The Pointe

MidPointe Library's Official Blog

#triviatuesday - Which comic strip from the March 19, 1953, Middletown Journal was drawn by the Ohio native whose artwork helped establish a cartoon library and museum at Ohio State University?

If it’s “trivia,” it must be Tuesday! Here’s our TriviaTuesday question for March 19, 2019:

Which accompanying comic strip from the March 19, 1953, Middletown Journal was drawn by the Ohio native whose gift of artwork helped establish a cartoon library and museum at Ohio State University?

Congratulations, “Steve Canyon Fans”!  Canyon creator and Hillsboro, Ohio, native Milton Caniff (1907-1988) is the famous cartoonist whose collection of artwork helped establish the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum on the campus of Ohio State University in 1977.


Ireland (1880-1935) was a Chillicothe, Ohio, native and Columbus Dispatch editorial cartoonist whose clever images heaped praise or rebuke on the issues of his day. To this day his work remains a testament to freedom of the print or in art.


Caniff, a Hillsboro, Ohio, native, “graduated from Ohio State and loved the place so much that he wanted his original art and other papers to be kept there forever. He handed it all over to the university in 1977…

“Along with library curator Lucy Shelton Caswell, Caniff then began urging his cartoonist friends to do the same. Two classrooms in the journalism building soon began to fill with the new comics archive.”

Today, “the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is now the largest and most comprehensive academic research facility documenting printed cartoon art. Administratively it is part of Ohio State University Libraries,” according to its website.

All hail the mighty cartoon! With perceptive images and few words it can entertain an audience or change society.


“Comics fans will be drawn to Ohio museum” by Mitch Stacy, AP writer. USA Today, November 15, 2013:

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum website:

About Billy Ireland (with photo):

About Milton Caniff:

Milton Caniff Collection guide at OSU:;query=;brand=default

Do you love comics and cartoons? Do editorial cartoons get your political juices flowing?

Then all you need is a free MidPointe Library card to access our numerous online offerings and/or to check out material at any of our five locations: Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe and Liberty Township (second floor Liberty Center).

For “cartooning” via MidPointe Library’s website click on:

For “comics” click on:

Copies of the Middletown Journal can also be found online via our eLibrary: > eLibrary > Research Databases > Magazines and Newspapers > Newspaper Archive.

Microfilm copies of the Middletown Journal and Middletown News Signal can be found on microfilm at our Middletown location.

#tbt - March 14, 1957 : Fans cheer on Middletown High hoopsters to a state victory

On this ThrowbackThursday, March 14, we relish memories of the Middletown community heaping lots of luck and good wishes upon a 1950s Middletown High School basketball team vying for another coveted state title.

In an advertisement published in the March 14, 1957, Middletown Journal, local merchants and others exhorted their district champs to embrace the Middie Magic and “Go All The Way right thru Cincinnati regionals … and on to Columbus.” Spread over two pages, the eye-catching ad featured photos of Middie players and coaches and the names of supportive merchants.

The good wishes worked. Combined with superb coaching and multi-talented hoopsters, the Middies snatched the 1957 state victory from the Roosevelt Rough Riders of Kent, Ohio, at St. John Arena in Columbus.


Chronicling the big win on the front page of the Sunday, March 24, 1957, Middletown Journal, Sports Editor Jerry Nardiello wrote:

“Middletown High’s Mighty Middies continued to roll along as the state’s top basketball power here last night when it annexed its seventh Class AA championship with a hard-fought 64-54 victory over tough Kent Roosevelt at the St. John Arena...the triumph over the Rough Riders climaxed the second straight undefeated season for Paul Walker’s quintet and brought their state record winning streak to 52 games…”

The victory also garnered a prominent spot in the 1957 Middletown High School “Optimist” yearbook, which reported:

“...As 13,600 fans looked on at the St. John Arena in Columbus, the Mighty Middies netted their seventh state crown by defeating Kent Roosevelt’s Rough Riders 64-54. “...the Walkermen (alluding to Coach Paul Walker) ... victoriously concluded their second straight undefeated season and made their winning streak a lofty 52 games…”

The yearbook article continued that  “All-American Jerry Lucas” (future basketball pro, Gold Medal Olympian, author and memory expert) “led the attack with 28 points and Tom Sizer contributed 14, but fine Middie team play was evident throughout the game.”

