The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
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Highlights of the Collection

Historical Documents

The documents collection at the Library was established in 1884, but its holdings include documents from the founding days of the country. Dating as early as the 1770s, official public documents are the primary sources for U.S. history. From the signing of the Declaration of the Independence and the ratification of the Constitution, to the adoption of the Seal of the United States and the National Anthem, the fledgling American government recognized the need to record the nation’s history and to make these records open to the public.

The Library collection offers print copies of the papers from the Constitutional Conventions, the very early Congressional Globe, and Senate debates from the first congresses. Much of this collection is online at the Library of Congress’ Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation. Some selected titles from our collection:

The Declaration of Independence: Illustrated Story of Its Adoption with the Biographies and Portraits of the Signers and of the Secretary of the Congress
by William H. Michael 1904
P.D. S 1.2: D 35

Great Seal of the United States

Documentary History of the Constitution of the United States of America 1786-1870
P.D. S 8.2: D 65/1

The Seal of the United States: How It Was Developed and Adopted
by Gaillard Hunt 1892
P.D. S 1.2: SE 1/2

Report on the “Star-Spangled Banner,” “Hail Columbia,” “America,” “Yankee Doodle”
comp. by Oscar Sonneck 1909
P.D. LC 12.2: ST 2

History of Congress
P.D. Y 1.1: C 74

Public documents continue the nation’s history in firsthand accounts of the westward expansion of our borders, with Lewis & Clark’s historical journey, the purchase of the Louisiana Territory and the exploration of the Colorado River leading to the discovery of the Grand Canyon.

Louisiana Purchase

Exploration of the Colorado River of the West and Its Tributaries
P.D. SI 1.2: C 71

Cession of Louisiana
by John Conrad & Co. 1803
P.D. Y 1.1: L 92

With the westward expansion came interaction with tribes of Native Americans. The Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of American Ethnology published reports on the cultures and practices of many Native American tribes. These reports are available in the Library’s document collection, as well as reports on the over-hunting of bison, and oral histories of Native Americans who remember the Trail of Tears.

American Bison

Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin
P.D. SI 2.3:nos

The Extermination of the American Bison
by William T. Hornaday 1889
P.D. SI 1.2: B 62

Oral History Stories of the Long Walk by the Dine of the Eastern Region of the Navajo Reservation
Lake Valley Navajo School 1990
P.D. ED 1.2:ST 7

Compilation of All the Treaties between the United States and the Indian Tribes Now in Force as Laws
P.D. Y 1.1: IN 2

In wartime, our government not only keeps military records, but issues publications to keep its citizens and soldiers informed. From technical field manuals to civil defense procedure pamphlets, public documents reflect our military history and the war effort here and abroad.

Notes on the Spanish-American War
Office of Naval Intelligence 1900
P.D. N 13.7:1-8

Bert the Turtle says: Duck and Cover
Federal Civil Defense Administration 1951
P.D. FCD 1.2: B 95

What You Should Know about Biological Warfare
Federal Civil Defense Administration 1951
P.D. FCD 1.2: B 52

Daddy’s Days Away: A Deployment Activity Book for Parents & Children
Family Programs Branch Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps 1987
P.D. D 214.2: D 12

Army without Uniform: The Story of the War Department’s Civilian Training Program
War Dept. 1942
P.D. W 1.2: AR 5/5

Soldier Shows
U.S. Army Service Forces 1944
P.D. W 109.102: SO 4

Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States
printed by Charles Cist 1794
P.D. W 1.6: 1794

In times of tragedy, public documents record governmental investigations and the grief of a nation.

Trial of the Conspirators for the Assassination of President Lincoln: Argument of John A. Bingham
P.D. W 10.6: L 63

Hearings Before the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
Volumes 1–26 1964
P.D. PR 36.8: K 38

Report of the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest
P.D. PR 37.8: C 15/R 29

Space Shuttle Challenger

Submission of Recorded Presidential Conversations to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives by President Richard Nixon
P.D. PR 37.2: C 76

Investigation of the Challenger Accident
House Report 99 -1016 1986
P.D. Y 1.1/8: 99 -1016

World Trade Center Building Performance Study

Public documents are often the core information for news reports and scholarly research. All of these primary sources are available in your Library.

