Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was a young man who witnessed firsthand the fruits of struggle. His father escaped slavery in Kentucky and made his way to Canada through Ohio, and then returned to fight with a Massachusetts regiment against the system that had held him in bondage. His mother fled the memory of her own captivity at the end of the Civil War. From them and others, Dunbar knew the value of action and dreams. [Read the complete article]

Related resources:

Paul Laurence Dunbar (slides)

Explore the Universiy of Toledo Library Collection: Works by or related to Paul Laurence Dunbar




gosserThe F.B.I. Files of Richard T. Gosser

In the history of labor in Toledo, no figure stands taller than Richard T. Gosser. Gosser's life both spanned and reflected the major trends of labor in the Twentieth Century. Born at the dawn of the century, on Dec. 13, 1900, Gosser ran with a tough crowd in his youth. Toledo in the early 1920s was a wide-open city with open defiance of Prohibition, slot machines blatantly displayed in drug stores, and a red light district that operated under the watchful but winking eye of the local police. [Read the complete article]

See also: under Labor History

Related resources:

The F.B.I. Files of Richard T. Gosser (slides)

Richard T. Gosser Papers (1943-1974), MSS-025 (Canaday Center finding aid)

UAW Vice President's Office: Richard T. Gosser Records (Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State Univerity)



John Gunckel: The Newsboy's Friend 

Each December, members of Toledo’s Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association are seen throughout Northwest Ohio as they conduct their annual charity paper sale. Many people recognize their familiar canvas newspaper bags and homemade donation buckets, but few actually know the story behind the origins of one of Toledo’s 100% charities. [Read the complete article]

Related resource:

       John Gunckel: The Newsboy's Friend (slides)


The Life and Writings of Samuel M. JonesSamuel Jones

Samuel Milton "Golden Rule" Jones was nominated for mayor of Toledo at a tumultuous Republican convention on February 25, 1897. That day would usher in a nearly two decade period of reform government in the city and would propel Mayor Jones to national, and even international fame. [View this exhibit]






Josina Lott PortraitJosina Lott and the Lott School

Josina Jones Lott believed that every child, regardless of physical or mental limitations, had ability and could learn. She began Lott Day School in her apartment in September of 1938. Mrs. Lott had seen children turned away from the public schools because parents were told that there was no place for them in the classroom. [Read the complete article]

Related resources:

Josina Lott and the Lott School (slides)

Josina Jones Lott Collection, 1949-2000, MSS-186 (Canaday Center Finding Aid)



ohlinger photo

Gustavus Ohlinger: A Man of the World

Gustavus Ohlinger was born into extraordinary circumstance. His parents, Franklin and Bertha Ohlinger, served as missionaries in Foochow, China. It was in Foochow on July 15,1877, that Gustavus was born to his Methodist missionary parents more than seventy five hundred miles from where he came to rest. Perhaps it was just the mere fact of being born so far from the country of his parents that led Gustavus Ohlinger to travel the world, practice federal law, author books, serve in the United States Army, and lecture at the Universities ofToledo and Michigan. [Read the complete essay]

Related resources:

MSS-013: Gustavus Ohlinger Papers, 1891-1982 (University of Toledo Digital Repository)

MSS-013: Gustavus Ohlinger Papers, 1891-1982 (Canaday Center Finding Aid)



Barney Oldfield

Barney Oldfield was born in a farmhouse on the outskirts of Wauseon, Ohio. In 1889, when he was 11 years old, he moved with his family to Toledo. By 1904, Oldfield was America's most famous race car driver, owning the most track wins and virtually all the world's track speed records. Until 1913, during the peak of his career and popularity, Oldfield called Toledo home. [Read the complete article]

Related exhibits:

Barney Oldfield (slides)

Walter F. Peterson. "Barney Oldfield Turns a Plowhorse into a Race Horse." Northwest Ohio Quarterly 35, no. 3 (Summer 1963): 122-128.  Accessible at Northwest Ohio Quarterly (Summer 1963), vol. 35, no. 3

Alanson Wood: Toledo's Forgotten Inventor

Toledo has had more than its share of inventors. Some are well remembered - Michael Owens, inventor of the automated glass-blowing machine, and Allen DeVilbiss, inventor of the spray atomizer, both of have schools named after them. The fame and fortunes of many of the familiar names of Toledo - Libbey, Miniger, Stranahan, Ross, Spicer, Dana, Doehler, were built on a foundation of technological innovation. [Read the complete article]

Related resource:

Alanson Wood: Toledo's Forgotten Inventor (slides)



strjbThe Strangest Jobs of Toledoans

This series of articles from the Toledo Blade of 1927 and 1928 that profiles the 'out-of-the-ordinary work of Toledo wage earners,' including that of Frank Barey whose job it was to pick the bullets out of the beans before roasting at one of Toledo's coffee plants.[Read the complete article]


Civic Hall of Fame Commission plaque, 1988Toledo Civic Hall of Fame

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner began the Toledo Civic Hall of Fame in 1998. The Mayor appointed a nine-member commission to select four to eight people who had died at least two years prior and made major sustainable contributions to northwest Ohio outside of their profession. Out of 162 initial nominees, eight were chosen and formally recognized on January 21, 1988 at the 105th annual meeting of the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce. The mayor praised the inductees "for our survival in difficult times and for our prosperity in good times". Since then, the Civic Hall of Fame Commission has sought nominees from the public and chosen four to eight inductees every year. Each is honored with a plaque in the Local History and Genealogy Department of the Main Lucas County Public Library in downtown Toledo.


Gates to the Woodlawn CemeteryWoodlawn Cemetery

Historic Woodlawn Cemetery was recognized as a National Historic site in 1998. The overall landscape design, which follows the principles of the rural cemetery movement, is a significant feature of the district and has been counted as a site. Woodlawn Cemetery has maintained its integrity as a fine example of the "rural cemetery" plan. The rural cemetery incorporates the natural beauty of the landscape with carefully planned lots, and this is what the founders of Woodlawn Cemetery had in mind when they chose the present site. The cemetery association has been careful to maintain the natural landscape and high quality grave markers. Kirk Holdcroft, current Director of the cemetery (1993) and President of the Board of Trustees (1994), is committed to ensuring the cemetery continues in this tradition. [Read the complete article]

Related resources:

Historic Woodlawn Cemetery (Website)

Woodlawn Cemetery Association Records, MSS-112 (Canaday Center finding aid)

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