Founding of A. S. O.

Col. Raymond C. Vietzen, August 1988, conversing and standing near his Indian Ridge Museum

Statement on Founding of the Archaeological Society of Ohio, audio recorded by Col. Raymond C. Vietzen – Last living founder (Ohio Indian Relic Collectors Society), in 1994.  Transcribed by Col. Matthew W. Nahorn

“As the shadow of the Great Depression faded and we started to live again, I went to Columbus, Ohio, quite often, and there I met Dr. Meuser, who lived very near the Museum, then located on High Street. We became fast friends, and I soon felt like a son to him. We talked about forming a society of artifact collectors – he said an attorney in Toledo was also interested. And we became very serious about this new venture. Holmes Ellis, at the Museum [Ohio Historical Society], was interested in representing the Museum, under whose wing we were founded. Eventually, Dr. Meuser, LaDow Johnson, Col. Vietzen, and Ellis met in the Director’s Room at the Museum, and the organization was formed. Dr. Meuser and Johnston became president and vice president, and Vietzen secretary and treasurer, with Ellis as museum consultant. Dues were set at $1.00 a year, and no dealers or undesirables were accepted. In a short time we moved to about 100 members. The name would be Ohio Indian Relic Collectors Society; meetings were held at Ohio State Museum. The bulletin was published by Col. Vietzen, quarterly. Eventually, the members decided I should be president, so they elected Ruth [Vietzen] to serve as secretary and treasurer, while I served as president. I would continue as editor and publish the society bulletins. Ruth was the first woman officer of the Society. After serving as president, I decided to turn all my efforts on Indian Ridge Museum and the Lorain County Historical Society. For many years we had the annual meeting on Father’s Day, here at the Museum. We served Kentucky ham and other foods to about 200 members.
“Now I am the last living founder and a life member. Erwin Zepp, director of the Museum, was one of my oldest and dearest friends. His friendship lasted 57 years ‘til death separated us at that time. Now I am an active life member, and the Society has grown to about 3,000 members, one of America’s largest archaeological societies. We now meet at the Masonic Lodge in Columbus.”