• 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 named in the Akron Beacon Journal during World War II. Some non-military names are also included. This database currently includes records up through February 28, 1943. 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.


Glendale entrance 1896On Saturday, October 11 from 7:30 am to 11 am, Summit Metro Parks, Glendale Cemetery and ASCPL will sponsor a rare opportunity to photograph our historic  cemetery in the early morning hours. Photographers of all abilities are invited to explore the grounds and their artistic creativity by capturing the beauty of Glendale today.  The chapel will be open for photography and refreshments.  Photographers are encouraged to submit matted photos to Summit Metro Parks for possible inclusion in an exhibit of photographs in Special Collections, November 9, 2014 through January 2015. The workshop rain date is Sunday, October 12. For more information, contact Summit Metro Parks. 


Autumn Issue of Past Pursuits Now Available

Past Pursuits coverThe Autumn issue of our quarterly newsletter Past Pursuits is now available on our Newsletters page. Included in this issue are articles about our upcoming annual program on British and Irish research, online genealogy resources for Pennsylvania, and preservation tips for saving and storing old newspapers. Our regular “Getting to Know…” series spotlighting notable Akron and Summit County residents features Samuel Shepard, owner of the local African American newspaper Akron Informer.

If you would like to receive Past Pursuits by email, please contact us at 330-643-9030 or speccollections@akronlibrary.org.


Celebrating Local Music and Local Neighborhoods

scsoundsThis weekend the Akron Library in conjunction with Highland Square Neighborhood Association will be celebrating local music. Saturday Sept. 20th from 10am to 9pm, Highland Square will host its annual Porch Rokr Festival featuring a wide variety of live music on multiple front porches and stages throughout the neighborhood in addition to many other activities. Check out the details on their Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/porchrokr).  

To kick off this event Akron Main Library will have a special documentary showing and panel discussion afterwards. It’s Everything and Then It’s Goneabout the history of rock and roll in Akron, will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday Sept. 19 in the auditorium at Main Library. Stop in for the film, panel discussion, and getting geared up for PorchRokr on Saturday! Tickets for the movie (free) must be picked up at the Library between 5:30-6 p.m. 

Local groups and individuals are invited to join Akron Library’s initiative to preserve Summit County’s rich musical heritage called “Sounds of Summit.”  Special Collections has started collection of  Summit County-based musicians, past and present. The wish list includes recordings by local musicians of any and all genres. Persons interested in donating materials to the Library should call the Special Collections Division at 330-643-9030 or e-mail us at speccollections@akronlibrary.org.


More Late Night Genealogy Opportunities

OwlA sincere thank you to all who attended our annual Late Night at the Library on September 5.  If you missed it, or didn’t have enough fun, consider attending evening genealogy events at the Medina and Stark County libraries.  The Medina County District Library will host its annual Genealogy Lock-In on Friday, September 19 from 6 to 10:30 pm. For more information, visit their events page.  On Saturday, October 25, the Stark County District Library offers Diggin’ in the Dark.  For more information, visit their programs page.


Late Night 2014 – September 5th

late night logoOn Friday, September 5th, the Main Library will close at its regular time of 6 pm but will reopen for genealogists from 6:30 to 10:30 pm.  Mingle with fellow researchers as you uncover the details of your ancestry.  Tours and a “mini” Getting Started session will be offered at 6:45.  Refreshments and door prizes will be provided and parking is free in the deck next door to the library, if you enter it after 6:00 pm.  For additional information contact the Special Collections Division by phone: 330.643.9030 or email: speccollections@akronlibrary.org. Registration is not required for this event.


Author Returns to Akron to Retrace Her War Bride Grandmother’s Footsteps 70 Years On

downloadJoin us for an Author Talk on September 10 at Main Library, 6:30 PM in Meeting Rooms A&B.

The author of international bestseller GI Brides, Nuala Calvi, will return to Akron in September to mark the American publication of her book 70 years after her grandmother arrived in the city.

