The Ohio Digital Network

The Mansfield/Richland County Public Library has recently joined the Ohio Digital Network which acts as a service hub for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).  Led by the State Library of Ohio and in partnership with Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK), Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN), and Ohio History Connection, the Ohio Digital Network builds on strong digital collection efforts across the state including the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library, Ohio Memory, and the Ohio Digitization Hubs project. MRCPL is one of the 24 Ohio libraries and cultural institutions members with collections in the Ohio Digital Network. The 233,841 items in collections shared by the Ohio Digital Network represent stories that are both unique to Ohioans and part of our shared national story.   As a part of DPLA, students and teachers, researchers, and history buffs can now explore all of these rich collections from across the state in one place alongside over 40 million resources from the growing DPLA network of partners.

The collections shared by members of the Ohio Digital Network represent stories that are both unique to Ohioans and part of our shared national story. Materials such as wartime propaganda posters and oral histories about the May 4, 1970 Kent State shooting shed light on turning point moments in twentieth-century history. Collections on Latino-American experiences in rural Knox County and on Ohio’s LGBT communities represent the lives, work, and relationships of local Ohioans, and ensure that the stories, voices, and experiences of these communities are captured as part of our national heritage. Ohio Digital Network also brings unique materials for gaming (old school, that is) and ornithology enthusiasts too—the history of chess and checkers collection and John James Audubon’s beautiful bird illustrations are not to be missed.

Check out the MRCPL Collection here.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s World War II poster collection joins a rich body of wartime posters in DPLA. One of the strengths of this collection is the collection of international posters, like this poster designed to recruit women for factory work. The poster was published in London during World War II.

On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed college students at Kent State University protesting the Vietnam War, killing four and injuring nine. The Kent State Shootings Oral History collection features over 125 interviews with former students, professors, law enforcement officers, local residents, and others about the experience of and impact of the shootings. Randy Gardner, a student at Kent State and eyewitness to the shootings, recalls his sense of shock as the shooting began:

“They got to the top of that rise, and they just kind of in unison turned around and just started shooting. And it was just—it was like you never gave thought to what’s in their guns. Did they really have bullets? We didn’t know. I don’t think we gave it that much thought. I don’t know why we didn’t. But it was like disbelief that they were shooting—the shock, everything, you know. But when somebody’s pointing a rifle at you and shooting, it’s no time to ask questions.”

Shared in partnership with Ohio History Connection, the Gay Ohio History Initiative collection documents organizing and activism within Ohio’s gay and lesbian communities during the 1980s and 1990s. In this photograph, members of the Stonewall Union Columbus chapter participate in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987.

Kenyon College’s Latinos in Rural America (LiRA) collection captures the stories of Latino-American residents of Knox County, Ohio. Through oral history interviews, photographs, and a bilingual exhibit, the project documents the lives, aspirations, and cultural identities of Latino Americans from different stages of life and socioeconomic backgrounds. José Ávalos, pictured here in his restaurant in Mount Vernon, Ohio, emigrated from Mexico and discusses his efforts to ensure that his children feel connected to their Mexican heritage.

For the game-lovers and strategists among us, check out Cleveland Public Library’s collection on the history of chess and checkers, which includes books dating to the sixteenth century, portraits of champion players, manuscripts, and more. In this photograph, Cuban chess prodigy José Raúl Capablanca plays forty games of chess simultaneously as part of an exhibition at the Manhattan Chess Club in 1922. His opponent at this board was 14-year-old David Warburgh of the Stuyvesant High School Chess Club.

Finally, ornithologists and nature art and illustration fans will want to explore the John James Audubon Birds of America collection from the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The collection includes 435 plates from Audubon’s landmark publication, The Birds of America, which was published between 1827 and 1838, and documents the bird species of North America, including the Carolina Turtle Dove.


The Sherman Room Digital Archive

There is a new digital archives website available from The Sherman Room at the Mansfield Richland County Public Library.  There are postcard images, photographs, school newspapers, Civil War Letters and, for the first time, digital copies of school yearbooks.  This is just the beginning.  In the future, we will be adding many more materials from our collection to the archive.  There is also a feature where you can contribute your own items to the “Digital Community Scrapbook” and share items through many social media platforms.

OSR Postcard021

Vintage Postcard Collection

Along with coin and stamp collecting, Deltiology, or postcard collecting, is one of the largest collectible hobbies in the world. Postcards are popular because of the wide range of subjects, from historical buildings, famous people, art, holidays and more. These images can be used to help trace the history of a place and show what buildings and people were important to a community at that time. This collection shows various scenes from Mansfield and Richland County, Ohio, the dates ranging primarily from 1890-1920.  There are currently almost 300 images, with more to come.


North Main Street, 1913 flood–near intersection with 5th Street. Second Hand store, (left) was located at 178 N. Main.

Photo Collection

This collection of Mansfield and Richland County images represents photographs dating back to the late nineteenth century. Included are historic views of Mansfield, including downtown and industrial areas.  This collection is small and still growing and there are more images available on our page on the Cleveland Memory Project.  These, along with many others, will be on the new site in the future.

Yearbook Collections

This collection currently contains yearbooks for Mansfield Senior High School up to the year 1961.  Thanks to the Mansfield local schools, we have been given permission to digitize up to the year 2000 and will also include digital versions of Malabar High School.  St. Peter’s High School has also agreed to allow digital versions of their yearbooks to be available.

School Newspapers

Currently St. Peter’s High School’s newspaper, The Key, from 1963-1970 is available online.  This covers the years when the school did not produce a yearbook.  Later newspapers from John Simpson, Johnny Appleseed, Malabar High School and Mansfield Senior High will be added.

Civil War Letters

This collection contains the Civil War Letters of the Cummins Brothers.  George and Abraham Cummins were no different than the hundreds of thousands of other young men who answered the call of the President to restore the Union that had been torn apart by the American Civil War. Both brothers were members of Co. I of the 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry–a group organized by their father, William, and made up primarily of young men from the Shelby area. Happily, both men survived the war and returned to Richland County to continue their lives.

Digital Community Scrapbook

Finally, we have recently added a feature were you are able to submit your own images.   After they are approved by our administrator, the images will be available for anyone to see through the website.  Not only can images be submitted, you can also share a story or memory you have of Mansfield from the past.  Help us share the story of our community.

The site is searchable:

In order to search the yearbooks, select Advanced Search by selecting the three dots next to the search bar at the top right of the page.  Enter the name of the person you are searching in the Search for Keywords field and select Mansfield High School Annual – 1907-1923 or The Manhigan 1924-present under Search by Collection.  This will display a list of annuals that person appears in.  After you click on the desired yearbook you can search again, at the top right of the screen, to find the exact page where they are listed.  As of today on up to 1942 is searchable, but the other volumes will be added shortly.

In order to search the St. Peter’s Newspapers, select Advanced Search by selecting the three dots next to the search bar at the top right of the page.  Enter the name of the person you are searching in the Search for Keywords field and select The Key News – St. Peter’s High School under Search by Collection. This will display a list of issues that person appears in. After you click on the desired issue you can view the entire issue by clicking on the image of the front page.

I hope you enjoy this new resource.