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Polsky Collection added to Summit Memory online database

AKRON, Ohio (Oct. 23, 2019) – Through a grant from Akron Community Foundation, the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award Collection has become part of “Summit Memory,” the online collaborative resource that is part of the Special Collections Division of the Akron-Summit County Public Library.

Summit Memory is a collaborative project capturing the history of Summit County, and includes historic photographs, documents, newspapers, artifacts and audiovisual resources contributed by partner organizations throughout the county. This Polsky collection adds an archive of local history covering World War II to the present.

The Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award has been presented by Akron Community Foundation since 1990, and this year’s award dinner was held just last week, honoring Dave Lieberth as the most recent recipient.

“What a fitting time for Dave to receive the Polsky Award, as it’s timed so closely with the launch of this tribute to former Polsky recipients – a tribute Dave has been instrumental in creating,” said John T. Petures Jr., president and CEO of Akron Community Foundation.

This new online resource includes: a collection of 30 in-depth video interviews of former Polsky recipients conducted by Lieberth; a tribute concert for long-time civic leader Lisle Buckingham that was recorded at the Akron Civic Theatre to honor the Polsky recipient and founder of Buckingham, Doolittle and Burroughs; and the 2001 historical documentary, “Reinventing Akron: Stories of a Generation” that was funded by the community foundation and produced by Lieberth for Western Reserve Public Media.

The interviews hosted on Summit Memory include some of the most prominent civic and business leaders of the last 50 years including (full list attached): Rennick Andreoli; Dr. Norman P. Auburn; William H. Considine; Dorothy O. Jackson; Judge Carla Moore; Roger T. Read; John F. Seiberling; Frank W. Steere Jr.; and many more.

“This treasure trove of first-person historic accounts of the development of Akron exists nowhere else,” said Pamela Hickson-Stevenson, executive director for the library. “For the first time, historians can view extended interviews with people who are credited with building Akron and Summit County over the last seven decades.”

The interviews are available for the public to view online through the Summit Memory website, which may be accessed at www.summitmemory.org/digital/custom/polsky.

“One of the primary goals of this project is discoverability,” Hickson-Stevenson added. “Each interview contains a biography and key words. The more information we add, the more discoverable the items will be.”

A collection of over 300 videotapes assembled by Lieberth from 1990 to 2012 was gifted to the Library in 2017. Upon receipt of the community foundation grant, the Special Collections Division was able to contract with ARS Video Inc. to digitize important parts of the collection. The digital media was edited for publication by Akron video producer and filmmaker Josh Gippin of Joshua Tree Productions and inventoried and prepared for insertion into the Summit Memory site by Special Collections Librarian Rebecca Larson-Troyer.

About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 64 years of building community philanthropy, Akron Community Foundation embraces and enhances the work of charitable people who make a permanent commitment to the good of the community. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. As of June 30, 2019, it is a philanthropic endowment of nearly $225 million with a growing family of 650 funds established by charitable people and organizations from all walks of life. The community foundation and its funds welcome gifts of all kinds, including cash, bequests, stock, real estate, life insurance and retirement assets, just to name a few. To date, the community foundation’s funds have awarded nearly $167 million in grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. For more information about Akron Community Foundation or to learn more about creating your own charitable fund, call 330-376-8522 or visit www.akroncf.org.