Seeking World War I Materials

This coming July marks 100 years since the start of World War I in Europe. Archives, museums, and cultural institutions around the world are preparing a variety of WWI centennial activities for the next 5 years, and Wright State University Special Collections & Archives is no exception.

As part of our World War I commemoration efforts, we are seeking new donations of World War I manuscript materials.

In particular, we are looking for historical materials that document WWI and have a connection to either the Miami Valley or to aviation history (or both).

Relevant materials might document these and other topics:

  • experiences of Miami Valley residents or natives who served in WWI (e.g., soldiers, sailors, pilots, nurses, engineers, relief workers, etc.);
  • activities on the home front in the Miami Valley, including everyday life as well as war-related activities (e.g., war industry, relief efforts, politics, patriotism, isolationism, nativism, anti-German sentiments, etc.); and
  • all aspects of aviation history during WWI regardless of geography (e.g., aircraft design and manufacturing, pilots’ experiences and training, aerial combat and reconnaissance, military air forces of the various countries involved, etc.).

The types of documents sought might include (but are not limited to): letters, diaries, photographs, postcards, scrapbooks, memoirs, business records, engineering drawings, maps, regimental histories, etc.

In addition to building our World War I collection holdings so we can preserve these resources for present and future researchers, this effort will also support the WWI collaboration between Wright State University and Dayton History Inc., described in this April 2, 2014, Dayton Daily News article (premium content).

For more information about donating materials, please visit our Collection Donations page, or contact us directly by phone at (937) 775-2092 or by email at

A few items from our existing WWI collections are featured in the image gallery below. Click on an image to enlarge it. For more examples, have a look at the finding aids of our existing WWI collections.

We are excited about accepting new collections documenting the World War I history of the Miami Valley and the aviation world, and we look forward to preserving these collections and making them accessible for researchers!

Posted in Collections | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Upcoming Event: Huffman Prairie Aviation History Society Meeting on April 7, 2014

The next meeting of the Huffman Prairie Aviation History Society will take place this coming Monday, April 7, 2014, at 7:00 p.m.

At this month’s meeting, Steve Frey will show & discuss the film “North American, Inc., presents: Air Force 001,” a documentary by North American of the first four test flights of the XB-70A, tail number 20001 (view PDF flyer).

The meeting and presentation will take place at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center at 2380 Memorial Road (intersection of State Route 444 and Kauffman Road), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. There is ample free parking, and light refreshments will be provided.

You can view the upcoming schedule of meetings and speakers anytime at :

Posted in Outreach, SC&A | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Xenia Tornado, 40 Years Ago Today

40 years ago today, an F5 tornado hit the city of Xenia and surrounding areas in an event that forever changed the local community. The tornado was part of a super outbreak that killed 315 people over a 2 day period when 148 tornadoes were reported across 13 states. Locally, 35 people lost their lives, 300 homes were lost, and seven schools destroyed. Wilberforce and in particular Central State University were hard hit as well, where the campus was nearly destroyed when the tornado touched down again after passing through Xenia.

In the tornado’s aftermath, the entire region responded to aid the devastated communities, and a huge relief effort was undertaken by the WSU community. Wright State served as a central drop off point for community donations. Food, money, and clothing were collected and delivered in a long line of vans to the affected areas. The Student Caucus served as a clearinghouse agency to coordinate the relief efforts. Relief fund tables were set up all across campus, and students went door to door in every building to collect donations. A student workforce was maintained to help clear debris and provide security.  WSU dorms were provided as shelters for displaced victims. University buses were provided for transportation for Central State students, while library, laboratory and other facilities were provided to students as CSU worked towards recovery.

All told over $1 billion in damage was caused by the disaster. A memorial service will be held at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday at the Greene County courthouse in Xenia. In commemoration we have posted a small sample of photographs from the university’s relief effort.

The above photographs are from the University Archive. You may also be interested in reading about Wright State University’s relief efforts for the tornado victims in that week’s issue of The Guardian, April 8, 1974, on CORE Scholar.

You can see additional Xenia tornado photos on this blog post from our Dayton Daily News Archive blog, as well as in an exhibit of original Xenia tornado photographs from the DDN Archive in our reading room.

Posted in SC&A | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment