Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

Sep 15

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Posted on September 15, 2017 at 2:33 PM by Jessica Cromer

Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

This day is recognized annually on the third Friday of September to remember American prisoners of war, soldiers missing in action, and their families. “America’s POW/MIAs should be honored and recognized, rather than memorialized, with the focus on continuing commitment to account as fully as possible for those still missing” (National League of POW/MIA Families Each year the president and individual states sign declarations to honor this day, and there are ceremonies nationally and locally all over the country.

       POW-MIA Flag 1  POW-MIA Flag 2
Slight variations can be found in the flag's artwork as it was never copyrighted.

Read the Story Behind the POW/MIA Flag at

Resolution 288, adopted at the 67th American Legion National Convention, calls for designating a POW/MIA Empty Chair at all official meetings of The American Legion as a physical symbol of the thousands of American POW/MIAs still unaccounted for from all wars and conflicts involving the United States (The American Legion POW/MIA Advocacy). Many other public places also have these Chairs of Honor such as sports stadiums.

In the Greene County Archives, there is a Probate file for the estate of Jost J. Kundert (File Box 952). In his estate paperwork filed in December 1944, he had an adult daughter and an adult son.
The son Paul Kundert (1916-2004) is three years old in the 1920 US Census shown below.

1920 US Census
1920 United States Federal Census
"United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (,1037202801,1036846301,1589332315 : 14 December 2015), Ohio > Greene > Bath > ED 154 > image 42 of 44; citing NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Jost's daughter became the executrix of the estate, while his son, Paul D. Kundert, was listed on the estate paperwork as residing at Los Baños Prison Camp, Philippine Islands.
     Kundert Estate_Page_1
Probate file for the estate of Jost J. Kundert (File Box 952), Greene County Archives

34-The Cincinnati Enquirer 6-7-34_p2
June 7, 1934
Cincinnati Enquirer
(A Publisher Extra Newspaper) page 2.

The following excerpt is from page 2 of the Thursday, June 7, 1934 Cincinnati Enquirer (A Publisher Extra Newspaper), and reads:

“… Unable yesterday to reconcile the hopes of the "Hoover men" and the proponents of new control, the committee's diplomats sought overnight to effect a compromise which Street, Dayton; Alexander Henry Rust, 18, 4519 Oakview Avenue, Dayton; Robert Dallas Gorham, 19, R. R. No. 5, Dayton; Louis Eldon Koogler, 19, Box 145, Fairfield; Paul Denton Kundert, 17, Box 5, Osborne; Malcolm Hodson, 17, South Solon, and William Edward Leonard, 18, Union, Ohio. This is the second group of men to be enlisted under the June quota of 36 for this district. They entrained for Norfolk, Va., where they will undergo four months of preliminary training before assignment to vessels of the United States fleet

A Greene County Chapter of the American Red Cross campaign ad lists Paul Denton Kundert (J-01132), as an American Internee at Santo Tomas, Manila, also known as the Manila Internment Camp. The Santo Tomas camp became so overcrowded that in May 1943, people were transferred to the newer Los Baños Prison Camp.
Kundert Red Cross Ad
Greene County Chapter American Red Cross Campaign Ad

During World War II in the Pacific theater, the Raid at Los Baños Internment Camp, Laguna, Philippines on February 23, 1945 by combined U.S.-Filipino forces, resulted in a highly successful Allied military rescue operation of a Japanese internment camp. 
Over 2,000 people were liberated.
45.1-Washington C.H. Record-Herald 2-27-45_p3 45.2-Washington C.H. Record-Herald 2-27-45_p3 clipping CROP Total
February 27, 1945 Washington Court House Record-Herald page 3 and detail.

Page 3 of the Tuesday, February 27, 1945 Washington Court House Record-Herald has the notice,

XENIA—Paul Denton Kundert, Osborn, naval intelligence officer, and several others known here were liberated from the Los Banos internment camp near Manila”

Paul Kundert would live close to another 60 years.

Please take the time today to remember POW/MIAs and all of their families and friends.

For more info:

Santo Tomas Internment Camp <>
Raid at Los Baños, Philippine Islands <ños>
Pacific War <>

Until Next Time...

Sep 08

National Preparedness Month

Posted on September 8, 2017 at 5:30 PM by Jessica Cromer

September is National Preparedness Month!

This is a good opportunity to talk about disaster preparedness in terms of what we do here, and what you can do to prepare at home with your family history collections.

Being prepared for a disaster includes having plans and procedures. These are made in advance of emergencies because if people panic they can easily forget even the simplest of things. Much like having a map of a fire escape on the wall and an evacuation meeting place, disaster plans are thought out and written down. The procedure is the fire drill that puts into practice the steps that should be taken to act. Natural disaster plans and procedures should be a part of every workplace and school, but it is also a good idea for families to have them at home too – especially for young children. Drills train the body to act when the mind might not remember what to do.

