The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library is dedicated to helping preserve our local history through digitizing our own organizational records, news articles, and photographs, and also by supporting the efforts of the Cleveland Heights Historical Society, City of Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission, and Cleveland Heights Historical Center at Superior Schoolhouse to provide programming and information for patrons throughout the community. View our full collection development policy by clicking on the tab below.
Use the tabs below to view our Local History information.
We have archived and digitized many newspaper clippings, photographs, and other organizational records and currently host them online. Our primary digital archive is here at Ohio Memory, and we also host some material on the Cleveland Memory Project. Our other research databases including newspapers, obituaries, and genealogy sites such as Ancestry can be found on our Research Databases page.
- Ohio Memory
- Cleveland Memory Project
- Research Databases
For our physical holdings please visit us in person at the Lee Road location on the second floor where we house city directories, yearbooks, and reference information on local history.
In addition we carry reference copies of the print publication of the Cleveland Heights Historical Society “View From the Overlook.”
We also have microfilm holdings that are available upon request and can be printed at 10 cents a page.
For a full listing please refer to this link: https://heightslibrary.org/publications-on-microfilm/.
Basement reference materials that are available upon request include:
- Book Review Digest, 1905 – 1915, 1917 – 1922, 1926 – 2001
- Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, 1890 – 1999
- Index to Jewish Periodicals, 1963 – 1999 (roughly some years missing)
- National Geographic Magazine, 1911 – 2009
- Cleveland Jewish News, 1966 – 2008
- Time, 1939 – mid 1960s
- Life, 1936 – 1972
Please visit the following links to learn more about the rich and diverse history of Cleveland Heights and University Heights:
- CH-UH City Schools Alvin Gray Archives
- The Cleveland Heights City Landmark Commission
- The Cleveland Heights City Planning Department
- Cleveland Heights Historical Facebook
- Cleveland Heights Historical Lectures on Youtube
- The Cleveland Heights Historical Society
- The Cleveland Memory Project
- Cuyahoga County Archives
- Cuyahoga County Auditor’s Website
- The History of University Heights
- The Ohio Memory page for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
- University Heights Building Department
- View from the Overlook Archives
View the Heights Libraries Chronology here and see how our libraries have evolved over the last century!
You can view an interactive timeline of the first 100 years of the library, which features photos and information from our library system’s history.
Better Know the History of Your Library Blog
You can find local history posts on our blog:
Recent history blog posts:
- Better Know Your Library #66: An Interview with Rachel Wayne Nelson December 7, 2017
Please enjoy this interview with Rachel Wayne Nelson who served as the Director of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library from 1978-1988. Her career with our library system began in 1 …
- Better Know Your Library #65: The 1920s and 30s November 21, 2017
During the 1920s the population of Cleveland Heights soared, rising from 15,236 persons living within municipal city limits in 1920 to 53,309 in 1930. This was an increase of 250% overall and a school …
- Idlewood Village November 6, 2017
Today it seems as if few residents know that prior to being named University Heights, the city was once known as Idlewood Village. Incorporated in 1908, it would go on to be renamed in 1925 when John …
- In University Heights, the fashion was stripes October 23, 2017
Please enjoy these pictures and news articles regarding the original dedication of the University Heights pool in 1957 as well as photos of library programs happening in the park outside during the 19 …
- Great historical reading recommendations October 17, 2017
Are you interested in learning about more “hidden history?” Put a hold on “Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman” by Harold H. Brown and Marsha S. Bordner today! The often overlooked s …
Research your family history and genealogy
Our blog has a wonderful resources on where to begin researching the genealogy of your family:
Researching the History of Your Home
Are you looking to research the history of your home? This worksheet prepared by the Cleveland Heights Department of Planning and Development is a great place to start! http://www.clevelandheights.com/index.aspx?page=492
Our city directories which are located at the Main Lee Road location on the second floor are also a great resource. But you must do some research before utilizing them, including going on the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s website and getting information such as the permanent parcel ID number and the names of previous owners.
Your research may also require a visit to the Cuyahoga County Archives which is located at:
Cuyahoga County Archives
3951 Perkins Avenue
Cleveland OH 44114.
You can also contact them by phone at 216-443-7250 and email at email@example.com.
Home Renovation and Restoration Assistance
The Heritage Home Program: Connecting Homeowner’s with Technical Resources and Loans:
The Heritage Home Program℠ is ready to help you with free technical assistance for your home repair, maintenance, and rehab needs and access to loan rates that are more affordable than ever before! Ask our qualified technical staff your questions about home rehabilitation and improvement.
