Summer Protection

Another photo from the Kahoe glass plate negative collection with the generic label of “House.”

The large screened-in porch, besides providing shade, would have been helpful against insect swarms.

Posted in Artifacts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Yellow Springs (Mostly) Women with a Passion for Writing

This entry from Women of Greene County (1994) salutes a group of enthusiasm for, and accomplishment in, the craft of writing.

Writers’ Group of Yellow Springs

There’s disagreement whether the Writers’ Group of Yellow Springs (so named on the title page of the group’s first notebook) started in 1934 or 1937, but either way, it’s just shy of sixty years old.

The group has legends rather than bylaws or officers. Its focus—meetings and weekly readings—has been strong enough to bring together all kinds of bright women, and more recently, men, for longer than most marriages. The founding myth goes like this: a Yellow Springs woman decided she wanted to write, sent for some material from a “sch9ol” that purported to teach writing, and found it wanting. “We can do better than this!” she cried, and called a few others who wanted to write. That group of women discarded the material in favor of a method of their own; they’d write the best they could in their chosen form and read aloud once a week. The others, voracious readers all, would voice opinions which would enable the writer to improve whatever she was working on. Awards, not to mention publishers, might come and go, but the work would be reaching and listening for tone, style, nuance—the perfect word, the clear sentence.

Basically, that’s what the group still does. There are refinements; we keep a log. For instance, Norma Bixler, Rae Dewey, Rachel Tanner, Barbara Reynolds, Joan Hertzberg, Rita Eng, and Connie Sontag read at Suzanne Clauser’s. When Suzanne began writing for “Bonanza,” which aired on Monday nights, the group changed to Tuesday night meetings.

Mary Hunt and Esther Oldt, who retired but still visited the group in the early ’70s, had been writers and readers with Louise Baker and Greer Williams, who wrote an article about triplets and sold it to the Saturday Evening Post. Another woman wrote a best seller that was made into a move starring Greer Garson, and married a millionaire. Suzanne Clauser and Julia Reichart, screenplay writers, regularly write for video and movies.

Fressa Baker Inman, Betty Rauh, and Betty Whitmore were writing and publishing twenty-five years ago. Ginny Hamilton, who moved back to town with her poet-husband has become a nationally recognized and honored children’s author. Vivian Bresnehen, Jessie Treichler, Sara and Harold Igo, Irene Jerison, Helen Davidson, Madge Harrah, and Dorothy Alexander have been in the group;. Those vividly remembered after death—Mary Jane Bachtell, Betty Crumrime, Jean Barlow Hudson; those who’ve come and gone in other ways—Eleanor Keats, Gail Steinberg, Ann Shafmaster, Carolyn Aescleppia, JoAnn Hague, Diane Chiddister, Debra Wilburn, Ruth Myers, Rita Colbert, Sherri Szeman, Fred Arment, and Sharon Shaver.

Others hard at the work of writing, week after week, include Susan Streeter Carpenter, Ed Davis, Billie Hotaling, Lee Huntington, Kate Johnson, Sandra Love and Barbara Singleton. Years come, years go; the task remains.

Posted in Narratives, People | Leave a comment

Where was this then?-

The photo from the Kahoe glass plate negative collection is labelled “Old Fels House.” A Springfield newspaper article on Fels Institute shared in a previous post describes the building as “a 20-room brick structure on the edge of Antioch College campus, and an eight-room frame house is used as an observational nursery school and office building. Parts of two chemistry laboratories in the college building are utilized for work in nutritional chemistry.” The photo from the article giving a more complete view of the building is shown below.

***Update – Identified as G. Stanley Hall Hall.

from newspaper article

Posted in Artifacts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

J. Peery Miller Memoirs — Part 32

In which J. Peery Miller describes sports at Antioch…

During my college days base-ball as an athletic sport was in its infancy, but the game was more generally participated in by all the boys than now. It had not yet reached that professional stage that thrills the young people of today. It is my belief that the student body as a whole got more benefit from the game because more of them participated in the sport.

