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William E. Peters Papers

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The William E. Peters Papers online collection consists of his "Range Books" (26 photographic scrapbooks), as well as a 3-volume index of names transcribed from grave markers within those scrapbooks. These materials selected from the larger physical manuscript collection showcase Peters' research and documentation of Athens County, Ohio history and genealogy. The 26-volume series of Range Books are organized geographically by range, township, and section, and were compiled primarily during the 1940s. They document unique features of Athens County and its surrounding areas, including cemeteries, Native American mounds, schools, and mining sites. 

Peters seems to have particularly focused on features he believed were being damaged or disappearing. His interest in genealogy and training as a land surveyor and attorney are evident in the detail with which he recorded historical accounts from local residents, cemetery records and inscriptions, as well as precise geographical information for many of the sites he photographed. 

About W. E. Peters

William E. Peters (1857-1952) worked as an engineer, surveyor, and lawyer, practicing both privately and at Ohio University. He moved to Athens in 1888 after being appointed Athens County Surveyor, a position he held until 1890. Peters grew familiar with the terrain of Athens County both while helping prepare land for railroad construction and as a lawyer specializing in local property law. For more than 50 years, Peters continued his first-hand study of the lands of Southeastern Ohio, traveling throughout the region, bearing witness to a rapidly changing landscape while creating one of the most comprehensive documentations of Athens and its surroundings in his 26-volume series of Range Books. He is known for his contributions to the surveying field as well as the publication of numerous books related to Ohio lands, law, history, and local Athens institutions. 

Access at Alden

The physical collection is held by, and can be viewed at, the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, on the 5th floor of Alden Library.

Access Online

Browse the collection or search the collection in CONTENTdm.

Future Additions

William E. Peters Papers online may eventually include other materials related to Athens County and Ohio history, as well as genealogical resources from the physical collection.

Collection Contact

Miriam Intrator, Special Collections Librarian for Rare Books, Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, Ohio University Libraries.

Rights Statement

Items in the William E. Peters Papers are protected by copyright, unless otherwise indicated. Peters' Range Books will enter the public domain 70 years after the year of his death, on January 1, 2023.

In Copyright