A Philadelphia Shopping Trip Helped A Governor Check Out Ramona

“This day the first stone for the foundation of the new State House was dropped in the Public Square; from the Waggens.”

So noted Zechariah Mills, State Librarian of Ohio, in his weather log for May 16, 1838, a day that was “fair and warm – appearance of rain.”

From January 1838 to June 1844, Mills diligently logged the morning, noon and nighttime temperature and weather conditions in Columbus each day, adding notes about events that interested him.  

This is just one of the rare items the State Library of Ohio has chosen to share in an online interactive exhibit and a display as it celebrates its bicentennial this year.

During the early years of Ohio’s statehood, state legislators soon discovered that they had no way to preserve sets of state laws, journals, documents and maps, let alone those from other states.  On December 2, 1816, the legislature appropriated $3,500 as a contingency fund for Ohio Governor Thomas Worthington to purchase books that would form the beginning of a state library.

While on a trip to Pennsylvania to investigate management practices for penitentiaries and other state institutions, Worthington stopped by Philadelphia bookseller Mathew Carey and Son and bought 509 books. When he returned, he placed them in a room over the state auditor’s office on High Street, in front of the west grounds of the current Statehouse.

Presenting the books to the legislature on December 1, 1817, Worthington described them as a “small but valuable collection of books which are intended as the commencement of a library for the state. In the performance of this act I was guided by what I conceived the best interest of the state, by placing with in the reach of the representatives of the people, such information as will aid them in the discharge of the important duties they are delegated to perform,” The Journal of the Senate of the State of Ohio, 15th General Assembly of the State of Ohio reported.  On December 25, Thomas Harper, the first State Librarian of Ohio, entered the books in an accession register that is also on display in the exhibition.

So began the State Library of Ohio’s commitment to serving the information needs of Ohio’s state legislators, elected officials and government employees.

At first, the time limit for materials to be checked out depended on the size of the book. To request a book, patrons filled out a form known as a call tag. For example, William McKinley, Jr., a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1877-91; governor of Ohio, 1892-1896; and president of the United States, 1897-1901, filled out a call tag for the State Library’s copy of Barrett’s Life of Lincoln.

State Library staff kept track of book lending in a circulation register. An entry in a circa 1885-6 register indicates that Ohio Governor Joseph B. Foraker checked out a copy of the popular 1884 book, Ramona, by Helen Hunt Jackson.

New legislation in the spring of 1896 significantly changed the library’s mission. The Garfield Library Law, named for Ohio Senator James R. Garfield, son of the late president, who proposed the legislation, opened the library to all Ohioans. As a result, the State Library started purchasing general fiction books, which became very popular. It also created the Traveling Library System.

Modeled after the New York State Library’s program, the Traveling Library System was designed to provide good literature to reading clubs, boards of education, schools, religious organizations, farmers’ associations known as granges, and citizens of small towns that did not have a library. It was also intended to strengthen small libraries and create interest in establishing new libraries in a community. Residents of the Ohio School for the Deaf built the boxes, each of which contained 25 to 30 books. For the next 77 years, Traveling Library books were delivered across the state, eventually becoming the largest traveling library program in the country.

In 1906, the State Library started working with public libraries throughout the state, supporting them on everything from securing adequate government funding to strategic planning. Today, it helps public libraries enhance their services through programs like Choose to Read Ohio, which encourages sharing books by Ohio authors, and Connecting to Collections, which initiates grants for collaborative planning partnerships. It also helps public libraries digitize materials in their collections, coordinates a summer reading program, gives digital literacy training in rural libraries, and provides statistical data on Ohio public libraries.  Additionally, the State Library provides Ohioans with access to eBooks and other digital resources. Its Talking Book Program provides free recorded books, magazines and playback equipment to blind, visually impaired, and both physically disabled and reading-disabled Ohioans.

To assist in preparing and formulating bills, a Legislative Reference and Information Department was established in 1909 to collect, classify and index books, manuscripts and other materials on current and pending legislation. As the only regional federal depository of government documents in Ohio, the State Library is also a depository for state government information.

Special Collections materials at the State Library include rare books and other unique materials, such as medieval manuscripts and modern oral history narratives. Also on display is a letter from George Washington thanking a friend for a barrel of barley seeds.

For more on the State Library of Ohio’s bicentennial, read The State Library at 200: A Celebration of Library Services to Ohio, by Cynthia G. McLaughlin, the former Deputy Director for Library Services at the State Library. The State Library will hold an open house celebration at its headquarters on August 4, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. The exhibition at the State Library’s headquarters continues through February 5, 2018. Another exhibit celebrating the State Library’s Bicentennial will be at the Ohio Statehouse in the Map Room during the month of August.

Posted in Books, History, Libraries, Ohio | Leave a comment

Sweet Leilani Would Love The Paradise I Found On North Grant Avenue

Have you been to Walt Disney World’s “Enchanted Tiki Room,” where scores of exotic birds talk, warble and whistle; carved pagan gods beat drums and chant; totems sing; and orchids croon? How about the Polynesian Village Resort and its “Spirit of Aloha” luau, where hula dancers, drummers and fire-knife throwers perform?

