Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Miss Grace Dean

Grace Dean is pictured above in a picture taken for her 1893 graduation from Sandusky High School. Her long tresses are tied in back a ribbon, and she is holding a fan while wearing fingerless gloves. The photograph was taken by W. A. Bishop, a longtime Sandusky photographer.

Born in 1876, Grace was the daughter of John and Susan Dean. Miss Dean taught elementary school for the Sandusky City Schools for many years, retiring in 1938. Throughout her life, Grace was a very active member of Calvary Episcopal Church, participating in the Women’s Guild, Women’s Auxiliary, and the choir An article in the August 5, 1933 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that Grace Dean and Edith Slackford had recently left for Chicago to attend the Century of Progress International Exposition, more commonly known as the Chicago World’s Fair. During the summer of 1936, Grace Dean toured the country of England. Her friend Olive Voight gave her a going away party before she left for Europe. After retiring from teaching, Grace was a key member of the Erie County Chapter of the Ohio Retired Teachers Association.

In her later years, Grace Dean resided at the Twin Maples Nursing Home in Norwalk. She passed away on August 19, 1963. An obituary for Miss Grace Dean appeared in the August 20, 1963 issue of the Sandusky Register. The funeral services for Miss Dean were officiated by the Rev. Paul Savanack, who was a cousin to Grace Dean. Burial was in Oakland Cemetery. Though she never married or had children, Grace Dean lived an interesting life, full of friendships, travel, and service to her community.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

An Early Kindergarten in Sandusky

The young students of a Kindergarten class which was held at Grace Episcopal Church are posed for a picture in front of the church. While we do not know the exact date of the photograph, it is likely that it was taken sometime between 1900 and 1920. The Sandusky Star Journal reported that a private Kindergarten conducted by the Misses Grace Devine and Viola Link was to open at the parish house of Grace Church on September 10, 1916. In 1925, Miss Geraldine Wagar taught Kindergarten at the Grace Parish House, for children aged three to five years. Songs, games and other educational activities were featured for the youngsters between the morning hours of 9 and 11 a.m. during weekdays.

The word Kindergarten means “Children’s Garden” in German, and refers to the education of a child before the beginning of education in a more formal setting. To read more about Kindergartens in Sandusky, see Article 43 in Volume II of From the Widow's Walk, by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Carrie Chase Davis, M.D.

Carrie Chase Davis was born in Castalia, Ohio on August 13, 1863, to Thomas and Sarah (Chase) Davis. Mr. Thomas Davis was involved in the Underground Railroad, his home being a “station” for those seeking freedom from slavery. The Davis family moved first to Bloomington, Illinois, and then moved to Putnam County, Missouri. Carrie Chase Davis and her sister May Davis both became teachers, and moved to Kansas where they each homesteaded on a piece of government land. After graduating from medical school at Howard University in 1897, Carrie Chase Davis started her medical practice in Sandusky, Ohio.

Besides being one of the first female phyicians in Sandusky, Dr. Davis was known for her active involvement in women’s rights. Dr. Davis served as the recording secretary of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association for a number of years. Dr. Davis was formerly the president of the Civic Club of Sandusky and served on the board of managers of the Women’s Rest Room Association. In 1910, Dr. Carrie Chase Davis moved to the Washington D.C. area, and by 1930, she had relocated to Humphreys County, Tennessee.

Harry Stack wrote about Dr. Carrie Chase Davis in his “Speaking Of” column in the December 14, 1946  issue of the Sandusky Register Star News that Dr. Davis practiced medicine for many years in rural Tennessee and her calls took her “on foot, horseback or muleback, over hills and through hollows, in freezeing weather and in the death of night” to give medical attention to isolated families. Sometimes she was paid for her services, and sometimes she was not paid.

Dr. Carrie Chase Davis died in March of 1953 in Tennessee. She willed her body to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine for use in medical education. Her final wishes were in line with her lifelong devotion of service to humanity.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Emma Meyer’s Autograph Book

Autograph books have long been a favorite of graduating students, providing them with a memento that contained verses and signatures written by their friends and classmates. Emma Meyer received this autograph book from her brother Frank about 1883. Emma was living at 323 Tiffin Avenue in Sandusky, Ohio at the time. The booklet was entitled the “Golden Floral Album.” Colorful pictures have been glued to some of the pages of the autograph book.

Below is the verse signed by Eva Bitter:

It reads:
“To Emma”
May you path be strewn with roses.
Fair and flowery to the end;
And when your body in death reposes.
May your Maker be your friend.