Patents, Trademarks, and Copyright

Besides its status as a federal depository library, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is also a depository library for patent and trademark information, one of the 21 original patent depository collections begun in 1871. The Public Documents & Patents Department offers one of the oldest and most extensive collections of patent and trademark materials in the United States.

The patent and trademark collection is a fascinating and rich cultural portrait of American invention. Among the files are the inventions of the Wright brothers, Abraham Lincoln’s boat device, designs for the Statue of Liberty and Ziploc bags, Michael Jackson’s patent for a shoe heel device, and amazing inventions that never appeared in the market, including dimple makers and dust covers for dogs.


Patent for a dog dust cover

A patent is a legal document that gives an inventor the right to keep anyone else from making, using or selling an invention for a period of time, usually 20 years. Patents are issued by the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C., after a thorough examination of the patent application.

The Library receives copies of U.S. patents as they are issued weekly and has a complete collection dating from 1790. Our collection also includes British patents from 1640, European patents from 1988, and some Canadian patents. The collection is further expanded through a number of online patent databases. Inventors use these collections to make sure that an invention has not already been patented and to explore the innovations in patents already issued in their field of technology. Patents are also valuable to genealogists for researching family patents, to social researchers for tracing cultural trends, and to businesses for identifying marketing strengths and opportunities.

The Public Documents & Patents Department staff is available for assistance in learning to use the patent collection. The department also offers a regularly scheduled program, “The Power of Patents,” as an introduction to patents and patent searching. Call 513/369-6971 or contact the department by email for more information.

The Library hosts meetings of the local Cincinnati Inventors’ Council, a group of independent inventors which meets at the Main Library on the second Thursday of each month. The public is welcome. For more information, reach the Public Documents & Patents Department at 513/369-6971 or by email, or call the Council at 513/831-0664.


Fruit of the Loom Trademark

A trademark is a word, symbol, phrase, design, or sound which identifies the source of a good or service. The right to use a trademark is secured either by using the mark in business or by registering it with the Patent and Trademark Office. Protection lasts indefinitely, as long as the mark is in use. Like patents, trademarks are published weekly and the Library has a complete collection. The preferred method for trademark registration is online through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS), but the Public Documents and Patent Department has trademark application instruction booklets for free distribution.

Trademarks are often confused with business name registrations, which are state-level registrations. In Ohio, the Ohio Secretary of State’s office can determine if a business name is in use or available for registration. A name may also have some legal protection just by virtue of long-standing use.



Copyright protects original artistic, dramatic, musical, or literary work. It is often confused with patents and trademarks. Copyrights are registered with the Library of Congress, and the current term of coverage is the life of the author/creator plus 70 years. Copyright application forms are available for free in the Public Documents & Patents Department.

Teaching Materials

Public documents can be a great resource for teachers, parents and anyone interested in childhood education. Many government agencies produce curriculum kits and teacher materials for classroom use. Often these resources include audiovisual materials, computer files, and other non-print media. The department is happy to circulate these materials to teachers, patents, and other educators

For Teachers


Early Childhood: Where Learning Begins Mathematics
Mathematical Activities for Parents and Their 2- to 5-Year-Old Children

P.D. ED 1.302:M 42/24

What’s Up There? A Source Book in Space Oriented Mathematics for Grades Five through Eight
P.D. NAS 1.2:W 55


SunWise: A School Program that Radiates Good Ideas
P.D. EP 1.2:SU 7/55/KIT

YourSELF: Middle School Nutrition Education Kit for Teachers
P.D. A 98.2:N 95/9/KIT


America Reads Challenge: Early Childhood Language Activities for Children from Birth through Age Five
P.D. ED 1.2:R 22/9/KIT/2

School-Home Links Reading Kit: Kindergarten through Third Grade Activities
P.D. ED 1.8:R 22/6/Kinder-Third

Stories and Legends of the Northwest: Indian Reading Series
P.D. ED 1.319:(levels 1-6)


Mission to Planet Earth: A Puzzle Coloring Books for Kids and Grown-ups
P.D. NAS 1.19:227

Rockets: A Teacher’s Guide with Activities in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Grades K–12
P.D. NAS 1.19/4:1999-06-108-HQ

Space Based Astronomy: Teacher’s Guide with Activities Grades 5–8
P.D. NAS 1.18:SP 1/10