If so, you’ve experienced Tiki style, a popular phenomenon celebrating Polynesian culture, personified by a “tiki,” or a carved image of a man. This kitschy style developed in the 1930s, reached its height in the 1960s, and continues to tide people over until they can experience wearing an aloha shirt that matches the tablecloths at a real-live luau, like my dad did when he and my mother honeymooned in Hawaii.

Here in Columbus, Tiki style was synonymous with the Kahiki Supper Club, which once stood at 3583 East Broad Street near Whitehall.

Modeled after a New Guinea meetinghouse, the fabulous Kahiki (meaning “sail to Tahiti”) was a five-story A-frame structure with a roof patterned after a war canoe. The ridge on the top of the roof was topped by a plywood pelican skeleton symbolizing good fishing and plenty of food, followed by fish the entire length of the roof. To see what the Kahiki’s exterior and its iconic sign on bamboo poles looked like, click here and here.

Kahiki floor plan as seen on the reverse of the Kahiki cocktail menu, Archives/Library, Ohio History Connection (PA Box 748 4)

The restaurant opened in 1961. First, diners passed two towering 16-foot-tall concrete moai guarding a moat-spanning bamboo bridge, fire spewing from their tops. Opening a pair of giant bronze doors, you entered a passageway with waterfalls on either side and passed passed a wishing-well fountain known as “George the Monkey,” with iridescent water that glowed as it spilled over coral cliffs. You entered the faux-palm tree-lined main dining room, walking on an exposed aggregate floor strewn with shells and sand, passing aquariums filled with tropical fish. Some dining huts had rattan peacock chairs. Other booths overlooked a rainforest of exotic plants where a thunderstorm would strike or a shower would fall as live tropical birds flew. Watching you from the end of the room was a fierce-looking 28-foot-tall moai with glowing green eyes and a flaming fireplace mouth.

Postcard of Kalua, the Kahiki Mystery Girl, Archives/Library, Ohio History Connection (SC 5846)

Next came the Outrigger Bar, where bartenders served exotic drinks under a full-size outrigger canoe as live musical performers played steel guitars and ukuleles. When the bartender struck a large brass gong, the beautiful Mystery Girl named Kalua would appear, carrying a brandy-and-rum concoction in a large ceramic bowl that had a smoking volcano in the center. She would go up to the huge tiki, bow, and deliver the drink to the four diners who ordered it. Other classic Kahiki drinks included The Backscratcher, The Headhunter, The Mai-Tai, The Scorpion, Blue Hurricane and Fog Cutter.

The Kahiki’s chefs practiced Polynesian-style cooking, known for its French broiling and English roasting techniques, Portuguese use of spices, and Oriental dip-boiling. Diners chose from traditional stir-frys and Asian dishes to island-inspired entrees like Malagasy garlic chicken, from the island of Madagascar; Samoan flaming chicken; mahi mahi; Hawaiian barbecue ribs; and broiled ham steak served with sauteed pineapple and banana. For dessert, they finished their meal with Sinful Wahine, an orange creamsicle cake; banana fritters; and even a crowd-pleaser called Big Fat Mamasan.

Kahiki dinner menu showing the fireplace moai, Archives/Library, Ohio History Connection (PA Box 748 3)

Trips to the restrooms were a must, so you could turn the cowrie-shell faucet knobs and watch the water flow from the mouth of a tiki into the conch-shell sinks.

Even the Kahiki’s billboards were cool. They featured the face of a Polynesian woman who would “wink” at passers-by. My great-aunt Mary took me on several trips around town to see “the lady who blinks.”

The restaurant even inspired Columbus Coated Fabrics, manufacturer of Wall-Tex, to create a “Kahiki” wallcovering pattern.  

Boy, that place was neat.

Although the Kahiki was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, it closed in 2000. The iconic building was razed to make way for a Walgreen’s.

To keep Tiki style from fizzling out in Columbus, the Kahiki lives on. In 2010, the Hills Market held a Kahiki tribute day with food samples, cooking demonstrations and a special three-course dinner. A “Kahiki” line of Asian-inspired frozen foods is produced locally and available in several grocery stores. And in 2011, local restaurateur Elizabeth Lessner and her Columbus Food League converted a small brick building on North Grant Avenue near East Long Street and opened a kitschy little place that’s becoming one of my lunchtime hangouts of choice.

Wahines, slip on your muu muus and leis; kanes, pull out your aloha shirts and Tiki talismans. At long last, let’s finally set sail for the Grass Skirt Tiki Room.

The Grass Skirt Tiki Room

With “Sweet Leilani,” the Academy Award-winning song Bing Crosby sung in the 1937 film, Waikiki Wedding, playing in my head, I arrived for my first visit. With just one glimpse of the sign, I liked what I saw.

