Dayton Music Project and the Funk Hall of Fame and Museum

As part of its ongoing efforts to preserve local pop music history, Wright State Special Collections & Archives has partnered with the future Funk Hall of Fame and Museum.  This partnership provides for the collection and preservation of the historic materials documenting the rich legacy of not only Dayton’s funk music, but also funk music worldwide.  Whether materials from Dayton’s Ohio Players or Scotland’s the Average White Band, funk’s legacy will be documented and preserved for future generations.  Any materials donated to Special Collections and Archives will be used to support the mission of the Funk Hall of Fame and Museum in future exhibits and events.

Early promotional pic of the Ohio Players when they were an R & B Group

Early promotional pic of the Ohio Players when they were an R & B Group

For the museum, the partnership guarantees a safe, secure, and environmentally controlled storage facility for the documents.  For Special Collections and Archives, the agreement sheds light on its broader efforts to collect Dayton’s pop music history. Regarding funk, Dayton is noted for being an epicenter of funk music, producing numerous bands in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, all with chart-topping success.  The Ohio Players, Lakeside, Faze-O, Heatwave, Sun and Zapp, to name a few, all called Dayton home.  These bands were enmeshed in the west Dayton communities from which they came and many still live in the Miami Valley Region.

Dayton’s popular music history should be just as much a part of its story as the Wright Brothers, the Old Courthouse, or Rike’s Christmas window displays.   Integral to the soul and spirit of a city, popular music gives voice to the people and expresses their joys, longings, and struggles.  This history is as much in need of preservation as any other in the Miami Valley.

The images in this post all come from MS-458, the Dayton Daily News Archive.
You can also check out the news story & video about this partnership published online in the Dayton Daily News on April 18, 2014.

WDAO Radio was one of the first R & B formatted stations in the Miami Valley.  The woman at left is Taffy Douglas who later became a weather forecaster on WHIO-TV.

WDAO Radio was one of the first R & B formatted stations in the Miami Valley. The woman at left is Taffy Douglas who later became a weather forecaster on WHIO-TV.

Warner Brothers promotional pic of Roger Troutman.  Troutman, also the lead singer of Zapp died tragically in 1999.

Warner Brothers promotional pic of Roger Troutman. Troutman, also the lead singer of Zapp, died tragically in 1999.

Zapp promotional image from Reprise Records

Zapp promotional image from Reprise Records

The Ohio Players on the performing on the Phil Donahue show.

The Ohio Players performing on the Phil Donahue show.

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Farewell to Isra, the Archives Puppy

Every spring (and sometimes fall and summer!), we have to say good-bye to one or more someones in the Archives. Usually, these someones are students, as our student workers and Public History graduate students receive their degrees and head off into the next phase of their lives.

Today is much the same, as we say good-bye to someone who has been a fixture in the Archives since January: a service-dog-in-training named Isra.

Karis and Isra, April 17, 2014

Karis and Isra, April 17, 2014

One of our graduate assistants, Karis, is involved with the student organization  4Paws4Ability WSU, a branch of the larger 4Paws4Ability, which socializes and trains future service dogs for people with disabilities. The dogs live with a foster for a semester, and the foster and co-handlers take the dog with them everywhere they go (work, class, restaurants, shopping, etc.), to help acclimate them to the many people, places, and situations they will encounter in their work as a working service dog.

This semester, Karis has been helping to socialize a Golden Labrador puppy named Isra. And, as part of her socialization, Isra has been accompanying Karis to work in the Archives. You may have even seen Isra at the reference desk sometimes.

Isra "working" the reference desk, Jan. 30, 2014

Isra “working” the reference desk, Jan. 30, 2014

We have loved having Isra here in the Archives, just as we loved having A’Kos last semester. We’ll miss having Isra around.  It’s been like having Fuzz Therapy every week! (By the way, Fuzz Therapy will be back at the Dunbar Library on Monday, April 28, from 10-2!)

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Aviator Atwood and Lieut. Milling

If you’ve been following us on Facebook or Twitter, you have probably noticed the posts containing passages from Bishop Milton Wright’s diaries, 100-years-ago-today style. The passages are very short and usually comprise the entirety of that day’s diary entry. (Very few of the Bishop’s diary entries are longer than a few sentences.)

The Bishop often mentions activities involving acquaintances with very little explanation—partly because the entries are so brief and partly because, as he himself knows the person(s) of whom he speaks, no further explanation was necessary for his own record. But for most of us, these references are not always clear.

For instance, Bishop Milton mentions “Aviator Atwood” and “Lieut. Milling” in two entries from April 1914. The entries read as follows:

Saturday, April 11. Reuchlin supped at Lorin’s. Katharine supped with Mrs. Hubard, at 1st & Main Club. Orville went [to the] Algonquin [Hotel] to see Aviator Atwood. It is a rainy day.

Wednesday, April 15. Lieut. Milling visited Dayton, on his way to St. Louis. He did not call at our house, but sent his regards to me.

So who were Aviator Atwood and Lieut. Milling?

The Bishop is almost certainly referring to Harry Nelson Atwood (1883-1967) and Thomas DeWitt Milling (1887-1960). Both men were pilots who learned to fly at the Wright Flying School at Huffman Prairie.

Atwood learning sense of balance at Simms (Station), 1911 (from MS-216)

Atwood learning sense of balance at Simms (Station), 1911 (from Ivonette Wright Miller Papers, MS-216 8:1, also available in MS-355 Charles Wald Collection 1:65 available in CORE Scholar)

After learning to fly with the Wright Brothers, Atwood briefly taught others to fly, then turned his attention primarily to making exhibition flights.

Harry Atwood at the controls of a Wright Model B Flyer, 1911 (from MS-355)

Harry Atwood at the controls of a Wright Model B Flyer, 1911 (from MS-355 Charles Wald Collection 1:61, also available on CORE Scholar)

Milling, along with others including Henry “Hap” Arnold, had been sent to the Wright Flying School by the U.S. Army Signal Corps to learn to be trained as pilots for military purposes. In 1911, Milling won the second Harvard-Boston Aero Meet Tri State race in a biplane. He was involved in early military aviation for a number of years and rose through the ranks of the U.S. Army, ultimately becoming a brigadier general.

Lt. Thomas D. Milling in Burgess-Wright biplane at Harvard-Boston Aero Meet, 1911 (from MS-338)

Lt. Thomas D. Milling in Burgess-Wright biplane at Harvard-Boston Aero Meet, 1911 (from MS-338 Harvard-Boston Aero Meet Collection 2:8, also available on CORE Scholar)

It must have been exciting for the Wrights to see how these students applied what they had learned at Huffman Prairie and then “took off” with it (in this case, literally) and noteworthy as well when they came back to Dayton to visit.

Well, clearly, Bishop Milton felt that it was noteworthy, or he wouldn’t have noted it!

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