A series of 9’s were organized— 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, &c.— in one of which a student could find his place according to his physical fitness and playing ability. This gave opportunity for many local match games in which the down organization could challenge the higher ups in friendly rivalry. On these occasions the special merit of individual players could be noted and his services be rewarded by promotion to a higher ranking in one of the other nines.

I remember that it was a high honor to be a member of the 2nd nine for your chances of being called upon to fill a vacancy in the 1st nine during an important game with a rival team from a neighboring college were greatly increased.

I took kindly to the sport but I cannot say that I possessed any startling ability. I played short-stop on the 2nd Nine and was occasionally honored with a call to fill that important position with the 1st aggregation. I enjoyed the sport immensely and was greatly benefited physically— the prime object to be obtained from all forms of athletics.

Foot-ball was played at that time simply as a kick game utterly void of science. The players were equally divided, each half facing the other from opposite sides of the grounds, or playing place. The foot-ball was placed half way between these lines, and, at a signal from the leader, chosen players from each side rushed forward for a kick, the goals being the starting lines of the contestants. The bulk of the players took positions along their respective lines at will in order to get a counter kick at the ball in case it came in his direction as the result of the first contest. No halt was called. Both sides kept kicking until one side or the other got the ball across the goal line. There may have been some unwritten rules governing the conduct of the players during the game, but if there were any, I have forgotten them. It was purely a game of kick, and woe be to the timid boy who engaged in this contest.

Posted in Narratives | Tagged | Leave a comment

Life in the CCC Camp — May 1938

These excerpts from the camp newsletter demonstrate the typical range of moods covered in any given issue.



For the benefit of all camp goldbrickers we turn back the Pages of Time this month. In fact, we take a long look backward to the beginning of human life itself…

We see the first efforts of paleolithic (early stone age) man to improve what he might have termed his “park,” or recreation center in front of an early CCC camp.

In the foreground, busily working away with crude stone sledge and chisel is an industrious member of the cave-camp. His descendants in the Machine-Age to come (around 1920—) will in all likelihood own their own home, or farm, have money in the bank and because of good health be able to enjoy life.

There, lying flat on his back, snoozing instead of working is the original inventor of “goldbricking”—in the background of our picture and of any picture. If his offspring survive the onslaughts of hunger or the saber-toothed tiger, they’ll always be a problem for society—a drug on any social market.

Those same persons will be out of a job, broke and homeless.

Yesterday was memorial day . . . .

The day was set aside originally as a memorial for those who died during the Civil War. It has come to stand as a day of memories for all those who gave their lives that we might have “a more perfect Union.”

May 30—for that was the date set—is a legal holiday in all the states and territories of the Union with the exception of Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Some of these southern states, however, have set aside a day for the commemoration of the Confederate Soldiers who fell during the Civil War. These days fall sometime during April and they,.too, are known as Memorial Day.

With war raging on two continents and another European conflagration awaiting only a little spark of hatred to set it off it is time to pause and think of the United States’ own . . Memorial Day!


The CCC was founded for the purpose of employing unemployed youths on projects of conservation. It was felt that this program would assure better citizens for our democracy in the years to come. They would be better citizens because our natural resources would be conserved, because their experiences in the CCC work camps would make them better workers and open their eyes to their responsibilities as United States citizens.

In a narrower sense, the good citizen is one who has learned to live with others so that everyone in the community may enjoy the rights of a citizen, decently and pleasantly. In fact, the good citizen so acts that his conduct wins the respect and friendship of his fellow citizens. At times this good citizen may have to take steps to curb the activities of bad citizens.

An incident in Dayton, recently, makes us proud of the citizens of this camp. When an enrollee of Barracks Three found a loud-mouthed lout using obscene language in the presence of ladies, he quiety stepped up to the offender and told him in no uncertain terms that his presence was undesirable and that he had better start moving. Determined miens of two more enrollees, hovering in the background, made the request even more emphatic. The wise-guy hastily moved with a meek, “Yes, sire.”

