From Woody's Couch

Our Playbook on OSU History

Ralph Ramey: A Lifetime of Environmental Advocacy

Ralph Ramey, image courtesy of Glen Helen.

Ralph Emerson Ramey, Jr., a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation and environmental education, leaves behind a remarkable legacy that touched the lives of countless individuals. Born on December 4th, 1928, in Columbus, Ohio, Ralph’s journey into the world of nature began on his educational path at The Ohio State University.  Ramey’s early exposure to the outdoors during his time at Ohio State laid the foundation for his lifelong love of nature. He would later become an instrumental figure in the preservation of the state’s natural areas and habitats.

During his time at The Ohio State University, Ramey hit the ground running as a first-year student of Agriculture in the late 1940s. He spent his first year at Ohio State serving as a founder, vice president, and (ultimately) president of the Student Nature Club. Although the club disbanded by the time Ramey completed his undergraduate studies, the group was extremely active, often hosting professors, lecturers, and federal officials to discuss wildlife, national parks, and conservationism. Throughout these events, photographs of different areas of the United States were presented on Kodacolor slides—perhaps directly influencing Ramey’s passion for photography.

27 February 1947 edition of the Lantern.

In addition to his studies and involvement with the Student Nature Club, Ramey played the e-flat alto horn in the TBDBITL Marching Band. Ramey’s involvement in the Marching Band was a family tradition spanning three generations of Buckeyes, including that of his father, brother, and son. Ramey graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Master of Science in 1950 and 1976, respectively. After completing his degrees, Ramey continued his involvement with TBDBITL as a two-time Ohio State alum and lifetime member of the Alumni Association.

After serving stateside for the US Army during the Korean War, Ramey took a position with Pfizer Labs, which included traversing through the unglaciated portion of southwestern Ohio. It was at this time when Ramey’s career took a turn towards wildlife and habitat preservation, parks, and environmental education. From working at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, serving on the Board of Trustees for Ohio History Connection,  to becoming the Director of Glen Helen Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs, OH, Ramey’s contributions to environmental conservation were vast and far-reaching, impacting Ohioans to this day.

Portrait of Ramey.

Ramey’s dedication to preserving the natural beauty extended to his photography. He became a prolific nature photographer, cataloging the diverse flora and fauna of Ohio and beyond. His stunning images captured the essence of the natural world, inspiring others to appreciate and protect the environment. Beyond his hands-on work in conservation, Ralph’s passion for sharing his knowledge led him to write several books about hiking in Ohio. His works, such as the 50 Hikes in Ohio series and Walks and Rambles in Southwestern Ohio, became go-to resources for nature enthusiasts seeking to explore the state’s hidden treasures.

Throughout his life, Ramey actively participated in numerous organizations, serving on boards and committees dedicated to preserving Ohio’s natural heritage. His tireless efforts earned him numerous awards and accolades, including (but not limited to) the following: Ohio Academy of Science; The Buckeye Trail Association; The Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame; Ohio Biological Survey; Audubon Society; and Ohio History Connection.

Ralph Ramey Boardwalk Trail at Cedar Bog Nature Preserve.

Ralph Ramey’s legacy as an icon of environmental conservation will forever be etched in the hearts of those he touched. His dedication to preserving nature, educational contributions, and love for the great outdoors continue to inspire a deep sense of responsibility for safeguarding our local treasures. Ramey’s journey of advocacy and education serves as a guiding light for future generations, inspiring us all to protect and cherish the environment for years to come.

Read Ramey’s remarks from a speech to Glen Helen in October 2007, where he served as director for seventeen years:


Spotlight on the Past: Wilbur Henry Siebert, a Pioneer in History at Ohio State University

W.H. Siebert Headshot, nd

Today, we delve into the annals of our beloved Ohio State University to pay tribute to a past icon whose legacy still reverberates in our halls – Professor Wilbur Henry Siebert.

Prof. Siebert, a cherished educator and meticulous scholar, joined the faculty of Ohio State University in the late 19th century. His tenure as a professor of history was a time of profound intellectual growth and development for our institution.

Hailing from Hardin County, Ohio, Prof. Siebert had an academic background as robust as his passion for education. He obtained his PhD from the University of Leipzig before returning to Ohio to join the fledgling Ohio State University.

Known primarily for his groundbreaking research on the Underground Railroad, Siebert’s commitment to unearthing and recording this monumental part of American history was unrivaled. His methodical investigations involved personally interviewing formerly enslaved people and operators of the Underground Railroad, offering an intimate perspective that was rare in historical records.

