by John Grabowski, PhD | WRHS Krieger Mueller Historian

In March 1924, a group of Yale alumni arrived in Cleveland to put on a musical show at the University Club.  They had been invited by two local alums, Elton Hoyt and Leonard Hanna, Jr. who had attended their performance in New York City and convinced the ensemble to reprise it in Cleveland.
The composer of the music was Cole Porter, a member of the Yale Class of 1913 and a close friend of Leonard Hanna, Jr. also a member of that class.

Leonard Hanna, Jr.





Cole Porter


Hanna, Porter, and other members of the group stayed at the Hanna family home on East Boulevard, today part of the Western Reserve Historical Society’s Cleveland History Center, in University Circle.   While there Hanna insisted that Porter write a special number about Cleveland to be added to the show.  As remembered by Warren Corning Wick, ”Leonard said Cole must close himself in his library, where he had a small upright piano moved. The butler was there with drinks and, closing the door, they told Cole he couldn’t come out until he’d written the song. 20 or 30 minutes later, Cole sheepishly asked, “Can I come out now? I have a song.” The song being, ‘Let’s Make It Cleveland.’”

The lyrics, in part, went as follows:

“Come on my dearie, Beside Lake Erie,
We are going to settle down.
Out in Ohio, Oh me, Oh my Oh,
I know the grandest town.
That’s the title of this ditty,
It’s the famous Forest City,
Where they’ve got the ammunition,
To prohibit prohibition,
Praise the Lord and sing Hosanna,
It’s the home of Hoyt and Hanna.
Cleveland! Cleveland! Cleveland!
Cleveland’s such a grand old town,
There’s such real he-men, Y -A-L-E men.

Porter and Hanna’s friendship, which began at Yale, would endure until Hanna’s death in 1957.   During that time Hanna would become one of the city’s most noted philanthropists and Porter would become one of the nation’s greatest composers, creating sophisticated songs for a multitude of Broadway musicals that remain enduring standards.

Their lifestyles were, however, far beyond the “ordinary” particularly during the Depression.  Each had immense wealth – it has been said that they were the two wealthiest young men to enter Yale in 1909.  And each had immense talent, Porter as a composer, and Hanna as a self-taught connoisseur of fine art.   His collection would enrich the Cleveland Museum of Art as would the enormous endowment he left it upon his death.  His largess would also enrich University Hospitals (the Hanna Pavilion) and support the construction of a new Karamu Theater in 1949.

Given their talent and status, they gathered around themselves a coterie of equally talented (if not as wealthy) friends, including Monty Woolley, Gerald Murphy (heir to the Mark Cross Leather Company), and Cleveland columnist Winsor French. They and many others would, at times, celebrate Porter’s first night openings – sometimes at Hanna’s fashionable New York City apartment.   They also traveled together.   In 1940, Cole, his wife Linda, Winsor French, Leonard Hanna, Roger Stearns and Billy Powell took an extended cruise to the South Seas.   And in his later visits to Cleveland, Porter would stay at Hanna’s Hilo estate in Kirtland.

It’s all a fascinating story about classmates who came to live in a wealthy, sophisticated, elegant world.  Certainly, the multiple books written about Cole Porter do an excellent job in depicting the atmosphere of the times.  The best of the books, including William McBrien’s biography of Porter and James Woods’ Out and About with Winsor French, as well as the film De-Lovely also focus on the strong same-sex bonds that underpinned their lives and their friendships.   At times, Porter’s lyrics reflect upon this.  In his song I’m a Gigolo, one line notes, “I’m a famous gigolo.  And of Lavender, my nature’s got just a dash in it.”  And in another song Farming, “Don’t inquire of Georgie Raft, why his cow has never calfed.  Georgie’s bull is beautiful, but he’s gay.”   To those who attended the shows on Broadway, lines such as these raised, perhaps, a knowing smile on members of the audience — and they certainly delighted Porter’s and Hanna’s close friends.  But they also exasperated the censors of the time

Knowing the stories of these classmates opens up a window on our humanity, one that was shaded for many years.  They also prompt the question as to how many other classmates, who lived in far different circumstances during those heavily closeted times before Stonewall, may have shared similar bonds and friendships but were unable to publicly express them, let alone, set them to music.

Dudley Allen Trust Funds Exceed a Century of Support for Cleveland Institutions

Western Reserve Historical Society among four institutions to receive funds in perpetuity.

The National Fiduciary Trust Committee of KeyBank recently approved to continue, in perpetuity, the Dudley Allen Trust Funds established a hundred years ago for the benefit of four Northeast Ohio nonprofit organizations. The Dudley Allen Trust Funds were established per terms of an agreement between Elisabeth Severance Allen and The Cleveland Trust Company dated September 24, 1915. Five trusts funds were formed to benefit The Cleveland Medical Library Association, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland Museum of Art, Oberlin College, and the Jennie Allen Nurse Fund of Oberlin College. The trust funds were to be held for one hundred years, with the income from the trust funds paid to the 4 named organizations.

The agreement states: “It is my wish and I direct that payment of income to the several institutions and organizations hereinbefore designated…..shall continue for such length of time beyond the period originally fixed for their termination, as they shall efficiently and worthily carry out the purposes of their organization, in the opinion of the Board of Directors of The Cleveland Trust Company, whose judgement with respect thereto shall be conclusive.”

This continuing support, now in perpetuity as approved by KeyBank, reflects the forward thinking legacy of philanthropic Clevelanders over a century ago.  At that time, Cleveland was the sixth largest city in the nation.  Manufacturing and industry amassed wealth leading to an unprecedented expansion of philanthropy in Northeast Ohio.  A number of these companies thrive yet today, as do the historically significant nonprofit organizations developed during that era of wealth and philanthropy.  As these companies and nonprofit organizations approach or even surpass their centennial, their legacies continue to grow.