Little instances like that make us feel proud of the CCC and of Camp Bryan. We add, “Hats off to good citizens Al Kurelic, Carl Payne and Freddy Weintritt. May their example inspire the rest of the camp to deeds of good citizenship.”

And now a page of typical camp gossip…

By J. Hercules Blimp

We wonder what Fred “Ferret” Smith was digging for with his nose out on the swimming pool project the other day? The army plane that was stunting couldn’t have had anything to do with it, could it, Fred?

Barry Williams is still concerned about the mayor’s daughter in Hooven we ujnderstand. Harry should have a good chance for some of the famed CCC suction. What will it be, Harry, street-cleaner or dog-catcher?

Harry bet that Hooven was on the map the other day, after much debating and the wearing out of several maps, he admitted that he was mistaken. Now we don’t know what to think . . .

There is in camp an enrollee who isn’t satisfied to work the regular hours with the rest of the fellows. He recently asked Mr. Mounts if he could work an extra afternoon. Since then the men have been calling him “Hard Labor Brown.” We all really love him, at least the fellows in Barracks 1 do.

Why doesn’t Art Campbell ever capture any gentle females with his guitar? He tries hard and he really plays well but Arthur just doesn’t seem to click.

We have seen some queer sights in this old world of ours but few are funnier than the sight of some of our enrollees in their so-called summer breeches. We have seen more muscular calves these last few days than we have seen in many a moon. We wonder how our dear friend, Slim Whitmer, would look in breeches. How about showing us some dark night, Slim?

Carl “Romeo” Payne was the only lucky man we could find in the park the other day. He was escorting a beautiful damsel through the woods. We asked him for an introduction and he said, “Aw, shucks, fellows, she’s only my cousin.” Ho-hum, she might have been, but we doubt it.

The strange men seen around camp the last few days are doubtless G-Men on the trail of kidnappers. We understand that they are Fred “Alcatraz” Smith, Stanley “Chow Hog” House and Carl “Touch Me Not” Lenos. It seems that the three boys abducted three very small girls from the park one Sunday afternoon. The girls’ mothers being unable to find them appealed to the G-Men for help. The kidnappers were trailed to this camp. That is the reason these three men are more or less in hiding these fine days.

We suggest that the “UNHOLY THREE: Kurelic, Weintritt and Payne, be given a chance to show their ability some time at a camp night program. As someone put it, they are the “three voices heard most in camp.”


When “Ashcan” Asher will get a haircut,.
When Cain will meet those two famous cooks again and what the outcome will be.
When “Chow Hog” House will learn to eat like a gentleman and remember more hungry men are at his table.
When Al Kurelic will really chill some —as he always threatens to do.
Our Prayer for the month:
Oh Lord deliver us from anymore mashed potatoes and G. I. beef. Lead us not into temptation to bribe the night guard for an egg sandwich. Strengthen our resolution not to argue with Nitches any more than is necessary as he is always right and very indispensable.

Posted in Narratives | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What Are Their Stories?

This photo from the Kahoe glass plate negative collection is labelled “Church Group” (presumably the First Presbyterian Church?). There’s a variety of ages and attitudes on display, and one could probably write a novel based on imagining their lives.

In dividual faces, left to right, top to bottom:

Posted in Artifacts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cicadas in the Past

Newspaper reporting of previous cicada emergences.

Xenia Daily Gazette – June 4, 1885

What Professor Riley Regards as a Rare Tidbit When Stewed in Milk

WASHINGTON, June 3.—Prof. Riley, chief entomologist, had cicada, miscalled the seventeen year locust, served hot for breakfast this morning. A visit0r who joined the savant at the table found them small, dark brown objects like very small fried oysters. On biting one of them it crushed in his mouth, and proved to be little else than a delicate shell, but its flavor was far from disagreeable. The guest and the professor agreed in the opinion that, vulgar prejudice overcome the cicada would be esteemed a rare tidbit—rare, certainly, since it required 17 years to ripen—and the it might rank with frogs’ legs, birds’ nests, shad roes and white bait.

