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2021 Ed Lentz Prize Winner is
Angela O'Neal 

Columbus Landmarks proudly announces that Columbus Metropolitan Library Local History and Genealogy Manager, Angela O'Neal, is the 2021 Ed Lentz Prize winner! Angela created and launched My History, an online tool that archives the history of Central Ohio. In the last three years her effort has turned this free, public resource into a research powerhouse.

The collection scope of My History includes published histories, annual reports, documents, organizational records, school yearbooks, city and county directories, ephemera, born-digital files, microfilm, neighborhood and city plans, government records and audiovisual materials (including photographs, negatives, slides, audio and video recordings.)

The award is named in honor of Ed Lentz, Director Emeritus of Columbus Landmarks, who is well known for teaching, writing and exploring the history of central Ohio. The annual $500 prize is made possible by the generosity of multiple donors who contributed to the Columbus Landmarks Foundation Ed Lentz Prize Endowment Fund at The Columbus Foundation. The cash prize will be awarded annually to the individual who submits the best presentation for providing a better understanding of the history, architecture and/or importance of historic preservation in central Ohio.

Recently the My History archive has added important elements to the historic record, including:

• The Columbus Department of Development collection of over 100,000 images and 200 plans and reports for our city and neighborhoods.

• African American Digital Collection includes archives of the King Arts Complex and the Columbus Call and Post photographic record comprising 2,500 items from 20 years of African American history from 1968-1989.

• Over 500 digitized maps of Columbus and Ohio, many of them historic and giving a lens into how Columbus grew.

• 190,000 digitized MLS Real Estate property cards that document owner and purchase history of many Columbus homes.

• Launched “My Upload” in 2020 allowing customers to submit historic images online, including images of significant events occurring today.

The jury found Angela’s entry — “My History” — to be historically comprehensive, educational and valuable as a public resource. “We believe it serves as a vital tool to prevent the loss of critically important and relevant local history,” stated juror and Independent Curator Bettye Stull.

Housed at the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the jury liked that the digital archive is free and easily accessible for all. They found it especially significant that it spans the legacy of our neighborhoods from well-known landmarks to private homes with a strong focus on capturing the African American archive of Columbus.

“All 16 entries revealed degrees of what we felt were important criteria to consider including accessibility, equity, quality, relevance, impact, and worthiness of winning this year’s prize,” said Alison Circle, juror and Chief Customer Experience Officer, Columbus Metropolitan Library. Juror Matthew Leasure, PLA, AICP, LEED AP and Principal, Designing Local added, “Our jury deliberated over 16 diverse, passionate and thought-provoking entries, but ultimately awarded the prize to Angela as the one to best document, evoke, interpret, analyze or capture the importance of place and its preservation.”