Western Reserve Historical Society will honor those who have reached this milestone at its 100 Year Club annual awards banquet on Monday, December 7, 2015.  The 2015 Class includes eleven local organizations surpassing their centennial and two additional organizations that have reached one hundred fifty years of service.  The list includes Cleveland Play House, Farmers National Bank, Fay Sharpe LLP, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Auto Dealers Association, Hawken School, Jewish Family Service Association, Karamu House, Kiwanis, Seibert Keck, Spitzer Automotive, Ohio Awning & Manufacturing Co (150 years), and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center (150 years).


For more information on the event visit .



New Exhibition | Frank N. Wilcox: Artist as Historian | Opening November 27th

Exhibition on prolific Cleveland artist opens November 27, 2015 at Cleveland History Center

Frank Nelson Wilcox (1887-1964) was a native Clevelander who was as interested in history as he was in art. He believed that all art was an emotional experience, and that the forms in nature must be interpreted rather than copied. A prolific student, artist, and long-time professor at the Cleveland School of Art, Wilcox left behind a rich treasure trove of artwork that reflects the history of Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio region, and other parts of the country and world he traveled during his lifetime. A comprehensive exhibition of his work, Frank N. Wilcox: Artist as Historian will open at the Cleveland History Center on Friday, November 27, 2015.

Frank N. Wilcox: Artist as Historian is an exhibition on Wilcox’s work relating to the history of Cleveland and its surrounding Ohio environs. “His work is not like a detailed photographic record of places in time, but an interpretation of places, people and events by a skilled draftsman with a wonderful sense of design and understanding of all of its elements,” says William G. Scheele, exhibit curator.

Wilcox began teaching at the Cleveland School of Art in 1913, after spending time in Europe following his graduation from the school in 1910. He taught design, drawing, painting and printmaking for 44 years and was known as the “Dean of Cleveland School Painters.” As a teacher, Wilcox used his vacation time to travel extensively throughout the United States, Europe and parts of Canada. As a passenger, since he never learned to drive, Wilcox was able to sketch endlessly during his travels, becoming a chronicler of all he saw.

The art collection for the exhibition collaboratively comes together from the Western Reserve Historical Society, Jones Day Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the private Wilcox Family Archives. This will be the first time that many pieces will be available to the public.

Frank Wilcox came from a large family with New England ancestry on both sides, all of whom played a significant role in settling Ohio’s Western Reserve. The Wilcox and Snow families offered young Frank exposure to both city and country life, which is reflected in his work and in family photographs. A companion gallery will illustrate the rich Wilcox and Snow family history and take a look at Frank Wilcox, the man.

“We are pleased to make the connection of art to history to genealogy,” says Angie Lowrie, Director of the Cleveland History Center. “It is an exhibit trifecta.”

Frank N. Wilcox: Artist as Historian is presented at the Cleveland History Center, through the generous support from the Elizabeth Ring Mather and William Gwinn Mather Fund, Ms. Caroline Butler, Mr. Thomas H. Horner and Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Waldman. The exhibition will be open November 27, 2015 through April 30, 2016 at the Cleveland History Center in University Circle at 10825 East Boulevard. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday noon to 5:00 pm. Admission is $10 adults; $9 seniors (age 62+); $5.00 students (age 3-12). WRHS members and children 2 & under receive free admission. Group rates are available. For information call 216-721-5722 or visit



New Exhibition | A Stitch in Time: The Cleveland Garment Industry | Opening November 6th

New Western Reserve Historical Society Publication & Exhibition tells story of “the rag trade” and the immigrant entrepreneurs who left their mark on the region.

A new, illustrated history of the Cleveland Garment Industry tells the stories of the immigrant entrepreneurs and workers who made “the rag trade” part of the city’s economy. A Stitch In Time: The Cleveland Garment Industry, written by Associate Curator for Jewish History Sean Martin, Ph.D., and published by Western Reserve Historical Society, is now available.  A companion exhibition developed in collaboration with Barrie Projects will open at the Cleveland History Center in University Circle on November 6, 2015.

The garment industry, concentrated in the Warehouse District and along Superior between East 19th and East 25th Streets, left its mark on the city in many ways.  Throughout the 20th century, Cleveland was one of the nation’s leaders in the garment industry.  Small shops established in the 19th century by immigrant entrepreneurs grew to become leading manufacturers.  Companies based in Cleveland made dresses, blouses, sweaters, cloaks, and suits for men, women, and children. Successful manufacturers became prominent philanthropists, helping to turn Cleveland into the best location in the nation, and immigrant workers built lives as Americans.  Workers earned the money to get an education and start their families. The industry declined in the late 20th century, but its mark on the city remains.

The publication A Stitch in Time: The Cleveland Garment Industry is available for purchase now through November 5, 2015 at the Cleveland History Center Museum Store for a special preview discount of $25.00.  Following the opening of the exhibition, A Stitch in Time, on November 6th, the book will be sold at the Cleveland History Center and through other book dealers throughout Northeast Ohio for a retail price of $34.95.

The publication was made possible through generous funds from the Stone Rand Philanthropic Fund, Ruth G. and Sam H. Sampliner Fund, Adler Family Foundation, and the William & Barbara Klineman Philanthropic Fund. Martin explained the origins of the project, saying “A Stitch in Time was inspired by the efforts of Marc Frisch, whose family owned Frisch Knitting Mills, and Gary Rand, of Ohio Knitting Mills. Their desire to learn more about the industry their families were involved in motivated WRHS to tell the story of the industry and of companies such as Joseph & Feiss, Richman Brothers, Work Wear, Bobbie Brooks, and Dalton. Garment manufacturers helped immigrants find their way in a new country and contributed significantly to the growth of the city and region.”

The exhibition A Stitch In Time: The Cleveland Garment Industry will open November 6, 2015 and run through 2016 at the Cleveland History Center in University Circle at 10825 East Boulevard.  Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday noon to 5:00 pm.  Admission is $10 adults; $9 seniors (age 62+); $5.00 students (age 3-12). WRHS members and children 2 & under receive free admission.  Group rates are available.  For information call 216-721-5722 or visit

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Western Reserve Historical Society Completes $1 million Exterior Renovation at Cleveland History Center

Funds from The State of Ohio and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Support Upgrades to Guest Parking Lot and Main Entrance

The transformation continues for the Western Reserve Historical Society with a $1 million exterior renovation at the Cleveland History Center in University Circle.  With support from The State of Ohio and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and in partnership with Behnke Associates, Inc. and F. Buddie Contracting, Ltd. WRHS completed much needed renovations to its main visitor parking lot on Magnolia Drive and the Reinberger Gallery main entrance plaza.  The improvement project featured a facelift with improved access, new parking controls, and the implementation of green infrastructure.  This upgrade also improves guest access, safety and overall appearance of the 7-plus acres that comprise the Cleveland History Center.

