Best of the Ward M. Canaday Center

September 12, 2007 -  December 31, 2007



History of Books and Printing

 Every special collections department seeks to preserve items that show the evolution of printing.  The Ward M. Canaday Center?s collection contains works ranging from Egyptian pottery fragments dating back to 1250 B.C. to fifteenth century books printed on vellum to examples of the early use of color plates to limited editions from modern small and fine presses.  As individual items, the works are highly prized by bibliophiles.  As a collection, they provide insight into the development of the printed word.

Ezra Pound and the Imagists

In 1912, Ezra Pound proclaimed himself and his two good friends, Richard Aldington and H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), to be the three original Imagists.  Influenced by classicism, Chinese and Japanese poetry, and the French symbolists, the Imagists stated that poetic ideas are best expressed by the actual rendering of concrete images without superfluous commentary.  The poet?s function was to embody feelings in very precise and limited words that exactly conveyed the intended meaning.  The purpose was to produce a hard, clear, concentrated poetry, free of artificial vocabulary, meter, and romantic imagery.

African-American Literature 

Prior to the Civil War, many enslaved African-Americans were unable to read or write, as it was prohibited by law to teach them.  After the war, segregation prevented freed blacks from being educated.  Despite these obstacles, black authors began recording their observations on their unique lives in literary works that were eventually published.  Beginning in the late nineteenth century, the number of works published by black authors expanded at a tremendous rate in the form of poetry, short stories, narratives, autobiographical novels, and social criticism.  In the 1920s, black writers experienced a particularly fruitful period of growth during the period known as the Harlem Renaissance.  The Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s and 1970s fueled another period of growth and included many women writers for the first time.  It was also during this time that many unpublished early literary works finally found their way into print.

Southern Writers 

The American South has always intrigued artists with its climate, culture, landscapes, and history.  Although the contemporary South has become largely indistinguishable from the rest of the United States, differences persist.  It has been the Southern writer?s awareness of a community different from the rest of the country that has helped to preserve the distinct atmosphere of the region in poems, stories, plays, and novels.  One of these differences is the character of Southern speech.  Writers such as Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, and Tennessee Williams turned to language to define Southern qualities while trying to avoid the trap of sentimental praise of Southern myths.




Local History Collections 

The University of Toledo was founded with the primary goal of educating the citizens of Toledo.  While the University?s mission has grown to include educating students from around the world, its role as a metropolitan institution continues and has been given new emphasis in recent years.  One part of the mission of a metropolitan research university is to help the community preserve and make use of its history.  For a city such as Toledo which has seen its share of economic and social instability, local history helps to cement the community together, forging connections between citizens of the past and present.  This history provides a sense of pride and creates a shared sense of purpose.  Since opening in 1979, the Ward M. Canaday Center has preserved over 4,000 linear feet of records documenting the history of Toledo and northwest Ohio.  Not only do these materials help to preserve our history, they provide rich resources for UT students and faculty as well as researchers from around the world.

Disability History

 Often called the last civil rights movement in America, the disability rights movement has found its voice over the course of the last two decades.  The history of disability in northwest Ohio is significant, and the region has played an important role in disability history nationwide.  In 2002, the Canaday Center launched the Regional Disability History Archive Project in order to collect, preserve, and make available records of disability-related organizations and personal papers of individuals active in the disability rights movement.  It is hoped that by preserving these materials and creating a unique research collection, the undiscovered history of the disabled in our area will be examined, written about, and understood by all. 




Women?s Social History (2 above photographs)

From approximately 1840-1920, society?s perception of the American home was a major concern because the home was seen as the training ground for future generations.  A woman?s primary purpose was to produce and rear children to perpetuate society as it existed at that time.  To support and guide women in this endeavor, popular books and magazines of the period covered all aspects of domesticity such as etiquette, cooking, beauty, marriage, and health.  Despite this overriding belief in domesticity, however, society did allow women to be involved in a few pursuits outside of the home.  Such activities included religious and social reform movements that strove to better the lot of the poor, the sick, and the uneducated.  This eventually led to women entering the political arena as a means of correcting social ills. 









Collectibles and Curiosities 

Every special collection department has its collectibles and curiosities-materials that, while interesting and unique as historical objects, may not fit into established collecting areas or provide sufficient in-depth information to support significant research.  The autographs, three-dimensional objects, memorabilia, and ephemera described here are examples of such items.  While these materials are not likely to support research by themselves, they can be important to fill in a missing fact or provide context.  And as individual items, there is no doubt they are fascinating.


 All text written by Tamara Jones, Christina Boudreaux, Ryan and Cory Eickholt, Jennifer Freeh, and Asiyih Modaria.

Last Updated: 6/27/22