In The Current Issue:
Although deceptively quite disparate in nature, this issue’s articles share the common theme of social and economic development in the early statehood period. From libraries in small Western Reserve settlements to the intrusion of the canal system into Columbiana County, both articles describe phenomena exemplifying the changes that came to Northeast Ohio as it moved from a frontier outpost to an area integrated into the larger national culture and economy.
Stuart Stiffler’s piece on social libraries examines the cultural dimensions of early Ohio settlement through the lens of the founding and expansion of small libraries throughout the Western Reserve in the early- to mid-1800s. Reflective not only of the attitudes and goals of the people who founded them, these libraries also trace changes in the population, culture, and society of the area as the century wore on.
Charles Mastran’s contribution is an archaeological field study of Lock 24 of the Sandy and Beaver Canal of the mid-1800s. Framed as a descriptive site report of a nearly-forgotten architectural artifact of Ohio’s canal era, this research also contextualizes it in the economic and technological milieus of the period. By explaining standard historical archaeological terminology and abundantly illustrating his research with maps and photographs, Mastran endeavors to make the often-technical nature of a scientific archaeological report more accessible to the lay reader.
These pieces continue the Northeast Ohio Journal of History’s tradition of bringing high-quality research in the history of this area to a broader audience.
Kevin F. Kern