Cleveland Memory Project Coordinator Honored for Efforts to Preserve Local History
CLEVELAND – Bill Barrow, Special Collections librarian at Cleveland State University, is the recipient of the 2012 Herrick Memorial Award from the Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve.
The honor was bestowed upon Barrow in recognition of his outstanding work with the Cleveland Memory Project, an extensive repository of Northeast Ohio history that is housed in the University's Michael Schwartz Library.
Barrow oversees the unique archive, which was launched in 2002. It draws in part upon the library's Special Collections, including approximately 1 million clips and 500,000 photographs from the Cleveland Press newspaper (which ceased publication in 1982), as well as thousands of documents, photos, films and other materials related to the construction of Cleveland's landmark Terminal Tower complex and other development projects, recordings of City Club of Cleveland speeches spanning several decades, the papers of world-renowned Cleveland artist Viktor Schreckengost and all manner of other blasts from the past. Many items can be accessed online via the Cleveland Memory Project's website: www.clevelandmemory.org.
"The Cleveland Memory Project provides the infrastructure for our community to share its heritage," says Barrow, a Cleveland State alumnus who holds a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in history from the University. He also has a master's degree in library science from Kent State University.
"First and foremost, Cleveland State students benefit from the Cleveland Memory Project's vast resources," Barrow says. "We're using it to build collaborations among students, faculty, libraries, historical societies, government agencies and others. It's all part of regionalism. We need to work together to meet our region's challenges, and a big part of that is identifying our shared history."
The Cleveland Memory Project was featured in a recent New York Times story about websites that showcase historical images. The article described Cleveland State's regionally focused archive as "a more rewarding trove" than its counterparts at the Library of Congress or the Smithsonian Institution, whose materials can be difficult to search by location.
In selecting Barrow for the Herrick Memorial Award, the Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve praised him for "energetically promoting the history of Greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio" and noted that the Cleveland Memory Project "is regionalism in action for our local citizens and a way for far-flung Clevelanders to stay connected with their hometown."
The Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating the history of Cleveland and the Western Reserve, as Northeast Ohio was known in the 17th and 18th centuries. The association's board has presented the Herrick Memorial Award annually since 1981 to an individual whose accomplishments have promoted Cleveland. Previous honorees have included former Cleveland Mayor, Ohio Governor and U.S. Senator George Voinovich, philanthropist Maxine Goodman Levin (after whom Cleveland State's Maxine Goodman Levine College of Urban Affairs is named) and journalist Dick Feagler.
Barrow also recently won a 2012 Merit Award from the Society of Ohio Archivists.