Wrights, Dickens, and Bulldogs

What do the Wright family, Charles Dickens, and the Fairview High School Bulldogs have in common?

Well, to be perfectly honest, we’re not entirely sure either! But let’s back up…

A few days ago, we received a reference question inquiring whether we had a first edition copy of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, which was first published in book form in the 1860s.

The simple answer is that we do not, but during the course of answering this question, one of the places we looked was Orville Wright’s private library, which includes many non-aviation books.

A portion of Orville Wright's private library, Jan. 2015

A portion of Orville Wright’s private library, Jan. 2015

Orville did have a handful of Dickens novels. However, Great Expectations was not among them, nor were any of them first editions. Orville’s seven-volume Dickens set, New Century Library: The Works of Charles Dickens, was published by Thomas Nelson & Sons (NY) around 1900.

Orville Wright's Dickens set,  dating to about 1900.

Orville Wright’s Dickens set, dating to about 1900.

As you can see, Orville’s copy of A Tale of Two Cities looked particularly “well loved,” which of course invited a closer look, just as a matter of interest.

Orville's copy of "A Tale of Two Cities."

Orville’s copy of “A Tale of Two Cities.”

Orville's copy of "A Tale of Two Cities."

Orville’s copy of “A Tale of Two Cities.”


But wait, what’s this? We found a slip of paper tucked inside.

Slip of paper tucked inside Orville Wright's copy of "A Tale of Two Cities."

Slip of paper tucked inside Orville Wright’s copy of “A Tale of Two Cities.”

Without attempting to read too much into the placement of this slip of paper—although it is right at the start of a chapter, and something important does seem to have just happened. (If you don’t want spoilers on A Tale of Two Cities, don’t look too closely at the text!)

But it wasn’t so much the placement as the “bookmark” itself that was most interesting:

Copy of "Line Up Bulldogs" tucked into Orville's "A Tale of Two Cities."

Copy of “Line Up Bulldogs” tucked into Orville’s “A Tale of Two Cities.”

The “bookmark” is a typewritten copy of what appears to be a basketball fight song entitled, “Line Up Bulldogs,” from Dayton’s Fairview High School.

The text of the song is as follows:

Line up Bulldogs, line up Bulldogs,
Line up with the will,
We have always won as cagers,
And we always will, will, will, will,
Shoot those baskets, the boys are scoring,
See how fast they come.
Just a few more points to go,
And then the game is 1, 2, 3, 4,
Who in the heck are we for,
Fairview High, Fairview High,
King all over basketball,
We have always conquered all.
Fairview High, Fairview High,
Shoot ‘em, fake ‘em,
We’ll always make ‘em,
Fairview High.

Dayton, Ohio, was home to a “Fairview” High School from 1907 until the 1980s. The former Harrison Township School at the corner of Catalpa Drive and W. Fairview Avenue became known as “Fairview” in 1907. This “old” Fairview, known as “the Tower” (for obvious reasons, see photo below), was replaced as high school when the new Fairview High School opened in 1929.

Old Fairview High School, undated, photo by Bunting. (DDN Archives, JHAN 81g)

Old Fairview High School, undated, photo by Bunting. (DDN Archives, JHAN 81g)

The newer Fairview High School (not pictured) served from 1929 until the 1980s. (It was demolished in 2011 to make way for the new Fairview PreK-8 School.)

According to Montgomery County, Ohio, 1990, Fairview adopted the “Bulldog” mascot — which is featured in the song — in 1923.

A Fairview student with the Bulldog mascot, 1955. Photo by Al Wilson. (DDN Archives, JHAN 81g)

A Fairview student with the Bulldog mascot, 1955. Photo by Al Wilson. (DDN Archives, JHAN 81g)

But back to the copy of the Fairview High School song discovered in Orville Wright’s book.

A Tale of Two Cities is a common enough reading assignment in high school English courses. Might a student (or a teacher) have borrowed Orville’s copy (and used a copy of the school song as a bookmark)?

Orville’s sister Katharine was a teacher — an English teacher, in fact — for a time. But she didn’t teach at Fairview; she taught at Steele. (And she quit teaching in 1908 after Orville was injured in the crash at Ft. Myer, Virginia.)

Orville had four nieces and nephews who lived nearby, his brother Lorin’s children: Milton (b.1892), Ivonette (b.1896), Leontine (b.1898), and Horace (b.1901). Based on what we were able to find, Leontine went to Steele, and Horace went to Parker High and Moraine Park private school. A casual search did not turn up Milton’s or Ivonette’s high school alma mater(s). Then again, if what we learned about Fairview not adopting the Bulldog mascot until 1923 is correct, it’s obvious that the note could not have belonged to any of these Wright family members, because they all would have graduated high school prior to that time.

So what of their children (Orville’s great-nieces and nephews)? Well, we decided that grasping at those straws might be going just a little too deep on this rabbit hole.

Therefore, so far, no one on the staff here at Special Collections & Archives has been able to come up with any definitive connection between the Wright family and Fairview High School.

If you know of one — or have a theory — please let us know!

 

Sources of information:

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A New Year for the 61st OVI

After General Sherman captured Savannah, General Grant initially ordered him to embark his army on ships and join Grant’s army at Richmond, Virginia.  However, Sherman disagreed, and with the capture of Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina, on January 15, convinced General Grant that Sherman and his army should march north through the Carolinas destroying everything of military value on the way.  Sherman specifically targeted South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union.

On February 1, 1865, Sherman headed north toward Columbia, South Carolina, with 60,000 soldiers divided into two columns.  On February 17, Sherman’s army captured Columbia, and forced the evacuation of Charleston, South Carolina, on February 17 and 18.  Sherman then headed north, virtually unopposed, crossing into North Carolina on March 8, occupying Fayetteville, North Carolina, on March 11.

From Fayetteville, Sherman’s next target was Goldsboro, North Carolina.  Recognizing this, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, with a Confederate force of about 21,000, attacked the Union army at Bentonville, North Carolina.  This is the last major battle of the Civil War, involving about 80,000 troops, and was the climax of Sherman’s highly successful Carolinas campaign.  The Union army heavily out-numbered the Confederates.  Estimated casualties from the battle are 1,527 for the Union and 2,606 for the Confederates.  Of note is that Robert Patterson was severely wounded during this battle.

Sherman’s Carolina campaign was highly successful.  His army laid waste to a 45-mile wide swath of countryside from Savannah, Georgia to Goldsboro, North Carolina, and forced the Confederate army into one last battle at Bentonville.

 

 

 

 

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Archives closed on Jan. 19

We will be closed on Monday, January 19, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. We apologize for any inconvenience. (However, we will still be open on Sunday, January 18, from 1:00-5:00.)

Following our closing on January 19th, we will re-open on Tuesday, January 20, at 8:30 a.m.

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