Inside, I saw walls decorated both with glowing lava and with stenciled torches and tikis with sparkling eyes.  Vintage Hawaiian album covers are pasted on restroom walls and behind the bar.  Fake skulls hang from a ship’s wheel that has been converted into a chandelier. Tiki statues and Kahiki souvenirs are everywhere.  Wow, is it swanky!

I took a seat on the patio, amid lush tropical plants, next to “George the Monkey.” The Kahiki’s fountain was rescued from extinction by the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Moai, which loaned it to the Grass Skirt Tiki Room. In tiki-style custom, you can even order a drink in a souvenir “George the Kahiki Fountain” mug. Besides Spanish, English and French-style rum, the bar serves its version of the Kahiki’s Port Light cocktail, a blend of Maker’s Mark, lemon juice, passionfruit syrup and house grenadine. There are plenty of other tropical concoctions with nifty names, too. 

You are my paradise completed, you are my dream come true,” I hummed, as I wondered how Sweet Leilani would have handled the dilemma that was before me on the menu. Should I start with house-made crab rangoon, or save room for fried pineapple with honey syrup? How about a handheld sandwich, like the Grass Skirt Grilled Cheese (Spam, swiss and grilled pineapple, on King’s Hawaiian bread, served with red pepper coconut bisque); a pulled pork, melted swiss and pineapple hoagie; or my standard hamburger, fancied up with a Hawaiian twist? Or should I choose one of the six entrees, such as crab cakes with yellow rice and steamed broccoli, or coconut shrimp and grits.  The sesame barbecue chicken salad sounded pretty tasty too.

On that visit, I decided on the crispy fish with sweet potato wedges and hush puppies.  Today I chose the pulled pork tacos, topped with roasted red pepper slaw and fresh cilantro and served with spicy black beans and saffron rice. Both times, I was a clean-plater.

I’m sure I’ll be back before then, but when October 1 rolls around, guess where I’ll be going for my birthday lunch with my coworkers?  

For more on Tiki culture and the Kahiki, check out The Book of Tiki: The Cult of Polynesian Pop in Fifties America and Tiki Style: A Pocket Bible Version of The Book of Tiki, both by Sven A. Kirsten. Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise in Columbus, by David Meyers, Elise Meyers Walker, Jeff Chenault and Doug Motz, includes some authentic Kahiki recipes, like the “Tahitian Mermaid,” beef tenderloin stuffed with crabmeat and cream cheese. The Ohio History Connection’s archival collection also includes a postcard of Kamaainas (old-timers) and Malihinis (new-friends) dining “Island-style” at the Kahiki. Other Kahiki artifacts like a matchbox, cup, wall hanging of a tiki mask and tiki charm bracelet are in the History object collection.

To explore how Tiki culture is represented in literature, film and music, see Marlon Brando portray real-life 18th-century mutineer Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty, the 1962 film based on the novel of the same name by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall. Thor Heyerdahl’s best-selling Kon-Tiki, the true story of six men’s adventures on a raft across the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia, inspired a 1951 Academy Award-winning documentary and was followed by Aku-Aku, Heyerdahl’s 1955 book about his expedition to Easter Island. James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific won him the 1948 Pulitzer Prize and inspired the Broadway musical South Pacific. Other Michener works with Polynesian settings are Return to Paradise, Rascals in Paradise and Hawaii. Pippi in the South Seas, the children’s classic by Astrid Lindgren, inspired a film by the same name. Earlier classics include Herman Melville’s Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life; Mark Twain’s “Letters From Hawaii” and Mark Twain in Hawaii: Roughing It in the Sandwich Islands; Robert Louis Stevenson’s In the South Seas, Jack London’s South Sea Tales; and W. Somerset Maugham’s fictional biography of Paul Gaugin, The Moon and Sixpence. Catch reruns of classic tiki-culture television shows like Gilligan’s Island, Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum P.I.  Hear “Sweet Leilani” on Ray Conniff’s Hawaiian Album from 1967; Ports of Pleasure, recorded by Les Baxter and his chorus and orchestra in 1957, is another classic.  Both are played to death here at home.

Posted in Columbus, Food, History, Travel | Leave a comment

How Well Do You Know The Blonde Bomber From Scioto?

Did you know that I’m a golfer? I didn’t think so.

This well-kept secret got its start in the summer of 1984, when this rising high-school sophomore took golf during two sessions of summer school at Columbus School for Girls. I learned the basics from Sharon Salzer, the now-retired CSG legend who taught physical education there for 39 years, was its athletics director for 29 years, and coached several sports.

Day after day, we played 18 holes of golf at the Columbus Country Club. I surprised myself by getting better and better, and Miss Salzer announced that I had found my sport. I developed a taste for lunch at the Ohio State University Golf Club and bought my golf glove, putter and clubs from its pro shop. I brought home golf balls as vacation souvenirs from the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club in Williamsburg, Virginia and the Sea Island Golf Club at Sea Island, Georgia. And then I scored my first hole in one. At a Laura Ashley boutique in Scotland, I met Jack Nicklaus and his wife, Barbara, who were in town for the British Open.