The cornerstone of the project is an approach to sustainability.  Through the installation of multiple bioretention cells, infiltration, stormwater harvesting, and other green infrastructure practices, the parking lot and patio is designed to eliminate from the combined sewer system up to 750,000 gallons of stormwater runoff annually and in turn, reduce the release of combined sewage into the environment.  In addition, lighting upgrades incorporate highly efficient LED fixtures, with appropriate “cut offs” to minimize light pollution.

“The Western Reserve Historical Society genuinely appreciates support from The State of Ohio and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District for making this work possible. Stewardship is one of the Historical Society’s core values, ” explains Kelly Falcone-Hall, WRHS President & CEO. “This includes stewardship of the land and responsible stewardship of the collections that we hold in public trust.  This major renovation project dramatically improves the guest experience and community access to the Cleveland History Center, and to University Circle in general.

The new parking lot and guest entrance, located off Magnolia Drive, opens to the public on Friday, September 11, 2015.  Visible improvements will include a pervious paver drive leading to a stamped concrete entry.  Pay-in-lane parking equipment will allow 24-hour parking access for visitors to University Circle.   Multi-modal transportation and community connectivity is encouraged by including bike racks and maintaining convenient drop-off points near the entrance.  A new walkway from the parking lot to the entrance is enhanced by a renovated exterior wall, new gates, and increased green space.

Parking Rates (effective 9/11/15)

Public Hours (Tuesday-Sunday 7:00 am-6:00 pm)
First 2 Hours…………………………..$8
Each Additional 30 min……………..$1
Daily Max……………………………….$15

After Hours (Tuesday-Sunday 6:01 pm-6:59 am | Monday all day/night)
Flat Rate………………………………..$10
*Pay in Lane/Credit Card Only

All WRHS Members – $5/car flat rate
*During regular museum hours only

Western Reserve Historical Society Opens Search for Museum Advisory Council Curator of Costume and Textiles

Western Reserve Historical Society opens search for Museum Advisory Council Curator of Costume and Textiles
Lead Gift from WRHS Museum Advisory Council makes funds available.

The Museum Advisory Council (MAC), an auxiliary of the Western Reserve Historical Society voted unanimously to support WRHS’s nationally ranked costume and textile collection with the Museum Advisory Council Costume Collection Endowment Fund. With the fund in place, WRHS will open a search for the Museum Advisory Council Curator of Costume and Textiles.

“The Museum Advisory Council has a legacy of fundraising to support the Western Reserve Historical Society for more than 60 years,” says Marjorie Comella, MAC President. “We are pleased to direct one of the MAC funds to support this significant part of the museum collection. We consider this to be lead gift and encourage the community to continue their support.”

“This is great news for the Chisholm Halle Costume Wing,” adds Cindy Halle, wife of the late Chisholm Halle. Chisholm Halle was the President of the Halle Brothers. Co. Department Store from 1966 to1973 and a trustee of the Western Reserve Historical Society. “This gem needs a leader. The Collection and Historical Society are deserving of a new chapter!”
The Chisholm Halle Costume Wing at the Western Reserve Historical Society, named for Chisholm Halle, houses 40,000 garments, quilts, and textiles from 1750 to the present. It ranks among the top ten collections of its kind in the United States. The collection is international in scope and contains both historic and contemporary designs, including mass-produced, ready-to-wear, couture and one-of-a-kind pieces.
The Western Reserve Historical Society is Cleveland’s oldest cultural institution. It was founded nearly 150 years ago, in 1867, to preserve and tell the story of Cleveland and the region. Today, WRHS engages the community through one of the country’s finest collections relating to the American experience.

“Preserving and providing greater access to our nationally ranked costume and textile collection is a top priority for this organization. We are indebted to the Museum Advisory Council for this generous gift that will allow WRHS to engage a professional curator to steward and interpret this collection,” explains Kelly Falcone-Hall, WRHS President & CEO.

The search for the Museum Advisory Council Curator of Costume and Textiles will open in Fall 2015. A full job description will be posted online at Inquiries should be directed to WRHS Human Resources,

Cleveland History Center Joins Smithsonian Magazine’s 11th Annual Museum Day Live!

Free Admission on September 26, 2015, with a Downloadable Museum Day Live! Ticket

Cleveland History Center will open its doors free of charge on Saturday September 26, 2015, as part of Smithsonian magazine’s eleventh annual Museum Day Live! On this day only, participating museums across the United States emulate the spirit of the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington DC-based facilities, which offer free admission every day, and open their doors for free to those who download a Museum Day Live! ticket.

Inclusive by design, the event represents Smithsonian’s commitment to make learning and the spread of knowledge accessible to everyone. Last year’s event drew over 400,000 participants, and this year’s event is expected to attract more museum goers than ever before.

Cleveland History Center is the premier storyteller of Northeast Ohio’s history. It’s mission is to inspire people to discover the American experience through the regional history in Northeast Ohio presented through its vast collections including the Bingham-Hanna & Hay-McKinney MansionsCrawford Auto Aviation MuseumEuclid Beach Park Grand CarouselIn Grand Style: Fashions from the 1870s to the 1930sKidzibits Hands-on GalleryResearch Library and more.