Today “Middie Magic” lives on in a new scholastic-athletic complex on Middletown’s Breiel Boulevard.

Who knows? The next Jerry Lucas might be hitting the court as we speak.

“Congratulations Middies. Go all the way…” advertisement from Middletown Journal, March 14, 1957. Pages 28 and 29.

“Middies Champions seventh time…64 to 54 victory rolled up after seesaw battle” by Sports Editor Jerry Nardiello, Middletown Journal, March 24, 1957.

Middletown High School “Optimist 1957” yearbook.

Copies of previous Middletown Journals can be located via MidPointe Library’s home page : > eLibrary > Research Databases > Magazines and Newspapers> Newspaper Archive.

Copies of the Middletown Journal and the Middletown News Signal are also available on microfilm at MidPointe’s Middletown location, 125 South Broad Street.

Copies of Middletown High School “Optimist” yearbooks are available on MidPointe Library’s Digital Archives,  accessible via its home page : > eLibrary > Digital Archives >

“The Optimist” Middletown City School District High School Yearbooks.

Middletown High School (and other school) yearbooks are available for viewing on-premises only in the “Ohio Room” at MidPointe’s Middletown branch.

To learn about the past, begin in the present at MidPointe Library! All it takes is a free library card! Sign up at any location today :

Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe and Liberty Township (2nd floor Liberty Center).

#triviatuesday - What 2 groups of local singing siblings got a career boost by appearing on the 1940s and 1950s “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts”?

As the Middletown Historical Society prepares to honor local “History Makers” and “History Preservers” this spring, we bring to your attention a group of singing sisters listed among the nominees (in addition to the hometown McGuire Sisters below).


Therefore, today’s TriviaTuesday question asks:

In addition to Middletown’s McGuire Sisters (above), what group of local singing siblings (then a trio) also got a boost to its career by appearing on the popular national program in the 1940s and 1950s, “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts”?

The answer is the Shepherd Sisters, comprised of MaryLou, Gayle and Martha, daughters of Armco steel worker Doug Shepherd and his wife, Pearl, of Middletown.


The sisters were the subject of a 2012 Journal News article written by Middletown Historian Roger Miller. Miller recounted some of the steps to the Shepherd siblings’s rise to fame :

*A trio of the sisters catching the attention of an orchestra leader at an Armco Park Talent Show followed by…

*An opportunity to sing with that orchestra, which in turn led to...

*Being overheard by two Dayton, Ohio, talent agents who had worked with Middletown’s McGuire Sisters which, as they say…

*Became music history which included…

*Local bookings, the appearance on Godfrey’s talent show, a European tour, time in New York which resulted in a hit version of the song, “Gone With The Wind,” appearances on the Alan Freed Stage Shows and on “American Bandstand” hosted by rock’n’roll legend Dick Clark.

It wasn’t long before the Middletown threesome became a foursome thanks to the addition of sister Judith. She had traveled to New York City to visit her sisters and was invited to sing along on a scheduled recording session.

With the world as their stage, the Shepherd Sisters became ideal Middletown ambassadors.

Historian Miller expressed the thoughts of those who remember the delightful sounds of the singing Shepherd Sisters of Middletown:

“The music of the Shepherd Sisters won’t be forgotten by many of us who grew up during that time,” he wrote.

The photo of the McGuire Sisters (top and on Facebook page) and the photo of the Shepherd Sisters are courtesy of Google.

