New Exhibit: Vintage Valentines

In honor of Valentine’s Day this month, we have a special new exhibit of original vintage valentines out in our reading room:

Vintage Valentines Exhibit, Feb. 2016

Vintage Valentines Exhibit, Feb. 2016

The valentines are from the Pedrick Family Papers (MS-243) and are believed to date to the early 1900s. While some are handmade and others were commercially produced, they are all a delight to look at and read.

We hope you’ll stop by and take a peek!

Vintage Valentines Exhibit, Feb. 2016

Vintage Valentines Exhibit, Feb. 2016

The valentines will be available for viewing until the end of February.

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Young Love in the Archives

004Inspired by Valentine’s Day, I want to share an item that I first saw in the archives years ago while researching an exhibit on children.  When I opened a folder in the Schenck Family Papers (MS-284), I discovered a pink baby book filled in by Elizabeth Schenck, a new mother in 1921, so obviously in love with her baby son, Joseph Graham Crane Schenck, Jr., nicknamed “Sonny”.  Ninety-five years later, this pink book exudes a mother’s adoration, with tracings of his newborn hand and foot, and descriptions of his first party, first outing, first clothes, first photograph. It not only tugs at the heart strings, but it documents this little one’s early childhood, and provides a glimpse into this Dayton family’s home life in the 1920s.

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“He laughed out loud before he was three months old. Sonny is 009a great smiler—always wakens with a smile anytime—day or night.”

When turning the pages of the book, one can’t help wonder what became of that smiling child.   The answers can be found in the same box of the Schenck Family Papers.  In it are Sonny’s degrees from Steele High School and Colgate University, newsclippings, and V-mail he wrote as a newly enlisted man and as a POW in Germany during World War II. Preserved are messages from the War Department to the Schenck family informing them of their son’s disappearance, his captivity, and joyously, his release in April, 1945.






Elizabeth Schenck probably had no idea that someday, the pink baby book in which she recorded the first years of Sonny’s life,  would inspire an archivist to write a blog post about him in 2016.  But then, love reaches across time.


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Join us for “Exploring the Archives” on Feb. 9

Let our archivists show you some of their favorite items from our collections, and share in a special after-hours tour!

Please join us on the evening of Tuesday, February 9, 2016, for “Exploring the Archives,” part of the Friends of the Libraries workshop series.

Discover the power of the past! Visit Special Collections and Archives in the Wright State University Libraries between 6 and 8 PM on Tuesday evening, February 6, for a special look at the archives’ treasures.

Archives staff will have their favorite items in the collections on display, from the Wright Brothers Collection to the Dayton Daily News Archive and more! Learn about lesser known collections and the stories behind them.

Take a guided tour and experience history through photographs, films, architectural drawings, letters, scrapbooks, and diaries.

Advance registration is required for this event. Please register online as soon as possible. Registration is $10. Your registration fee provides refreshments and workshop materials and supports the Friends of the Libraries organization.

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