The Museum Day Live! ticket will be available for download beginning in August at Visitors who present the Museum Day Live! ticket will gain free entrance for two at participating venues for one day only. One ticket, per household, per email address is permitted. For more information about Museum Day Live! 2015 and a full list of participating museums and cultural institutions, please visit



Western Reserve Historical Society Announces The Release of Digital Repository

On the brink of the Western Reserve Historical Society’s 150th anniversary in 2017, one of Cleveland’s eldest museums makes their archives available to the public through a digital repository, Digital Cleveland History at

Holding more than twelve thousand images, periodicals and references, Digital Cleveland History has been an on-going project for the last five years, with hopes of making Cleveland’s rich past available to history enthusiasts and inquiring minds around the world.

Images from the WRHS Research Library have been used by varied audiences from students and authors to outlets gearing up for the 2016 Republican National Convention and producers of nationally syndicated shows. Such shows include Jeopardy (ABC) and Mysteries of the Museum (Travel Channel,) who utilize the library’s unique collection to expand their audience’s depth of Cleveland notables, events and landmarks.

“Western Reserve Historical Society strives to be the first stop for the discovery and exploration of Cleveland and the American experience.” says Kelly Falcone-Hall, WRHS President & CEO. “For the first time, the community is able to see our vast trove of manuscript collections 24/7. The new online catalog is both comprehensive and easy to use – a truly magnificent contribution to historical research.”
Guests of Digital Cleveland History are encouraged to utilize the digital repository for print and public use with permission from the museum. High resolution images are available upon request. For those interested in exploring content beyond Digital Cleveland History, contact the WRHS Research Library at 216-721-5722 x1509 or visit

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Parking Lot Renovations to Begin at WRHS History Center

The transformation story continues at the History Center beginning May 1, 2015. With funds from the State of Ohio, and in partnership with Behnke Associates, Inc. and F. Buddie Contracting, WRHS will renovate the parking lot and exterior grounds leading to the Reinberger Plaza entrance at the History Center in University Circle. The improvements include a full facelift with improved access, new parking controls, and refreshed landscaping. This upgrade will improve guest access, safety and overall appearance of WRHS’s nearly 8-acre site in University Circle.

There will be a period during this process when access to the parking lot and the Reinberger entrance will be restricted. Limited accessible parking will be available at the half circle drive off East Blvd. Alternate parking can be found throughout University Circle and at the VA parking garage.

Guests are encouraged to consider taking advantage of the Circle Link shuttle transportation that circulates throughout Wade Oval.

DOWNLOAD A MAP OF SHUTTLE TRANSPORTATION HERE. Here’s more information from Circle Link on using the shuttle:

Circle Link Bus Route
Runs every 23 minutes from 6:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and every 35 minutes from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Holiday hours may vary. Red Circles indicate shuttle stops along the route.

Commuter Shuttle
Scheduled every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, but not major holidays. Blue Circles indicate shuttle stops along the route.

The Heights a.m. loop runs 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday during the CWRU school year. No service is available on holidays or during breaks.

Evening Shuttle
Commuter shuttles run continuously from 5:15 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5:15 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Friday and Saturday. The CWRU North Campus buses arrive at designated stops approximately every 20 minutes. The South Campus buses arrive approximately every 25 minutes. South Loop route is highlighted in blue; North Loop route is highlighted in orange. Each circle indicates a shuttle stop on the route.

UCRC Shuttle
The UCRC shuttle runs to the CWRU BioEnterprise building and along Cedar Avenue. It arrives at designated stops approximately every 25 minutes from 6:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, but not major holidays. Stops are made on an on-call basis for Ronald McDonald House.

For continued updates on the parking lot renovation, follow WRHS on Facebook and Twitter.

Bring Your Valuables to “Man Cave Trash or Treasure” April 11

Do you have valuables in your man cave? Have them appraised during Man Cave Trash or Treasure at WRHS History Center!
Appraisers available on-site for verbal valuations during one-day event April 11, 2015

Contact: Alyssa Purvis  –  (216) 721-5722 ext. 1407

CLEVELAND, OH – Have a shoebox of baseball cards? A signed jersey? Maybe even your grandfather’s military uniform? Considering bringing them to “Man Cave Trash or Treasure,”  a verbal appraisal event taking place on Saturday, April 11 at the WRHS History Center in University Circle.

Professional appraisers will be on-hand to provide verbal appraisals from 10 am to 4 pm. The History Center will remain open to the public until 5 pm. Visitors are welcome to bring up to 5 individual items or 2 collections (comic books, baseball cards, etc.) for verbal appraisals. In addition to the cost of admission ($10 adults, $5 children ages 3-12), each single item appraisal is $5 and each collection appraisal is $25. Items in the following categories will be accepted:

  • Sports memorabilia
  • Coins
  • Stamps
  • Militaria (no firearms, please)
  • Toys and comics
  • Trains

“We are thrilled to continue on with our signature appraisal day event this spring,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, WRHS President & CEO. “This year’s theme ties directly into the recently extended 1964: When Browns Town was Title Town exhibit, which featured great sports memorabilia and allowed us to entertain the idea of a ‘man cave’ event for its visitors. We hope attendees can find value in some of the items that they have had in their possession for years; it’s intriguing to think of the stories behind some of the items that might come through our doors at the History Center on April 11.”

This year’s annual event features appraisers from Fusco’s Auctions, Great Lakes Coin & Jewelry, Milestone Auctions, Quaker Square Comics, and CW Trains, LLC. Representatives from the Siegel & Shuster Society will also be on site to discuss the developments of a Superman statue planned for the lakefront. The group is dedicated to promoting Cleveland as the place where Superman was created as well as the hometown of the two men who made him a reality.

Last year’s event, which featured Wes Cowan and his team from Cowan’s Auctions, welcomed nearly 300 guests. Visitors planning to attend are encouraged to pre-register in advance, either online or by calling (216) 721-5722 ext. 1502. Those who have questions about the acceptability of their items should call that same number.

For further updates, follow WRHS on Facebook and Twitter.

WRHS Extends Browns Town Exhibit


Western Reserve Historical Society extends popular Browns exhibit through June 2015

Where: WRHS History Center in University Circle – 10825 East Boulevard

Contact: Alyssa Purvis, Marketing Manager, or (216) 721-5722 ext. 1407


The Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) has announced that they will extend the popular 1964: When Browns Town was Title Town exhibit. The exhibit, which opened last September, will now be on display at the History Center through the end of June 2015.

