• Welcome!

    The Special Collections Division houses the genealogy and local history materials of the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Our goal is to collect, preserve, and provide access to the history of Summit County, and to continue to maintain one of the area’s most extensive genealogy collections.

  • Local History Database

    The database contains references to the Library's local history collections as well as the Summit County Historical Society's collections. Search the index to the collections.
  • Summit Memory

    Visit the online scrapbook of Summit County History at www.SummitMemory.org
  • Summit County World War II News Index

    This database indexes the names of Summit County servicemen and servicewomen who were mentioned in the Akron Beacon Journal during World War II. Some non-military names are also included. This database currently includes records up through November 30, 1942. World War II Database
  • Summit County Myths Wiki

    Find out if that rumor, myth or legend about Akron or Summit County Ohio is true - visit the Summit County Myths Wiki.

Save the Date

Author Ken Bindas at Main Library on Wednesday May 7, 6:30 pm Dr. Kenneth J. Bindas, Professor & Chairperson of History at Kent State University is the editor of the recently published book, The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Construction of the Virginia Kendall Reserve, 1933-1939. This book tells the story of the CCC’s construction of […]


More on City Directories

Last week, we posted an article about digitized city directory collections.  This post provides a link to an in-depth article on using city directories in local history and genealogy research.  The article, “Effective Use of City Directories” by Kory L. Meyerink of ProGenealogists, includes information on the history and publishing of this important resource.


City Directory Collections

Some of the most used resources of local history and genealogy researchers are the Akron city directories in the Special Collections Division.  Directories from 1859 to 1968/69 have been digitized and are accessible via our website.  Directories after 1969 may be viewed in Special Collections. Digitized city directories for some major U.S. cities are also included […]


Database Spotlight: Historic MapWorks

Understanding historic geography is essential to genealogy and local history research. With over 1,000,000 digital maps and atlases covering areas all over the world, Historic MapWorks is a significant and useful database. Among its important features is a strong collection of 19th century U.S. county atlases, many showing property ownership and local institutions such as schools and churches. Another feature […]


Akron’s Library: Commemorating Twenty-five Years on Main Street NOW ONLINE

 Published in 1994 by former Akron-Summit County Public Library Director of Publicity and Display Margaret Dietz, this book documents the growth and development of the library system from the January 26, 1874 City ordinance that provided a free public library for the city to the twenty-fifth anniversary of Main Library on Main Street in 1994. […]


Past Pursuits Winter 2013

The Winter 2013 issue of Past Pursuits, the quarterly e-newsletter of the Special Collections Division, is available on the Special Collections Web site.  The newsletter features articles on local history and genealogy research resources.  Past issues are also online.  Subscriptions to Past Pursuits are free.  If you would like a subscription, send an e-mail to […]



When Shorty Fulton opened what is now Akron Fulton International Airport in the 1920s, he envisioned a winter sports complex on the nearby hill.  In 1934, the Civil Works Administration and the National Youth Administration cleared trees, built toboggan chutes, a bobsled run and ski runs.  After Derby Downs was constructed in 1936, the race track […]


Gettysburg Address 150 Year Anniversary

One hundred and fifty years ago this afternoon, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a little more than four months after the Battle of Gettysburg.  Today’s Akron Beacon Journal includes a transcription of the first account to appear in the Summit County Beacon on December 3, […]


100th Anniversary of Main Library Children’s Room

On display in Special Collections through January 2014 are photographs and items celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Main Library’s Children’s Room.  When Main Library was located in the Carnegie building at 75 East Market Street, the library shared the space with the Akron Art Institute.  When the Art Institute moved out of the basement just […]



A lesser-known fact about Akron’s history is that our city once sustained a significant Ku Klux Klan presence.  During the late teens and early 1920s, the Klan’s influence extended to the Akron School Board, the Mayor’s office, Sheriff’s office, and Police Department.  During that time, Summit County was the location of the largest local chapter […]