Professor Riley said: “I spent an hour last night in gathering them, and they were very beautiful when fresh. I took them just as the supa began to break. They were creamy white and plump and looked good enough to ear raw, but I didn’t venture. I think these should have been stewed instead of fried—stewed in milk.

The Dayton Herald, June 28, 1911


The monotonous drone of the Cicada or “seventeen-year locust” begins to be more and more frequent in these parts. The noise is as yet hardly greater than similar insects made last year or the year before and nothing like that of some seven or eight years ago. Then the buzz was fairly deafening. People said that season was the seventeenth year since the previous outbreak. Now they are saying the same thing this year. There is one sign of progress. The alleged scientists on the Atlantic coast have decided to confine their predictions to the states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the two Carolinas. This is an unexpected display of sanity. But Ohio will continue to have its cicadas annually, with an overplus on occasional years, without much respect for the numeral system that is the product of superstition. One eastern professor proclaimed that he could predict almost to an hour the return of the “seventeen-year locust.” He can, but he might just as well make out a yearly schedule. Because the cicadas will be back every year as long as trees grow.

The scrubby oaks which hardly rise to a height of more than twelve feet, and are specially familiar to the north central part of Ohio, are favorites with the cicada. These trees are very slow to shed their leaves. The green foliage turns crimson so that in the fall a whole thin-soiled hilltop looks as if it were in flames. Then the leaves in the wet season get soaked and brown. But often they cling to the branches until spring. The cicadas live a longer life in these oak thickets than anywhere else. But their life is frail at best, as easily done with as that of the katydids. It is the cicada that figures in the old fable of the industrious ant or bee, the idler of the tale begging food and lodging. A curious thing is that the pictures which usually accompany this fable in the old books represent a creature much more like the katydid than the cicada. The former is as green as the leaves it loves to hide among, and its tenure of life is pretty correctly stated in the country proverb, “hear a katydid and look for frost in six weeks.” The cicada has no taste for concealment. The katydid loves the night and the dew; the cicada craves the hot noonday su n, and its hum at high noon, when it is sufficient numbers is something to remember. It can fly, but it is very clumsy and heavy, and when weary drops to the ground helpless. Sometimes a stretch of forty or fifty yards proves too much. Then the sparrows are almost sure to get it. Its shell soon goes to pieces under the pecks of their sharp little mandibles. When the cicada first emerges from the yellowish-brown shell in which it reaches the surface, it is rather handsome, with brilliant colors, and a shape more like that of a bumble bee than of the grasshopper. Perhaps the colors are an attraction to the bass. Bass, when they are irritated, will strike at anything that shines. Surely the little silver-sided minnows are more substantial.

No question exists for any dread of the predicted visitation of the cicadas this year. The creatures are harmless except to the outermost twigs of trees, and it sometimes looks even in this case as if they attacked that which was already diseased. However, nobody could be sure of this except an expert. Going back and forth in the ground as they do, they must, to a great or less extent, serve the same purpose which Darwin discussed in his famous essay on the earthworm. That is they are makers and renovators of soil. Possibly if they come in numbers this year they may save money for New York City, which proposes to pay several hundred thousand dollars to make a new dressing for Central Park, originally a ridge of basalt, almost as bare as a man’s hand in 1863 and now apparently wearing out again. This is a reminder that something unpleasant is happening to the trees in Cooper Park. They drop their leaves all too early. If soil exhaustion is to blame for this, the matter should be looked to; the flower beds are fairly burdened with fertilizer l But one of those big trees which shed their leaves, often in bunches on twigs which looks diseased at the breaking point—one of those great trees for shade, comfort and beauty, is worth an acre of tulips for half a century annually replanted. Welcome the cicada; it may help to freshen the soil at the roots of the trees. The idea of destroying it by any wholesale methods ought to be discouraged. It is a benefactor, not a scourge, and the thought of mixing it up with the predatory insect raised in Egypt three, or four thousand years ago, and the worse insect of the western plains which is still too prevalent for the comfort of farmers, is absurd.