“We’re excited to extend this great exhibit and keep celebrating the championship team of 1964,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, President & CEO of WRHS. “The great programming around this exhibit has given us the opportunity to reach new audiences and realize the need to keep it alive for the next few months as more visitors discover what WRHS has to offer. A very special thank you also goes out to the private collectors who generously extended the loan of their collections in order to make this exhibit extension possible.”

1964: When Browns Town was Title Town pays homage to the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Browns championship team. A wide range of Browns memorabilia relating to the championship team is included in the exhibit, including artifacts from private collectors, the Cleveland Browns, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For more information on the exhibit, click here.

Western Reserve Historical Society Receives Second 4-Star Ranking

WRHS honored with 4-Star Ranking from Non-Profit Evaluator Charity Navigator

CLEVELAND, OH – For the second straight year, the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) was awarded a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most utilized evaluator of charities.

WRHS is proud to be among this select group of high-performing charities earning the 4-star ranking. The ranking, which is given to only a quarter of the non-profits evaluated, is based on sound fiscal management, a commitment to accountability, and fiscal transparency.

“Supporters of the Western Reserve Historical Society should feel confident that their hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly since it has achieved such an outstanding ranking on these important financial metrics,” said Ken Berger, President and CEO, Charity Navigator.

Since 2002, using data-driven analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added a second dimension of Accountability and Transparency (A&T) to its rating methodology, and now reviews 17 governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, providing information on its web site for each of the charities it evaluates.  The A&T metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities have “best practices” that minimize the chance of unethical activities and whether they freely share basic information about their organization with their donors and other stakeholders.

About Charity Navigator (

Charity Navigator is the largest charity evaluator in America and its website attracts more visitors than all other charity rating groups combined. The organization helps guide intelligent giving by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency of roughly 5,500 mid-to-large sized charities that garner roughly 50% of all private contributions made in the USA each year (not including houses of worship). Charity Navigator accepts no advertising or donations from the organizations it evaluates, ensuring unbiased evaluations, nor does it charge the public for this trusted data. As a result, Charity Navigator, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization itself, depends on support from individuals, corporations and foundations that believe it provides a much-needed service to America’s charitable givers. Charity Navigator, can be reached directly by telephone at (201) 818-1288, or by mail at 139 Harristown Road, Suite 201, Glen Rock, N.J., 07452.


“Spirit of Goodyear” Gondola to be Unveiled at WRHS

“Spirit of Goodyear” Gondola to be Unveiled in WRHS Setting the World in Motion Exhibit
Goodyear’s donation of the blimp passenger compartment will be unveiled at the WRHS History Center on February 25, 2015

CLEVELAND, OH – The Setting the World in Motion exhibit at the WRHS History Center will soon have a newcomer: the donated gondola from the Spirit of Goodyear blimp. The gondola’s unveiling will take place at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at the WRHS History Center.

The gondola, which is the pilot and passenger compartment of the blimp, will be placed next to the recently opened Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel in the exhibit. At 23 feet long and 3,400 pounds, the gondola is now one of the largest artifacts in the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum.

“The addition of this gondola to the Setting the World in Motion exhibit will allow us to continue telling a complete story of the innovators and entrepreneurs of Northeast Ohio’s transportation history,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, President and CEO of WRHS. “The deep ties to Northeast Ohio’s automobile and aviation industries created a natural partnership between WRHS and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.”

Built in 1982, the blimp gondola saw service on three airships, logging more than 41,000 hours of flight during its 31 year history. From 1982-1992, it was mounted on the blimp America based in Spring, Texas; from 1992-1999 it was on the Stars & Stripes in Pompano Beach, Florida; and from 2000-2014 it served the Spirit of Goodyear blimp in Suffield, Ohio. In 2014, the Spirit of Goodyear retired from airship service and received recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records as “The Longest Continuous Use for a Blimp.”

The gondola appeared over some of the world’s largest sporting events such as the Super Bowl in 1990, 1994 and 1995, Major League Baseball World Series games in 1982, 1983 & 1984, The Kentucky Derby, the Daytona 500, U.S. Open tennis and golf, NCAA football, including the Cotton Bowl in 1990, NCAA Final Four basketball and NFL games. In addition, well-known celebrities, such as David Letterman and astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, have flown in the gondola.

The Crawford Auto Aviation Museum of the Western Reserve Historical Society depicts the automobile various stages of development, both on a national and regional level. In includes over 140 antique automobiles, 21 non-car transportation artifacts (motorcycles, bicycles, and boats), 10 aircraft, and 3 carriages and sleighs. The Collection is enhanced further by the WRHS Automotive Marque Files, which include automobile brochures, owner’s manuals, advertisements, and more.

Its automobiles and artifacts are the centerpieces of two major exhibits at the WRHS History Center in University Circle: Setting the World in Motion and REVolution: The Automobile in America.

WRHS Library Makes Leo A. Jackson Papers Available

Judge Leo A. Jackson Papers Now Available to Researches in Western Reserve Historical Society Library
Project funded by the United Black Fund now complete

Contact: Alyssa Purvis  –  (216) 721-5722 ext. 1407

CLEVELAND, OH – The Western Reserve Historical Society’s Library is pleased to announce the availability of the Leo A. Jackson Papers. The papers have been fully processed, cataloged, and are now open for research. Funded by generous support of the United Black Fund, this collection is a significant addition to the rich tapestry of African American history available at the Western Reserve Historical Society.

Serving Cleveland from the 1950s-1980s, Leo Albert Jackson (1920-1996) was an African American attorney, judge, and politician. A veteran who served in the U.S. Army, Jackson graduated from Morehouse College in 1943, and obtained a Master of Arts degree from Atlanta University in 1946.  He obtained his law degree from Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1950. In 1957, he was elected to Cleveland City Council as the Ward 24 representative. He served there until 1970.

