Side A: In the years leading to Ohio statehood in 1803, Ames Township citizens decided to establish a stock-owned circulating library. Since cash was scarce during Ohio’s frontier era, some citizens paid for their $2.50 shares by the sale of animal pelts, which were taken to Boston for sale in the spring of 1804 by merchant Samuel Brown. There he acquired fifty-one volumes, primarily books on history, religion, travel, and biography, as the first accessions for the Western Library Association. Senator Thomas Ewing later related that he paid his share with ten raccoon skins, thus suggesting the collection’s popular name “the Coonskin Library.” Judge Ephraim Cutler was the first of many librarians who kept the library until 1861.
Sponsors: Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The International Parper Company Foundation, and The Ohio Historical Society