Resources at the Sisters of Charity Archives

The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati archives houses a wealth of local, national, and international historical resources in its collections just waiting to be discovered! The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati is an apostolic Catholic community of women religious that exists to carry out the Gospel of Jesus Christ through service and prayer in the world. Since the Community was founded in 1852, the Sisters of Charity have sponsored hundreds of schools, hospitals, orphanages and social service agencies throughout the United States as well as many countries including China, Peru, and Guatemala. In the past two years, the department has made accessibility a top priority for its collections through a variety of endeavors. 

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History of the Myers School House

By Peg Schmidt, Delhi Township Historian, and DHS Trustee.

In August, the Delhi Historical Society will go visit an old friend at Heritage Village in Sharon Woods. Few know that the Myers Schoolhouse, which stood on Neeb Road south of Delhi Pike for more than 100 years, almost became a part of the DHS family in 2004.

 Myers Schoolhouse, constructed in 1891. All rights reserved: Delhi Historical Society

Myers Schoolhouse, constructed in 1891. All rights reserved: Delhi Historical Society

A little history first... 

The Myers Schoolhouse now at Heritage Village was the third school on the site. The first school was a log building that was also used for meetings of the first trustees of the western section of Cincinnati as early as the 1830s. The second building was handmade brick, probably constructed around 1843, which was the year that District School #3 opened with 19 students and one teacher.

 Myers Schoolhouse.  All rights reserved: Delhi Historical Society

Myers Schoolhouse.  All rights reserved: Delhi Historical Society

The current Myers School was constructed in 1891 and opened for class on October 4 of that year. It was named for Cornelius Myers, who was a longtime school trustee, as well as a township trustee. It was a fine building for its time, with a pyramid-roofed bell tower at the front of the gable peak. The peak contains a date stone inscribed “1891 Dist. School No. 3”

 Teacher and students, date unknown. All rights reserved: Delhi Historical Society

Teacher and students, date unknown. All rights reserved: Delhi Historical Society

 Myers Schoolhouse classroom with teacher, William Chidlaw in the early 1900s. All rights reserved: Delhi Historical Society.

Myers Schoolhouse classroom with teacher, William Chidlaw in the early 1900s. All rights reserved: Delhi Historical Society.

Alas, it was only to serve Delhi students until 1926, when modern motorized transportation allowed for the consolidation of all Delhi one- and two-room schools into the new Delhi School at Anderson Ferry and Foley roads. The Myers Schoolhouse was auctioned at public sale and purchased by Henry and Emma Backus, who just happened on the auction while taking a ride in the country.

 Mrs. Emma Backus, a Cincinnati author, and civic leader was very involved in the Delhi community. She wrote a historical play called “The Trail” as well as the “Centennial Pageant of Cincinnati” (1919) which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of Cincinnati as a city. Emma Backus ended up in Delhi after purchasing the Myers Schoolhouse at auction in 1926 and soon after decided that Dehli Hills was a more peaceful place to move to concentrate on her research and writing. She also founded the original Delhi History Club (c. 1930) and the Delhi Arts Guild (c. 1928-1929). Photo via Cincinnati Enquirer.

Mrs. Emma Backus, a Cincinnati author, and civic leader was very involved in the Delhi community. She wrote a historical play called “The Trail” as well as the “Centennial Pageant of Cincinnati” (1919) which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of Cincinnati as a city. Emma Backus ended up in Delhi after purchasing the Myers Schoolhouse at auction in 1926 and soon after decided that Dehli Hills was a more peaceful place to move to concentrate on her research and writing. She also founded the original Delhi History Club (c. 1930) and the Delhi Arts Guild (c. 1928-1929). Photo via Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Backus family built a white cottage attached to the back of the school. The three-room addition included a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. In 1932, they built a colonial home behind the schoolhouse that now serves as the Sisters of Charity Earth Connection ministry.

In 1958, the Backus’ son Harry moved his interior design business into the old schoolhouse. He retired the business in 1986 and sold the property to Charles and Pauline Johnson for $107,000. Once again, the schoolhouse was used for educational purposes. Pauline was a vision therapist who specialized in reading problems for students with dyslexia. Four years later, the Johnsons sold the property to the College of Mount St. Joseph (now Mount St. Joseph University). Two parcels of land adjacent to the school, still owned by Harry Backus, were also sold to the college.

The college used it for a pre-school, and once again the walls of the old building contained the laughter and chatter of students. It eventually became a daycare facility for children of Mount adult students.

In 2004, Sister Barbara Hagedorn of the Sisters of Charity met with then DHS president Don Blaney, consultant Sue Ann Painter and Peg Schmidt to see if we would be interested in using the building with the stipulation that we would need to make some structural repairs. After having a structural engineer estimate $60,000 to $70,000 in repairs, we suggested they contact Historic Southwest Ohio, which operates Heritage Village in Sharon Woods. HSO set about raising the money needed to deconstruct, move and reconstruct the building - brick by brick - from Delhi to Sharonville.

