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OHS Home Ohio Historical Society: Underground Railroad Information Station
The Ohio Historical Society has a wealth of information for those looking to learn more about this important aspect of American history. Below you will find many links to pages featuring archival and artifact collections, information for kids and teachers, places to visit and exhibits to discover.

Places to Visit :  OHS Sites  /  Non-OHS Sites  /  NRHP Properties in Ohio
Exhibits and Events  •  Online Collections  •  For Kids and Teachers
Now Available for Purchase Back to Top
The Wilbur H. Siebert
Collection Microfilm Edition
Wilbur H. Siebert, Ohio Historian of the Underground Railroad
Wilbur H. Siebert, Ohio Historian of the Underground Railroad
Siebert was a professor at the Ohio State University from 1891-1935. His research material on the Underground Railroad, collected over a period of fifty years, includes survey responses, interviews, and copies and notes from books, diaries, letters, photographs, newspapers, biographies, memoirs, speeches, annual reports, trial records, census records, and legislation. He organized his research by state and county, eventually binding his notes in volumes by location.
View finding aid to collection | View photographs in Ohio Pix | Order microfilm | Order the digital collection | Information on Interlibrary Loan
Places to Visit Back to Top
Ohio Historical Society Sites Back to Top
Dunbar House
Dayton, Montgomery County  
Paul Laurence Dunbar (Feb. 1904); P 86; AL00502
Paul Laurence Dunbar, African-American poet, 1872-1906
This was the final home of the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. The Dunbar home and visitor center exhibits his literary treasures, many of his personal items and his family's furnishings. During his short lifetime, Dunbar became known as the poet laureate of African-Americans. Drawing on his observations of society and the experience of his parents — both former slaves — he gave voice to the social dilemma of disenfranchised people of his day and became a proclaimer of black dignity.
Hanby House
Westerville, Franklin County  
This is the 19th-century home of Benjamin Russell Hanby, abolitionist and composer of numerous songs, the most well-known being Darling Nellie Gray and Up On The Housetop. Hanby played many roles in his life; student, abolitionist, father, teacher and minister. But it was as a composer that we remember him.
National Afro-American
Museum and Cultural Center

Wilberforce, Greene County  
Exhibits at The Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center, Wilberforce, Ohio
Exhibits at The Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center, Wilberforce, Ohio
The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center near Dayton aims to educate the public about African-American history and culture from African origins to the present. Visitors will encounter a variety of programs, including museum exhibits (such as Legacy of American Slavery, showing now through December 2004), research and publications, visiting scholars, oral and visual history and adult and children's educational activities.
Ohio Historical Center
Columbus, Franklin County  
The modern, 250,000 square-foot structure serves as the state's history museum and consists of the ground level exhibit space as well as the society's Archives/Library, which includes the State Archives of Ohio. There are exhibits about Ohio and the Civil War and the library holds the many archival collections about the Underground Railroad.
Rankin House
Ripley, Brown County  
View from the steps at the Rankin House, Ripley, Ohio
View from the steps at the Rankin House, Ripley, Ohio
The Rankin House was an important stop on the Underground Railroad in southern Ohio through which many slaves escaped from the South to freedom. A Presbyterian minister and educator, John Rankin devoted much of his life to the antislavery movement. In 1826 he published his antislavery book, Letters on American Slavery. In 1834 he founded the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society in Zanesville. From 1822 to 1863 Rankin and family, with their Brown County neighbors, sheltered more than 2,000 slaves escaping to freedom, with as many as twelve escapees being hidden at one time in the Rankin home that sits atop the village of Ripley with a magnificent view of the Ohio River.
(Groups & Individuals)  
Looking for a planned itinerary that can be used with groups or individuals? Flight to Freedom: Ohio's Underground Railroad Tour is a perfect way to begin your trip planning. Think about adding the Freedom Center to your trip as well.
Non-OHS Sites Back to Top
Discover Ohio
To find additional events and destinations related to the Underground Railroad, visit this Web site (provided by the Division of Travel and Tourism) and search the site using the following keywords: Underground Railroad, abolition, slave and slavery.
Friends of Freedom Society
The society's purpose is to research, identify, document and preserve Underground Railroad sites in Ohio.
Haines House Underground
Railroad Center

Alliance, Stark County  
At their home in Alliance, Jonathan Ridgeway Haines and Sarah Grant Haines sheltered fugitive slaves.
Hubbard House Underground
Railroad Museum

Ashtabula, Ashtabula County       
This museum in Ashtabula honors the actions of William Hubbard and his family, who were active in the Underground Railroad.
John P. Parker House
Ripley, Brown County  
Parker was a former slave who settled in Ripley and helped others escape to freedom.
Kelton House
Museum and Garden

Columbus, Franklin County  
The Columbus home of Fernando Cortez Kelton and Sophia Stone Kelton was a station on the Underground Railroad.
National Underground
Freedom Center

Cincinnati, Ohio  
Opening August 23, 2004, this three-pavilion, 158,000-square-foot learning center will present interactive educational programs to promote an understanding of the horrors of slavery, the active resistance movements, and the achievement of freedom against overwhelming odds. The Freedom Center's Educational program works to meet the Center's mission: "...educates the public about the historic struggle to abolish human enslavement and secure freedom for all people."
National Register of Historic Places Properties in Ohio Back to Top
Aboard the Underground
Railroad: A National
Register Travel Itinerary

The site lists 11 sites in Ohio that are on the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, America's official list of places important in our history and worthy of preservation.
African American Sites  
John P. Parker Home, a former slave, Ripley, Ohio
John P. Parker Home, a former slave, Ripley, Ohio
These properties associated with African-American History in Ohio are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A Look at Our Online Collections Back to Top
Online Collections Catalog   Find archival and artifact collections in the society's catalog. Try using search terms Underground Railroad, Fugitive slaves or Antislavery movements.
Ohio Memory Underground
Railroad Scrapbook
Ohio Memory is an online collection of primary sources from more than 330 archives, historical societies, libraries and museums in Ohio. Items related to the Underground Railroad can be found in a featured scrapbook.
The African-American
Experience in Ohio 1850 - 1920
This digital collection illuminates specific moments in the history of Ohio's African-Americans and provides an overview of their experiences during the time period 1850 to 1920 in the words of the people that lived them.
Ohio Pix Gallery
of Siebert Images
Anti-Slavery Token (ca. 1907-1920); Ohio; MSS 116 AV; AL03157
Anti-Slavery Token (ca. 1907-1920); Ohio; MSS 116 AV; AL03157
Ohio Pix is an online database of images from the society's collections. Photographs from the Wilbur H. Siebert Collection document the Underground Railroad. Wilbur Henry Siebert (1866-1961) began researching the Underground Railroad in 1893 and continued to investigate and write about the topic for the rest of his life. He published several books, including The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom.
For Kids and Teachers Back to Top
Ohio History Central  
Harriet Beecher Stowe (c. 1850-1860); SC4334; AL00530
Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, 18111893
Here you will find great information in this online history encylopedia. It includes biographies of famous Ohioans involved in the Underground Railroad and important events. Just type Underground Railroad in the search field.
Ohio History Teachers   The Ohio Historical Society has many resources available to educators relating to African-American history, particularly the African American experience in Ohio. Education programs available to educators include the Ohio Underground Case History, distance learning programs, and museum store items.

The Ohio Underground Case History, sponsored by Honda Manufacturing of America, is available for loan to Ohio school classrooms and contains reproduction artifacts, a "wanted" poster, maps, an audiocassette, activity outlines, and a teacher workbook focusing on Ohio's Underground Railroad history. Just type Underground Railroad in the search field.


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