“The court decision in John H. Patterson’s case was announced…”

On March 13, 1915, Bishop Milton Wright wrote in his diary:

The court decision in John H. Patterson’s case was announced. To have a new trial. Orville, Kath., & Knabenshue went to the depot to see Patterson come in. There was a large crowd—8:00 evening…

To those in Dayton at the time, these few lines probably require little or no explanation. As you can see from this front page of the Dayton Daily News, March 13, 1915, the news about Patterson was a huge deal, worthy of almost the entire front page. (They held about 1/8 of the page aside for World War I & other news.)

Dayton Daily News, March 13, 1915, announcing Patterson's victory.

Dayton Daily News, March 13, 1915, announcing Patterson’s victory.

But 100 years later, after this hot scandal has cooled virtually to oblivion, a little clarification couldn’t hurt. Here’s the least you need to know to understand the Bishop’s entry:

In February 1912, the United States government filed two suits against National Cash Register under the Sherman Antitrust Act. One was a civil suit against the company itself, and the other sought criminal prosecution of NCR’s president John H. Patterson, vice president Edward A. Deeds, and more than 20 others.

National Cash Register controlled about 95% of the market for cash registers at that time, and the government charged that the company and its leaders were guilty of using unfair, unethical, and downright vicious practices to secure that market share.

On February 13, 1913, the jury of the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati handed down convictions to all but one (and it wasn’t Patterson). Patterson, Deeds, and most of the others were sentenced to fines of $5000 (plus court costs) each, as well as 1 year in jail.

Yes, jail. They were as shocked as you are.

They appealed the ruling, of course. Two years later, on March 13, 1915, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling and declared that a new trial would need to be held if the case was to be pursued. It wasn’t, and the matter was dismissed entirely on February 1, 1916.

It is worth noting that in the time between the first conviction, February 1913, and the appeals court ruling in March 1915, Patterson, Deeds, and NCR in general had endeared themselves even more to the Dayton people than perhaps they already were, with their extensive work in flood relief and subsequent flood prevention efforts following the flood that devastated Dayton in March 1913.

An excellent source of information on the NCR/Patterson antitrust case can be found in: Roberta Sue Alexander, A Place of Recourse: A History of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, 1803-2003 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2005), pp. 93+, available on Google Books.

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Vote for the First Flight Photo in Ohio Memory Madness!

The Ohio History Connection’s Ohio Memory Madness Kicks Off Tuesday, March 17 

In the spirit and fun of college basketball’s March Madness, the Ohio History Connection and Wright State University Libraries, Special Collections & Archives, invite you to participate in Ohio Memory Madness – a bracket of sixty-four historical events from across the state all competing for the unique distinction of being named the 2015 Ohio Memory Madness Champion. Since the historical events featured in the bracket are unable to play tournament style basketball, the winner of Ohio Memory Madness will be determined by public online voting at:  http://www.ohiohistoryhost.org/madness/.

The Ohio Memory Madness bracket features images of a variety of historical events pulled from Ohio Memory, the collaborative digital library project of the Ohio History Connection and the State Library of Ohio, with digital collections from 360 cultural heritage institutions representing all of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Wright State University Libraries, Special Collections & Archives is proud to have the Wright Brothers’ First Flight Photo represent Dayton, Ohio, in this statewide competition (see bracket #23 in Round 1). On December 17, 1903, at 10:35 a.m., Orville Wright took off into a 27 mph wind. The distance covered was 120 feet, and the time aloft was 12 seconds. It was the world’s first powered, controlled, sustained flight in a heavier-than-air machine. Wilbur can be seen at right. The picture was taken with Orville’s camera by John T. Daniels.

First Flight photo (ms1_16_2_10)

First Flight photo, December 17, 1903 (ms1_16_2_10)

Event images will go head to head beginning March 17, and the voting is scheduled as follows:

First round: March 17–20
Round of 32: March 21-25
Sweet 16: March 26-28
Elite 8: March 29-31
Final 4: April 1-4
Championship: April 5-6

The public can vote throughout the tournament to be sure their favorite event image makes it to the championship – they can also enter to win a prize pack from the Ohio History Connection including tickets to the Ohio History Center in Columbus, a Retro Ohio t-shirt, and an assortment of Ohio munchies to enjoy while watching that other sport.

Don’t miss your chance to vote for the Ohio Memory Madness Champion! Your vote can make one of Ohio’s historical events go all the way this March.

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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:

  • Miami Valley Episcopal Russian Network (MS-495)

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

  • Ivonette Wright-Miller Papers (MS-216): 2 folders of materials added
  • Springfield YMCA Collection (MS-250): added 1 volume; reformatted finding aid; and cleaned, boxed, and wrapped ledgers
  • Gladys Turner Finney Papers (MS-308): added scrapbooks of papers of Frederick Marshall Finney, personal correspondence, and travel records
  • Woman’s Literary Club Records (MS-408): added approximately 0.7 linear feet of minutes and other documents, extending collection through 2013
  • Engineers Club of Dayton Records (MS-420): added 3 boxes of papers and media

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

  • Judge Lester L. Cecil Lincoln Collection (MS-7)
  • Carol Cline Papers (MS-8)
  • Ohler & Buchanan Livery Stable Records (MS-9)
  • Sons of Veterans USA, Camp 254 Records (MS-10)
  • Woman’s Relief Corps No. 95 Records (MS-11)
  • G.A.R. Post 83 Records (MS-12)
  • Citizen’s State Bank Records (MS-26)
  • Pleasant Hill Bank Records (MS-27)
  • Leonard Hill Local History Collection (MS-28)
  • James A. Chew Papers (MS-29)
  • Dorothy K. White Papers (MS-31)
  • Dayton Gospel Mission Records (MS-32)
  • Historic Business Letterheads Collection (MS-33)
  • Troy Buggy Works Records (MS-34)
  • League of Women Voters, Dayton Area Chapter Records (MS-123)
  • St. Joseph’s Orphan Society / Children’s Treatment Center Records (MS-270)
  • Boyer Funeral Home Records (MS-277)
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