Locals know the “Golden Bear” as a fellow Columbus native, Upper Arlington High School and Ohio State University graduate, and the founder of the challenging course at Muirfield Village Golf Club and its Memorial Tournament. But did you know that Buckeye football coach Woody Hayes was one of his biggest supporters?

As the third round of this year’s Memorial Tournament was under way, I was keeping score of fun facts like these that I was collecting at the Jack Nicklaus Museum.

Sighting the course ahead, I admired a bronze statue of Nicklaus that greets museum visitors. He received it in 1988 when he was named Golfer of the Century. Originally, it depicted him swinging an iron, but he had it switched to a more-appropriate driver.

I teed up my visit in a gallery devoted to the history of golf. The sport as we know it today was first played in the 1400s on the treeless linksland of St. Andrews, Scotland, with its naturally formed grassy dunes, mudflats and deep bunkers made by grazing animals seeking shelter. In 1744, The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers established the sport’s first rules. Read these thirteen “Articles and Laws in Playing at Golf” and you’ll recognize those things we golfers now take for granted, like keeping the tee on the ground, not changing the ball which you strike off the tee, and “He whose Ball lyes farthest from the Hole is obliged to play first.”

Imagine hitting “featheries” (feather-filled leather balls) with early “play-clubs” (drivers) and “spoons” (fairway woods) made from thorn or fruit wood, with a ram’s horn attached at the side of the head to protect it as it struck the ground and lead added to the back of the club for balance. Over time, featheries and spoons were replaced by rubber-like “Gutta-Percha” balls and iron “cleeks.”  By 1905, dimples were added to balls to make them fly farther and more accurately, while steel club shafts encouraged a more precise, upright swing. Each club had a unique name instead of a number; there were no matched sets of club until the 1930s.

Here, I also admired photographs of golf greats like Harry Vardon, the father of the modern swing who popularized the now-standard overlapping grip; Gene Sarazen, credited with inventing the sand wedge in 1932; Babe Zaharias, whose booming drives matched her outgoing personality; and Sam Snead, whose perfect tempo and rhythm combined to create one of the sweetest golf swings in history.

Taking the first dog leg in the course, I began my decade-by-decade trip through Nicklaus’s life. His January 21, 1940 birth certificate from White Cross Hospital in Columbus is displayed beside his baby bracelet. Family photos and home movie footage of his father, Charlie; mother, Helen; and younger sister, Marilyn document his boyhood.

Jack Nicklaus’s Scioto Country Club juvenile champion trophy, 1950

When Nicklaus was 10, he started caddying for his father, whose doctor prescribed long walks to help an unhealed ankle injury. He also enrolled in a junior golf class at the Scioto Country Club, located blocks from his home, and took home his first trophy as the club’s juvenile champion that year. So began Nicklaus’s close relationship with Jack Grout, who taught the young prodigy not only the fundamentals of the game, but also to believe in himself. Throughout his career, Nicklaus would take a refresher course from Grout at the start of each season and would return for periodic checkups as the season progressed.

As he worked and worked to keep improving, the young Nicklaus couldn’t drag himself away from the golf course. An average summer day began with hitting practice balls at 7:30, playing 18 holes at 8:00, then practicing putting, all before lunch. A lesson with Grout followed, after which he would play 18 more holes, then hit more balls. After a dinner break, he would return to the course to hit more balls until leaving for the day at 8:30. Having mastered the course’s long, narrow fairways and small, raised greens, the “Blonde Bomber from Scioto” became known for his accurate shots that went longer distances than those of most adults. Golf legends like Bobby Jones praised the young man for his talent and composure, as well as his powerful and beautiful swing. He also became known for the interlocking grip his father taught him to use. With his smallish hands and short fingers, this grip gave him more control; it differs from the more common “Vardon” grip in how the little finger of the right hand hooks around the forefinger of the left hand, rather than overlapping the finger.

When Nicklaus enrolled at Ohio State, he planned to major in pre-pharmacy, so he could join his pharmacist father in his drugstore business. As he racked up victories in amateur golf championships, he decided to sell insurance so he could pursue a professional career in golf.

Jack Nicklaus’s circa-1950s 3-wood

At the peak of his strength in the 1960s, he bent — even broke — the shaft of his driver during downswings. Some of the courses he played started adding bunkers to cope with his tremendous power. For all 20 of his major championship victories, he carried a Tommy Armour 3-wood manufactured by MacGregor. Although he got a new set of irons annually, he used that 3-wood from 1958 to 1983, repairing it when it cracked because it was so reliable.

He was also known for his ability to “think” a course as well as play it, approaching each shot as a mental exercise where he made notes of yardages and planned his attack for victory. By the 1970s, he dominated the sport.

