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Cincinnati Museum Center awarded grant to catalog collection of World War I portraits

CINCINNATI – The State Library of Ohio awarded Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) a grant totaling $4,999 to help catalog portraits of soldiers who served in World War I. The Library Services and Technology Act Grant will help complete the cataloging project, which will include a written finding aid and the creation of a searchable database available electronically from CMC’s library’s online catalog.

The grant will fund the cataloging of nearly 3,000 photographs of Cincinnatians who served in World War I. Those portraits were given to the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio, the predecessor organization to CMC’s Cincinnati History Library and Archives, following the United States and Allied Governments War Exposition at Cincinnati’s Music Hall in December 1918. Roughly 160,000 visitors flocked to the expo over nine days, viewing, among other things, 6,000 portraits of soldiers from Cincinnati. The expo also included a Gold Star room featuring portraits of those who had given their lives in the war. Following the expo, the photographs were returned to their lenders, with a letter from the expo’s executive secretary encouraging people to donate a copy of the photograph to the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio.

The State Library of Ohio recognized the importance of the collection of photographs, both for the city of Cincinnati and for researchers across the United States. It documents the men and women from Cincinnati who answered the call to duty and celebrates the lives of those who were lost. And because many of the photographs have inscriptions written by family members, they provide a window into what Cincinnati families were going through while their sons, husbands, brothers, daughters, wives and sisters were serving overseas or training elsewhere in the United States.

With the Library Services and Technology Act Grant, CMC will be able to finish cataloging more than 1,500 remaining portraits, write a finding aid and create a searchable database that will be available electronically to researchers, history buffs and family historians on the Cincinnati History Library and Archives website at

Library Services and Technology Act Grant will help complete catalog of 3,000 local photographs