Today, the building is undergoing continuing restoration in order to reopen to visitors to the living history village.

Explore the History of the Myers Schoolhouse in Person!

 Myers Schoolhouse c.1915 All rights reserved: Delhi Historical Society

Myers Schoolhouse c.1915 All rights reserved: Delhi Historical Society

Join us Monday, August 6th for a field trip focused on the Myers School House. Delhi participants will meet at the Delhi Historical Society at 9:30 am for a short talk on early schools in Delhi. Then they will depart by bus to the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse to hear about the Sisters’ part of the story and tour the Motherhouse. Afterward, the group will travel to Heritage Village for a catered lunch and tour of the Myers Schoolhouse and the village. The group will arrive back at DHS around 4:30 pm.

The Early bird rate is $35/member, $40/non-member and includes travel, admission, and lunch. Prices go up after July 30. Reservations Required. Reserve your spot by calling 513-451-4313. Mail checks to 468 Anderson Ferry Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45238 (Must be received by August 1) or visit our click here to pay via credit card. 

Yearbooks from the Myers Schoolhouse.

I Just Met a Girl Named Maria - AND Her Dad! Anita Klawitter's discovery about her Great-Great-Grandfather

Anita Klawitter’s story of how she found her great-grandmother Kate’s real name and biological father. Kate and her husband, Eduard Klawitter owned the Klawitter’s General Store and Saloon which used to sit on Neeb Road just across the street from Our Lady of Victory Church.   

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How to Digitally Preserve Your Photographs

By Alan March
 DHS Trustee and Collections Volunteer.

 

Family photos and documents are treasures to be handed down from generation to generation. We can preserve and protect those treasures two ways. Protect them using archival quality storage materials, such as folders or envelopes, sleeves, and boxes (See January's post for more details). Preserve them through digitization.

Put simply, digitization is scanning photos and documents into a computer. Delhi Historical Society has been actively digitizing its collections so they can be used by researchers and visitors without exposing the originals to potential damage through handling. Delhi Historical Society scans photographs and slides at 1200 DPI using the TIFF format. Those are the standards for digital archives. The high resolution (1200 Dots Per Inch) allows higher quality enlargements. TIFF files can be opened repeatedly without losing image quality. 

Delhi Historical Society has digitized thousands of images but has only just begun digitally preserving its large collection of photographs. Many of the images are simple family photos from years ago. 

Others are more formal family or business portraits. Through the DHS' Scanning Station project, Delhi residents have shared their family photos with the historical society. Those images are now preserved for researchers and family members for generations to come.

Don't think your family photographs and documents are "not historical." Today's snapshots are tomorrow's history. Documents such as personal letters, newspaper clippings, high school yearbooks, and many other items are treasure troves to historians. Preserve them by scanning them at home. Or, contact Delhi Historical Society to arrange to have your photos and documents scanned. You will keep the originals while donating the digital images to DHS. That way you are preserving your family treasures and sharing them at the same time.


Scanning Guidelines

  • Scan the entire image. (Also scan back if it includes information relevant to the photograph)
  • For preservation [Master File]:
    • Scan as a .TIFF file
    • 1200 DPI
    • 24-bit color
  • For sharing:
    • Scan as a .JPG file
    • 300 dpi
    • 24-bit color
  • Save as: year_month_day_descriptive_title (ex: 1953_09_23_Jane_Doe_age_17.tiff)
  • Save a Master File and back it up. Preferably back up on a cloud drive or at another location.
    • DO NOT alter your master copy (adding text, color correcting, etc)

If you have photos related to Delhi Township, we would love to add them to our digital collection!

Please contact us for details.

Help us preserve Delhi's treasures.

Make a donation

For more information view our slideshow from our January 2018 lecture:

Preserve Your Photographs!

Delhi Historical Society's collections priority over the last few years has been to properly organize and preserve the Delhi Township photo collection. Photos are our most requested object from the public so we want to make sure we have them easily accessible and protected for our researchers and volunteers. We hope you made it out to our January 8th lecture, but if you could not, we are happy to share some resources and our slides with you. Enjoy!

Video by the Smithsonian Institution shows how to safely remove photos from those pesky magnetic albums!

This is a great ad for Stabilo pencils showing the dos and don'ts when writing on photographs!

Preservation Tips

Library of Congress

National Archives   

Archival Methods Blog

(This where the workspace photo on slide 2 came from)

Recommended Books

Photographs: Archival Care and Management

Archives for the Lay Person

Where to Buy Archival Supplies

Gaylord

University Products

Hollinger

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Be sure to check back next month for scanning tips!

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