An archive located in Mac-A-Cheek Castle contains business records, personal documents, newspapers, poetry, and images reflecting the occupational, intellectual, artistic, social, and personal lives of the Piatt family over seven generations.  Through donations, grants, and collaborations, the MFH funds archival management to make the sources more accessible to interns, scholars and visitors. 

The archive is open by appointment but visitors to Mac-A-Cheek can see into the room and examine a changing exhibit of documents from the collection.  As a result of grants from the Mary Eleanor Morris Fund of the Columbus Foundation, a program entitled Delve into Documents has developed three workshops.    


The Capital

The Capital is a newspaper that was published weekly in Washington, D.C. from March 12, 1871 through June of 1889. Donn Piatt, of Ohio (Piatt Castles in Logan County) served as editor from 1871-1879 and wrote some of the editorials. This digital version of The Capital includes every issue published in volumes 1-9, from March 12, 1871 through February 22, 1880.

The Capital, a Washington D.C. weekly newspaper founded by Donn Piatt in 1871, is a primary record of the American Reconstruction Period, one of the most momentous periods of U.S. history, when the nation sought to reconcile the trauma and devastation of the Civil War. Journalist, legislator and Civil War veteran (attaining the rank of colonel), as a publisher Donn Piatt exercised an undisguised, negative point of view toward the political corruptions within the Grant administration. Piatt did not limit his sardonic commentary to the executive branch, but attacked Congress, the judicial system, religion, civic impropriety, fraud and other social follies. Although The Capital would always remain an outlet for Piatt’s non-partisan excoriations and trenchant humor, it also published essays, stories and poems by prominent contemporary writers such as Bret Harte, Harriet Prescott Spofford, Celia Logan, “Mrs. Grundy,” and Sarah Piatt (wife of Donn Piatt’s cousin, John James Piatt).

The Capital is an outstanding resource for the study of close to a decade of American culture from the highest levels of government and business to the everyday observations of life on the streets of Washington.

Funding for digitization and online presentation of The Capital was provided by the Ohio State University Libraries. The project was a collaboration between the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, the Libraries’ Preservation and Reformatting Department, and The Mac-A-Cheek Foundation at Piatt Castles. The digital images were scanned from original print issues held at Piatt Castles and generously loaned for this project. Occasional torn pages were supplemented by scans of microfilm versions purchased from the Library of Congress. Digital Imaging of both the print and microfilm versions was performed by Backstage Library Works. The searchable online archive was engineered by Olive Software, Inc.

High resolution TIFF files for the project were retained by Rare Books and Manuscripts. Please contact us at with any questions about the project or requests for publishable images.

The Mac-A-Cheek Press

The Mac-A-Cheek Press was an eight-page weekly subtitled, “A Family Journal – devoted to politics, literature, agriculture, science, art, and general intelligence.” It was begun in 1858 and published by Abram Sanders Piatt with contributions from his brother, Donn Piatt, and assistance from their second cousin, John James Piatt. Other Piatt friends and colleagues contributed.  Publication was suspended during the Civil War.

Ohio Memory Project

A Collaborative Project of the Ohio History Connection and the State Library of Ohio including information on the Piatt Family, as well as other resources for the history of Ohio. 

Ohio Memory Project Online