The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

John Poag Papers, 1867-1886 and 1890-1899


Size: .5 linear feet

Provenance:  Received from Marian J. Matyn, Archivist at Central Michigan University

Access:  Open

Collection Summary: This collection contains personal, business, and political correspondence; legal and financial documents; and 5 albums of European photographs.

Subjects: Business and Commerce, Collectors & Collecting and Travel

Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.

Completed by:  Lisa Petree, May 1998; last updated: June 2014

Biographical Sketch

            John Poag, born ca. 1860, was the son of John Poag, a pioneer, Toledo merchant, banker, and real estate investor.  The elder Poag died in 1867 and John Jr. became heir to a large estate.

            The younger Poag became the ward of Morrison R. Waite of Toledo, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.  Waite was the attorney in an arbitration case in Geneva, Switzerland and Poag accompanied him to Europe in 1880.  An article in the Toledo Daily Blade, February 3, 1914 reported he was still a minor at the time.  Regardless, Waite assisted Poag in forming a collection of bric-a-brac, tapestries, paintings, old prints and books.

            John Poag, Jr., was a lawyer in Toledo who later became an importer and breeder of thoroughbred St. Bernards.  His business was known as “The Poag Kennels”.  Watch, the famous stud and show dog, dubbed “King of the St. Bernards”, made his proprietor renowned amongst breeders everywhere.  Much of Poag’s business correspondence from 1890-1898 consisted of letters detailing dog sales/breeding and racing horses.  He was also a member of the American Trotting Association.

            He died in Toledo ca. 1899 and bequeathed his collection to his close friend and roommate of nine years, W.H. Tucker whom he had met in law school.  Dr. Tucker, president of the directorate of Toledo University, donated part of the Poag collection to the university’s school of art.  The paintings and valuable art works were displayed in the gallery so both students and the public could enjoy them.     


Scope and Content Note

            This collection, aside from the library accession book, consists of five albums of European photographs.  The photographs date from approximately 1860 to 1880.  They are commercial albumen prints and were purchased primarily in France, Italy, Germany, and England.  Two of the albums are each embossed with the inscriptions “Italie” and “Rome”.  The photographs in these volumes are primarily Italian objects i.e., classical statues and ruins; paintings in museums; landscapes; and buildings.  The other three albums contain cartes-de-visite and cabinet photographs of well-known individuals of all periods, as well as photographs of art works and buildings, some of them in Germany.  Most of the portraits were bought in Paris galleries and a majority of them, as a consequence, represent French politicians, soldiers, royalty, writers, artists, and courtiers.  Other nationalities, however, are also represented.

            Poag’s library accession book reflects a collecting interest in history, the classics, biography, travel, novels, poetry, and art.  It might be useful in studying reading tastes of well-to-do Midwesterners in the 19th century.


Series List















1875-1878, 1880-1884 and 1890-1898

Arranged chronologically

Personal correspondence, from 1875-1876, to John Jr. from his friend in the military academy at West Point, Harry D. Waite.  Also included are letters from friends Z.T. Griffen of Chicago, Illinois (1877-1878) and Lida P. and Dan (D.J.) Caine of Toledo (1880-1884).  Business letters between the years 1890-1898 chronicle dog sales and breeding at the Poag Kennels in Toledo as well as Poag’s involvement with race horses and membership in the American Trotting Association.  In addition, there are two letters on politics dated Oct. 18, 1880 and Jan. 16, 1884 respectively.


Legal and Financial Documents


Arranged by type and chronologically 

Several mortgages from 1867 and 1877 can be found in this series.  Also included are a document related to dog breeding, proceedings of a meeting, a bank book, a group of receipts for various transactions and a library accession ledger for Poag’s personal collection of books.





ca. 1860-1880

Arranged by subject (creator arrangement)

This series, aside from John Poag’s library accession book, consists of five albums of European photographs.  Three of the five books have pictures of famous landmarks particularly monuments, cathedrals and castles as well as portraits of famous individuals throughout history e.g., Pascal, Mozart and Napoleon.  The remaining two albums, one embossed with the inscription “Italie” and the other “Rome”, show classical Italian ruins, statues and well-known paintings.  Photographs of Herculaneum and Pompeii, busts of Psyche, Christopher Columbus, Marco Aurelio and Michaelangelo’s “Last Judgement” in the Sistine Chapel encompass but a minute portion of this broad-spectrumed collection.    


 Folder List



Folder Title














 S1. Correspondence
Jan. 1881-Aug. 1881
Sept. 1881-Dec. 1886
Jan. 1890-Dec. 1890
Jan. 1891
Feb. 1891
March 1891
April 1891
May 1891
June 1891
July 1891
Aug. 1891-Sept. 1891
Oct. 1891-Dec. 1891
Jan. 1892-May 1892
July 1892-Nov. 1892
Jan. 1893-April 1893
May 1893
June 1893-Aug. 1893
Sept. 1893-Dec. 1893
Aug. 1897-Nov. 1899
Partial & undated



S2. Legal and Financial Documents
Mortgages, 1866 & 1867
Various, 1877, 1881, 1893-1894
Library accession book





S3. Photographs
Loose Photographs
Sketch for Poag by William Whitlock, February 11, 1889
Photograph albums”
Portrait albums (3 volumes)



MSS locations key
*=oversize cabinet
^=oversize area
**=locked cabinet
R-4=range four


Last Updated: 6/27/22