Em Exit Plan 1 Em Exit Plan 2
Evacuation plans in different areas of the work place

Archives are fiduciaries to the public – they are trusted with taking care of our shared history and heritage. As such, emergency preparedness is vitally important, from environmental controls to natural disasters. Fire and flood are two of the most extreme cases, and depending on where you live and work, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and human war. On the other hand, being prepared also includes preventing long-term cumulative hazards. For archival collections, these are such things as extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations and light exposure.

Em Temp-RH 1 Em Temp-RH 2
Monitoring temperature and relative humidity

Whether in archives or at home, some things to keep in mind are:

Have designated emergency supplies on hand – stored together and not locked away.
Em Manual-Supplies

                Have smoke detectors and keep fire extinguishers readily accessible.
                               Em Extinguisher 1      Em Extinguisher 2

Keep materials, boxes, and bottom shelves off the floor in the event of rising water.
Em Raised Bottom Shelf 1  Em Raised Bottom Shelf 2

Do not store vulnerable materials underneath water pipes that run across the ceiling.
If you have sprinkler systems, be aware of the danger of water damage to materials.
(In archives, sprinkler systems are often special chemicals rather than water.)
Em Sprinkler 1

Try to keep a stable environment of temperature and humidity.
In general, keep materials out of the light as much as possible.

Emergency preparedness manuals are kept in multiple areas of archives and with employees at home. These include important contacts, phone numbers, inventories, step-by-step instructions for various situations, and clean-up supplies, among other things.
Em Manual 1 Em Manual 2

If you find yourself needing to take emergency action with your personal treasures, first make sure you are not in harm’s way. Hopefully you now have created an emergency manual. Depending on what is in your collections, you have gathered information on how to salvage your items if they are wet, moldy, brittle, pest ridden, etc. If you can, take photos. Even better if you already have an inventory. Your manual has emergency phone numbers like police, fire, neighbors/coworkers, insurance companies, salvage/cleaning companies, and additional resources tailored to your potential needs.

The National Preparedness Month website provides resources for you and your family, some of which can also apply to your family treasures.
Weekly themes are:
Week 1: September 1-9 Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends
Week 2: September 10-16 Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community
Week 3: September 17-23 Practice and Build Out Your Plans
Week 4: September 24-30 Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger

Social media hashtags are #NatlPrep & #PlanAhead

Until Next Time!
Sep 01

Happy Labor Day!

Posted on September 1, 2017 at 5:46 PM by Jessica Cromer

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day is this Monday, September 4th. Today we have a very brief look at the origins of this holiday from the labor movement, with manufacturing eclipsing agriculture through the Industrial Revolution, increased workers unions, and the rise of women in the workforce.

Recognized Holiday

Since the 18th century, the labor movement has been an evolution of American labor history. The 19th century produced the Industrial Revolution, shifting the paradigm of work and working conditions. This in turn put great emphasis on unions and the labor movement, out of which Labor Day emerged to celebrate the American worker.

Labor Day as a recognized federal holiday is the first Monday of September each year since 1894. Before this, states individually celebrated a Labor Day, the first technically being New York in 1882 with the Central Labor Union. Contributing to the founding of Labor Day are Peter J. McGuire, cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, and Eugene V. Debs of the American Railroad Union, who called for a boycott of Pullman railway cars. In a major event in the timeline of labor history, the workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on a highly publicized strike in May of 1894. This historical event would be a prelude to the declaration one month later of Labor Day as a national holiday.

Women in the Industrial Workforce and Workers Unions

Farming was one of the most popular jobs in early Ohio. Women assisted men’s work when needed on the farm or other places of business. When the Industrial Revolution changed the way Americans work, women began to fill many factory positions that did not previously exist. In the early 1800s men did not prefer factory work and continued on more with skilled trades and labor. Women, and a growing number of men, often worked in factories and in sweatshop-like conditions.

A response to bettering these working conditions was the formation of workers unions. The late 18th century saw the first of these. What we now know as the modern union began much later in 1886 with the American Federation of Labor.

Bricklayers and Masons Intl Union Officers 1901
From the 1901 Xenia Time Capsule

There have been many notable points in the history of unions. One example is that Post-WWII brought change the labor movement when massive labor strikes lead to anti-union sentiment. Also, in their early history, unions did not include women, among other groups. The response to this was the formation of women’s unions. Here in Ohio, there included in
1850: Female Protective Union (Cleveland),
1850: Local Women's Christian Associations (Cincinnati and Cleveland),
1852: The Ohio legislature assisted underage women with limits on working hours,
1966: Domestic Workers of America.

Wartime and Women Workers

Of course during wartime, women also took over for men in their factory jobs to support the war efforts.

The original “Rosie the Riveter” was Norman
Rockwell’s cover illustration on the May 29, 1943
Saturday Evening Post Memorial Day issue. (left)

RosieTheRiveter Original   Rosie WeCanDoIt
The modern labor icon “Rosie the Riveter” is
J. Howard Miller’s "We Can Do It!" image. (right)

The advantages of early factory work for women outweighed the working condition disadvantages in terms of newly (re)discovered independence and self-sufficiency, whether imposed upon or chosen, and ultimately helped to usher in the women's rights movement.

Have a happy and safe Labor Day!

Until Next Time!