Happy Mother’s Day

MS-92 Wallace Family 4 generations

Four generations, MS-92 Wallace Family Papers, Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries

Tucked away in both our local history and our aviation collections are some wonderful stories of mothers from the past. If you have been following our postings on the Patterson brothers during the Civil War, you already know that most of those letters were written back home to their mother, Julia Johnston Patterson. Many of our family collections also contain correspondence between mothers and children, as well as photographs documenting these special relationships. Local organizations also highlight the importance of motherhood, such as the records of the Progressive Mother’s Club, whose mission was to promote the role and education of mothers within the setting of a social group.

portrait of Matilda Dunbar in rocking chair holding a book

Matilda Dunbar, ca. 1900-1930. From the Jane Reece Collection of Wright State University Libraries

It’s also intriguing to study the mothers of famous individuals who grew up to make important contributions to society. For example, Matilda Dunbar, the mother of African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, played a significant role in his development as a writer. Recognizing that Paul displayed an early talent with words, Matilda worked to ensure he received the best education possible.

portrait of Susan Koerner Wright, mother of the Wright Brothers

Susan Koerner Wright at age about 35. From the Wright Brothers Collection, Special Collections and Archives

No less important to the development of her young children was the role Susan Koerner Wright played in raising her family. In fact, Orville Wright gave much credit to his mother for encouraging their youthful curiosities:

“We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity. In a different kind of environment, our curiosity might have been nipped long before it could have borne fruit.”
— Orville Wright

Be sure to also check out some of the historical articles and photographs celebrating Mother’s Day on our Dayton Daily News blog, too!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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