August 15th marked the 100-year anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal. Coincidentally, August also brought a visit from Dr. Peter H. Dana who had the distinct pleasure of conducting research about the canal in his grandfathersâ papers. Housed in the Kelvin Smith Library Special Collections, The Allston Dana...
Posters From Our Fall Exhibit: "Around the World in 80 Books"
Thu, 26 Dec 2013 21:07:56 EST
The Scholarly Resources and Special Collections team collaborated on an exhibit this fall entitled "Around the World in 80 Books", a presentation of travel-related books and manuscripts in accord with the 2013 Octavofest Travel theme. Over the past year or so the team has experimented with selection and display of...
If asked, many people would define a library as a building that houses books. While this is an adequate description, many people donât realize the sheer amount of personnel, knowledge and work needed in order to keep a library running smoothly, efficiently, and into the future. Books donât magically...
Preserving Your Travel Journal/ Octavofest, 2013 at Kelvin Smith Library
Thu, 24 Oct 2013 20:00:35 EST
Following a short summary of this yearâs Octavofest events at Kelvin Smith Library, this blog provides tips from a conservator on how to preserve your paper-based travel journal(s). Kelvin Smith Library supports and actively participates in Octavofest, a multi-institutional yearly celebration of book and paper arts unique to Cleveland, Ohio....
"Nothing is worth printing that is not worth printing well, accurately, beautifully; yet with simplicity and at moderate cost, so as to be within the reach of everyone" was the belief expressed by the private publisher Thomas Bird Mosher of Portland, Maine. Active during the years of the private press...
Barclay Leathem and the National Theatre Conference
Fri, 17 May 2013 16:29:43 EST
Barclay S. Leathem began teaching in the English Department at Western Reserve University (WRU) in 1921 while a law student. (He received his law degree in 1924.) He moved to the Speech Department in 1927 to teach the first theatre classes at WRU. Barclay Leathem in the classroom, Western Reserve...
Frederic McConnell and the National Theatre Conference
Fri, 26 Apr 2013 14:53:23 EST
The post-World War I era saw a number of significant changes in the national professional theatre dynamic, most notably the end of road company empires, the rise of motion pictures, and the collapse of the big stock companies. At the same time came the rise of the non-commercial theatre in...
The rare book holdings include one of the most beautiful color seashell books ever published, Conchology, or, The natural history of shells, by George Perry, which appeared in 1811. In the opening paragraph of his Introduction he states: "The study of Shells or testaceous animals, is a branch of...
The Womenâs Committee of the Cleveland Play House was founded to further the interests of the Play House, initially serving as liaison between the theatre and the public. The first Womenâs Committee meeting was held in the Brooks Theatre in May 1932 at the request of the Board of Trustees....
Restoration of Charles W. Wason's "Letters of a Trip Around the World"
Thu, 20 Sep 2012 23:34:43 EST
Working in a Preservation Department of a university library is a challenging and rewarding job. One of the most enjoyable activities involved with this profession is the conservation of rare and historic bindings. I recently had the opportunity to restore the damaged binding for a unique book with ties...
Our postings on the great publishers and printers continues with the house of Elsevier. The Elseviers were a Dutch family of printers, publishers and booksellers who flourished in Holland for over one hundred years from about 1585 until 1712. They were one of many fine printing establishments that conducted...
Samples from The Kelvin Smith Library Bookplate Collection
Mon, 23 Jul 2012 18:57:52 EST
Special Collections is the repository of a collection of over 5,000 bookplates from a handful of collectors who pursued that fascinating hobby. Begun with a gift in memory of their daughter Lucia to Western Reserve University by Mr. & Mrs. Paul Lemperly in 1917 the collection continued to grow through...
Though the Cleveland Play House struggled early on to find itâs financial and managerial footing, there was never a lack of artistic talent available to produce first class promotional material for a wide variety of productions each season. By 1922, the number of hand-drawn programs and playbills had been augmented...
Our processing efforts received a boost this summer through the work of three students, Mike Muth, Michael Wilson, and Char'ta Cleggett. Michael and Char'ta were part of University Circle, Inc's Future Connections program, a summer internship program for rising high school seniors. Mike joined us as an intern in Kent...
Small scale disaster recovery, or: the KSL Disaster Plan Works Again!
Mon, 18 Jun 2012 21:35:43 EST
The Preservation Department of Kelvin Smith Libraryâs Scholarly Research and Special Collections team received the phone call on Wednesday, June 13th, a perfectly normal day. Workmen on the roof were performing maintenance on an air-conditioning unit when suddenly a water pipe burst, sending water cascading through the ceiling and onto...
In 1879, Charles F. Brush, Sr. made Cleveland, Ohio history by lighting Monumental Park (now known as Public Square) with 12 arc lamps and the following year he lit portions of New York City’s famed Broadway Avenue.
