Conrad Day wrote a newspaper column for many years. He was a talented artist who created the “By Ned” cartoon series that not only appeared in the Cleveland Daily Banner, but also was published in a book.
He and his family collected and saved many documents. Recently, Day's widow, Jo Day, presented those papers to Mayor Tom Rowland for the city of Cleveland.
Mayor Rowland met with city historian Robert George, Museum Center at Five Points executive director Hassan Najjar, and museum curator Lisa Chastain.
The four carefully examined the papers, tracing their history and significance to important events and dates in the city's history.
Chastain said the collection includes copies of old legal papers like deeds and property transfers from a century ago. There is also a list of some City Charter Amendments.
Some of those amendments are apparently pre-Civil War, since there are references to slaves throughout the collection. Most of the documents appear to have come from 1880 to 1901, Chastain added.
“This could be valuable to genealogists or anyone doing local history research,” said Najjar.
“From a sociological point of view, the ordinance amendments offer another picture of life in Cleveland at the time,” George said.
“Cleveland was founded in 1838, 175 years ago,” said Rowland, “but the first city charter, officially creating the city of Cleveland, was adopted in 1842.”
He noted the city celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1992. Rowland, who had been mayor a year when the celebration was held, has personal memorabilia from that event. He said the community celebrated the event in grand style.
“It was a very special event in the life of the city,” Rowland said. The city, he said, will likewise mark the 175th original charter anniversary coming up in four years.
Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Avery Johnson said Cleveland residents should take some time, as 2013 comes to a close, to reflect on how far the city has come since it began as “Taylor's Place.”
Cleveland's first charter became void over time, and a new one was adopted in 1879.
The Museum Center at Five Points' current public exhibit, “Building Up Cleveland,” follows the city's growth since that second charter.
As for the Conrad and Jo Day Family collection, the papers are being stabilized to avoid any further deterioration. Museum officials said they will all be preserved and transcribed for future readers.
Rowland said “Conrad and Jo Day and their entire family have been an important part of the community.” He added he is indebted to Mrs. Day for taking good care of the documents and donating them to be shared with future generations. “This is a special part of history that will prove a valuable resource for many in the future,” he said.