                                    Is the wish of your
                                    Friend Eva Bitter

Aug. 24, 1883
The signatures that Emma collected were from people in several  locations, including Catawba Island, Norwalk, Columbus, and Louisville, Kentucky, suggesting that Emma carried the autograph book with her while she traveled. John Miller, from Bellevue, who would later become Emma’s husband, signed her autograph book.

Autograph books can help you learn more about your ancestor and the times in which they lived. Long before cell phones and Facebook, the humorous verses and Victorian illustrations contained in Emma’s autograph book provide us with a brief glimpse of the customs of young adults in days gone by.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Party in 1911

The postcard above was a party invitation sent to the students of William S. Heslet. The St. Patrick’s Day party was held at the Economy Hall in Clyde, Ohio on March 17, 1911, and was given for students and their guests. Ackley’s Band provided the music, which included Irish and American selections.
“Professor” William S. Heslet conducted a private dancing academy in Sandusky from about 1897 through1921. During the 1898-1899 season, Professor Heslet gave classes on the third floor of the Lea Block, but by 1908, he had moved the dancing academy to the Cable Block, at the northeast corner of Market and Jackson Streets. Some of the dances taught at the Heslet Academy were the waltz, two-step, square dance, and the cake walk. An article in the September 23, 1921 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that Mr. Heslet was moving to Detroit, Michigan, where he was to become the dance manager at the Bob-Lo resort. The article went on  to state that news of Mr. Heslet’s leaving brought regrets to hundreds of Sandusky residents who had been students of the veteran dance master.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Interior Views of Groceries in Sandusky

As discussed in a previous blog entry, the neighborhood grocery store was the primary source of  provisions for Sandusky residents in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Below are some interior views of neighborhood grocery stores. 

Adam Helget had a grocery store at 2101 West Monroe Street from about 1915 through 1939. Mr. Helget’s grocery featured baskets of fresh produce and canned goods. Breakfast cereals carried at the Helget grocery included Quaker Corn Puffs and Washington Crisps Corn Flakes. An ice box, which kept perishables fresh, can be seen at the back of the store.

The Schweinfurth Brothers grocery was located at the corner of Hayes and Columbus Avenues for many years. A listing in the 1919-1920 Sandusky City Directory stated that John and Simon Schweinfurth were “dealers in staples and fancy groceries.” (Other members of the Schweinfurth family had grocery stores in other locations.) A wide variety of home and commercially canned goods can be seen on the shelves of the Schweinfurth Brothers store. Nabisco products were stocked on the upper back shelves.

In this interior view of an unknown grocery store, seven flavors of Jello were sold at ten cents per box, and the container which was holding Dernell’s GoldenCrisp Potato Chips stated that they were “always reliable.”

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view vintage photographs from Sandusky and Erie County. Historical Sandusky City Directories provide details about local businesses and residents from 1855 through the present time.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Edwin Booth, as Hamlet, in Sandusky

A reporter wrote in the April 1, 1928 issue of the Sandusky Register that Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth, was “the greatest tragedian of his generation.” A crowded house attended the one night performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet on the evening of March 11, 1882.
Prices to see Hamlet ranged from $1.00 to $1.50. The play took place at Biemiller’s Opera House which was located at the southwest corner of Water and Jackson Streets. Later the Biemiller’s Opera House was known as the Nielsen Opera House and the Sandusky Opera House. The building was razed in 1955.

An article from the New York Times of April 25, 1880 praised Edwin Booth for his portrayal of Hamlet.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Irma Harms, Cartoonist

An article in the March 10, 1928 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal featured an article about Irma Harms which read in part, “Sandusky Girl is Clever Artist.”

The article chronicled the career of Irma Harms, who was the daughter of Louis Harms and Hulda Steuk. While at the Cleveland School of Art, now known as the Cleveland Institute of Art, Irma took the pictorial course, which included sketching the human figure, still life, and drawing from nature. She worked with pencil, charcoal, pastels, water color and oils. Later she studied under the cartoonist C.N. Landon. During World War One, Irma did pan and ink illustrations for the Cleveland Press. Later she did illustrations for the Household magazine, Mother’s Magazine, and other publications. In 1928, Miss Harms was responsible for the cartoon “Gabby Gertie” for the International Syndicate of Baltimore. Irma wrote and illustrated a special “Gabby Gertie” feature for the March 10 Sandusky Star Journal. In this particular story, Gabby and her father attend family night at the new swimming pool at Jackson Junior High School. Gertie finds that her suit is too small, but she makes it fit by lathering her suit with liquid soap.

