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Western Library Association Historical Marker


Location of sign - Main Street Jackson, Ohio


Photo taken -  September 2007


Western Library Association Historical Marker, Ohio

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Wayne


Text of sign:


Western Library Association 1804

The Coonskin Library


In the years leading to Ohio statehood in 1803, Ames Township citizens decided to establish a stock-owned circulating library. 

Since cash was scarce during Ohio's frontier era, some citizens paid for their $2.50 shares by the sale of animal pelts, which were 

taken to Boston for sale in the spring of 1804 by merchant Samuel Brown. There he acquired fifty-one volumes, primarily books 

on history, religion, travel, and biography, as the first accessions for the Western Library Association. Senator Thomas Ewing later 

related that he paid his share with ten raccoon skins, thus suggesting the collection's popular name "the Coonskin Library." Judge 

Ephraim Cutler was the first of many librarians who kept the library until 1861.


The Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The International Paper Company Foundation, The Ohio Historical Society 2003


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