John Grabowski: At the Western Edge of the East: An Examination of the Historical Identities of Cleveland, OH

John J. Grabowski holds a joint position as the Krieger-Mueller Associate Professor of Applied History at Case Western Reserve University and the Krieger-Mueller Historian and Senior Vice President for Research and Publications at the Western Reserve Historical Society. He has taught at Cleveland State University, Kent State University, and Cuyahoga Community College. During the 1996–97 and 2004–05 academic years he served as a senior Fulbright lecturer at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.

His publications include, The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, The Dictionary of Cleveland Biography, and Cleveland: A Tradition of Reform, all of which he coedited with the late Dr. David D. Van Tassel. He is also the author of Sports in Cleveland: An Illustrated History; and coauthor of Polish Americans and Their Communities in Cleveland. He and his wife Diane are the authors of Cleveland: A History in Motion, and Cleveland: Then and Now. They, along with Professor David Hammack, are the editors of Identity, Conflict & Cooperation: Central Europeans in Cleveland, 1850–1930. He has also written numerous articles relating to immigration history and to archival issues. His research interests center on American immigration, public history, and the disjuncture between "academic" and "popular" history.

Grabowski received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in history from Case Western Reserve University.


Cleveland, Ohio's landscape, cultural diversity, and politics are a consequence of its position as a borderland between the East and the Midwest. This lecture provides an overview Cleveland's history, which centers upon its transformation from a trans-Appalachian mercantile outpost of New England into an industrial polyglot city and, most recently, its post-industrial revival as a center of medicine, education, and culture. While shifts in size and purpose have been significant, each has anchored a particular set of competing and complementary continuities that remain visible in its architecture, politics, philanthropic traditions, and its sense of itself as a place that is unique. This latter claim is highly suspect given that the patterns of urban history in Cleveland are reflective of others throughout the nation. The core of the session addresses the history of a city that became a global entrepot, situated on the geologic border between the East and the Midwest.

Sponsored by Department of City and Regional Planning
Close overlay