For more information on the Shepherd Sisters, read Roger Miller’s complete article in the August 1, 2012, Journal News :

Or check out the sisters’ website, “The Shepherd Sisters”:

Or read the obituary of Gayle Shepherd in the New York Times:

Then don’t forget to check the website of the Middletown Historical Society to find the latest on the upcoming “7th Annual Awards Dinner ‘Industrial Middletown’” and all the nominees for the “2019 Middletown History Maker and Preserver Awards” (including both the Shepherd and McGuire sisters and many more notables):


Let MidPointe Library be a stop on your own magical history tour!

Stop by the Middletown location’s “Ohio Room” and the “Local History and Genealogy Gallery” to conduct your history searches. While you’re there travel back in time via microfilm as you peruse old copies of the Middletown Journal and Middletown News Signal!

You can also search our on-shelf and online catalog for historical items…

…As well as our “Digital Archives” of photos and articles on all-things-local history:

Don’t forget our voluminous eLibrary available via our homepage : > eLibrary.

At MidPointe Library you’ll discover that local history is alive and well!

Enjoy a little comic relief for a Monday!


Prolific children’s author Dav Pilkey, who unleashed Dog Man, conjured Captain Underpants but saved the diaper for Super Diaper Baby, turns 53-years-old today, March 4!

To celebrate, we ask: What do Piqua, Ohio, Captain Underpants and the masters of slapstick -- the Three Stooges -- have in common?


The answer is Curly Howard, one-third of 20th-century America’s most famous comedy trio! *

Howard’s real name was Jerome Horwitz, and if that sounds familiar to you “Underpants” fans, congratulations!

You recognize it as the name of “Jerome Horwitz Elementary School” in Piqua, Ohio, which the series characters attend.

For more information about the unique educational institution, check out its actual website:

It even includes a map!


If you like the characters of Cleveland, Ohio, native Dav Pilkey, have we got a collection for you! Go to:

If the “Three Stooges” tickle your funny bone, look no further :

Or try our voluminous eLibrary, available via our website : > eLibrary. It contains “Hoopla” with literally “hundreds of thousands of free movies, TV Shows, full music albums, audiobooks, eBooks, comics and more…”

No MidPointe Library card? No problem! Sign up for your free library card at any MidPointe location : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe and Liberty Township!

* Source: “Captain Underpants — The First Epic Movie (2017) Trivia” at :

Photo credits:

Middletonians wish TV/Movie Icon Ron Howard a happy 65th birthday while anticipating "Hillbilly Elegy" on film

We all remember Ron Howard as the cute kid who loved to go fishing with his “Pa” on the beloved ‘60s sitcom, “The Andy Griffith Show.”

So it’s only fitting that today we wish “Opie” a Happy 65th Birthday!”

Now an “Academy Award-winning filmmaker” and “one of this generation’s most popular directors” (think ‘Apollo 13’ and ‘A Beautiful Mind’)*, Howard has Middletown-area fans eagerly awaiting the release of his upcoming movie depicting the life of one of their own : 2003 Middletown High School graduate J.D. Vance.


Based on Vance’s best-selling memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy,” the film is expected to be “fully” financed by movie-streaming giant Netflix “with Howard directing and producing through Imagine Entertainment…,” according to

Netflix “has committed to spend $45 million on the film…,” Variety continued.**

In October 2018 Downtown Middletown residents were happily shocked to see Ron Howard in town, apparently searching for sites that could double as settings for the movie.

Perhaps no one was more surprised than the patrons and employees at the Triple Moon Coffee Company, who spoke to and were photographed with the celebrity. Word is that the TV/movie icon enjoyed Triple Moon’s “Bad Hunter” vegetarian wrap, declaring it “a really good sandwich.” ***

ron howard (2).jpg

“Best-selling author” is just one of many titles in Vance’s impressive resume. It includes U.S. Marine, Ohio State University and Yale University Law School graduate and investor. He reportedly lives in the Columbus, Ohio, area.

Published in 2016, “Hillbilly Elegy” shares the story of Vance’s upbringing, his family and their transition from poverty to middle class, navigating the demands of a new life amid the collective demons of the past. ****

To this day the memoir, which “...climbed to number one on the New York Times best-seller list two months after it was published” (*****) remains one of the most popular autobiographies ever checked out at MidPointe Library.