This collection is important in its depiction of Jackson and his experience as an African American community leader and city official. Through the papers, researchers get a strong sense of the government and political climate of Cleveland from the late 1950s-1970. Areas of interest profiled by the collection include housing and zoning concerns, racial tensions, relations with the police, the Hough Riots, and unrest in Glenville (including the Glenville Shootout), as well as how politics in the city was affected by these types of issues.

Recent national events which have (from Cleveland, to New York, to Ferguson) ignited racial tensions and brought police practices into question can also be explored through this specific collection. Researchers can follow Jackson’s career as an African American councilman and see how he applied and interpreted his experiences as he became a judge on Ohio’s Eighth District Court of Appeals in 1970. A full description and inventory of the collections is available online.

Jackson served three consecutive terms on the district court, twice as chief judge, and had a special assignment to the Ohio Supreme Court. He was active in many community organizations in the Cleveland area and received numerous awards for this work. He retired from the bench in 1987. Later, Judge Jackson would collapsed at the County Court House, and be pronounced dead at Lutheran Hospital on April 19, 1996.

During his council career representing Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, Jackson fought for civil rights, introduced gun control legislation, and was dedicated to community development in his ward. He faced controversy on racial issues as a moderate African American who did not ally with the black power movement. He was also active in the county, city, and state Democratic parties and involved in various local issues like the Cuyahoga County Charter debate.

Library Director, Richard Shrake, notes, “We are proud to provide access to the Judge Leo A. Jackson papers. This collection is important both in understanding the significance of Jackson’s influence and in helping the African American Archives continue to depict the many facets and contributions of Black History in Northeastern Ohio.”

Established in 1970, the African American Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society are an ongoing initiative to collect, preserve, and make accessible materials that profile the African American experience in Northeast Ohio.

Celeste Terry, Director of Grants at the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland states, “The United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc. is proud to have provided funding for archiving the papers of Judge Leo A. Jackson. Scholars, students and lovers of history will have access to documents that are historical, and that tell a narrative of the accomplishments of African Americans that shaped Cleveland. These archives chronicle the impact and influence their lives had on improving lives in the City of Cleveland. The African American Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society is an important resource and institution in this community. It preserves and makes available a collection that details the contributions of prominent African Americans that people can learn about for many years to come.“

New Publication on Cleveland Philanthropy Available FREE at WRHS

Newly Published Book, Five Generations: 175 Years of Love for Cleveland available for free at Western Reserve Historical Society

CLEVELAND, OH – Bob Gries, a retired venture capitalist and active philanthropist, recently added “Author” to his resume with Five Generations: 175 Years of Love for Cleveland. The recently completed book covers five generations of one family, and only includes those who spent their lives in Cleveland and made significant contributions to the city.

Generation One includes an immigrant who was the first Jewish settler in our city, had eleven children, and became a city councilman; Generation Two, an entrepreneur who created businesses and banks and saved the city from bankruptcy after the treasurer absconded the city’s funds; Generation Three, a Rabbi who entered college at age 13 and built the largest Sunday school in the world and a merchant who started and built May Company into the largest department store in the state; and Generation Four, founder of the Cleveland Rams and the Cleveland Browns football teams.

Copies of Five Generations: 175 Years of Love for Cleveland are available for no charge to the public at the WRHS History Center and in the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage’s Museum Store.

WRHS Appoints New Library Director

Western Reserve Historical Society Appoints New Library Director
Richard Shrake will oversee WRHS Research Library beginning in June 2014

Cleveland, OH— The Western Reserve Historical Society announced today that Richard Shrake will join the museum as the Director of the Research Library. Shrake, a native of Akron, Ohio, was most recently the Associate Librarian for Technical Services at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Shrake has been a Certified Archivist since 2005 and is an active member of the Academy of Certified Archivists, serving on both the Nominations Committee and the Exam Development Committee. As a member of the Society of American Archivists, he has presented several papers and conducted workshops for a number of industry conferences.

“Having Richard joining the WRHS staff will magnify the presence of the WRHS archives in the community as well as provide greater cohesion and direction to the important initiatives facing the library. Libraries are undergoing monumental changes, and having an experienced director steeped in ‘best standards’ of the industry will assure the preservation of the priceless material we hold in our archives and the growth of the library in the future,” says Kelly Falcone-Hall, Interim CEO at WRHS. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Richard at the helm of the Research Library at this critical juncture in digital innovation, preservation challenges, tight budgets, and meeting the priorities within our Strategic Plan.”

The WRHS Research Library is home to over 4 million photos, countless community history archives, genealogy resources, and collections that span local and national history. In one of its most recent projects, the Research Library made over 2,800 finding aids available online through OhioLINK. OhioLINK is an online repository that allows anyone with a computer to access the digitized collections within an institution’s auspices. To date, WRHS is the institution that has contributed the most digitized finding aids to OhioLINK.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with compelling collections and a dedicated staff while also getting to relocate to my hometown in Northeast Ohio,” said Shrake. “I am eager to become a part of WRHS’ legacy of encouraging discovery and understanding of the region’s history.”

Iconic Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel Open to Public

Iconic Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel Restored to Life at the Western Reserve Historical Society
Grand Carousel will be open and ready for riders on Sunday, November 23 at WRHS History Center in University Circle
Contact: Alyssa Purvis –

CLEVELAND, OH – Euclid Beach Park was a longstanding Cleveland icon, attracting locals, visitors from afar, and even presidential candidates to the shores of Lake Erie to enjoy the sights and sounds of one of the nation’s best-known amusement centers. When the park closed in 1969, the Carousel’s long journey back to Cleveland began and this year, on November 23, the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel will operate once again at the Western Reserve Historical Society’s (WRHS) History Center in University Circle. Two rides are included with the cost of general admission: $10 for adults, $9 for seniors 62+, and $5 for children ages 3-12. Each additional ride will cost $3 and can be purchased on-site. Admission can be purchased online in advance, but rides will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Everyone involved in the restoration of the Grand Carousel has worked so hard to bring the pieces of this truly iconic landmark back to Cleveland,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, President & CEO of WRHS. “The Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel will be the ultimate interactive exhibit and we are incredibly excited to have this piece of Cleveland’s history live on in the Carousel Pavilion at the History Center. The Carousel Pavilion, an all-weather glass addition that was designed specifically for the Carousel by Richard Fleischman + Partners Architects, Inc., is the ideal space to showcase the beauty and craftsmanship of the Carousel. To have what was known as the finest carousel ever made as part of the WRHS collections is an inclusion and responsibility we are proud to carry as the stewards of Northeast Ohio’s history.”

