Friday, September 26, 2014

Sources for Researchers: Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly and Subsequent Titles

Since its launch in 1887, the regularly-published reports of the Ohio History Connection has gone through four titles.  In fact, the agency itself is on its third title, recently having changed its doing-business-as name from the Ohio Historical Society.  Reports began as the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly (1887-1934), changed to the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly (1935-1954), to the Ohio Historical Quarterly (1955-1961), to the simply-named publication Ohio History (1962 to present). 

Despite changes to both the publication and to the institution itself, the reports of Ohio History Connection are consistently of high-quality and are extremely useful to researchers of anthropology.  Later journal articles focus more on the history of Ohio, but articles in the earlier volumes are centered on archaeological discoveries in our state.  Volume 1, published in 1887, contains multiple articles on earthworks and native peoples, as well as archaeological studies throughout the state and the artifacts found in each.   Other articles in later issues include one entitled “Cave Dwellers” from 1915, and one from 1994 entitled “James McBride: Historian and Archaeologist of the Miami Valley,” by Terry A. Barnhart. 

The published pieces in each volume are of interest as both primary and secondary sources.  It is clear that the articles written by researchers are secondary, but it is the meeting minutes and similar items representing the work of the Society’s board that are of interest as primary sources.  They address donations to the Society, projects funded by the Society, concerns of the Board, and so on.  These meeting minutes and similar items show what was of interest to researchers and tell us a bit about the culture of the time.  For example, it is at the end of the 19th century that antiquarianism splintered into different branches, with archaeology being just one of the splinters.  Could it be that the formation of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society was part of this movement?  The answer could very well be found in the pages of the inaugural volume in 1887 and throughout subsequent volumes.

Numerous OhioLINK members hold at least a portion of this series; the Ohio History Connection, of course, holds all of the issues for this title, as does the State Library of Ohio, which allows browsing of post 1900 titles but keeps pre-1900 titles in an environmentally-controlled room, making them available upon request.  Select titles are also available online at, although at the time of this writing (September 26, 2014) the site is unavailable.  According to the site, however, the database features search and browse capability for issues dating from 1887 to 2004, the period during which the title was published by the Ohio History Connection (in 2005, Kent State University Press took over publication). 

Certainly, any researchers who focuses on Ohio history, anthropology, or archaeology should make use of this rich resource.

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