Exploring the Moon: A Teacher’s Guide with Activities for Earth and Space Sciences Grades 4–12
P.D. NAS 1.19:306

Looking at Earth From Space: Teacher’s Guide with Activities for Earth and Space Science Grades 5–12
P.D. NAS 1.18:L 87

The Web of Life Activity Booklet
P.D. A 13.42/25:122-94

Forest, Land and Water: Understanding Our Natural Resources
National Resources Education Series
P.D. A 13.36/2:F 76/5

The Adventure of Echo the Bat Grades K–4
P.D. NAS 1.19:2000-08-001-HQ

Planetary Geology: A Teacher’s Guide with Activities in Physical and Earth Sciences Grades 5–College
P.D. NAS 1.19/4:1998-03-109-HQ

GLOBE Program Teacher’s Guide: Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment
P.D. C 55.8:G 51/2002

Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands: A Toolkit for Teachers and Interpreters
P.D. EP 1.2:C 61/11/TOOLKIT

Science and Our Food Supply: Investigating Food Safety from Farm to Table
Supplementary Curriculum for Middle Level and High School Classrooms

P.D. HE 20.4002:SCI 2/KIT

Social Studies

From Farming Village to Log Hut City: Morristown during the American Revolution 1779–1780
P.D. I 29.2:F 22/2/PACK

For the People… By the People… Of the People…
Citizenship Education and Naturalization Information

P.D. J 21.2:EN 3 (/2-3)

People Who Came Before: The Hopewell Culture Curriculum Guide
Activities for the Fourth-Sixth Grade Student

P.D. I 29.9/2:H 77

Project Archaeology: Intrigue of the Past: A Teacher’s Activity Guide for Fourth through Seventh Grades
P.D. I 53.7/2:AC 8

Making Sense of Census 2000: Teaching Guides for Grades K–4, 5–8, 9–12

My History is America’s History: 15 Things You Can Do to Save America’s Stories
P.D. NF 3.2:H 62

For Parents

The government also publishes guides for parents who want to help with their child’s education, for example:

Help Your Child Use the Library
Helping Your Child Learn Geography
Helping Your Child Learn Science
Helping Your Child Get Ready for School
Helping Your Child Succeed in School
Helping Your Child Learn Math
Helping Your Child Learn to Read
Helping Your Child Learn History
Helping Your Child Learn Responsible Behavior
Helping Your Child To Be Healthy and Fit
Helping Your Child Become a Reader
Helping Your Child with Homework
P.D. ED 1.302:C 43/(12-37)

Building Your Baby’s Brain: A Parent’s Guide to the First Five Years
P.D. ED 1.308:B 11

Parent’s Guide to the Internet
P.D. ED 1.308:P 21/2/2000

For Researchers and School Administrators

Guidebook of Federal Resources for K–12 Mathematics and Science
P.D. ED 1.308:M 42/997-98

New Teacher’s Guide to the Department of Education
P.D. ED 1.8:T 22/3/997

Food and Nutrition Resources for Grades Preschool through 6
P.D. A 17.24:98-04

Nutrition Education Materials and Audiovisuals for Grades 7 through 12
P.D. A 17.24:96-02

Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read
Y 3.L 71:R 22

Safe and Smart: Making the After-School Hours Work for Kids
ED 1.2:SCH 6/28

What to Expect Your First Year of Teaching
P.D. ED 1.302:T 22/14


Topographic Map

The Department keeps a large and varied collection of maps. Map shipments arrive regularly from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The department’s largest collection is of topographic maps for all states, including older maps for the Tri-State area. Hydrologic, seismic/tectonic, bathymetric, mineral, satellite, and nautical maps are also collected here. Other types of maps, including city and travel maps, are located in the History and Genealogy Department.

GIS Service


The Library’s Geographic Information Service (GIS) offers customized mapmaking which combines basic map files with specific datasets. The service is a dynamic way to visually display and interpret data. For example, a GIS map may depict the Hispanic population of Hamilton County by census tract, the location of landfills and toxic waste in the Tri-State, the distribution of the teen population by neighborhood, or the number of retail businesses by ZIP code.

The GIS service is available at the Main Library only and is free of charge. For more information, contact the Public Documents & Patents Department at 513/369-6971 or by email.