• 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!

Discovering Your English and Irish Ancestors” Set for Sat., Oct.  4, 9:30-4:30 MilnerPaul-240x300[1]

Special Collections and the Summit County Chapter of OGS are bringing internationally known genealogist Paul Milner to Akron for an all-day program at Main Library. Paul will speak on English parish registers, English parish chest records, using maps, gazetteers and directories in British Isles research, Irish Immigrants to North America and finding ancestors in Ireland. To register for this free program, contact Special Collections.


March Genealogy Classes

There’s still time to register for March genealogy classes.

Using Ancestry in Your Genealogy Research - just a few spaces left
Saturday, March 1, 2014, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm: Main Library, Computer Lab 2
With more than 8,000 databases and 200 billion images, Ancestry is the premier online genealogy resource–and it’s available to you for free within any ASCPL location.  This class will introduce you to the many features of Ancestry Library Edition and show you how to do efficient and effective searches.  Because electronic resources are used, basic computer skills are recommended.

Getting Started in Family History
Saturday, March 15, 2014, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm: Main Library, Meeting Room 2AB
Are you interested in discovering your family’s history or tracing your genealogy? The Special Collections Division is pleased to offer orientation sessions for new family historians. Each session will include an overview of the resources available at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, suggestions for getting started and tips for organizing your research.

Branching Out: U.S. Vital Records and Obituaries
Saturday, March 29, 2014, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm: Main Library, Meeting Room 2AB
In this class, participants will learn the types of information and sources encountered in genealogy research, and what to expect when working with United States vital (birth, marriage and death) records and obituaries. Basic search strategies for finding these records in both online and traditional sources will also be discussed. Because this class will use Internet resources, basic computer skills are recommended.

All classes are free of charge and open to the general public. To register, please contact the Special Collections Division at (330) 643-9030 or by email at speccollections@akronlibrary.org. Note: the start time for classes is now 10:30 am.  View a full list of classes here.


Database Spotlight: Historic MapWorks

HMWUnderstanding 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.

Plat bookAmong 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 is the Historic Earth viewer, which allows an overlay of a current map on the historical map image. This makes it possible to pinpoint present locations of past property boundaries and structures. Be sure to try Historic MapWorks and see how it can help your research. It is available remotely with home internet access and a valid ASCPL library card.


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

Library 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. The book was published with endowment funds left to the Library by James W. Chamberlain. The year 2014 marks 140 years of ASCPL library service to Summit County.  Visit our Online Books page to read this book, as well as 25 other books of local historical interest.





opieThe Shirla R. McLain Gallery of Akron’s Black History and Culture in conjunction with Archival Services, University of Akron presents: This is Akron With Opie Evans: the Rubber City as Seen Through the Lens of One of Akron’s Earliest African-American Photographers.  Opening today, this exhibit features 58 photographs of Akron’s African American community during the middle of the twentieth century, including the 1964 and 1967 elections and the civil rights movement in Akron.  Archival Services maintains hundreds of photographs, as well as the personal papers of Mr. Evans and have digitized 125 of those photographs.  Click here for more information about his collection and a link to 125 of the digitized images.   They may also be viewed at Summit Memory.

The Shirla R. McLain Gallery is located at 220 Wolf Ledges Parkway.  Click here for more information and for gallery hours.



On Display: The John F. Seiberling Collection


plate 68 JFS on Boreal Plateau Sierra Nevada Mtns. CA-67( toIn honor of the recent documentary released on DVD, A Tree Grows in Washington: The John Seiberling Story, Special Collections now has on display several photographs from the John F. Seiberling Collection.  This documentary is the work of filmmaker and Emmy Award winner Paul R. Jacoway and explores the life of Congressman Seiberling, his character, and his success in wildlife preservation.

In the summer of 2008, the Special Collections Division was given permission to obtain a large collection of slides, photographs, and other items that belonged to Mr. John F. Seiberling.  On exhibit is a small selection of photographs reproduced from his collection containing hundreds of color slides.  The display includes some of his photos of the Cuyahoga Valley, his trips to Alaska, and stunning views of his travels out west and around the world.  In addition to his many other life accomplishments, Congressman Seiberling was a passionate environmentalist. He fought many campaigns during his political career to ensure the preservation of our parks and wilderness areas in the United States, including the Cuyahoga Valley.  We feel very privileged to have this collection.


New: Home Access to World Vital Records Genealogy Database

WVRWe are pleased to announce that the Akron-Summit County Public Library now offers remote access to World Vital Records.  This rapidly growing genealogy database includes the entire United States census from 1790-1940, as well as many other records for the United States, Canada, the UK and other countries.


Database Spotlight: Fold3

Fold3In addition to Ancestry Library Edition, the Library offers several genealogy databases that can help you with your research. Don’t miss Fold3, available with home internet access and a valid ASCPL library card. Formerly known as Footnote, Fold3 now partners with the National Archives and focuses on making military records available. Though the focus of their collections has changed, they continue to maintain other non-military databases. There is a large collection of digitized city directories for over thirty major U.S. cities, most dating back to the mid-19th century.  Fold3 also has a strong collection of naturalization records, including naturalizations from the United States District Court, Cleveland, 1907-1946.

 Click here for Fold3 and other genealogy databases.


New Summit Memory Collection

Drug Store in Hudson, OhioNow available on Summit Memory - the Historic Hudson Collection, featuring over 200 photographs.
The collection spans more than a century of Hudson history, documenting numerous locales and capturing the characteristic architecture of this historic Western Reserve community.

Also among the collection are a number of portraits of Hudson residents, most of whom are identified—a boon for genealogists hunting images of Hudson ancestors.

The Historic Hudson Collection was contributed by the Hudson Library & Historical Society and supported in part by an award from the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), National Archives & Records Administration.


All Library locations will be closed Monday,
January 20 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.