Built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1910, the Carousel that operated at Euclid Beach Park featured 58 hand-carved wooden horses, 54 of which still exist today and will be available to ride on the newly restored Carousel. In addition to the horses, visitors can experience rides on the Carousel in two chariots, one of which is a newly created chariot accessible to all and another that is original to the 1910 carousel. The second original chariot will be placed in the Carousel Pavilion as a photo opportunity for visitors. The restoration work on the Grand Carousel was done by Carousel Works in Mansfield, Ohio. Carousel Works is the largest manufacturer of wooden carousels in the world.

In June 2010, the relationship between The Cleveland Carousel Society, Euclid Beach Park Now, and WRHS was formed. The three institutions have been working together to fundraise and restore the Grand Carousel to its original splendor. The friends and supporters of the project will gather to experience its first turns on Saturday, November 22. More information about the Opening Celebration and continued sponsorship opportunities is available online. Tickets to the Opening Celebration are available to the public for purchase.

“The Western Reserve Historical Society is the perfect home for the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel,” said John Frato, President of Euclid Beach Park Now. “WRHS is the repository for all of the important pieces from Cleveland’s history and there is no doubt that the Carousel is one of those pieces. At the History Center, the Carousel will once again be able to provide memories to families who rode it at Euclid Beach Park and touch a new generation of riders well into the future.”

WRHS Opens New Costume Exhibit: In Grand Style

In Grand Style Highlights Elegance and Affluence of Cleveland’s Past Through Fashions from the 1870s to the 1930s
NEW exhibit featuring 35 historic ensembles from the WRHS Costume & Textile Collection opens to the public Saturday, November 8
Contact: Alyssa Purvis –

 CLEVELAND, OH – In the late 1800s, Cleveland was one of the great American cities. Much like New York’s social elite, its wealthy residents lived in high style. Elaborate customs and extravagant entertainments characterized the lifestyle, which required suitable wardrobes often acquired in Paris. Historic garments and accessories will soon be on display in a new exhibit at the Western Reserve Historical Society’s History Center, In Grand Style. These fashions from the 1870s to the 1930s provide a window into the world of privileged Cleveland.

In Grand Style, which opens to the public on Saturday, November 8, showcases luxury and local history. The exhibit, made possible by the Museum Advisory Council and The Payne Fund, features thirty-five ensembles drawn from the historic costume collection of WRHS. The ensembles span from the 1870s to the early 1930s, a period comparable to the one depicted in the popular PBS program, Downton Abbey.

“This exhibit really shows the concentration of wealth in Cleveland in the decades that followed the Civil War,” said Susan Neill, guest curator for In Grand Style. “The fashions of this period tended to be elaborate and dramatic and, frankly, were often very expensive. The pieces on display convey the grand lifestyles of Cleveland’s elite. Each ensemble reflects an individual’s taste and status and also shows the great lengths many went to in order to be well dressed.”

In Grand Style will feature women’s clothing along with several men’s and children’s ensembles to paint a picture of the entire family. Notable Clevelanders are represented throughout the exhibit, many of whom resided in impressive mansions on “Millionaire’s Row,” a stretch of about 40 residences on Euclid Avenue from East 12th to East 55th Streets. The area was home to some of the world’s most powerful industrialists and their families. Familiar people featured in the exhibit include fashion icon Phyllis Peckham, First Lady Lucretia Garfield, and the Wade family.

In addition to the garments in the exhibit, accessories such as exquisite fans, elegant shoes, and beaded bags will also be on display. Portraits of prominent Cleveland residents, some of whom are depicted in the displayed ensembles, will further demonstrate the high manner of living in Cleveland during the time period.

“The success and high visibility Dior & More – For the Love of Fashion, the previous fashion exhibit at the History Center, created a demand for more from the WRHS Costume & Textile Collection,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, President & CEO of WRHS. “With In Grand Style, visitors will gain additional insight into the collection and see firsthand the style evolution that took place from the late 1800s to the first quarter of the 20th century.”

In Grand Style will be housed in the Chisholm Halle Costume Wing at the WRHS History Center, which recently underwent improvements to help ensure the longevity of garments in future exhibits. Generously paid for by The Payne Fund, these improvements include a motion detector system to regulate lighting that will minimize its damaging effects on fabrics in the gallery. The exhibit will open November 8 and is free with general admission to the History Center.

Celebrate Fall at Hale Farm & Village

Celebrate Fall at Hale Farm & Village’s Harvest Festival, Presented by Giant Eagle
October 4-5 and 11-12

BATH, Ohio—Autumn’s arrival is symbolized by crisp air and new vibrant coappleseedlors that capture the wonder of a new season. The quickly arriving fall season produces some of the most beautiful scenery in the Cuyahoga Valley at Hale Farm & Village, home to the annual Harvest Festival, presented by Giant Eagle, Inc. From 10 am to 5 pm each day, the Harvest Festival gives visitors to Hale Farm their first taste of fall in a variety of ways, including:

  • Apple butter churning
  • Apple cider press
  • Wagon rides
  • Farm implements
  • Johnny Appleseed appearance
  • Pumpkin painting
  • Corn maze
  • Farmyard animals
  • Food preservation talks

In the Hale Café visitors are able to enjoy a variety of different seasonal offerings such as locally brewed beer and wine, apple and pumpkin treats, kettle corn, and more. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 3-12, and free for WRHS members and children under the age of 2. The admission price to the Harvest Festival includes festival activities and access to the heritage gardens of Hale Farm as well as the always-available early American craft and trade demonstrations, which include glassblowing, blacksmithing, pottery, and spinning and weaving.