Although Thomas Edison is often hailed as the first person to make electric lighting commercially successful, Charles Brush preceded Edison in the invention and commercialization of this technology. Brush’s innovation in areas of arc lighting, electricity generation and storage remain comparatively unknown. Brush was well known in his lifetime for his inventions, his business acumen and his philanthropic works and was respected for his contributions to science and society, yet history reveals little about one of our greatest inventors.
The Charles F. Brush, Sr. Papers in the Kelvin Smith Library Special Collections offer a rich source of material documenting the life and work of this accomplished American scientist, inventor, businessman and philanthropist most famous for his invention of the arc lamp. The collections consists of correspondence, laboratory notes, patent information, litigation records, financial material, newspaper clippings, company records, scientific articles, biographical information, photographs, audio recordings, and artifacts described in detail in the Guide to the Charles F. Brush, Sr. Papers.
In an effort to increase access to and use of the collection, the Charles F. Brush, Sr. Papers were digitized in their entirety in a project funded by Brush Engineered Products in 2008-2009. The following online exhibit invites our visitors to learn more about Charles F. Brush, Sr. first-hand, through his correspondence, business records, scientific research and photographs.
Brush was a keen observer of the world around him and a diligent correspondent. Series 1 features correspondence between Brush and his family, friends and peers which illuminates the scientific, political, social and business culture of his day. Highlights of this series include correspondence between Brush and his children, in particular Charles F. Brush, Jr. and Edna Brush Perkins. Raised in wealth, they were accustomed to expensive travel and entertainment which they described in rich detail to their father who in response requested greater detail.
Most of the letters here were written between Charles F. Brush, Sr., and his family members, most notably his son, Charles F. Brush, Jr., and his son’s wife, Dorothy Brush (Walmsley). In the letters (dated between 1911 and 1929) between Brush, Sr., his son, and daughter-in-law, they discuss their lives in Cleveland and elsewhere, their travels, scientific experiments, school, and grandchildren. The correspondence also documents how Dorothy and Brush, Sr., coped with the death of Charles F. Brush, Jr., in 1927.
The correspondence files also highlight Brush’s efforts to prove his kinetic theory of gravitation. This theory suggested that the behavior of gravity could be explained by the action of ether. Ether was thought to be a gas which many believed occupied space in which light traveled. Thus, Brush attempted to prove the existence of ether. After many years of conducting his own experiments in the basement laboratory in Euclid Avenue, Brush contracted with scientists at the U.S. Bureau of Standards and General Electric to further his work. As the correspondence shows, the experiments done at the U.S. Bureau of Standards and General Electric could not prove, to their satisfaction, the existence of ether.
Of note in this series is a bound volume of laboratory notes, written by Brush between 1880 and 1883. On pages 1-3 he describes losing an 1879 journal in a fire. Pages 4-29 contain Brush's best recollection of various things from old journal, as well as G.W. Stockley's signature witnessing that Stockley also recalled Brush explaining his ideas to him in 1879. These are primarily accounts of his early experiments with the original arc lighting system in the 1870s. Brush continues his journal of lab notes on page 60, making entries until page 146, in the years 1880, 1881, 1882, and 1883.
Most of the other material here deals with his storage battery experiments and his prodigious attempts to prove his kinetic theory of gravitation later in life.
Especially significant are Brush’s patents found here. Within this series are two volumes, which contain 68 printed patent specifications of Brush inventions involving the arc light, the Brush dynamo, storage battery systems and his windmill.
Brush engaged in a number of court battles to protect his patents and legal rights, the documentation of which is found in this series. The material here concerns infringements on patents held by Charles F. Brush, Sr. and includes correspondence, contracts, drawings, blueprints and court proceedings relating to trials involving the Brush Electric Company, the Accumulator Company, the Brush-Swan Company and the Linde Air Products Company as well as litigation involving Brush patents, including the Brush arc lamp, storage battery, and the Brush dynamo.
This series provides many interesting examples of 19th century personal and business records typical of a well-to-do American in the gilded age. Meticulous files include personal checks, check stubs, and invoices for services and goods purchased by Brush during the construction and furnishing of his Euclid Avenue mansion.
The financial success Brush earned through the manufacture and sales of his inventions is recorded in the financial records of the Brush Electric Company, ca.1880-1889. Found here are ledger sheets recording royalties from his inventions, as well as a record of merchandise ordered and shipped by the company in the ten years prior to its sale to the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in 1889.
