Dover Public Library, Historical Society create local archives

Dover The Dover Public Library and the Dover Historical Society have joined forces to create a unique place for those interested in researching the history of Dover and the surrounding area.

The Local History Room, located in the basement of the library at 525 N. Walnut Street, is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Library director Jim Gill said the partnership would be mutually beneficial for both organizations.

The historical society, which operates the JE Reeves Victorian Home and Carriage House Museum, has a large collection of information related to the history of Dover, but it focuses on tourism and not research, he said. .

“We thought we could fill that void because we have good hours and we pay the staff. It’s a real partnership,” said Gill.

Thus, the historical society moves many items from its collection to the local history room, where it is cataloged by Kim Jurkovic, the local historian librarian of the library.

Jurkovic is particularly qualified for the post. She previously worked at the Reeves Museum and now works three days a week in the archives room managed by the Tuscarawas County Historical Society at Kent State University at Tuscarawas in New Philadelphia.

The room contains a large collection of books of local interest, including Dover High School yearbooks from 1913, yearbooks for the cities of Dover, New Philadelphia, Strasbourg, Uhrichsville, Dennison and Newcomerstown, and books on history of Tuscarawas County.

In addition, it has local newspapers on microfilm from 1865 to 2018.

The collection is focused on Dover.

“It’s a conscious choice,” said Gill. “We know there is a historical society. We know there is a genealogical society. We are going to be the best collector of specific items in Dover.”

Books and microfilms were already part of the library’s collections. But now it incorporates elements of the Dover Historical Society.

This includes material on the history of Dover schools, including photos, school curricula, and debut programs. There are files on local families, old postcards from Dover, business information, church files, information on Union Hospital, and files on the Ohio & Erie Canal, Dover Dam and the flood of 1913.

“Ultimately, we’re definitely looking at digitizing everything,” said Gill. “Of course, funding is important for that. Right now we’re in the M&A phase, but we still have an eye on how we can preserve it down the road.”

Eventually, the collection will expand to include information about the Reeves family, who played a major role in the development of Dover in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

“A lot of the digitization is going to be the business of the Reeves family,” Jurkovic said. “This has been one of the challenges that we thought about because a lot of the Reeves family and the Reeves businesses, it’s a big part of Dover history.

“So it’s kind of very relevant to here, but at the Reeves house it’s also extremely relevant to there. So that’s going to be a big part of what we’re digitizing. They’re going to keep things but at some point it’s going to come up here a bit so that we can have it on the computer so that we have access to it as well.

“If people come here to research Dover businesses and how Dover has developed, they will need to know the Reeves family.”

Shelagh Pruni, director of the Reeves Museum, said the partnership between the two organizations was great.

“I love that we finally get the chance to go through a lot of our archives that just never happened when trying to run a museum,” she said.

“So I appreciate this opportunity. And then when we realized what we had and most people can never see it, and if someone comes to ask us, it would take so long to try to find it, I’m very thankful that Kim is here. We can find him right away. It’s accessible to people. We have a lot of really cool things. I think it’s a perfect partnership. “

This WWII-era poster is among the items available at the Local History Room of the Dover Public Library.
The local history room of the Dover Public Library is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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