W.H. Siebert at Desk, 1904

His seminal work, The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom, published in 1898, still serves as a cornerstone for scholars studying this epoch. His exploration into this network of secret routes and safe houses used by previously enslaved African-Americans seeking freedom was so comprehensive that it continues to inform and influence studies in the field today.

Beyond his significant scholarly contributions, Prof. Siebert was a deeply respected educator. His students remember him as a passionate teacher, always eager to share his knowledge and instill an appreciation for history. His influence helped shape the History Department at Ohio State, guiding it towards the esteemed position it holds today.

Prof. Siebert’s legacy extends far beyond his contributions to academia. His ceaseless pursuit of truth and passion for sharing knowledge encapsulate the very essence of Ohio State’s commitment to creating a better world through education.

W.H. Siebert with son of foster daughter, 1932

As we walk the paths of our campus today, let us remember the work and dedication of past educators like Prof. Wilbur Henry Siebert. His work continues to illuminate the past, reminding us of the unbreakable links between our history and our present, between the progress we aspire to and the roots from which we grow.

In remembrance of Prof. Siebert, we’re reminded of the commitment, passion, and curiosity that make a true Buckeye. We stand on the shoulders of giants like him, striving to make our own marks in the annals of Ohio State University history.

This post was developed by OpenAI’s GPT-4.

Cronheim: A Name to Remember

Arno Cronheim, 1958

Arno Gustav Cronheim, a professor of mathematics at Ohio State University, dedicated his professional life to the study of the foundations of geometry.

Cronheim was born on 28 August 1922 in Berlin, Germany, to his father, Fritz Cronheim, and his mother, Minna Lewinski. Married two years before Arno’s arrival, Minna and Fritz lived in Berlin—the same home Arno was born in—until September 1933. The small, three-person family moved to an apartment in Karlshorst.

Fritz had studied pharmacy at the Fredrich Wilhelm University in Berlin, and had maintained this job up until 1939, when the Third Reich regime deemed it illegal for Jewish pharmacists to practice, therefore revoking his license. The Nazi regime then forced Fritz to pay around $11,500 as property tax. According to his Stolperstein entry, Fritz was forced into hard labor by the Nazi regime 1940.

It was by February 1943 that Arno never saw his father or mother again. Fritz, Minna, and Arno were deported to Auschwitz in March that year, where Minna was likely murdered by Nazi officers immediately upon arrival.

Fritz was taken to Buna-Monowitz concentration camp in March 1943, his final resting place, merely weeks after his initial kidnapping by SS officers. After losing his only family, Arno was forcefully sent to camps Krakow-Plaszow, Ravensbruck, and Sachsenhausen, in addition to Auschwitz. He had his parents formally declared dead in 1947.










After reaching freedom from the death camps, Arno studied at Humboldt University, and graduated in 1951 from Free University in West Germany. Arno studied mathematics under known Nazi Helmut Hasse, all while Cronheim still identified as a Jewish man.

Arno Cronheim moved to the United States in 1951, where he studied for his doctorate at the University of Illinois and graduated din 1954; he then began teaching at Ohio State, a career spanning 27 years. While at Ohio State, Arno protested against oppression against marginalized students and staff during the 1960s. While in Columbus, his family would host and house international students.

By 1957, Arno married his wife, Harriet Sachs. In total, they raised two sons with one named after his father. Philip Fritz graduated from Ohio State in the 1980s.

Arno Cronheim passed away at age 82 in 2005 and was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and his first son. Arno practiced Judaism his entire life.

Today (27 January 2023) is honored as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In a world where certain politics run alongside culture wars against marginalized groups, it is more important now than ever to remember those who were killed at the hands of a prejudiced majority. I hope Arno’s, Fritz’s, and Minna’s stories can live on in the collective memory of those who carry the stories of the Shoah. We each have a responsibility to always remember.


For Fritz Cronheim’s entry on the Stolpersteine in Berlin, click here.

For Minna Lewinski Cronheim’s entry on the Stolpersteine in Berlin, click here.

To access Arno Cronheim’s oral history interview by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, click here.



Arno Cronheim. “The Columbus Dispatch.” Obituary.

Chaker, Julia. “Fritz Cronheim.” Stolpersteine in Berlin.

Chaker, Julia. “Minna Cronheim geb. Lewinski.” Stolpersteine in Berlin.

The Ohio State University Archives. “Cronheim, Arno.” Biographical file collection.

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