Included in this record series are newspaper clippings from daily newspapers around the country as well as scientific journals and popular publications such as Harper’s Weekly concerning the arc light, dynamo, and storage battery, the Brush Euclid Avenue home and windmill, The Brush Foundation and its activities, obituaries for Charles F. Brush, patent litigation, and the kinetic theory of gravitation
This series contains reprints, as well as some typed and handwritten manuscripts, of scientific articles written by Brush over a 50 year time span. There are a few articles here addressing his groundbreaking work with the arc light, but most deal with his experiments to support his kinetic theory of gravitation.
This series contains material representing various interests of Charles F. Brush for which he kept a small store of information not elsewhere classified. Together they provide a view of matters that concerned him outside his laboratory and document family and personal history as well as other interests he shared with family and friends.
Included in this series are biographical sketches of Charles F. Brush and his son, Charles F. Brush, Jr., as well as various Brush family trees. These include two published genealogies that focused on the parents of Charles F. Brush, Sr.; Isaac and Delia Brush.
Collected Publications are arranged chronologically and include a small collection of reprints of articles which appeared in scientific journals. Authors of the articles include such Brush contemporaries as Elihu Thomson.
Legal documents found here relate mostly to business and property interests of Charles F. Brush. Items include contracts between Brush and the Brush Electric Company, Brush’s 1879 contract with the city of Cleveland to light Monumental Park, and the 1928 establishment of the Brush Foundation.
Miscellaneous items include awards and citations received by Brush, samples of his business cards, a ledger belonging to his brother Henry, and the 1927 dedication program of Charles F. Brush High School in Lyndhurst, Ohio.
The Brush Laboratories Company was founded in 1921 by Charles F. Brush, Sr., Charles F. Brush, Jr., and Charles Baldwin Sawyer, to engage in scientific research, testing and engineering, as well as the making of and dealing in inventions, patents and processes. Charles F. Brush, Jr., was the first president. After Charles F. Brush, Jr.’s, unexpected death in 1927, Sawyer assumed the leadership in the company. The records here include employment contracts and resignations, stock agreements with Charles F. Brush, Sr., license agreements, and patent transfers. The Brush Electric Company includes product catalogs or descriptions of early Brush electrical products such as electric light systems and dynamos.
Charles Baldwin Sawyer was a close friend of Charles F. Brush, Jr., Charles F. Brush, Sr.’s son. Sawyer, closely attached to Brush's family for many years, wanted to make known the unique contribution of Charles F. Brush, Sr., to American electrical technology. After the latter's death in 1929, Sawyer gave much effort to gathering data, verifying historical events, and collecting documents and artifacts relevant to Brush's career. In this series, are Sawyer’s files related to Charles F. Brush, Sr.
Of note is the correspondence between Sawyer, Dorothy Brush Walmsley, Margaret Richardson, E. S. Lincoln, and the Case Institute of Technology regarding the writing of a biography of Charles F. Brush, Sr.
Other files document Sawyer’s efforts to publicize Brush’s accomplishments through anniversary celebrations, plaque unveilings, and even the naming of a World War II battleship after Brush.
Under contract to Charles F. Brush, Jr.’s, widow, Dorothy Brush Walmsley, Margaret Richardson attempted to write a proper biography of Charles F. Brush, Sr. Due to health reasons, Richardson was unable to finish the biography and sold her notes, chapter drafts, copies of Brush materials, and other files, all contained here, to Charles Baldwin Sawyer in 1954.This series represents a rich source of biographical material about Brush collected and organized by a devoted biographer.
Within this series, organized by chapter, are the files complied by Margaret Richardson during her attempt to write a biography of Charles F. Brush, Sr. Within each folder are contained a wide variety of materials, including chapter drafts, notes, copies of materials in the Brush papers, news clippings, and background information.
Her miscellaneous files are organized in two folders of correspondence, arranged by author. Especially important is the correspondence between Richardson and Dorothy Brush , widow of Charles F. Brush, Jr., regarding Richardson’s efforts to write a Charles F. Brush, Sr., biography.
Richardson's research files include material related to her Brush biography filed alphabetically by subject heading. Included here are Richardson’s handwritten notecards, divided by bibliography, chronology, and topical subject.
Files here include a copy of Eisenman’s 1967 dissertation on Charles F. Brush and the research files he created while writing it. The research files contain background and contextual information about Brush, his life and times. Also included here are copies of scientific articles, price lists for scientific equipment¿ and fragmented transcriptions of interviews he conducted with Brush family members and former employees.
We thank Mr. Eisenman for his generosity in allowing a copy of his dissertation to be downloaded here
This series includes portraits of Brush, Brush with his scientific contemporaries, his birthplace Walnut Hill, his home on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio including images of his basement laboratory at that house, assorted images of equipment and machines that he used there, and his backyard windmill. Included in this series are glass plate negatives of many of these images and negatives and prints taken as part of his experiments in gravitation and his study of gasses. Also of note are drawings of his backyard windmill.