Search Local: Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library Digital Library (OH)

Search Local are posts covering the free digital collections available from libraries and archives in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. It is published twice monthly.

Located in the southwest corner of Ohio across the Ohio River from the state of Kentucky, Cincinnati is known for its rich history as a migration route, business hub along the river, and its political impact as a border state during the Civil War era. The Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library Digital Library hosts 77 historical and genealogical collections covering Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio and the surrounding area.

Collections to consider:

  • Cincinnati History Lantern Slides. More than 990 images of Cincinnati, Columbus, and Vandalia in Ohio; Dayton, Newport, and Covington in Kentucky; and Lawrenceburg and Aurora in Indiana ranging from 1781 to 1940.
  • Ohio River Floods. Material chronicling the Ohio River floods, primarily in 1937, which impacted Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, but also covers the floods in 1883, 1884, 1913, and 1933. The 2,063 items include five diaries (1937), photos, postcards, and scrapbooks.
  • Genealogy & Local History. Subjects include local history for Cincinnati (OH), Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio; directories; genealogy; Hamilton County Jail Registers, 1831-1860; Voter Registration Lists, 1861-1960; and many more. The 1,660 items range from 1751 to 2021.
  • City and County Directories. The collection has 115 volumes for Cincinnati, OH, 1819-1939; 3 volumes for Dayton, OH, 1856-1876; 28 volumes for Hamilton, OH, 1858-1961; 13 volumes for Hamilton County, OH, 1887-1940; 16 volumes for Norwood, OH, 1896-1938; and 28 volumes for Covington and Newport, KY, 1839-1929.
  • Business, Shipping & Trade Directories. Thirty-three volumes of Cincinnati, OH Business Directory, 1882-1913.
  • Cincinnati Panorama of 1848. Daguerreotype image of Cincinnati made interactive with the addition of advertisements, documents, maps, newspapers, and portraits that permits the exploration of Cincinnati in 1848.
  • Cincinnati-Area Church Records. Photos, books, and records from eight churches documenting church membership, confirmations, baptisms, marriages, funerals, and minutes among 287 items.
  • Cincinnati Photo and Print File. More than 2,300 images of Cincinnati from 1863 to 1970.
  • Greater Cincinnati Memory Project. Seven libraries and museums in Cincinnati used a federal grant in 2000 in order to digitize and highlight a collection of their local history images.
    • The Athenaeum of Ohio, Eugene H. Maly Memorial Library gave access to 236 images from 1871 to 1900 in their “Catholic Churches of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Collection.”
    • The Kenton County Public Library in Kentucky made a variety of their Photograph and Postcard Collections available with 572 photos (1831-1960) and 144 postcards (1891-1950) covering Ohio and Kentucky.
    • The Miami University Libraries shared their “Frank R. Snyder Photograph Collection” of 397 photos documenting the Miami University from 1891 to 1940.
    • The Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library highlighted multiple collections featuring 838 images from Cincinnati’s history spanning 1781 to 1960 and 3,447 postcards covering Ohio and Kentucky for 1881 through 1930.
    • The Smith Library of Regional History – Lane Public Libraries offered multiple collections including 349 images comprising Milford Township, Oxford, and College Corner in Butler and Preble Counties, Ohio from 1801 to 1940.
    • The Wilmington College Library provided 25 images from Wilmington ranging from 1831 to 1940.
  • Local Government Resources. Books, documents, and reports, such as Indigent Burial Records 1901-1981, Records of Trademarks, County Commissioners Minutes, and much more.
  • African American Society Columns. A compilation of 298 clippings related to African Americans published in the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette, Cincinnati Enquirer, and Cincinnati Times-Star from 1884 to 1890.
  • Catholic Telegraph. More than 5,100 issues of the Catholic Telegraph newspaper from 1831 to 1930.
  • Disabled American Veterans. Scrapbooks and 199 editions of the Disabled American Veterans newsletter.
  • Genealogy & Family Histories. More than 175 images and family history compilations.
  • Inland Rivers Library. Materials include 285 account books, freight bills, diaries, books, and images related to the commercial activity along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from 1801 to 1980.
  • Indian Rivers Photograph Collection. Access to 16,747 photos and images along the Ohio and Mississippi River from 1781 to 1990.
  • Saints Peter & Paul Cemetery. A set of index cards and twenty-one record ledgers for burials in a 13-acre cemetery from 1881 to 2023.
  • Thomas Cottrell Collection. Accumulation of 2,607 bills of lading and freight receipts between 1801 and 1970.
  • Veterans History Project. More than 660 audio and video recordings and documentation of veterans from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, Persian Gulf War.
  • World War I. A compilation of 174 items comprised of images, documents, articles, and ephemera chronicling Cincinnati in World War I.
  • Yearbooks & School Publications. A collection of 1,504 yearbooks and school publications comprised of 864 volumes from fifty-four Cincinnati schools from 1838-2022; 507 editions from thirty-seven Ohio schools for 1888-2021; 50 items from thirteen Kentucky schools from 1905-1977; and 2 books from two Indiana schools for 1973 and 1976.
With so much rich content available, the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library Digital Library definitely makes researchers excited to Search Local!
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