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Landing page E photos Ohio Memory

Gov. John Kasich gives his 2012 State of the State address on Tuesday, Feb. 7, in Steubenville. Have you ever wondered what past governors have said to inspire Ohioans?

Ohio's constitution requires that the governor “shall communicate at every session, by message, to the General Assembly, the condition of the state, and recommend such measures as he shall deem expedient.” Until 1917, most did this by sending an annual written message or report to the legislature. Few presented in person.

After President Woodrow Wilson introduced the tradition of a State of the Union address to Congress in 1913, Ohio’s governors followed suit, beginning with Gov. James M. Cox, who presented his Jan. 9, 1917, State of the State message as an in-person address at the invitation of members of the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate. The rest is history.

Read Past State of the State Messages Online
What did Ohio’s first governor, Edward Tiffin, report to the “Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives” in 1803? What did Gov. Charles Anderson tell the legislature in his written report of Jan. 1, 1866, less than a year after the Civil War had ended? In his 1971 address, in the aftermath of the May 4, 1970, Kent State University shootings, did Gov. John Gilligan speak to the social and political divisions affecting Ohio and the nation?

Texts of past State of the State messages are available online through our Ohio Memory digital library. They shed light on the concerns of Ohioans in earlier decades, part of a digital collection that also includes governors’ portraits and campaign memorabilia. Accessible online and keyword searchable, the Ohio Governors Collection is just a sample of the material related to Ohio governors housed in the State Archives and the Ohio Historical Society’s manuscript collections at the Ohio History Center in Columbus. While more material is being added as time permits, the digital collection of governors’ materials will always be a work in progress.

See Past Governors’ Papers at the Ohio History Center
Inventories describing former Ohio governors’ papers are also accessible online and keyword searchable through our Finding Aids Collection. You can find papers of a specific governor or discover where a governor’s name is recorded in any finding aid in the database. If you find a description of a collection that you would like to see, past governors’ papers are available on microfilm or paper Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the third floor research room at the Ohio History Center in Columbus. For more information, call 614.297.2510.

What Have You Found in Our Archives?
Have you ever discovered a real treasure in our archives at the Ohio History Center in Columbus? Tracked down information about an elusive ancestor or an exciting event in Ohio’s history? Found out something amazing that you’d like to share with others? If so, please share your story by entering our 2012 I Found It In the Archives! contest.

The Ohio Historical Society is participating in the Society of American Archivists’ I Found It In the Archives! program. To enter, send us a 400-word essay or two-minute video describing the item you found and the impact that the information you discovered had on your research. E-mail your story to archivescontest@ohiohistory.org or mail it to Ohio Historical Society, ATTN: Lisa Long, 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH, 43211-2474. Your entry must be received before midnight Jan. 31, 2012.

After online voting, a winner will be announced on Feb. 29, 2012. The prize package includes a one-year Ohio Historical Society membership, which includes free admission to Ohio Historical Society sites statewide; a voucher for a free genealogy workshop at the Ohio History Center in Columbus in 2012; and a behind-the-scenes tour of the area where we store our archival collections at the Ohio History Center in Columbus.

The winning entry will be submitted to the Society of American Archivists national competition. For more information about the I Found It In the Archives! contest, including entry forms, rules and waivers, visit our Collections Blog at http://ohiohistory.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/i-found-it-in-the-archives-2012/ or call 614.297.2588.

Photo of the cover of Gov. Charles Anderson's Jan. 1, 1866, message to the Ohio General Assembly. Portrait of Gov. Charles Anderson. Text of Gov. John J. Gilligan’s 1971 'State of the State' message. Photo of a 2006 poster picturing Ohio’s governors from 1803-2006.
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