketchbook — Part 3

Were these sketches assigned by the art professor, or were they things that caught the artist’s eye?

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The Challenge of Identity

The picture below from the Howard Kahoe glass negative collection has no title, but a note on an index to the collection says, “Wheeling Gaunt? No?”. Certainly the cheekbones and the shape of the mouth indicate that Gaunt may truly be the distinguished gentleman, but without confirmation from other sources his identity remains in question (even more in question is the identity of the figure in the shadows of background left – presumably a woman from the white garment).

Whether or not the Gaunt is the subject of the photograph, he is certainly the subject of the Wheeling Gaunt Sculpture Project and a program February 28.

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