MS 418 - George W. Ritter Scrapbooks
“MS 418 - George W. Ritter Scrapbooks.” Finding Aids. BGSU University Libraries, 20 Mar. 2014, lib.bgsu.edu/finding_aids/items/show/1188. Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.
|Title||MS 418 - George W. Ritter Scrapbooks|
|Introduction||The George W. Ritter Scrapbooks comprises materials spanning from December 1927 to October 1929. The collection consists of six scrapbooks containing clippings from newspapers operating within the Toledo area. |
The George W. Ritter Scrapbooks were donated to the Center for Archival Collections through the cooperation of the Ritter, Boesel, Robinson, Marsh Law Firm. Its acquisition took place on April 11, 1985. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication may be permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. This register was completed by graduate student Matthew Kilmer in December 2013.
|Biographical Sketch||George W. Ritter was born in Vermilion, Ohio, in 1886 to John Ritter and Louise Hauth. Ritter graduated from Vermilion High School in 1902 and attended Baldwin University, eventually earning a law degree from the Cleveland Law School in 1906. He was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1907 and began practicing law in Sandusky. 1913 would see Ritter make the transition to Toledo to work with a variety of law firms, culminating with the establishment of his own law firm with Leland Gardner. |
Ritter served as law director for Toledo from 1928 to October of 1929 under the administration of William T. Jackson. His crowning achievement during this era was the legal case he undertook to have the Miami and Erie Canal vacated. In the early half of 1929, Ritter successfully argued a lawsuit against the Maumee Valley Electric Company in front of the United States Supreme Court. This victory allowed for Toledo to drain the canal in favor of constructing the Anthony Wayne Trail.
However, Ritter’s tenure as law director was rife with drama. In the summer of 1928, he wrote a letter to Municipal Judge Ira Cole in which he criticized him for the manner in which he conducted his court. In response, Cole charged Ritter with contempt of court and sentenced him to five days in jail. Ritter’s lawyers failed to file an appeal in time and the hapless law director was arrested by city marshals. He barely managed to avoid serving his sentence and was saved when Common Pleas Judge Charles Milroy convinced Cole to dismiss the case.
Ritter swore retribution against Cole, and perhaps he tried to take it when Ritter released information showing that Cole had a criminal past. Such a revelation threatened the legitimacy of Cole holding a public office. Unfortunately for Ritter, Cole had a strong support base within the city of Toledo, and the backlash would cost him his job. Ritter’s association with the Jackson administration became toxic, resulting in his resignation in order to boost the latter’s effort to retain the mayoral seat.
In 1936, Ritter assisted with the restructuring of Willys-Overland Motors, which would leave its mark on the world by being the first automobile company to produce military Jeeps. Ritter served as the head of the company’s legal team during this era.
Ritter and his wife undertook philanthropic work during the 1950s. Such charitable works include providing the funds for the Ritter Planetarium at the University of Toledo; the Vermilion Public Library in his hometown; and the Ohio Legal Center at Ohio State University.
Ritter passed away in 1979 at the age of 92.
|Scope and Content||The George W. Ritter Scrapbooks collection is comprised entirely of six scrapbooks (1927-1929). They collect newspaper clippings from various Toledo papers during Ritter’s tenure as law director. Most of these clippings focus on legal issues, such as the confiscation and destruction of slot machines. Nevertheless, city politics are fully represented throughout the scrapbooks, as well. Book 1 deals primarily with William T. Jackson’s plans as mayor-elect. Book 2 focuses on legal issues plaguing the city of Toledo along with its effort to deal with a rabies epidemic. Book 3 details the case of Ritter vs. Cole, in which the latter charges Ritter with contempt of court. Book 4 marks a heavy return to legal and political issues. Book 5 contains Ritter’s victory in getting the Miami and Erie Canal vacated and the accusation against Cole for being a paroled convict. Finally, Book 6 chronicles the aftermath of the Cole case and Ritter’s subsequent resignation.|
|Series Description||SCRAPBOOKS |
December 1927-October 1929
Includes newspaper clippings from regional papers detailing legal and political issues.
|Inventory||Box 1 |
1. Book No. 1: From December 26, 1927 to March 1928
2. Book No. 2: From March 11, 1928 to May 23, 1928
1. Book No. 3: From May 23, 1928 to August 11, 1928
2. Book No. 4: From August 11, 1928 to January 12, 1929
1. Book No. 5: From January 12, 1929 to August 13, 1929
2. Book No. 6: From August 13, 1929 to October 18, 1929