**“Netflix Boards Ron Howard’s ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ in $45 Million Deal” by Dave McNary, January 25, 2019.

***From “Ron Howard Looking for Places to Film in the Miami Valley for Upcoming Movie” by Rick McCrabb, published in the October 3, 2018 Journal News.

****MidPointe Library catalog:

***** “Los Angeles Review of Books,” January 10, 2018.!

J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” is available at MidPointe Library in book, audiobook and e-book formats. View our catalog at:

MidPointe also offers a vast eLibrary via its home page: > eLibrary > eBooks

Access it directly:

No library card? No problem! Sign up for your free library card at any MidPointe location : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe and Liberty Center in Liberty Township.

Research your African-American ancestors at MidPointe Library!


Today may be the last day of “African American History Month,” but it’s not the end of learning about the culture and history of African Americans.At MidPointe Library we’re ready -- onsite and online -- to celebrate the accomplishments of local and nationally known African Americans and to provide tools our patrons can use to trace their ancestry.

  • Let’s start with a highly anticipated March 23rd visit to MidPointe’s Middletown location by Tim Pinnick, nationally-known author and expert on African-American genealogy. Pinnick’s talk will be part of an “African American Book Talk & Fair” from 1 to 4 p.m. His appearance is made possible by MidPointe in association with the African-American Genealogy Group of the Miami Valley. Pinnick is the author of “Finding and Using African American Newspapers” and the owner of “History and Genealogy Spotlight.”  The program is free and open to the public.

  • Then begin your ancestor search at MidPointe-Middletown! While you’re here March 23, be sure to stop by our “Local History and Genealogy Gallery” (look for the Aeronca airplane model suspended overhead) and its vast collection of how-to resources that can be checked out on your free library card. You’ll find material on ancestries from around the world.

Screen+african+american+history (1).jpg

Spacious and inviting, the “Gallery” features a 70-inch color touchscreen on its south wall that currently displays the “African American History Timeline.” The intriguing pictorial history features notable African-Americans from the 1400s to the 21st century.

The Middletown area is well represented on the display, which was originally created by the Middletown African American Heritage and Cultural Center and designed by local historian Sam Ashworth. It was made possible by a grant from the Middletown Community Foundation in cooperation with the Middletown Historical Society.

Having engaged library visitors since its arrival last year, the “Timeline” will only be available a few more weeks.

  • Adjacent to our Local History and Genealogy Gallery is the unique “Ohio Room,” a treasure trove of books and files on local and area history that are not available for checkout but but may be read onsite.

Within the “Ohio Room” is the popular “Vertical File” along the north wall. This file cabinet contains a voluminous amount of documents, newspaper clippings and more on all-things-local. Of special interest might be the file titled “African American Black History Month Profiles” containing biographies of outstanding local African-Americans that were originally published as a series several years ago by the Middletown Journal.


While at MidPointe-Middletown don’t forget to peruse copies of local newspapers from years past on its microfilm machine. Located near the Ohio Room, this popular machine stands ready to display copies of the Middletown Journal and the Middletown Daily Signal dating from the late 1800s to the present.

If you feel like staying home to research your genealogy, look no further than MidPointe’s online research sites!

A free MidPointe Library card gives you access to numerous databases via our website: > eLibrary> Research Databases > Genealogy and Local History.

Or find it directly at:

Sites include -- but are not limited to -- “African-American Heritage,” the “Ohio History Connection,” “Heritage Quest Online,” an Ancestry Library Edition (in-library use only), and newspaper archives among many others.

MidPointe also offers its own “Digital Archives” via its website. Find photos and information on local African Americans at:

Of course, MidPointe offers a multitude of items related to African Americans on its catalog. They’re available at:

Interested in a certain subject(s)? Just place a “hold” on any item(s) and choose one of our five locations to pick them up : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe and Liberty Center in Liberty Township.

Enjoy meeting your ancestors!