Calvi’s grandmother Margaret Boyle was one of the first GI brides to come to America following the ‘friendly invasion’ of more than 2 million American soldiers to Britain during World War Two. Some 70,000 British women lost their hearts to American men stationed in the country in the run-up to D-Day, giving up everything and everyone they knew to start a new life in the US.

Margaret’s husband, Lawrence Rambo, left the struggling South for a job at the Goodyear Tire Company in Akron, which was booming in the war years producing synthetic rubber for the war effort and building parts for B29 bombers and blimps for the US navy.

Staff at Akron City Hospital saved Margaret’s life with a new miracle drug – Penicillin – when she gave birth to her daughter and contracted puerperal fever. The drug had been developed for the troops and was extremely rare at the time.

Calvi and her writing partner Duncan Barrett came to Akron in 2012 for their research. Staff at Akron-Summit County Public Library helped them track down a 1945 edition of the Akron Beacon Journal in which her aunt’s birth at Akron City Hospital was announced.  They also helped identify where Calvi’s grandparents were living at the time, in a rural area with no street address. Using old maps of 1940s postal routes they were able to locate the right area.  Calvi also visited Akron City Hospital and was shown by an older nurse the ward where her aunt was born almost 70 years ago.

For more information, call the Business & Government Department at (330)643-9020.  Copies of GI Brides will be available for purchase and there will be a book signing after the talk.


Save The Date

Flyer image for blog

Don’t forget to register for our genealogy program, Discovering Your English and Irish  Ancestors,” which will take place on Saturday, October 4th from 9:30-4:30 in our Main Library Auditorium. Internationally known lecturer and professional genealogist Paul Milner will be teaching us about English parish registers, researching maps and gazetteers of the British Isles, Irish families coming to America, and much more. To register or for more information, call Special Collections at 330-643-9030 or email us at speccollections@akronlibrary.org.



New LGBT Collection for ASCPL

FLAGSpecial Collections recently received materials for a newly-established collection that will document our community’s lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community.  Donated by activist, Vince Morvatz, his initial donation includes issues of Gay People’s Chronicle starting with 1984.  Subsequent materials will include additional local publications, issues of the Gay Community Resource Guide, his ongoing HIV remembrance list, and various other documents.  A gay rights and HIV-AIDS activist for many years, Vince has documented and raised awareness about these issues through exhibits, video documentaries, and events.  Special Collections is seeking additional materials to document our LGBT community and its history.  Please contact us if you have materials you would like to share.  330-643-9030, speccollections@akronlibrary.org



Akron Beacon Journal’s 175th Anniversary

ABJ 9 Dec 1840This year, the Akron Beacon Journal celebrates its 175th anniversary as the longest-running newspaper in Summit County. The Akron-Summit County Public Library and the Akron Beacon Journal have enjoyed a strong partnership over the years. Special Collections is pleased to maintain and make available all known microfilmed issues of the newspaper. Some of the earliest issues are not known to exist. This issue from December 9, 1840 (at left) is the first appearing in Special Collections’ microfilm.

Both the news industry and libraries face transforming challenges in the digital era, but they share common goals: A focus on the community and the preservation of its history. Much of a community’s history is contained within the pages of a newspaper. Look at any issue of the Akron Beacon Journal  and you will see that history. Safeguarding that heritage is one of Special Collections’ ongoing commitments.

Congratulations to the Akron Beacon Journal for its past accomplishments. We look forward to more collaboration in the future.


Researching Your Home

Landes HomeWhether you live in a historic Victorian or a post-war prefab, discovering the history of your home takes some research. In fact, the Special Collections Division receives questions about researching house histories so often, we offer a helpful guide: Your Old House: Researching and Renovating Your Home. This publication answers many of the most frequently asked questions, including how to find the year your home was built, how to research who lived in your home and how to find out more about a particular resident. Several of these resources, such as Summit County Fiscal Office records and Akron City Directories, are available online, while others might require a visit to the Library or county recorder’s division. However far you take your research, you’re sure to learn new and interesting details about the place you call home.