The Historian’s collection consists of non-governmental historic documents and records, maps, photos, oral history and video recordings, and pamphlets and booklets.
Putnam County Historians have been collecting primary material since the 1950s to preserve Putnam’s past for future generations. The papers in the Collection have been arranged and described. The Historian’s Office welcomes the donation of private papers, maps, and photographs that shed light on the County’s past, as well as the gift of collections relating to contemporary subjects to be preserved for future generations.
The Historic Document Collection encompasses a variety of subjects including iron mining, smelting and forging, Drew Seminary, cattle drovers, menageries and the early circus, civic and fraternal organizations, county politics, local businesses, and family history.
There is an indexed map collection containing original and copied maps dating from the late 18th century to the present day. The map collection is especially useful for anyone engaged in research in –
- county history
- family and house histories
- environmental assessments
- railroad and transportation history
- iron mining history
Three 19th century maps are particularly useful because they show property owners and because there are some detailed insets of villages and hamlets. Paper copies of the Beers 1867 town maps are available for sale. There are scans in sections of the1854 O’Connor map and the 1876 Reed map and of the individual towns and villages in the 1867 Beers map. They may be obtained on CD-ROM at $10 for a single map or $15 for all three on a single CD (plus $2 shipping).
There is a fully indexed collection of photographs, slides, and postcards that document the County’s past and present.
Of particular interest are –
- Photographs taken by Willitt C. Jewell, editor of The Putnam County Courier from the 1920s through the 1960s
- Photographs taken by staff photographers of the weekly Patent Trader dating from the 1950s to 1980s.
- Photos taken by Allison Albee in the 1930s.
- Detailed aerial photographs of the county taken for county planners in 1933, 1963, and 1986.
- A large collection of postcards, mostly from the first years of the 20th century, donated by Mr. and Mrs. David Tischler.
The Office has the capability of scanning and printing high quality reproductions of the photographs, which may be published with permission or scanned and e-mailed to researchers for a fee.
Oral Histories. The Historian’s Office has a collection of oral histories on audio and video tapes. They are not loaned but may be heard or viewed in the Office. Of particular interest are
- Interviews with “old timers” from Kent and Southeast
- Interviews with people who have held political, judicial or administrative offices.
- Interviews (ongoing) with World War II veterans from Putnam County about their experiences
Tapes about Putnam County
There is a collection of audio and videotapes relating to Putnam County history.
- Tapes that were created by or for Putnam County government agencies
- Tapes that were created by professional or amateur filmmakers or videographers relating to or documenting Putnam County.
- Tapes, usually of nationally broadcast programs, in which Putnam County plays an important role.
- Tapes that were created to be shown on local cable networks
The County Historian has an indexed collection of pamphlets, annuals, commemorative journals and booklets published for –
- political parties
- veterans’ organizations
- volunteer services
- chambers of commerce