• 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 is currently updated through June 30, 1943. World War II Database
  • Ohio Obituary Index

    Search for obituary citations from select Ohio newspapers, including the Akron Beacon Journal, using the Ohio Obituary Index.

Stan Hywet Meet the Staff Program for APS Students

SHIn collaboration with the Akron Public Schools and the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens are engaging APS 5th graders in the study of history.  Its Meet the Staff program teaches students about the immigrant experience through the examination of primary sources.  They are first introduced to primary sources during a classroom visit from a Special Collections Division librarian followed by a visit to Stan Hywet for a hands-on lesson using sources that tell the story of the estate’s household staff, most of whom were immigrants.  The visit culminates in a tour of the manor house led by first-person interpretive tour guides who portray Stan Hywet staff employed by the Seiberlings.  Click HERE to watch a short video about this exciting and innovative program.



CaptureVisit our Classes and Events page to learn about our January through June genealogy classes, including our new series, Dig Into Databases which will explore Access NewspaperArchive, HeritageQuest, Fold3, and My Heritage/World Vital Records. Join us to learn more about these great resources, including what they contain, how to access them, and how to do effective searches.  In addition, we are offering a new class on immigrant research, Researching Your Immigrant Ancestors, 1820-1892. Registration is required for our classes.




     Marcel’s Restaurant

In conjunction with our upcoming display featuring Akron restaurant photos and memorabilia, local historian, Sharon Myers, is scheduled to present programs on this fascinating topic at two of our branch libraries:  Green Branch:  Monday, August 10, 6:30 pm and Highland Square Branch: Tuesday, August 18, 6:30 pm.

Learn about the days of Themely’s, Yanko’s, The Embers, Marcel’s, Iacomini’s and more!

Be sure to see our display which will be installed from September 20 – December 31.



On Saturday, August 22, Special Collections, in collaboration with the Summit County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, will present genealogist James Beidler and Discovering Your German Ancestors. This all-day program will include sessions on German migration, church records, online research, tips for understanding the German language, and how to discover your ancestor’s home village. We hope you will join us for this FREE program.  For session descriptions, click HERE.  If you’re interested in registering, please call the Special Collections Division:  330-643-9030 or email us: speccollections@akronlibrary.org


OHC Newspaper Programs on Monday, July 13

Jenni Salamon, Coordinator for the Ohio Digital Newspaper Program at the Ohio History Connection (OHC) and Reference Archivist in the OHC Archives/Library, will present two programs in Meeting Room 2AB on the High Street Level of Main Library on Monday.

From 3:00-4:00 pm, she will present “Why, Who, What, When, Where & How: Digitizing Your Local Newspaper. This program is geared toward staff and volunteers at libraries and other cultural institutions interested in digitizing their local newspapers.

From 6:30-7:30 pm, Jenni will present “Unearthing Your Roots with Ohio’s Newspapers on Chronicling America.” This program is geared toward researchers interested in learning how to use the Library of Congress website Chronicling America to find clues to your family history. Chronicling America contains digitized newspapers from around the country, including more than 318,000 pages from 129 historic Ohio newspapers published from 1836 to 1922, representing 58 counties.

If you would like to attend one or both of these programs, please call Special Collections at 330-643-9030 or email us at speccollections@akronlibrary.org.


How to Help Index Freedmen’s Bureau Records

FamilySearch invites you to attend “The Freedmen’s Bureau Project Announcement” to learn about making millions of Freedmen’s Bureau records available online. The project will be introduced Thursday, July 16, 2015, 6:00 – 7:30 pm, Main Library, Meeting Room 2AB.  Please RSVP to  lewisk@ldspublicaffairs.org by July 12th.

FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world, is seeking volunteers to help index these records with the goal of completing this project by the 2016 opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.

The Freedmen’s Bureau was created by Congress in 1865 to aid newly freed slaves. It operated until 1872.  Field offices were organized throughout the southern states. The bureau opened schools and refugee camps; provided legal and medical assistance; rationed food and clothing; solemnized marriages entered into during slavery; assisted with labor contracts and military pensions; and provided other assistance.




All Library locations will be closed Saturday, July 4, Independence Day.


SAVE THE DATE: Late Night at the Library

late night logoJoin Special Collections and the Summit County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society for Late Night at the Library, an evening of genealogy research at Main Library.  On Friday, October 23, the Main Library will close at its regular time of 6 pm, and reopen for genealogists from 6:30 to 10:30 pm.  Mingle with fellow researchers as you uncover the details of your ancestry.  Refreshments and door prizes will be provided, and representatives of the Cuyahoga Portage Chapter DAR and William Wetmore Daughters of 1812 will be here for consultation.  Parking in the High–Market deck adjacent to the library is free after 6:00 pm.  For additional information contact the Special Collections Division by phone: 330.643.9030 or email: speccollections@akronlibrary.org.



In Memory of Jack Gieck

Summit County has lost a dedicated local historian, Jack Gieck, who died on June 4 at age 92. He was the author of Early Akron’s Industrial Valley: A History of the Cascade Locks and A Photo Album of Ohio’s Canal Era, 1825-1913. He also produced several films about Akron’s history and the Ohio canal system. He was past president of the Canal Society of Ohio, a board member of Akron’s Cascade Locks Park Association, and a trustee of the Summit County Historical Society. His contributions over the years have been invaluable.

Special Collections would like to extend our sincere condolences to Jack’s family and all who knew him.


Main Library will be closed on Sundays beginning May 24 through Labor Day.  Online access and the library catalog are available 24/7 for your convenience.

Main Library will be open again on summer Sundays beginning in 2016, once the collection of the recently approved levy begins in January 2016.