As Nicklaus wrote in Golf My Way, his method book first published in 1974: “‘Going to the movies’ before selecting a club from the bag would make golf a less frustrating game for many weekend players. In my case, visualizing the ball’s ultimate resting place forms the opening scene. This is followed by a travelogue in which I imagine how it will get there. The finale in my mind’s eye features the setup and swing I’ll need to effect a happy ending.”

I putted along the museum’s displays, taking in scores of trophies and mementos from Nicklaus’s career, which includes 20 major championships (6 Masters, 5 PGA championships, 4 US Opens, 71 PGA tour wins and 100 professional victories worldwide). Examples are the golf balls he used in 1997 during the last putt of his 150th consecutive major championship and the 10,000th hole he played in major championships; the golf glove he used at the 2005 Masters Tournament; pairs of Rockport and Bostonian golf shoes he wore in the 1990s; and cufflinks and stick pins he received from Presidents Ford and Reagan.

There’s one of his legendary Kelly green sportcoats earned by winning the Masters Tournament, as well as his handsome Masters trophy that depicts the famous clubhouse at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

Making my way down a picturesque fairway documenting Nicklaus’s major championship wins, I passed the coveted silver claret jug bestowed upon winners of the British Open…

…as well as a five-pound banknote with his likeness on it, issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland to commemorate his last visit to the Open Championship. About the time I spotted him shopping at Laura Ashley, he received an honorary degree from the University of St. Andrews. During the laureation address, Nicklaus was praised for his integrity, his good conduct, his honesty, and his sportsmanship.

Noting the time, I concluded that my visit to this museum was going to come in at a bogey rather than birdie, let alone an eagle. So I took a break in a re-creation of the Nicklaus family living room in Florida and watched a video in which Nicklaus, his wife and some of his children recall their memories.

I hooked into the gallery just beyond. There, I reveled in seeing several advertisements in which the Nicklauses have been featured over the years, from Pontiac and Coca-Cola to cordless phones and lawn fertilizer. Hart, Schaffner & Marx’s “Golden Bear” blazers are a “perfect match for tournament slacks,” while a Lincoln Town Car is “perfect for those really long drives.” Remember Nicklaus’s “Do you know me?” commercials for American Express?

As he played courses around the world, Nicklaus started hankering to design a challenging golf course in his native central Ohio. In 1966, he closed on 180 acres of rolling farmland, meadows and woods near Dublin and began creating a spectacular setting, adding additional acreage during the next few years. He kept the golf-tournament spectator in mind as he created a course with mounds, tiered tees and circular ampitheaters. He named it Muirfield Village, after the Scottish word for “moor,” in tribute to the Muirfield course in Scotland where he won his first British Open and played his first Walker Cup match.

Memorial Tournament trophy

The first unofficial round at Muirfield was played on October 1, 1973 – my fourth birthday – and the course was officially launched on Memorial Day 1974. He has changed the course over the years, reworking the green, raising and reshuffling tees, and moving trees.

Since the mid-1960s, Nicklaus also wanted to create a tournament that would not only honor the great golfers of the past, but also support local charitable organizations. The first Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club took place in May 1976, with Bobby Jones as the first honoree.

Hitting a beautiful drive from this gallery into a long fairway of Nicklaus family portraits, I decided that my favorite parts of the museum weren’t really about the Golden Bear. The best parts were those celebrating the contributions of Barbara Bash Nicklaus, a fellow Columbus native who graduated from North High School, continued her studies at Ohio State, was a member of its 1959 Homecoming court, and married her husband on July 23, 1960 at North Broadway United Methodist Church in Columbus. Many examples of the beautiful jewelry she has received over the years are on display.

There’s her charm bracelet documenting the birth of their five children…

as well as other glistening gold charms commemorating her husband’s wins in the Tournament of Champions, the Ryder Cup, and other championships.

Sean Connery narrates “Jack Nicklaus Beyond the Final Round,” a short film I watched before coming to the museum’s 18th hole, which calls attention to Ohio State’s contributions to improving golfers’ games through turf grass science and research. Buckeyes are advancing the control of pests, weeds and diseases; improving how turf grass grows and absorbs essential nutrients; and discovering better ways to construct new putting greens. Alumnus James B. Beard, a preeminent turf grass scientist, is the author of Turf Management for Golf Courses, known to golf course superintendents as “Beard’s Bible” because of its fine description of how to select, establish and cultivate turfgrass for putting greens, tees, fairways and roughs. Alumnus David R. Mellor is one of the leading creators of the elaborate mowing patterns used on athletic turf grass. His book, Picture Perfect: Mowing Techniques for Lawns, Landscapes, and Sports, offers techniques to make your lawn both healthy and the talk of your neighborhood.

I left the museum thinking about something Nicklaus said: One of the best things about golf is that it’s a sport that you can play by yourself. It’s a challenge between you and the golf course, and that demands self-reliance.

I think I’ll start taking a few practice swings.

The Jack Nicklaus Museum, located at 2355 Olentangy River Road in Columbus, is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday.