Posted in Narratives | Leave a comment

Summertime, and the Living’s NOT Easy

For some, the coming of summer meant sipping lemonade on the porch swing, but for others it meant extended hours of labor. This photo from the Kahoe glass plate negative collection was noted as “three horse team.” One can see a house in the background, but it’s probably too obscured to identify.

Posted in Artifacts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Yellow Springs Women for the Library

This entry from Women of Greene County touches on the Yellow Springs Library Association. A fuller history by Amy Harper has been previously covered in this blog (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI), as well as the partial script of a play about it.

Excerpts from the minutes of both the Social Culture Club and YSLA have also been shared on this blog: early September 1900-1905, early October 1899-1905, November 1899-1905, November 1900-1905, March 1900-1904, late March 1900-1910, May 1900-1918, 1901, February 1904-1910, February 2, 1937, December 1903-1911.

Social Culture Club – Yellow Springs Library Association

The Social Culture Club, organized in the late 1890’s, consisted of some forty women who brought literary refinements to Yellow Springs. They were homemakers, Antioch graduates, faculty wives, and the wife of the president of Antioch College. One of their projects was to create and maintain a reading room/library for the Village of Yellow Springs. Frequent fund raising activities included theatre performances, an annual carnival, and markets to cover expenses for renting a reading room and buying encyclopedias, periodicals, and books.

In January 1901 the Social Culture Club formed a corporation called the Library Association of Yellow Springs. Members now had the legal means with which to petition the Village for a library tax. With the new funding source they hired a librarian and established the first free public library in Yellow Springs. Continued fund raising was needed to cover the costs of wood for heat and repairs to the room. The women continued the activities of the Social Culture Club and maintained and administered the library until the Club merged with the Library Association in 1907.

The first trustees of the Library Association were Ella Adams, Effie Stephenson, Addie Drake, Mrs. Tufts, Mary Lehow, and Mrs. Bell. The new library on Short Street was built with funds supplied by the Library Association, by a Village bond issue, and the Public Works Administration. Architect Max Mercer and Antioch College also contributed to the success of the project. In 1965 a larger and grander building was built on Xenia Avenue with generous assistance from the Vernet Foundation.

The Library Association’s purpose continues to be the augmentation of facilities and services of the tax-supported library. A variety of monthly programs, open to the public, have included travel slide shows, talks by local authors, and discussions of various literary works. Refreshments are served. Present membership consists of 275 women and some men. The members are an active part of the community, continuing the work of the founding women. Though the work of the founders was poorly recorded the results of their efforts, the library, is thriving. Before the turn of the century the Library Association will celebrate 100 years of vigorous support for the public library in Yellow Springs.

Presidents of the Library Association include:

Ella Adams 1901 Frances Hunt 1953
Addie Drake 1905 Mrs. Delano Foote 1959
Lida Ellis 1908 Mary Fralich 1966
Mrs. Stephenson 1914 Yolie Mayne 1970
Mrs. Carr 1920 Gerry Garner 1976
Mrs. Leon Reed 1925 Valerie Dinkaloo 1970
Lucy Morgan 1931 Barbara Laming 1984
Antoinette Federighi 1937 Vicki Morgan 1987
Margaret Wingfield 1939 Maria Varandandi 1989
Frances Baldwin 1940 Kathy Buck 1990
Mrs. Cornelius Grinnell 1945 Len Cargan 1993

YSLA members receive a newsletter 4 times a year

Posted in Narratives, People | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Then (and Then) and Now

This photo from the Kahoe glass plate negative collection shows 239 Xenia Ave, and the following photos show several of its subsequent incarnations. It has recently changed ownership, so another incarnation may be in the offing.

circa 1900
circa 1960
Present day – Glen Garden Gifts
Posted in Artifacts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment