Groundhog Day Notes

On February 2, 1915, Bishop Milton Wright wrote the following as part of the day’s diary entry:

…This is ground hog day. There is not a ray of sunshine.

(As there was “not a ray of sunshine,” it would seem that the groundhog probably did not see his shadow on that day, thus predicting that spring will come sooner.)

But this made us curious about how long “Groundhog Day” (the holiday, not the movie) has been around. Obviously, people were aware of it in 1915.

According to New World Encyclopedia, Groundhog Day in America dates back to at least as early as 1841.

On February 4, 1841, storekeeper James Morris of Morgantown, Pennsylvania, wrote in his diary:

Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.

According to the encyclopedia citation, Morris’s diary is in the collections of Historical Society of Berks County, in Reading, Pennsylvania.

And the Historical Society’s Director of Collections, Kimberly (Richards) Brown, just happens to be a Wright State University Public History graduate (class of 2004).

So we contacted Kim to inquire about Morris’s diary, and she was kind enough to send us a scan, along with permission to post it here on the blog. (We added the blue box to highlight the location of the February 4th entry on the page.)

James Morris diary entry for Feb. 4, 1841. Courtesy of The Berks History Center, Reading PA, item location T 83, Vol. 1.

James Morris diary entry for Feb. 4, 1841. Courtesy of The Berks History Center, Reading PA, item location T 83, Vol. 1. (We added the blue highlighting to indicate the Feb. 4 entry.)

Aren’t archives (and archivists) wonderful?

Special thanks again to Kim Brown and the Berks History Center, Reading, Pennsylvania, for permission to reproduce the above image from James Morris’s diary.

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Georg Gunermann’s Time Flying

Georg Gunermann, ca. 1918 (photo # ms274_1_04_03)

Georg Gunermann, ca. 1918 (photo # ms274_1_04_03)

In August 1918, towards the very end of World War I, Georg Gunermann took pilot training at Flugwerft Schleißheim and Flugwerft Milbertshofen, not far from Munich. (Flugwerft Schleißheim was reopened to exhibit aircraft as part of the Deutsches Museum in 1992.)

Following the war, Gunermann was employed as a parachute demonstrator, Fallschrimunternehmer, and he owned a parachute company with his partner Peter Bäumler.  Gunermann and his associates performed at numerous air shows across Germany, Switzerland, and Holland throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s.  No information concerning Gunermann after 1936 has been discovered thus far.


The Georg Gunermann Collection (MS-274) consists of a single photograph album entitled “Aus meiner Fliegerzeit” (My Time Flying), containing numerous black and white photographs dating from 1918 to 1936.

Gunermann's "My Time Flying" Album, cover

Gunermann’s “My Time Flying” Album, cover

View of Gunermann's album lying open, showing a page of images from 1927.

View of Gunermann’s album lying open, showing a page of images from 1927.

For the most part, the photos depict aircraft and parachute exhibitions performed at air shows throughout Germany during the 1920s and early 1930s. Some of the photos detail Gunermann’s World War I flight training.  There are also newspaper clippings covering the various air shows, as well.

Überlandflug über dem Lech (Cross country flight over the Lech River), 1918 (photo # ms274_1_05_02)

Überlandflug über dem Lech (Cross country flight over the Lech River), 1918 (photo # ms274_1_05_02)

„Bae/Gu” - Fallschrim (Parachute) 1 - Baümler-Gunermann (photo # ms274_1_06_02)

„Bae/Gu” – Fallschrim (Parachute) 1 – Baümler-Gunermann (photo # ms274_1_06_02)

The majority of the photos are framed by descriptive captions. In the album, Gunermann identifies himself in photos with an “X” (as seen above).  Sometimes, he abbreviates his name as simply “G.”  The † symbol indicated someone who is deceased.

Georg Gunermann, ca. 1918 (photo # ms274_1_03_02)

Georg Gunermann, ca. 1918 (photo # ms274_1_03_02)

The above text was taken, with few changes, from the collection finding aid (view PDF finding aid), written by Aaron Buczkowski, July 2008. The finding aid includes a full transcription of the album’s photograph captions in the original German, with English translations.

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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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