Irma Harms moved to Cleveland, where she died on October 13, 1952. At that time she was a resident at the A.M. McGregor Home.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Program Announcement: Brown Bag Lunch Series: Places That Aren't Here Anymore, Part II

Bring your lunch and join us in the Library Program Room as we explore a topic in local history. On Wednesday, MARCH 16, at 12:00 noon the topic will be Places That Aren't Here Anymore, Part II. Back by popular demand! We’ll dig deeper into our archives to bring you photographs of places in Sandusky that aren’t here anymore. We will take a look back at familiar sites that have changed locations, experienced a renovation or change in appearance, or simply are no longer in existence. Registration is requested. To register, call the Library at 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (10-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

Pioneer Song, with Lyrics by General L.V. Bierce

At the quarterly meeting of the Firelands Historical Society, held in Monroeville on March 10, 1869, General L. V. Bierce of Akron gave an address about the early history of the Firelands and the Western Reserve. At the conclusion of the address, the group sang a Pioneer Song to the tune of  “Auld Lang Syne.” The lyrics had been written by General Bierce. The song had originally been written for a meeting of pioneers of Cincinnati, but the General adapted them to suit the locality of the Firelands. Reports from the quarterly meeting indicate that the Pioneer Song “seemed to stir the memories of by-gone years in the hearts of the pioneers who were present.”

The song praised the woodland forests of the Firelands, as well as the shores of Lake Erie. Ohio was considered “the west” the early 1800’s.

The final two verses of the Pioneer Song are:

The men so bold are growing old;
  The maidens’ locks are white.
Yet, through the tears of by-gone years,
  In song let us unite.


And every grave where sleep the brave,
  Shall be a blessed spot;
And o’er the tomb love’s roses bloom,
 And sweet Forget-me not.


Monday, March 07, 2011

Justina Winkler, World War I Nurse

Miss Justina M. Winkler was born in Sandusky on March 4, 1872 to Leonard and Theresa Winkler. She earned her diploma as a graduate nurse from St. Vincent’s Hospital in Toledo in 1908. During World War I, Justina worked as a nurse at the hospital located on base at Fort Riley, Kansas.
After the war, Justina worked as a nurse at Providence Hospital and for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. She was a member of the Commodore Denig Post of the American Legion, the Erie County Chapter of the American Red Cross, and she was a charter member and past president of the Santa Clara Auxiliary, United States Spanish War Veterans. Miss Winkler also served as secretary of the Erie County Soldiers’ Relief Commission. On August 24, 1939, Justina Winkler passed away after a lengthy illness. She was buried at Oakland Cemetery with a full military service. Funeral services were held at the home of her sister, Mrs. Norman Jesson, as well as at St. Mary’s Church. The 1939 Obituary Notebook at the Sandusky Library features several obituaries for Justina Winkler. One read, in part:  “Miss Winkler was known for her faithful and energetic work as officer and member of several patriotic, church and civic organizations. Nearly every patriotic holiday in the last twenty hears found Miss Winkler aiding in some capacity in the observance.”

Below is a certificate issued to Justina Winkler in recognition of her service to the American Red Cross.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Kate Castleton in “Crazy Patch”

Kate Castleton was considered the “idol of the fun loving public.” She starred in the play “Crazy Patch” which played in Sandusky on December 13, 1887 at Biemiller’s Opera House. 

The December 12, 1887 issue of the Sandusky Register featured an article from the Cleveland Leader about the play:

“Crazy Patch,” as seen here three years ago, did not give the promise of becoming the remarkable success it has certainly achieved.  This is its third year, and it is today one of the best paying attractions on the road. “Crazy Patch: is the combined work of the star and the various comedians she had around her from time to time, not of is success being due to the author. It is a dramatic conundrum – comedy, parody, burlesque, pantomime and opera being all jumbled together to from a crazy patch of fun. According to reports it keeps the audience in a perpetual roar. Miss Castleton’s song, “Excuse me, I’ll tell you no more” is said to be the happiest of her recent creations. Mr. .Eddy Foy is spoken of as irresistibly funny in his personation of the lunatic.”

Images of the actress Kate Castleton are found in several online collections, including the New York Public Library Digital Gallery and the Kentuckiana Digital Gallery.