Encyclopedia of Cleveland History Structure and Style Guide


The institution of a new community-focused editorial system for the on-line edition of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History (ECH) in the spring of 2018 provides the opportunity for the Case Western Reserve University-based editorial team to expand and update content of this landmark publication.

This guide provides background on the types of written content in the ECH and guidelines for the creation of new content and updating of current content.

The written content of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History falls into two general categories: Interpretive Entries and General Entries. Interpretive entries provide a broad overview of a particular topic and should reflect the most recent scholarship relating to that topic.

General entries consist of biographies and short overviews of events, organizations, landmarks (environmental and man-made), neighborhoods, suburbs, and other similar topics that relate to the history of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. In some instances the editors may accept entries that relate to organizations outside of Cuyahoga County, but still located in northeast Ohio. (see the section on Non-Biographical Entries for more detail).

Creating New Content

Content Parameters for Interpretive Entries

Interpretive entries consist of longer essays up to 7,000 words relating to major historical topics reflected in the history of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, such as transportation, immigration, sports, environment, suburbanization, etc. Often interpretive essays on major topic, such as transportation or immigration are supported by separate secondary essays. For example, separate essays on railroads, highways, and interurban railroads provide more detailed information within the broader topic of transportation. Similarly, the interpretive essay on immigration is “supported” by separate interpretive essays on specific immigrant communities.

The major purpose of the interpretive essay is to provide a critical scholarly overview of the topic and, unlike the shorter general entries, interpretive essays place the topic within a broader historiographical context. These essays form the scholarly backbone of the ECH. Details on organizations, events, and individuals noted within any interpretive essay are provided in general entries which are hyperlinked within the broader topical essay.

Suggestions for new interpretive essays are welcome. All suggestions should be directed to the CWRU-based editorial staff, where they will be reviewed and, if accepted, assigned to a writer.

Content Parameters for “General Entries"

General entries for the ECH are shorter articles that provide critical factual data about people, places, organizations, events, etc. They are designed to give the researcher/reader a strong and concise overview.

Suggestions for new general entries should be sent to the appropriate Associate Topical Editor (see list at: https://case.edu/ech/node/24056) or, directly to the ECH staff at (jjg4@case.edul)

Biographical Entries

Criteria for Inclusion

Biographies are limited to deceased individuals who have made a significant impact on the city, region or nation. These contributions can be at the international, national, regional, local or neighborhood level and can be in a variety of fields including, but not limited to art, culture, politics, military matters, reform, sport, business and industry, education, religion science, technology, etc. Anyone who has been inducted into a professional hall of fame or won a major award such as a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize merits inclusion. Similarly, mayors of the city, and state and federal representatives from the city also merit inclusion. However, peer recognition of an individual’s importance by members of the general community, by neighborhood, religious organizations, or by other similar community bodies provide a strong basis for consideration for inclusion.

Birthplace is not of consequence as part of the criteria for inclusion provided the individual’s major contributions were made in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County. Similarly, people who were born in Cleveland and then went on to fame outside of the city/region can be considered for inclusion provided that they spent the formative period of their life in the city/region.

General Structure for a Biographical Entry.

Biographical entries can be as long as 1,000 words. 750 words is the ideal median.

Entries should include the following specific data:

Full name (including a middle name or nickname if used)

Birth and death dates (day, month, and year).

Names of Parents

Name of spouses/partners (if applicable)

Date of marriage (if applicable)

Names of children

Awards received (if applicable)


Burial Place

The narrative portion of the essay should provide a chronological narrative of the individual’s life with emphasis placed on those aspects of the life central to their historical significance. The several biographical sketches that follow provide examples of both the structure and content of a strong biographical entry.

David D. Van Tassel https://case.edu/ech/articles/v/van-tassel-david-d

Carl B. Stokes https://case.edu/ech/articles/s/stokes-carl-b

Florence E. Allen https://case.edu/ech/articles/a/allen-florence-ellinwood

Non-Biographical Entries

Criteria for Inclusion

Non biographical entries for the ECH focus on organizations (businesses, industries, social welfare agencies, military units, sports teams, etc.), historically significant events, structures, landmarks, and neighborhoods. Criteria for inclusion vary according to the nature of the entry. For example, in the category of businesses and industries, longevity, size, innovative processes and products, and “national recognition” can all be factors for inclusion. In regard to structures and architecture, inclusion is based largely on the designation of a building, site, or neighborhood as a “landmark” by a national, regional or local authority.

