Archives News – March 2014

Here is an update on our March activities here in Special Collections & Archives, in addition to our usual ongoing activities (reference, records management, collection development and manuscripts processing, digital initiatives, preservation, etc.):

March 7 – University Archivist Chris Wydman and other SC&A staff hosted two sessions/tours in the Archives for Wright State University’s Staff Development Day. Per the Staff Development Day theme of “Getting to Know WSU,” the sessions focused on the history of the university. The sessions went very well and were well-attended.

Staff Development Day, March 7, 2014

Staff Development Day, March 7, 2014

March 14 was the annual Wright State University Public History Symposium. This year’s theme was “Wright in Your Own Backyard.” This is a proud day for the Public History students, who organize the event and whose research comprise the majority of the sessions. It is an exciting day for us in the Archives as well, since most of the Archives staff teach in the Public History program, and we are so proud of our students, their hard work, and their interesting and inspiring projects!

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We’re proud of all the Public History Symposium presenters (shown here), March 14, 2014.

We were also excited to hear the Public History Symposium’s keynote address, given by George Willeman, a WSU alum and Library of Congress Nitrate Film Vault manager. Prior to the Symposium (on March 13), Willeman was kind enough to meet with Public History students for a roundtable discussion, as well as to take a tour of the Archives and give us some advice about some of our film collections.

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George Willeman giving his presentation at the Public History Symposium, Mar. 14, 2014. (Photo by Susanne Laing.)

March 17 – State Rep. Rick Perales visited campus to have a discussion with some of our Public History students on topics such as how to bring history into the K-12 classroom in new and interesting ways.

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State Representative Rick Perales and Public History Students having a discussion, March 17, 2014.

March 19-24 – Dawne Dewey, Head of Special Collections & Archives, traveled to California to attend the National Council on Public History’s annual conference. While in California, Dawne also visited with one of our donors.

March 20 – Archivist John Armstrong gave a session on “Aviation in the Wright Brothers’ Era” as part of the Wright State University Honors Institute.

March 21 – We congratulated one of our student workers (and Public History graduate student) Adam Becker on receiving a University Libraries’ Library Student Assistant Award. Adam was submitted for the award by archivists Chris Wydman and Gino Pasi. In addition to bragging rights (or should we say #braggingWrights?), the award includes a cash prize. (Another of our student workers, Victoria Penno, received one of these awards in November.)

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Gino Pasi and Adam Becker, at the Library Student Assistant Awards, March 21, 2014. (Photo by Michelle Brasseur.)

March 22 – Archivist Gino Pasi gave presentation to a Mensa group. Having been told that the group appreciates a touch of comedy, Gino gave them a humorous look into how he got into the field of history, as well as what we do in Special Collections & Archives.

March 26 – The College of Liberal Arts sent a film crew to capture some footage for a forthcoming video for the History Department’s web site. A few of us, including Dawne Dewey, Lisa Rickey, and some of the Public History students were included in some of the filming. We’re looking forward to seeing the finished video!

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CoLA filming in the Archives, March 26, 2014.

March 27 – The first batch of 26 Civil War letters from the Oscar D. Ladley Papers (MS-138) became available on CORE Scholar.

Those were some of the highlights of March! We look forward to finding out what April holds!

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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!

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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 :

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