October 31, 2016
After three amazing years the Wade Project at Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) officially comes to an end today.
In the autumn of 2013 members of the Wade family approached both John Grabowski, VP of Research and Publications at WRHS, and me with the idea of making MS. 3292 The Jeptha Homer Wade Family Papers freely accessible online. This ambitious project was funded and launched in February 2014. Over the past 33 months I led the team at the Cleveland History Center which has accomplished many of the goals set for the project made possible with the $200,000 of grants and gifts raised over the course of the project.
- Digitized over 15, 000 documents
- Processed and created two entirely new collections — MS. 5228 The Jeptha Homer Wade Family Papers Series II, and PG 597 Jeptha Homer Wade Family Photographs Series II
- Created an online collaborative space for the over 900 transcribed pages of the Randall Wade Travel Journals (wadetravels.org)
- Created, provided the initial support for, and launched the Cleveland Digital History Center
- In August 2015 WRHS welcomed the Wade Post-Doctoral Scholar, Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, who was chosen after a nationwide competitive process. WRHS joined a small number of U.S. historical societies and museums with a commitment to the support of emerging scholars in the field of American public history. Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, Ph.D. is now a Visiting Assistant Professor in the History Department at CWRU
- Provided information and assistance to students, scholars, researchers
- Introduced new generations of Wade descendants of the original Jeptha H. Wade to Cleveland and the family’s history in Cleveland
- Promoted and disseminated information about WRHS, University Circle, and the Wade Family through presentations, articles, social media
- Provided internship and training opportunities for 24 students from ten colleges and universities
- Collaborated on various projects with valued colleagues at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Case Western Reserve University’s Kelvin Smith Library and the University Farm, Beech Brook, and Lake View Cemeteries
- Provided support to WRHS Exhibition “In Grand Style” and mounted two small exhibitions in the rare book room showcases about the Wade Family and the importance of travel to Cleveland’s Gilded Age families
- Restored, rehoused, and framed two important Daguerreotypes in the collection in period frames
Mrs. Jeptha Homer Wade III kindly funded my work on the Randall Wade Travel Journals 1870-71. These journals have been printed in facsimile and are headed towards the binder. Soon this beautiful volume will be available for use in libraries across University Circle. John Grabowski will continue to oversee the subsequent publication of the Autobiography of Jeptha Homer Wade. Through our efforts, we are fortunate that members of the Wade family have agreed to provide the introductory remarks for this forthcoming volume.
The publication of the journals has been one of the highlights of my professional career. As an independent scholar I spent three years painstakingly transcribing the journals. Together with Randall and his family, I have traveled the length and breadth of late 19th century Europe witnessing world history from Randall’s unique vantage point. I am grateful for Emily Wade’s gift to WRHS which available to the wider public. It is this record which documents the origins of the Wade family’s impact on the development of the urban cultural infrastructure in Cleveland.
Finally, my thanks go to the George Garretson Wade Charitable Trust, Mrs. Emily Vanderbilt Wade, and the grandchildren of George Garretson and Irene Love Wade for their support, and to the many descendants of Jeptha Homer Wade (1811-1890) who shared resources, archival documents, and family stories.
While today marks an end the Wade Project at WRHS, my own research and work on the family history will continue. I’m grateful for the opportunity to conduct this work, and have thoroughly enjoyed my collaboration with the Cleveland History Center. My thanks and gratitude to everyone on the staff, in particular to John Grabowski, Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, Danielle Peck, Ann Sindelar, and the entirety of the Library/Archives staff.
Holly M. Witchey, Ph.D.