The current geographic parameters for selection are limited to agencies, organizations, teams, etc. that are located within Cuyahoga County or which were established in the county and then moved elsewhere or were merged into a non-locally based entity.

Note that the editors will consider suggestions for entries relating to organizations located outside of Cuyahoga County, but still within Northeast Ohio. One such instance are organizations in NE Ohio that have been inducted into the One Hundred Year Club which is a program overseen by the Western Reserve Historical Society. However, at this point, the focal point of the ECH will remain Cleveland/Cuyahoga County.

General Structure for a Non-Biographical Entry

Non-biographical entries can be a long as 1000 words, however 750 words is a good median.

Entries should include the following specific data:

Date established or founded.

A brief statement regarding the organization’s (or event , structure, or area’s) historical significance.

Names of founders (if applicable)

Location (for organizations the original location and then subsequent locations)

Leadership over time (this is often selective – e.g. notable CEOs, team managers, etc.)

Notable products, processes, (for sports teams, major championships), events (for organizations these could include mergers, strikes, etc.).

Current status for existing organizations – e.g. leader, location, number of employees. Or for neighborhoods, suburbs, etc. current borders and population.

The several non-biographical articles that follow provide examples of both the structure and content of a strong non-biographical entry.

Cleveland Buckeyes https://case.edu/ech/articles/c/cleveland-buckeyes

Little Steel Strike https://case.edu/ech/articles/l/little-steel-strike

TRW https://case.edu/ech/articles/t/trw-inc

Updating Existing Content

Currently, the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History consists of over 4,400 entries of which more than half relate to existing entities (businesses, social service agencies, museums, sports teams, suburbs, neighborhoods, etc.). These require periodic updating.

Additionally, the majority of the interpretive essays on topics such as transportation, immigration, politics, etc., need updating to reflect more recent changes and, critically, new historical viewpoints.

Updating Procedures for General Entries

The updating of general entries is relatively straightforward. It centers on providing specific verified data relating to an organization, team, suburb, etc. That data may include a change in location, a merger, a change in leadership, current population figures for a suburb, or numbers of employees for a business, or more importantly, change in mission or focus.

While the provision of such data is relatively straightforward, the editorial staff will need to work it into the narrative flow of an entry and also be selective as to what might warrant inclusion in order to keep the entry both concise and focused on what can be considered major substantive change over time.

Suggestions for updates or verified data for and update should be sent to the appropriate Associate Topical Editor (see list at: https://case.edu/ech/node/24056) or, directly to the ECH staff at (jjg4@case.edul)

Updating Procedures for Interpretive Entries

The majority of interpretive entries in the ECH were first created in the mid-1980s and then updated for the second printed edition in 1996. Each is clearly attributed to a specific author and thus represents that individual’s interpretation of the history of a major aspect of the city/county’s history. Updating of this content will be done in one of three ways:

Having the original author update the essay.

Having a new author provide a separate, signed, continuation of the essay.

Having a new author provide an entirely new essay. In this instance the ECH will retain both the original and new essay.

The ECH editor and staff will work directly with our Associate Topical Editors in overseeing this process.

Some notes on “Style”

The sample articles included here should provide a good sense of overall style for content in the ECH. However, there are some aspects of the ECH style that need further explanation. They are “historical quirks” that date to the first printed edition of the ECH in 1987 and, for the sake of tradition we try to keep them in place.

Date Form: The ECH uses European-style date form: date month, year

Abbreviations: “Street” “Avenue” and other similar common words are usually abbreviated.

Citations: We encourage the addition of citations to printed works relevant to any article.

The usual form is: Author last name, Author, first name. Title (in Italics). (date of publication).  

We also encourage URLs for appropriate web-links.

Crediting, Rights, and Integrity

Authors of new content for the ECH will be credited (either at the end of the article or on the home page) . Authors must agree to the publication of their material in the on-line ECH, but will retain the right to use that material in other venues.

Authors should provide a list of sources used for any new article or interpretive essay submitted to the editors.

Evidence of plagiarism within a submission will automatically result in a rejection of the article or essay.