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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The Digital Shoebox - Images

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, February 26, 2017


The Digital Shoebox is one of the projects that the Library System is working on in 2017, now that the system has been upgraded and expanded to handle more digitized information and images.


Erika Grubbs, our Genealogy Librarian and head of the Local History Department, has been busy adding new images to “The Shoebox” as well as preparing more church histories to be digitized and indexed for use in the department.


Last year, the Digital Shoebox was moved to a new server with increased capacity and new software that will better operate the system.


The Digital Shoebox can be found at and is another of the Library System’s online resources.  It contains over 80,000 pages of local and state history owned by our library system, along with over 1,400 images.


Erika is adding new items every month to better preserve and allows better access to these items by the public.


To see the new images, go to “Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County – Images” on the site.  You can search by subject and title of the image, as well as simply browse.


We have started digitizing a collection of photos and materials that were donated to the Library by Max and Muriel Peterson Morgan which had been collected over many years.


They wanted to be sure these archival items were saved and made available to the public.


Some of the photos include John McCullough (1770-1850) of East Springfield, the Richard M. Reynolds Family photo taken in 1905, Montford and Laura Peterson taken in 1914 at their Springfield Twp. home, and William A. and Sadie R. Peterson at their Springfield Twp. home also taken in 1914.

The Class of 1919 of Springfield Twp. High School is shown in a photo taken Oct. 24, 1946 at a class reunion.  Fortunately, Mrs. Morgan carefully labeled each photo with the names of everyone in the picture which has been extended to the Digital Shoebox.


Lots of other new photos have been added, including the 81st annual commencement materials of Steubenville High School, performed June 11, 1940 in the Harding Auditorium.


A two-day event called “The Ninth Annual Institute of the Central Farmers Society of Jefferson County was held at Union Hall on Dec. 31, 1897 and Jan. 1, 1898.  Programs on farm education, as well as music entertainment were included.


“The Advance” was a Richmond, Ohio newspaper, and the edition for Oct. 12, 1878 has been digitized.  The 8 pages of news was published semi-monthly by Samuel R. Probert at his printing shop and contained national and local news of the day.


A 1954 news article about the Bethel AME Church of Mt. Pleasant, Ohio tells about the 136th anniversary of that church.


The 1950 collapse in the Wheeling Steel Co. Mingo Plant is covered in five different photos taken by George Hruschak and donated to the library.


Perhaps the most unusual item to be digitized and added to the collection is a 1951 brochure urging county residents to vote against a Bond Issue for the Jefferson County Court House.  One page discusses how the building has not been maintained from 1932 until the roof collapse in Nov. 1950 under a load of snow.


The second page is a song by Michael Halapy titled “Courthouse Blues” that gives the history of building’s maintenance.


Other images already in “The Shoebox” reveal the Courthouse in earlier photos, as well as the removal of the tower in 1930 and the collapse of the 4th floor during the Thanksgiving snowstorm of 1950.


The Bond Issue for a new courthouse failed, and eventually the 1874 courthouse was renovated with the 1950 damages replaced.


In previous days, all of these things would be placed in file cabinets of the library, but now they can be digitized and cataloged for everyone’s review and use in the library’s online systems.


Many thanks to the Morgans for donating their local history items to the Library so they can be preserved for future generations.