Exhibits News: Public History Posters and Charles Taylor

We have a couple of items of exhibits news to share with you:

For the next couple of weeks, some of our Public History students’ work will be on display on the fourth floor of Dunbar Library, to the left of our entrance:

Public History Symposium posters on display on the 4th floor of Dunbar Library, April 2014

Public History Symposium posters on display on the 4th floor of Dunbar Library, April 2014

These posters, which highlight the students’ internships and capstone projects, were originally presented at the Public History Graduate Symposium on March 14. The poster topics, clockwise from upper right, include: the Woman’s Suffrage Association, reenacting the Battle of Gettysburg, the history of general stores, the Wrights’ mechanic Charles Taylor, and NY politician Al Smith.

Speaking of Charles Taylor, that brings us to our second bit of exhibits news. A sculpted bust of Charles Taylor has been a fixture in the triangular case near the stairwell on the first floor of the Dunbar Library since 2007.

The bust was sculpted by Virginia Krause Hess, and we wanted to recognize her for her wonderful contribution to the legacy of Charles Taylor. Therefore, we have added a photo of Virginia Hess to the exhibit case (click on the photos below to enlarge them):

You can stop by the first floor of the Dunbar Library to see the Charles Taylor bust and Virginia Hess photo anytime for the foreseeable future.

But, please visit us soon on the fourth floor if you want to see the Public History students’ posters! The poster exhibit will only last through the end of April, so that graduating students can take their posters with them when they leave us and also because we need to use our black exhibit board for another event at that time.

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Boxplorations: Woodland Cemetery Articles of Association, 1841

In our latest edition of date-related “boxplorations,” today 4/14, we took a look at manuscript collection number 414 — MS-414: Woodland Cemetery Collection (click to view PDF finding aid) — which contains materials relating to the organization and business ventures of the Woodland Cemetery Association, from 1841-2010.

This collection is quite large at 114 linear feet (over 150 boxes), so there were many boxes to choose from for our “boxploration.” However, for this first round—after all, we can always visit this collection again later!—we zeroed in on one of the oldest items in the collection: the Woodland Cemetery Articles of Association (dated January 25, 1841).

Woodland Cemetery Articles of Association, Jan. 25, 1841 (MS-414, Box 27, File 1)

Woodland Cemetery Articles of Association, Jan. 25, 1841 (MS-414, Box 27, File 1)

Please note that the reddish tint shown in images of the Articles of Association does not exist on the original document. The document is encapsulated for preservation purposes, and the red hue is a reflection of the red light on the camera used to capture these images.

Here is some background information regarding the creation of Woodland Cemetery, from A. W. Drury’s History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio (1909), Vol. 1, p. 598:

In 1840, a movement was made to establish a rural cemetery…[to replace the Dayton's original burial grounds on Fifth Street]. Mr. John W. Van Cleve made the suggestion and was most active in promoting the object. To him more than to any other the city is indebted for the beautiful cemetery and for the property which has attended the enterprise from the beginning. He and Samuel Forrer, both capable engineers, lent their skill to the laying out of the grounds…

Articles of association were drawn up by Mr. Van Cleve and fifty-two subscribers obtained. Each subscriber agreed to pay into the treasury one hundred dollars to be repaid to him without interest either in burial lots or in money, when the affairs of the association justified. In a short time the claims of the subscribers were liquidated, the majority of them taking lots in payment…

On the 29th of April, 1841, a deed was received from Augustus George for forty acres of ground at forty dollars per acre…

In 1842 a charter was obtained from the legislature. By the provisions of the articles of association and the charter, Woodland Cemetery is a close corporation…

The original Articles of Association, shown above, were written by John W. Van Cleve’s own hand, and the signatures of Van Cleve and the other subscribers can be seen at the bottom.

Detail of Woodland Cemetery Articles of Association, showing date, as well as Van Cleve's and other signatures

Detail of Woodland Cemetery Articles of Association, showing date, as well as Van Cleve’s and other signatures

Several of Dayton’s most prominent and well-known citizens subscribed to the cemetery. No doubt all of the subscribers were men of some wealth and importance, because $100 was no small sum in the year 1841 (between $2,000-3,000 in today’s dollars, according Westegg‘s and Measuring Worth‘s inflation calculators).

Among the signers of the Articles of Association are these men, whose names can also be found scattered throughout over Dayton’s early history books:

  • John W. Van Cleve (a lawyer who served several terms in various Dayton public offices, including city mayor, recorder, and city engineer; as son of Benjamin Van Cleve, he is frequently cited as having been one of the first white children born in Dayton, in 1801)
  • Robert C. Schenck
  • Henry Stoddard
  • Peter Odlin
  • John Steele and James Steele (brothers)
  • David Zeigler Peirce
  • Henry L. Brown (son of Henry Brown & grandson of Col. Robert Patterson)
  • James Perrine
  • Horatio Gates Phillips
  • Richard N. Comly (one of the proprietors of the Dayton Journal at the time, under whom it became the one of the largest newspapers in the state)
  • Samuel Forrer (canal engineer for the Miami-Erie Canal)
  • George Newcom (who, about 1798, built the famous Newcom Tavern, which still survives today)

The Woodland Cemetery Articles of Association is one of the truly magnificent items in the Woodland Cemetery Collection, but there is much more where that came from. To learn more about the contents of this collection, please view the Woodland Cemetery Collection finding aid (PDF), or ask us about it by email or phone 937-775-2092.

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New Exhibit: Frank Sinatra’s Dayton Connection

Frank Sinatra, undated (Dayton Daily News Archive)

Frank Sinatra, undated (Dayton Daily News Archive)

If you liked our exhibit about Phil Donahue’s Dayton Connection, then you should definitely check out our new companion exhibit to it, linking Frank Sinatra to Dayton: Six Degrees (give or take) of Dayton Separation: Dayton & Sinatra.

The exhibit, which is based on the “six degrees of separation” theory (as is the popular “Kevin Bacon game”), walks you through the relationship between Dayton, Ohio, and the iconic American singer and film star Frank Sinatra, in a series of hops.

You can see this exhibit on the first floor of the Dunbar Library, near the center stairwell (on the side facing the Creative Arts Center), from now through the end of summer.

Six Degrees of Dayton Separation- Dayton and Sinatra

Six Degrees of Dayton Separation- Dayton and Sinatra

Have we piqued your interest? Wondering what the connection actually is? We’ll give you a hint: it has to do with Sinatra’s home in Palm Springs. But you’ll just have to check out the exhibit for the rest of the details!

Six Degrees of Dayton Separation- Dayton and Sinatra

Six Degrees of Dayton Separation- Dayton and Sinatra

 

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