MS 1173 - Gillian Family Papers
|Title||MS 1173 - Gillian Family Papers|
Originally offered to the Wood County Historical Society, the Gillian Family papers were transferred to the Center for Archival Collections on May 15, 2012. The papers were subsequently donated to the Center for Archival Collections, via a signed instrument of gift, dated May 24, 2012, from Frances Hottinger and Stephen Hottinger, of Huron, Ohio. The 1/4 linear feet collection consists of materials relating primarily to Joseph Gillian’s time as a student in the Portage Village School district and spans from 1933 – 1957, with the majority of materials dating from 1933 – 1943.
A second donation by Stephen Hottinger was received by the Center in August 2012. The new material concerns Sidney B. Gillian, father to Joseph Gillian. The majority of the addition to the family collection is comprised of legal and financial documents related to the purchase and transfer of property. It also includes insurance policies and other assorted items. The addition spans from 1914 – 1957.
This register was prepared by undergraduate student archival assistant Rebecca Denes and Dana Nemeth, Library Associate II, in June 2012. It was updated by Rebecca Denes in November 2012.
Joseph Gillian was a resident of Portage, a small rural community located in Wood County, OH, where he was educated within the Portage Village School District. Per the Social Security Death Index, Joseph was born to Sidney B. and Flossie Gillian on November 10, 1925 in Portage and passed away on October 31, 2008 in Bowling Green. He was a veteran of the Armed Forces, having served in the Army during the Korean War. He remained a resident of Portage until his death and was an active member of the community and the Christ United Methodist Church.
The contents of this collection are from his child and teen years as a student and basketball player in the Portage Village school district. The various materials follow Gillian from age seven through age seventeen. There is a single item dating to 1957, a bracket for an unnamed tournament, but it provides no context into Gillian’s life at the time. His name appears on the rosters and in several of the newspaper articles related to the district’s basketball program from 1938 – 1943, and it is clear that basketball was an important part of his childhood and adolescence.
The Portage Village school district began as a single one-room schoolhouse in 1833 and grew throughout the decades. The village operated its independent school district until 1950, when the district was absorbed into the larger Bowling Green City School District. It is difficult to determine how many buildings comprised the school district at the time Gillian attended. As the district was small and it has been several decades since it was in operation, very few details about the Portage Schools are currently available. In researching the history of the district, a picture of Gillian in second grade was found and added to the research file at the end of the collection. It is known that Gillian attended Portage Center School from the years 1941 – 1943, but it is unknown if he was educated in any other school buildings within the village. The last remaining school building in Portage closed its doors at the end of the 1965 – 1966 school year and was demolished in 1984.
Joseph’s father, Sidney B. Gillian, was a local business man and member of the Portage Village council. He was born to Carmel and Pluma Gillian on July 15, 1887 and passed away on June 28, 1971. Along with a partner, he co-owned Wood County Implement Company and was a sales manager for the business until his retirement. Unfortunately, there is little biographical information about the elder Gillian available in the materials. While searching for information, an undated photograph of Sidney and his wife Flossie was found on Genealogy.com and added to the collection research file.
|Scope and Content|
This collection presents a small portion of small-town Northwest Ohio educational history, as well as a view of the Wood County home-front during the Second World War. The majority of the newspaper clippings and the scrapbook included in the collection deal primarily with the basketball programs in the Portage Village school district. Gillian was an active member of the program and collected a great deal of the information regarding regular season and tournament play that was available through the media at the time. Other printed sources provide more general information about life in Portage during the time period and give context to the social history of Northwest Ohio.
The materials related to Gillian’s education are an invaluable resource for educational researchers. The inclusion of four report cards, spanning from grade five through grade eight, provides the ability to form comparisons between modern education and education during the 1930s. Gillian’s report cards not only trace his progress in several taught subjects, but also contain evaluations of personality and citizenship.
The four newsletters from the Portage Schools contain a wealth of information related to the social history of the area. In the column for alumni news, the surname of the former student is not used, indicating that the community was small enough that only first names were necessary. Advice columns are also particularly interesting, providing a social commentary that seems antiquated in modern times. In addition to a handwritten roster of the eighth grade basketball team that Gillian was a part of, a scrapbook that was included in the donation of the collection is especially important to those interested in the history of Portage basketball program.
The scrapbook, which appears to have been created and maintained by Gillian, contains news clippings and handwritten annotations regarding the basketball program from 1941 – 1943. The first page of the scrapbook is a handwritten roster including coaches, team members and positions, and substitute players. An updated handwritten roster can be found on page eleven. Along with articles cut out of unnamed newspapers and glued into the pages, penciled annotations of game scores and details are found on several pages. Several news clippings contained within the pages all relate to the 1941 – 1943 Wood County high school basketball seasons, with the majority of them being about the Portage team specifically. As Portage is not the only team discussed in all of the news articles, they also stand as a source of information for high school basketball in the county as a whole during the time period.
The scrapbook exists in the collection only as a scanned images and printed copies of the images. The original scrapbook was damaged by mold and mildew and had to be disposed of. It should be noted that Portage Village yearbooks from the Hottingers covering a similar time span as the Gillian papers were accepted into the Wood County Historical Society's collection in May 2012.
Though World War II is not a focus of this collection, it certainly exists in the background, particularly when reading through the school newsletters. While the primary concern of the newsletter editors revolved around the school and the community, the shadow of the war can be seen in many of its pages. An item in the advice column in the December 1942 issue of the "Portage Press" article makes references to young women talking to soldiers; the single piece of correspondence in collection discusses a repayment of "meat stamps" and is written on stationary from the "Office for Emergency Management, War Manpower Commission, United States Employment Service." These are only two of several items in the collection that provide insight into life in Wood County during wartime.
The materials added to the collection in November, 2012 include a notification of Selective Service Exemption for Sidney B. Gillian. He was exempted from conscription due to being the sole provider for his wife and two children. This is particularly notable because of its 1917 date, which places its origin during the First World War.
SCRAPBOOKS AND NEWSCLIPPINGS