• 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.

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.


New Issue of Past Pursuits Now Available

PP iconThe latest issue of Past Pursuits is now available, featuring articles about Akron during the World War I era, Summit Memory updates, and highlights of the Library’s genealogy databases. Also, be sure to see our complete list of new books cataloged within the past three months for resources that can help you in your genealogy research.



Digging for Gold in Probate Records

SCOGS logo colorOn Saturday, July 19, the Summit County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society will present Chris Staats who will speak about the valuable information that may be found in probate court records. The program is FREE to members and non-members.  The meeting will take place at 1:30 pm in Meeting Room 2AB on the High Street level at Main Library, 60 South High Street.



New Images of Turkeyfoot Lake Now Online

turkeyfoot islandThe Turkeyfoot Island Collection is now available on Summit Memory. This collection includes images from the archives of the Turkeyfoot Island Club, based in the Portage Lakes region of Summit County. Featured in Summit Memory are photographs selected from the Club’s larger collection, which was donated to Special Collections in 2012. The photographs offer views of Turkeyfoot Lake and Turkeyfoot Island, a popular summertime retreat dating back to the late 1800s.

Summit Memory is an online, collaborative scrapbook administered by ASCPL capturing the history of Summit County, Ohio. Collections include historic photographs, documents, newspapers, artifacts and audiovisual resources contributed by partner organizations throughout the county.