In This Issue: Spring 2003

In The Current Issue:

Welcome to the final issue of this first volume of the Northeast Ohio Journal of History. We have been extremely pleased with the response to our publication so far, and look forward to continuing to serve as a forum for high-quality research on Northeast Ohio themes.

In this issue, we feature a group of pieces that reflect nearly twelve thousand years of Ohio history. Brian Redmond’s virtual museum exhibit provides a brief overview of human habitation in the Western Reserve from the earliest Native-American settlements to the founding of Cleveland. Redmond, who is curator of Archaeology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, also outlines recent projects sponsored by the museum to discover more about Northeast Ohio’s prehistory.

Steven Plank’s feature article on the history of academic regalia at Oberlin College is something of a time-capsule piece, steeped in the language and sentiments of two disparate generations of Oberlin students and faculty. Plank, head of the Department of Musicology at Oberlin, illustrates that something as seemingly innocuous as the use of academic regalia has had profound social, religious, ethnic, and political correlates in this academic community over a one hundred year period.

Thomas Powell’s document on the 1965 Akron Fair Housing Case is a unique eyewitness account on the patterns of prejudice in Cuyahoga Falls. Although essentially a diary of events leading up to the seminal court case, this piece also attempts to put these events into a larger context. Powell’s epilogue in particular challenges Gunnar Myrdal’s famous conclusion to An American Dilemma. Given the March 2003 Supreme Court Case concerning housing in Cuyahoga Falls, this article has a sense of immediacy unusual for historical articles.

In addition to the usual book reviews, we also encourage the reader to explore the other features of our site. For those who missed the first issue, please visit our “Archives” link, which contains the entire contents of our inaugural number. We have expanded our “Research Links” feature since last fall, adding not only more primary sources but also links to local historical agencies. We strongly encourage the reader to suggest or send new links for this page. The same is true for items in “Current History,” which is a clearinghouse for information on events of a historical nature in Northeast Ohio. Because we update this section constantly, please feel free to send announcements for it at any time.

We would also like to remind our readers that printer-friendly versions accompany each item. These PDF files are not only easier on the eyes when printed, but also contain basic issue data and page numbers for convenience in citation.

As always, please address any inquiries about this project (or about any other aspect of the journal) to the editor at kkern @ uakron. edu. We welcome all comments and suggestions.

Kevin Kern

Feature Article:

Academic Regalia at Oberlin: the Establishment and Dissolution of a Tradition
By: S.E. Plank, Oberlin College

Book Reviews:

Matthew Hiner
William Reynolds, edited by Peter K. Gifford and Robert D. Ilisevich: European Capital, British Capital, and an American Dream: The Story of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad

Maureen A. Flanagan
Laura Tuennerman-Kaplan: Helping Others, Helping Ourselves: Power, Giving, and Community Identity in Cleveland, Ohio, 1880-1930

Daniel Nelson
Bruce M. Meyer: The Once and Future Union: The Rise and Fall of the United Rubber Workers, 1935-1995

Notes & Comments:

The Akron Fair Housing Case
By: Thomas Powell, State University of New York, Emeritus


Before the Western Reserve: An Archaeological History of Northeast Ohio
Text and Design By: Brian G. Redmond, Ph.D.

Current History


Maureen A. Flanagan is Professor of History at Michigan State University. She teaches modern U.S. history and urban history. Her latest publication is Seeing with Their Hearts: Chicago Women and the Vision of the Good City, 1871-1933 (2002).

Matthew Hiner is an associate lecturer at the University of Akron. He is currently finishing his dissertation dealing with United States transportation and political history entitled “Nationalization and Deregulation: the Creation of Conrail and the Demise of the Interstate Commerce Commission, 1973-1984.” In the Fall of 2003, Matthew will teach U.S. history at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Daniel Nelson taught at the University of Akron from 1970 to 2000 and was a close and sympathetic observer of the United Rubber Workers during those years. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including American Rubber Workers & Organized Labor, 1900-1941 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988).

Steven Plank is Chair of the Department of Musicology at Oberlin College, where he has taught since 1980. He is the author of numerous studies of seventeenth-century music, as well as the inter-relationship of liturgics, music, and spirituality. He is also the Director of the Collegium Musicum Oberliniense.

Thomas F. Powell, Professor Emeritus (SUNY), also taught history and social sciences at the University of Akron, Syracuse University, and the University of Würzburg. His writings include The Persistence of Racism in America, An Explanation of why Racism Spread and Intensified After it was Intellectually Discredited.

Brian Redmond is the curator of archaeology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He is also one of the charter member of the editorial board of the Northeast Ohio Journal of History.


We would like to take this opportunity to extend a great deal thanks to Dr. Martin Wainwright of the University of Akron History Department, who has provided important material support for this publication since it began. We also wish to express our sincerest gratitude to our assistant editor, Dyan McClain. The work that she has done for this journal was as crucial as it was thankless. This will be her valedictory issue with us, and we wish her only the very best in all of her future endeavors.