For more on Jack Nicklaus, read Golf My Way, by Jack Nicklaus, with Ken Bowden, foreword by Jack Grout; Jack Nicklaus: My Story, by Jack Nicklaus, with Ken Bowden; Jack Nicklaus: Memories and Mementos from Golf’s Golden Bear, by Jack Nicklaus, with David Shedloski; Jack Grout: A Legacy in Golf: Pioneer Tour Pro and Teacher to Jack Nicklaus, by Dick Grout, with a foreword by Jack Nicklaus; and Well Done!: Life, Love & Food: Recipes and Memories from Barbara and Jack Nicklaus. For more on Muirfield and its Memorial Tournament, track down The Story of Muirfield Village Golf Club and The Memorial Tournament, by Paul Hornung. 

Posted in Columbus, Columbus School for Girls, Museums, Sports | Leave a comment

“Columbia, Gem of the Scioto”

The Butlers, as seen in the July 4, 1974 issue of The Columbus Dispatch.  

“Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!”

Photo by Ken Chamberlain

Posted in Columbus, Holidays | 1 Comment

Make It Snappy, CML! I’m Waiting For A Copy Of Dan Brown’s Origin!

So far this year, I’ve summarized over 100 research reports, initiated more than 100 contacts with fellow researchers, and answered close to 75 reference questions. Can you tell I’m one of those librarians who likes to keep track of statistics?

I thought I was dedicated to data, but it’s nothing like the amazing analytics and process efficiencies that I saw in action at the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Operations Center.

This Gahanna-based hub of bibliophilic action was the third summer tour destination offered by the Central Ohio Chapter, Association for Information Science and Technology. Laura Simonds, CML’s collection services manager, led a behind-the-scenes tour of how materials move through the library system and get on the shelves of its 23 locations.

The system’s departments for information technology, transportation, school delivery, lobby stop and homebound services are housed here. We focused on the collections services happening here, which include processing, cataloging, selection and acquisition of library materials.

First stop: Processing. Here, pallets of boxes of new books are unloaded and stacked very precisely — face down, for efficiency’s sake — on boards. How many times the book is touched during this process matters; over time, a few seconds can really add up in how quickly items move through this systematic process. How to build a stack is very important because the boards have to be solidly stacked to move down the line without experiencing a calamity like shifting or falling over.

The boards are placed on two lines — one for fresh replacement copies of worn books already in the system, and one for copies of new items that have not been cataloged into the system. A work slip placed in the book tells how many copies were purchased, the number of holds on the item, the destination location, and the collection to which the book is being added.

Tent cards placed on top of various stacks show the date the item went on the line, which keeps the line moving in date order.

Second stop: Cataloging. The “fewer titles, more copies” mantra helps with efficiency. For copies of soon-to-be-released popular titles, the goal is to have them processed, cataloged and on the hold shelf at branches on the day of the book’s release.

Third stop: Labeling. Here, barcodes, “New” stickers, and labels indicating the home branch of the book are placed on the back of the item. The top of the book is also edge-stamped to read “Columbus Metropolitan Library.” Here’s a fun fact. Only magazines, compact discs and reference books are returned to the location that has been assigned as its home; everything else “floats” throughout the system. That means that if you return a checked-out item to another location in the system, the item will stay at that location if there are no holds on it. That keeps the collection at a branch refreshed.

Fourth stop: Styling. This fancy name refers to what other stickers get put on the spine, like “Mystery” or “Romance.”

Fifth stop: Jacketing. Studies showed that the center could not jacket books cheaper and faster in-house, so most often, a print vendor puts mylar book jackets on the books before they are shipped here for processing.

Sixth stop: Distribution. Items with holds on them are sorted first, followed by transfers to another location. Colorful sheets resembling Gantt charts indicate where books should go. On the shelves underneath, there’s a box for every Columbus Metropolitan Library location and Central Library Consortium partner. Ergonomic studies have helped efficiency in this area as well.

There are even standards for how to build one of these boxes correctly. After all, since the box is filled with new materials, it should be attractive. I peeked inside the box labeled “OWL,” for the Old Worthington Library, home branch for this Power Patron.

Final stop: Transportation. Five drivers drive five routes including all system libraries six nights a week, picking up and delivering 48,000 of those blue boxes to branches each month. And this all happens after the libraries have closed. A logistics specialist runs this department; he proudly announced that his drivers circle the globe five times a year while driving their routes.

There are standards for how fast these whizzes work. To track turnaround time, productivity is measured at every station with initials and dates. Records are kept on how many items leave the department each day. In the labeling department, the standard is having labels applied to 240 books an hour. Each cataloger has a goal of cataloging 40 items per day. About 2,000 titles a month are cataloged, depending on the kind of material. Sorters handle 10,500 to 11,500 items each month.

Organization, design and workflow have reduced processing times. In 2003, the average turnaround time for processing materials was 17 days, with 50 staff. This year, eliminating steps and streamlining efficiencies have resulted in an astounding 48-hour turnaround time, with 30 staff; 24 hours for magazines. Last year, staff at the operations center processed 460,000 items.

