Kevin Grace

Cincinnati's Literary Heritage

This cultural history of Cincinnati explores how a love of books and reading transformed Ohio’s Queen City into a bibliophile’s paradise.
Since its founding in 1788, Cincinnati has been home to lovers of books and reading. The early settlers swapped books with one another. By the early 1800s, civic leaders were envisioning the creation of a public library, and in 1814, the Circulating Library Society was founded. Other libraries followed, as did bookshops and stationers.
These early social developments were followed by literary industries. Soon, printing and publishing made Cincinnati one of America’s centers for the book trade. Ault & Wiborg became one of the world’s largest manufacturers of printing ink, while the Strobridge Lithography Company produced the lion’s share of circus and show posters in the Western world.
Author and rare book archivist Kevin Grace chronicles the centuries-long literary evolution of Cincinnati, a city that now boasts a thriving community of poets, playwrights, authors and booksellers.
220 printed pages
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