“Fall in the Cuyahoga Valley is a great time to enjoy the outdoors before the chill of winter,” said Jason Klein, site manager of Hale Farm. “The changing colors of the valley are the backdrop for a number of seasonal experiences including cider pressing, butter churning and the harvesting of crops .Other fun activities for the family include wagon rides, a corn maze and a pumpkin patch. As with all events at Hale Farm, the artisans will be creating handcrafted at Hale items and the historic buildings will be open for tours. It’s a great way to spend a beautiful fall day.”

In addition to the events of the festival each weekend, Hale Farm also hosts the Hale Harvest 5K on the morning of October 4th. The three-mile loop course invites runners and walkers to experience the natural beauty of Hale Farm as they run along nature trails, through the Hale sugar bush, past historic houses, in farmyards, and across creeks. The top three finishers overall and the top male and female finishers per category receive handcrafted pieces from Hale Farm & Village’s early American craft and trade artisans. Registration is $25 per runner and includes free admission to the Harvest Festival on race day. Runners can register online by clicking here. For photos from last year’s race, click here.

The Marketplace at Hale Farm & Village will be open for shopping during all festival dates. The Marketplace features products handmade by the artisans at Hale Farm, including blown glass and pottery, and many other local items and seasonal souvenirs.

Hale Farm & Village, a living history museum of the Western Reserve Historical Society, is located on 90 acres with 32 historic structures, farm animals, heritage gardens, farming, and early American craft and trade demonstrations. The location is open on Saturdays and Sundays during the months of September and October. From November-May, the site is open for special programs and reservations only. Visit or call (330) 666-3711 ext. 1720 for seasonal hours, program listings, rental information, and turn-by-turn directions.

1964: When Browns Town was Title Town Exhibit

Exhibit Celebrates Thrilling 1964 Champions Cleveland Browns

NEW Exhibit 1964: When Browns Town was Title Town

Opening Saturday, September 6 at the WRHS History Center

CLEVELAND, OH – The Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) is launching an exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the championship season of the Cleveland Browns. The new exhibit, 1964: When Browns Town was Title Town, focuses on the excitement the community felt as well as the team’s place in history as an underdog team unexpectedly won a championship in a crushing victory. Under Coach Blanton Collier, the Cleveland Browns beat the favored Baltimore Colts to win the NFL Championship 27-0 in front of over 79,000 fans on December 27, 1964.

A wide range of Browns memorabilia relating to the championship team will be included in the exhibition, which was initiated by avid Browns fans and guestBrowns Town Buttoncurators Kermit and Joyce Pike, who began their extensive collection with their season tickets and game-day memorabilia from1964. One of the special features of their collection is Browns football cards, including the number one Jim Brown Master Set on the Professional Sports Authenticators registry. After retiring from WRHS as Library Director and Chief Operating Officer, Pike added to his collection to include programs, pennants, autographed footballs, photographs, jerseys, and other souvenirs.

In addition to the Pike collection and WRHS archival material, the exhibit will feature items from the Cleveland Browns,
Pro Football Hall of Fame, Don Gries, and several other private collectors. The exhibit, with an emphasis on the some of the Pro Football Hall of Fame players who played on the 1964 team, is a multi-media experience with memory-rich artifacts of the championship game such as:

  • Jim Brown’s contract with the Cleveland Browns signed October 31, 1964
  • Championship game football signed by members of the team
  • Championship game-worn jersey from #87, 23-year old Tom Hutchinson
  • Helmet signed by members of the team
  • Never-before exhibited recordings of the championship by Middleton Lambright
  • Never-before exhibited sideline photographs by Charles Proctor, Cleveland photographer
  • Offensive and Defensive playbooks from the 1964 and 1965 season
  • Locker from the 1964 locker room
  • Pennants of the era featuring “Brownie”
  • Game programs from the 1964 season
  • Seat from the stadium signed by team members
  • Ticket box, tickets, and turnstile from Municipal Stadium, home of the championship Browns
  • Topps and other exceptional trading cards featuring “Jimmy” Brown

Educational and community programs throughout the run of the exhibit featuring speakers, panels, and guest appearances will explore the larger history of the Browns franchise over the 50 years since the championship. They will paint a picture of what the city of Cleveland was like in 1964, a time of great social change and urban renewal. The exhibit runs September 6 through February 2015 at the History Center in University Circle. The exhibit opens with a Preview Party September 5, and a Tailgate Party September 6.

“The thrill of being able to see a championship ring, or the contract that Jim Brown signed with the Browns, or learning that at the time he was known as ‘Jimmy’ Brown, makes the story of the Browns more personal. Western Reserve Historical Society, through our collections and archives, has a vast wealth of material for the public to learn about the history of Cleveland, including our sports history,” said Ed Pershey, VP, Museum Special Projects and Exhibits. “This exhibit brings some of the ‘thrill of victory’ to the public and makes it more accessible through these wonderful pieces of Cleveland Browns history.”

“We are excited to have this exhibit launching at this thrilling time for the Cleveland Browns. With hometown hero, Brian Hoyer and the excitement around Johnny Manziel making headlines in the news, this is an ideal time to commemorate the heroes of 50 years ago from the 1964 championship. We are bringing that story to a new generation of Cleveland Browns fans,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, President & CEO of WRHS.  “This exhibit speaks to the core of our mission and our work here, we are all about the history of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, and we all know that Clevelanders are passionate sports fan—it’s part of our history—part of our story. If this sparks an interest in learning more about Cleveland, or a family history, or just cheering the Browns on to another championship, we’ll count that as a success.”

1964: When Browns Town was Title Town is made possible by the following sponsors and partners: PNC, University Hospitals, Ohio Savings Bank, a division of New York Community Bank, ESPN Cleveland, Lufthouse, and Buffalo Wild Wings. Donors include: Bob and Sally Gries, as well as Don and Mary Jo Dailey, Jack Herrick, John J. and Mary A. Jenkins, and Jim and Anne Schoff. Honorary Exhibit Co-Chairs include Bob and Sally Gries, Paul and Jill Clark, and Jimmy and Dee Haslam. Exhibit Co-Chairs are Jim and Anne Schoff.