For more on the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Operations Center, watch this segment from WOSU’s “Broad and High.” When you see books being thrown in a bin, don’t worry; lean principles to create more value with fewer resources were applied to sorting, so that doesn’t happen anymore.

Posted in Books, Libraries | Leave a comment

Serve Tomato Aspic On “Harvest Wheat,” Just Like At Johnny’s Home

“Living History Tour.” The concept of a costumed guide at a historic site assuming the character of a person associated with that place is a clever way to engage people and give them an entirely different perspective on history. But those three words can be pretty off-putting to me.

I knocked on Clara Sproat Glenn’s door with much trepidation, dreading what would happen next. As Mrs. Glenn showed me around her home, pointing out interesting things, sharing special stories, and even shedding a tear, I started changing my tune. When it was time to leave, I was so taken with her that I wanted to stay longer to ask her a few things.

That’s the experience I had on a recent visit to the John & Annie Glenn Museum in New Concord, Ohio.

We’re all familiar with how John Glenn was a World War II Marine pilot, the first American astronaut to orbit the earth, president of Royal Crown Cola, the longest-serving United States Senator from Ohio, the 1984 Democratic presidential candidate, a 1998 Discovery crew member who became the oldest person to experience space flight, and that he passed away last December at the age of 95. But how much do we know about Glenn’s New Concord roots? A visit to his boyhood home offers some interesting insights.

Glenn was born in Cambridge, Ohio in 1921; when he was two years old, he and his parents moved to New Concord. His father, Herschel, opened a plumbing business and built a home for his family that was big enough to double as a rooming house for students from nearby Muskingum College.

Little “Bud” enjoyed an idyllic childhood there. When he wasn’t riding around town delivering newspapers, he read books about science and aviation. He built model airplanes at his desk and hung them from the ceiling of his bedroom. During the Depression, he loaded his wagon with rhubarb his mother, Clara, grew in their backyard garden and sold it to neighbors. When he had picked and sold all the rhubarb, he turned to washing cars.

In high school, he lettered in football, basketball and tennis. He wrote skits and acted in plays. And his regular companion was Annie Castor, daughter of the local dentist. The childhood playmates became high school sweethearts and continued spending time together as Muskingum College students.

Glenn’s boyhood home was first located on Shadyside Terrace, a gravel road that sat high on an embankment overlooking the National Road, U.S. Route 40, at the western edge of New Concord. The home was moved to its present location on West Main Street and was originally interpreted as it would have appeared during the Great Depression, then during World War II. Recently, it was reinterpreted to represent how it looked in 1962. Actor-historians depicting Clara or Herschel Glenn guide visitors through the home, describing what it was like to watch their son step inside the Friendship 7 spacecraft on February 20 of that year, orbit the earth three times, and re-enter the atmosphere with a burning heat shield and no communication with NASA.

Clara meets visitors in her sewing room — her son’s former bedroom — and points out a pressed copper ship like one young John made in school. Leading the way into her son’s favorite room, the kitchen, she shares an advertisement for Swanson TV dinners and pointed out her “Melmac” melamine resin dinnerware. A good cook known for her ham loaf, corn mush, pies and cakes, Clara talks about her fondness for tomato aspic — and her recipe for it is free for the taking.

In the dining room, Clara describes how her African violets are thriving in front of a window with Fiberglass curtains. She shares her thoughts about the book she’s reading: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Her dining table is set with the “Golden Wheat” dinnerware produced by the Homer Laughlin Co. of East Liverpool, Ohio, which the local A&P gave away with every purchase of groceries.

An embroider-by-number crewel picture, a “Tipperary” reclining chair made in Zanesville, and a globe John gave to his parents with tape he applied to show his orbit route are all on view in the Glenns’ living room. While her black-and-white television with a removable color filter is her latest modern acquisition, her most prized possessions are on the mantel: a pair of figurines that John bought her with the first money he earned selling rhubarb.

Stopping in a bedroom furnished with a table John made and the rocker she used when John was a baby, with a secret compartment for her sewing supplies,

Clara calls attention to the glass doorknobs that were made in Cambridge.After parting company with Clara, visitors continue their tour in the upstairs of the house, which has been converted to a museum with galleries containing special childhood treasures like the tricycle the young Glenn rode in a July 4 parade…

and a note a school-aged Annie wrote to “Johnny” asking to borrow his tennis racket.

Also on display are memorabilia from Glenn’s military, political and space careers, as well as the Marine dress blues and the white street-length dress that the couple wore when they were married on April 6, 1943 at the College Drive United Presbyterian Church in New Concord.

Tours of the John & Annie Glenn Museum at 72 West Main Street in New Concord are given Wednesdays through Sundays from May through October. For more on John Glenn and his New Concord home, check out John Glenn: A Memoir, by John Glenn; “John & Annie Glenn Museum,” the Ohio History Connection Album feature of the July-September 2017 issue of TIMELINE; and John Glenn’s New Concord, by Lorle Porter.