- Heritage Home Program Preservation Toolbox: http://www.clevelandrestoration.org/resources/preservation_toolbox.php
Cleveland Restoration Society
The Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS) is a 501 (c) (3) private non-profit organization that was founded in 1972. The Cleveland Restoration Society uses the powerful tool of historic preservation to revitalize our diverse communities, strengthen the regional economy, and enhance the quality of life in northeastern Ohio.
The Home Repair Resource Center
The Home Repair Resource Center is a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Cleveland Heights, OH. We strive to empower homeowners, seniors, women, anyone struggling with finances or foreclosure, and soon-to-be-homeowners with the knowledge and skills they need to keep their homes and communities in good repair.
- Facebook of the HRRC: https://www.facebook.com/HomeRepairResourceCenter/
Housing Enhancement Loan Program (HELP)
The Home Enhancement Loan Program allows homeowners in all of Cuyahoga County communities except Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls Township, and Hunting Valley to borrow money for repairing or remodeling homes at three percentage points below a bank’s market rate for home improvement loans. HELP has no restrictions on a borrower’s income and few limitations on what improvements can be made to a property. Both owner occupied and investment properties are eligible. Applications are available at any bank branch of these participating banks: Huntington Bank, KeyBank, and PNC Bank.
A list of helpful resources created by the Cuyahoga County Department of Development: http://development.cuyahogacounty.us/en-us/housing-development.aspx
Please enjoy these interviews with significant figures who have all contributed greatly to the work of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.
Please click on the Youtube link to view a larger version with closed captioning.
Rachel Wayne Nelson
Former library director, deputy director, adult services coordinator, librarian at the University Heights branch, and assistant librarian at Coventry (which was the Main location at that time), employed by the library from 1954 through 1988.
Jo Ann Vicarel
Branch manager for Noble Library, employed by the library from 4/24/1980 through 12/31/2010.
Former library director, deputy director, and adult services coordinator, employed by the library from 10/17/1977 through 8/29/2008.
Susan Black & Maureen Weisblatt
Former youth services department supervisor and children’s librarian at the University Heights branch, employed by the library from 10/31/1978 through 7/31/2012 and Branch manager for University Heights, employed by the library from 8/17/1978 through 9/30/2008.
Adult Services Librarian at Lee Road 2011 to present. Various positions including Adult Services Librarian at Lee Road 1968 to 1975.
The local history collection is housed at the Lee Road Branch and a majority of our collection is accessible during regular library business hours as part of our second floor reference collection. Physical materials include a local history circulating collection as well as a reference collection that can be used in our building. We also maintain a digital presence on Ohio Memory and the Cleveland Memory Project and upload new articles and information regularly.
The primary focus of this collection is preserving library history such as meeting minutes, photographs, and newspaper clippings that relate to our organizational activities and that catalog our contribution to our local community. Our secondary focus is on preserving the city history and large scale events that have taken place in either Cleveland Heights or University Heights. In addition we may also choose to acquire materials relating to surrounding suburbs such as Shaker Heights and Cleveland proper, but only if those materials have a strong relationship to our community or demonstrate a significant impact upon the library system or city development as a whole.
Our chief aim as an entity is to both share and promote a love of local history in our residents via programming and social media efforts. To that end, we prioritize the digitization of materials to make them accessible via the Cleveland Memory Project and Ohio Memory, and we work in conjunction with the Cleveland Heights Historical Society and City Landmark Commission. Finally we maintain resources that direct patrons to the correct repositories for their local history questions. Such resources include: container lists, pathfinders, and our local history blog. Overall we strive to avoid unnecessary duplication of materials that can be found elsewhere or via the internet and concentrate our efforts on preserving artifacts unique to our community and residents.
In addition our subordinate physical repository includes:
- Newspaper clippings from local papers such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Sun Press that relay the history of the library system and related events and persons ranging from 1935-1983
- Photographs and newspaper clippings regarding major library events, programs, and staff at all four branch locations: Lee Road, Noble Branch, Coventry Branch, and the University Heights Branch
- Maps and blueprints of our library at different periods of time, including the Lee Road renovation 2004-2006
- Meeting minutes from the library board and annuals reports from 1915 onwards
- School board publications reflecting significant events in the community
- Yearbooks from Cleveland Heights High School
- City directories ranging from the early 1930s – 1995
- Oral history interviews with former library directors and staff which are in the process of being transferred to newer technology formats
- Print materials regarding the history of Cleveland Heights, University Heights, and surrounding suburbs as well as the architecture of the city
- Information published regarding significant persons who have either been born in, resided for a length of time, or contributed significantly to the development of Cleveland Heights or University Heights.