McCullough inspires crowd of 800+ at Dayton Book Launch

The Dayton launch of David McCullough’s new book, The Wright Brothers, took place last night at Kettering Middle School. If you weren’t there, you missed a great event!

After a great introduction by Amanda Wright Lane, great grandniece of the Wright Brothers, David McCullough entertained, enlightened, and inspired the over 800 people in attendance.  He talked of the Wrights’ strength of character, their integrity, their ability to express their ideas and thoughts in letters and diaries, their upbringing, and their perseverance. He reminded us of the risk they took each time they flew and how they never gave up. He asserted their hero status and the fact that they invented the airplane in Dayton, Ohio. And he closed his talk by singing “Blue Skies” to a standing ovation.

L-R: Mike Hill (McCullough's research assistant), Dawne Dewey, David McCullough, and John Armstrong, June 8, 2015.

L-R: Mike Hill (McCullough’s research assistant), Dawne Dewey, David McCullough, and John Armstrong, June 8, 2015.

Archivist John Armstrong and I were privileged to work with David and his research assistant, Mike Hill, when they visited the archives last year. Being an archivist and sharing the treasures we have with people from all over the world, getting to know them, and calling them friends, is one of the best things about what we do.

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New and Updated Collections Available for Research

We have new manuscript collections available for research!  Click on the links to view the complete online (PDF) finding aids.

The following new collections were recently arranged and described and are now available for research:

  • William Laufer Aviation Collection (MS-486)
  • William H. Wild Papers (MS-492)
  • Thomas Macaulay Collection (MS-496)
  • St. Elizabeth Hospital Records (MS-497)
  • Oregon Historic District Society Records (MS-498)

Additional materials were recently processed into the following existing collections, so you might want to take another look at them:

  • Drew Taylor Aviation Collection (MS-371)
  • Frigidaire T.O.M. (Tired Old Men) Club Records (MS-406)
  • Congressman Edward G. Breen Collection (MS-409)

New, improved, and/or revised finding aids are now available for:

  • Bimel Buggy Company Records (MS-35)
  • Dayton-Miami Valley AFL-CIO Records (MS-36)
  • Aeronautical Ephemera I Collection (MS-37)
  • Miamisburg Hydraulic Company Records (MS-69)
  • Dayton Women’s Liberation Records (MS-133)
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Accidents Happen


Friday, May 29, was a day like no other. If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. I was moving tables and chairs on the fourth floor, setting up for a big event we were hosting in the library when I heard a crash. I turned around and the sound system guys were looking over the balcony. I looked to where the very tall and heavy exhibit panels had just been standing and the top was gone. I said, with a great deal of disbelief, “Did it fall over the balcony?!” One of the guys said, “Yes. It’s on the wire.” I ran to the balcony. What I saw was unbelievable.

As regular readers of this blog probably know, Dunbar Library is home to a 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction that hangs in its atrium. The top panel of our exhibit had fallen off the balcony onto the guide wire that helps secure the Flyer. It was hanging over the wire like a sheet on a line, drying in the summer sun. Although they may not look it, our black exhibit panels are quite heavy. The fabric on the plane was starting to wrinkle and the wing tip was lower than normal. In my mind, all I could see was the flyer crashing to the ground.

Physical Plant was called and came right away. They assessed the situation calmly and got to work. It took about an hour, but they got the panels off the wire thanks to the strength and courage of Chris (Physical Plant Superman) who went up about 20 feet in a lift. After some tense moments, the panels were brought down to the floor with no damage and the plane shifted back into place. Disaster was averted and all was well.

To the student who was sitting in the atrium under the plane when the panels came crashing over the balcony, I hope your nerves have settled down. And I hope you weren’t studying for a test!

And to Chris and all of the crew from Physical Plant who came to our rescue, thank you!

All in a day’s work.

– Dawne Dewey


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