If you’d like a copy of Clara Sproat Glenn’s recipe for tomato aspic, courtesy of the John & Annie Glenn Museum, leave me a comment.

John Glenn just happens to be part of the 2017 Collective Stitch project, a cross stitch project combined with a shop-hop, treasure hunt and mystery stitch-along. Between June 1 and August 31, 25 participating needlework shops across the country will have a complimentary exclusive design on hand for participating stitchers who collect the designs and stitch an album of postcards. Emily Van chose to memorialize John Glenn when designing “A Postcard From Ohio, Home of John Glenn” for Cross My Heart, Ltd. in Columbus.

Posted in Food, History, Museums, Needlework, Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society) | 2 Comments

My Work Hours Are Right Up There With “After Hours”

These days, I’m out the door before 7:00 a.m., not only to beat the traffic, but also because I’m anxious to get going on another day at 277 East Town Street.

It’s been a big year.  First came a request to make a cameo appearance in a video about how Medicare Connector participants conduct transactions.  Then came the news that the improved PERSpective blog would be posting more from subject matter experts, including one with pension industry research expertise.  

An unexpected Christmas present came in the form of an invitation to move my legendary cacti down two floors. They’re not the only ones thriving in their picture-perfect new home with its southeastern exposure.

Next came the suggestion to eat my Wheaties every Friday morning as the new member of a working group whose three-capital-letter acronym stands for the amazing philosophical discussions that take place during its meetings…or something like that….

Most recently, a series of events have followed in rapid succession, like marking the progress of a new rooftop container garden that provided one of its gardeners with an entire plateful of salad for lunch today… and finally having a real success to celebrate! Meet the founder of our very own Little Free Library and her enthusiastic collaborator in Human Resources, both of whom are so excited to share the responsibility of keeping the little library’s shelves stocked and its glass door Windexed!

But the real subject of this post is how I scored my first punch on my “Destination Walks” card.

In this super-clever initiative on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the summer months, dozens of us hit the pavement at noon for Downtown hot-spots like the Peanut Shoppe, the Scioto Mile, the Hills Market, the Cultural Arts Center, the Shops at Capitol Square, Edible Arrangements, the Topiary Park, and the Main and Rich Street Bridges. Yesterday, we reveled in this glorious weather as we strolled to the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery. There, we saw two mixed media creations our colleague, Member Services Representative Michael Bush, contributed to “After Hours: Artwork by State of Ohio Employees.”

Michael is one of 44 public servants who were chosen to share 60 of their works of art in this juried exhibition. On view are photographs, paintings, sculptures and textiles created after a long day at work by employees of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, the Office of Budget and Management, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Industrial Commission, the School Employees Retirement System, the Ohio State Fair & Expo, and more.

Polar bears were the subject of photographs taken by employees of the Ohio Department of Taxation and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Barb Dysart, an Ohio Department of Health clerk, beautifully captured an old City Hall doorway in watercolors. Wendi Boggs, project manager for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, employed ceramic tiles, glass beads and reclaimed wood to depict Ohio cardinals in the snow.

Edison’s Bright Idea is a LEGO-brick tribute to Ohio’s famous scientist by JD Keller, professional land surveyor for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

My “canning resemblance” keeping the cacti company this summer doesn’t come close to Christina Andrews’ Mason Jar Sunset. Christina is a paralegal at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Jennifer Whitten, Human Service Program Administrator 3 at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections’ Grafton Correctional Institution, contributed three amazing pieces of beadwork, including Mallet Totem.

There really is no end to the talents of librarians. Kelly Pickett, a librarian for the Ohio Legislative Services Commission, contributed two watercolor and charcoal works. Kristin Krumsee, a library consultant at the State Library of Ohio, scored the big honor by having her photograph titled Bloom selected for the featured image of the exhibition. Her Green Buds photograph is pretty amazing, too.

Receiving my vote for “Best of Show” are three pieces by Amanda Knapp, digital resources manager for the Ohio Public Library Information Network. I knew that Mandy was a whiz at performance measures, but I had no idea that she was a talented textile artist.  She made a linocut image of a coffee pot, printed it on three pieces of linen, framed them in hoops, and did a fantastic job embroidering them. Voila! She created Coffee Flowers, Coffee Sunrise, and Coffee Fireworks!

“Holy Schist! Now you tell me!,” I exclaimed when I learned that I missed three free daytime drop-in workshops that were offered in conjunction with the exhibition. On May 19, Mandy Knapp showed participants how to compose a work of art using thread as their medium. Dana Lynn Harper followed on May 25, creating a colorful succulent garden or an underwater coral seascape with polymer clay sculptures. And on June 1, Jennifer Whitten taught bead embroidery techniques to create a tiny wearable work of art.  

Hurry! “After Hours: Artwork by State of Ohio Employees” is on view through July 8. The Riffe Gallery is located in the first floor lobby of the Vern Riffe Center for Government & the Arts, at 77 S. High St. in downtown Columbus.

Posted in Art, Museums | Leave a comment