Martha K. Cooper
Portrait of Martha Kinney Cooper.
Martha Kinney Cooper was the principal founder of the Ohioana Library.
Martha Kinney was born on January 12, 1874, in Cincinnati, Ohio. At the age of twenty-three, she married Myers Y. Cooper, a future governor of Ohio. She spent her youth and early years of married life playing music. She also took an active role in a number of service and social groups including the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Ohio Federation of Women's Clubs.
When her husband became the Governor of Ohio on January 14, 1929, Martha Cooper dedicated her time as Ohio First Lady to honoring Ohio artists, authors, and musical composers. She took the leading role in establishing the Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library. Intending to create a library to solely house the works of Ohioans, Cooper solicited donations of books from authors who were from the state of Ohio. Initially, Cooper housed the collection in the solarium of the Governor's Mansion. In 1935, the library moved to the State Library in Columbus.
Cooper once remarked, "As long as we have authors, poets and musicians, I trust that we shall be able to supply a suitable home for their splendid works, providing also a means to give them the publicity and thanks they so justly deserve." Martha Kinney Cooper remained active in the library's operation until her death in 1964.