The Cowan Pottery Museum wants to hear from you! As the Museum plans its 2021 programming, we seek your feedback on how the Museum can expand its services. What type of programs would you like offered by the Museum? In what new ways can we provide more information about our collection? Please, click here to submit your feedback before December 1.
Looking to reconnect with the history of our area? The Library’s Local History Resource Page is a great place to start!
Located under Research Tools, you will find some great virtual resources to begin your own exploration of the history of Rocky River and the wider Northeast Ohio region. Have questions about using these resources? Contact our Reference Desk and we will be happy to assist.
Hello All! Greg here, Cowan Pottery Museum Curator and Local History Librarian. During this time many museums and cultural institutions have expanded their already substantial online presence to give patrons remote access to their resources. Each week we will be highlighting a different institution and all of the free resources they offer. Whether you are looking for new educational opportunities, entertainment, inspiration for your own creative practice, or research resources for remote academic resources.
The first institution we will be highlighting is a local one:
The Cleveland Museum of Art will be be coming to RRPL with the new speaker series:
Exploring the Collections
Celebrating over a hundred years (founded in 1916) this museum already offered many online and remote resources. Recently they have made it very easy to find all they offer by creating their Home Is Where the Art Is resource page.
On this page you will find links to search and explore their vast collections online. You can choose different stylistic periods, limit results by medium, artists, and culture. Some objects have video that allow for a more dynamic appreciation of sculptural pieces and information on the history of the piece.
Parents and Educators
Additional they offer some amazing resource for learners at any age with their:
Patrons can search these resources by grade level and topics to create engaging lessons about the history of art as well as connecting them to STEM.
The Museum’s library, Ingalls Library, has some amazing remote resources for researchers. I have personally used these resources when researching the artists of the Cowan Pottery Studio. Specifically their May Show Archive has been especially valuable to my research of Cowan Artists’ careers. When researching my talk for last year’s Cowan Pottery Symposium I was able to use their Entry Card Database to find the handwritten entry cards from artists like R. Guy Cowan, Edris Eckhardt, Thelma Frazier-Winters, and many more!
To get familiar with these resources a great place to start is their Digital Collections. This page highlights their digitized resources and allows users to become comfortable with the interface.
The Editorial Photography collection gives you the opportunity to see exhibition’s from the museum’s past. You get the chance to see previous exhibits as well as how the museum’s appearance has changed over the years.
Below we have a selection of materials available here at Rocky River Public Library.
For more materials at Rocky River Public Library please click here.
“The astonishing untold history of America’s first black millionaires–former slaves who endured incredible challenges to amass and maintain their wealth for a century, from the Jacksonian period to the Roaring Twenties–self-made entrepreneurs whose unknown success mirrored that of American business heroes such as Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, and Thomas Edison.”
“An intersectional history of the shared struggle for African American and Latinx civil rights. Spanning more than two hundred years, An African American and Latinx History of the United States is a revolutionary, politically charged narrative history arguing that the “Global South” was crucial to the development of America as we know it. Ortiz challenges the notion of westward progress, as exalted by widely taught formulations such as “manifest destiny” and “Jacksonian democracy,” and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms American history into the story of the working class organizing against imperialism.”
“In The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance, based on the extant primary sources of his life and on interviews with those who knew him personally. He narrates the education of Locke, including his becoming the first African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD in philosophy at Harvard University, and his long career as a professor at Howard University. Locke also received a cosmopolitan, aesthetic education through his travels in continental Europe, where he came to appreciate the beauty of art and experienced a freedom unknown to him in the United States. And yet he became most closely associated with the flowering of Black culture in Jazz Age America and his promotion of the literary and artistic work of African Americans as the quintessential creations of American modernism. In the process he looked to Africa to find the proud and beautiful roots of the race. Shifting the discussion of race from politics and economics to the arts, he helped establish the idea that Black urban communities could be crucibles of creativity. Stewart explores both Locke’s professional and private life, including his relationships with his mother, his friends, and his white patrons, as well as his lifelong search for love as a gay man.”
“The other great Renaissance of black culture, influence, and glamour burst forth joyfully in what may seem an unlikely place–Pittsburgh, PA–from the 1920s through the 1950s. Today black Pittsburgh is known as the setting for August Wilson’s famed plays about noble but doomed working-class strivers. But this community once had an impact on American history that rivaled the far larger black worlds of Harlem and Chicago. It published the most widely read black newspaper in the country, urging black voters to switch from the Republican to the Democratic Party and then rallying black support for World War II. It fielded two of the greatest baseball teams of the Negro Leagues and introduced Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Pittsburgh was the childhood home of jazz pioneers Billy Strayhorn, Billy Eckstine, Earl Hines, Mary Lou Williams, and Erroll Garner; Hall of Fame slugger Josh Gibson–and August Wilson himself. Some of the most glittering figures of the era were changed forever by the time they spent in the city, from Joe Louis and Satchel Paige to Duke Ellington and Lena Horne.”
“Part social engineering, part artistic happening, the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s brought the accomplishments of African-Americans to the forefront of popular culture. Against All Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance remembers the glory days of the New York neighborhood. Spurred by efforts from the NAACP and the Urban League, black Americans were urged to step up creatively after the 1919 race riots. The result was a blossoming of talent through theatre, music, dance, and art. Harlem became a place of intrigue as people recognized the heightened activity. This one-hour presentation traces the history of this important American movement. “~ Sarah Ing, Rovi
Today we are featuring the rich history of the arts in Northeast Ohio. Below are different opportunities to see and support the arts within our community.
The Memory Project highlights the work of artists who were featured in:
An exhibition at Cleveland State University Art Gallery which ran from from January 23 to March 7, 2009.
Looking for a local way “to celebrate, stimulate, and encourage the study of works created by African and African American artist”? Think about joining Friends of African and African American Art.
Established in 1970, the archives mission is to “collect, preserve and make accessible historic documents, photographs, memorabilia, art, and artifacts pertaining to African American life, history and culture in Northeast Ohio.” Online you can browse through their catalog to see the archive’s holdings and its location within the Historical Society. Additionally they offer an useful subjects tab that lets you narrow your search results. It should be noted that there are materials that cover national history as well.
For information on the African American Archives Auxiliary or to find out how to support its work, contact:
African American Archives Auxiliary, Acting President
Western Reserve Historical Society, Board of Directors, Ex-Officio Member
Additional programs at the Western Reserve Historical Society:
Our first featured local resource is Cleveland Historical: “Developed by the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University, Cleveland Historical lets you explore the people, places, and moments that have shaped the city’s history.”
There is an amazing wealth of information on landmarks and events telling the story of life in Cleveland. This site offers pictures, recorded oral history, news clippings, and cited sources to continue your own research. They organize topics by “Tours” which is centered around a single topic and the different Below is a link to African Americans in Cleveland, a Tour spanning over a 100 years of public and personal accounts.
Euclid-East 105th Area, 1946
Adonees Sarrouh and J. Mark Souther, “Cleveland’s Second Downtown,” Cleveland Historical, accessed February 5, 2018, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/49.
In observance of African-American History Month we will be highlighting local African-American history and research from the Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio area. To start off we have an article from two years ago by the Plain Dealer which was the source material for the text I used in the display in our library.