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Primary Documents

The MVHS Archival Library is full of primary documents that teachers can use across the curriculum while fostering learning in history.The Mahoning Valley Historical Society is a wonderful resource for teachers hoping to enrich learning by adding primary documents.

Primary documents are original photographs, diaries, speeches, newspaper articles from the time, objects, and other artifacts.  They are first-hand accounts about people or events.  Teachers can research the following themes while planning lessons for their students.  This list is only a sampling.  If you have questions, or would like advice planning a classroom activity, call or e-mail the education staff at .

Possible Unit Themes

African American Bicentennial Commission
Architectural Design

  • P. Ross Berry
  • Owsley Brothers

The Arts and Crafts Movement
Cemeteries in the Valley
City Planning

  • Warren P. Williamson and WKBN

Educational Reform

  • American Association of University Women
  • YMCA Business College

Genealogy and Family History
Health Care in Youngstown
Industry and Business
Industrial Reform

  • Unions
  • Little Steel Strike
  • Destruction in East Youngstown, 1916

Immigration and Naturalization
The International Institute Collection

  • Case Files for immigration in 1920s, 1967-1979, 1980-1985
  • Applications for Certificates of Arrival, 1934-1939
  • Mahoning County, Ohio Naturalization Proceedings Pre 1870
  • Immigrants by William Powers

The Industrial Revolution
Jewish Archives
Mill Creek Park
1913 Flood and Milton Dam
Political History and Reform

  • Charles P. Henderson and mayoral reform in Youngstown 1947-1953
  • Harriet Taylor Upton, women’s vote, and National Republican Party Secretary (Upton)

Racial Tension

  • Ku Klux Klan

Schools in the Valley

  • Beaver, Beloit, Goshen, Hubbard, Rayen School
  • Yearbooks

Social Reform

  • Florence Crittenden Home for Unwed Mothers
  • Services for deaf and mute
  • Asylum Reform
  • Progressive Era
  • Lutheran Women’s League of Youngstown
  • Christ Mission and houses

Steel Production

  • Bessemer Process

Suburban Growth

Transportation History

  • Fredonia Automobile Company
  • Youngstown Carriage Works
  • Aviation
  • First Licensed Woman Pilot in Ohio

Urban Growth
Women’s History
Youngstown State University

Some Specific Holdings at MVHS

Warren City Directory (includes Niles, Girard, Cortland after 1978): 1955, 1961, 1963, 1967, 1971, 1973, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984

Youngstown City Directories (some volumes include Struthers, Girard, Campbell, McDonald, Poland, Canfield, and Lowellville): 1869, 1872, 1875/1876, 1877-Present

Church records and history

County, local, and state histories

Local government records including Marriage record indexes, Coroners inquests and infirmary deaths, divorce records index, original probate estate records

Various family collections (If you have a certain family that you are researching, please call the Education Department for further information)

  • Wick Family Collections
  • Fellows Family
  • Fowler Family
  • Hewitt-Shehy Family
  • Arms Family Collection


Sampling of Newspapers

(If searching for specific event or year, please call ahead to Archivist)

 Amerikai Hirlap, 1920-1942

Il Cittadino, 1920-1932

Mahoning County Dispatch, 1897-1968

Mahoning Free Democrat, 1852-1855

Mahoning Index, 1846-1847

Niles Register, 1881-1883

Youngstown Vindicator—early years

Atlases and Maps

Mahoning County: 1855, 1860, 1870, 1874, 1899-1900, 1915

Sanborn Fire Maps (Provides birds-eye view and often building materials used)

Youngstown: 1884, 1889, 1896, 1907-1957, 1988, 1992

Early sketches, notes of Youngstown

James Mackey Collection (Mackey was a surveyor): 1849-1901

Columbiana County

1841 Map

1870 Atlas

1902 Map and Atlas

Trumbull County

1830 Crenshaw’s Map

1874 Combination Atlas and Map

1899 Atlas and Directory

1918 Atlas


Census Records

1790 United States Census (published format)

Original 1860 Mahoning County Census

Indexes to Censuses

  • 1870, 1880 Census Index for Mahoning County
  • 1880 Census Index for Trumbull County
  • 1880 Census Index for Columbiana County

Military Records

Official rosters

  • American Revolution (for those buried in Ohio)
  • Civil War
  • Spanish-American War
  • World War I

Tod Post Collection, Grand Army of the Republic (also includes information on African American soldiers)

12th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

  • Medical Department Ledger, 1864-1865
  • Morning Book, 1864

Numerous letters, diaries, and photographs