She is Dr. Colby’s daughter…

Yesterday’s 100-years-ago today diary posting from Bishop Milton Wright on our social media was as follows:

Lorin’s came to supper. Mr. Thresher and wife called in the evening. She is Dr. Colby’s daughter.

Tweet of Bishop Milton Wright's diary entry from Oct. 25, 1914, on @WrightStArchive.

Tweet of Bishop Milton Wright’s diary entry from Oct. 25, 1914, on @WrightStArchive.

Diaries by their personal nature often record events and knowledge from their authors’ lives that have context and significance not always readily obvious to later readers.

Who is “Dr. Colby’s daughter” (aka Mrs. Thresher), and what (if any) significance is there that Bishop Wright thought it important to mention the woman’s father as a way of identifying her?

As it happens, the families of Thresher and Colby crossed paths frequently in Dayton’s history, so it was not difficult to positively identify these individuals:

This “Mr. Thresher” was Brainerd Bliss Thresher (1870-1950), who a few years later would become one of the founders of the Dayton Art Institute.

His wife was Mary Low Colby (1873-1933)—not to be confused with her grandmother, whose name was also Mary Low (Roberts) Colby. The younger woman, Mary Low (Colby) Thresher, who visited Bishop Wright with her husband in 1914, was the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Henry Francis Colby.

Dr. Henry Francis Colby, from his memorial book (1916), MS-81, Box 5, Folder 1

Dr. Henry Francis Colby, from his memorial book (1916), MS-81, Box 5, Folder 1

Rev. Dr. Henry Francis Colby (1842-1915) was a well-known and prominent figure in Dayton, Ohio, from the latter part of the 19th century until his death in 1915. He was minister of the First Baptist Church in Dayton from 1868 to 1903, when he retired due to ill health. He had first come to Dayton in 1867 to preach a guest sermon at the church and was subsequently offered the pastorate. He had come to Dayton at the invitation of Ebenezer Thresher, retired minister of First Baptist Church, founder of Barney & Smith Car Company, and a relative of the as-yet unborn man, B. B. Thresher, who would someday wed his daughter Mary.

Signature of Henry F. Colby on a letter to his congregation in Dayton, 24 Aug. 1879, from MS-81, Box 6, Folder 6.

Signature of Henry F. Colby on a letter to his congregation in Dayton, 24 Aug. 1879, from MS-81, Box 6, Folder 6.

We have quite a lot more details about the history of the First Baptist Church of Dayton—some of which, incidentally, was written by none other than Henry F. Colby—as well as biography about Colby himself, in our First Regular Baptist Church Records (MS-81). Colby also appears in a number of general histories of the city from that time period.

When Orville Wright died in 1948, his funeral was held at the First Baptist Church, of which he was apparently a member. However, his name does not appear in the membership log in the First Regular Baptist Church Records, which only goes up to 1920.

It is difficult to say precisely how the Colby and Thresher families and the Wrights knew one another. It seems likely that they came to be friends in any of the various ways that any of the prominent Dayton families of the time came to know one another: by running in the same social circles and having mutual friends, interests, business, philanthropy, etc.

It is also possible that Bishop Wright did not know Dr. Colby personally at all, but he saw fit to mention that his guest was Dr. Colby’s daughter in the same way that one might record the fact that the relative or associate of a celebrity or otherwise important individual had visited. Or perhaps they did know one another, as they were both clergyman, though in different churches: Colby being Baptist and Wright being United Brethren.

The Bishop does mention Dr. Colby by name later in his diary, following Dr. Colby’s death. This entry comes from the Bishop’s diary on May 1, 1915:

Doctor Rev. Henry Francis Colby died at 7:00 evening. He was long pastor of the First Baptist Church. He was one of their best men. Aged 72.

Actually, Dr. Colby did not die until May 8, and the text of this diary entry is crossed out with the word “mistake” written over it—probably the Bishop had simply written it on the wrong page. But the fact remains that he thought highly enough of Colby to record those kind words about him at the time of his passing.



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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:

  • Diary of Sarah Louise Reed Brown (SC-295)
  • McCall/Dayton Press Photographs (SC-296)
  • William F. Geiger Aviation Photograph Collection (SC-297)

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

  • Andrew S. Iddings Papers (MS-23)
  • Florence Brown Diaries (MS-478)

New and improved finding aids are now available for:

  • Wapakoneta Farmers Bank Records (MS-24)
  • Stillwater Valley Bank Records (MS-25)
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 104 Records (MS-125)
  • Martha McClellan Brown and Rev. William Kennedy Brown Papers (MS-147)
  • Adalaide Patricia O’Brien Papers (MS-170)
  • Miami Valley Personnel and Guidance Association Records (MS-171)
  • New Paris (Ohio) General Store Daybooks (MS-173)
  • Sarah Betts Wheeler Papers (MS-174)
  • Women, Inc., Scrapbooks (MS-176)
  • Amy Johnson Papers (MS-177)
  • John J. Rose Papers (MS-178)
  • Aeronautical Products Corporation Records (MS-179)
  • Waymire Family Papers (MS-180)
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ThrowBack Thursday with celeb alum Eddie McClintock

A little bird—OK, it was Twitter—told us that celebrity alumnus Eddie McClintock (class of ’91) is returning to campus this Saturday, October 18, to serve as Master of Ceremonies of the kickoff gala for Rise. Shine. The Campaign for Wright State University.

McClintock is best known for playing Secret Service Agent Pete Lattimer on Syfy’s highly successful Warehouse 13. “Pete” even had several Wright State t-shirts; what a coincidence!

In honor of McClintock’s homecoming, we thought it would be fun to see if we could “find” him in the University Archives.

According to information from the gala invitation, McClintock graduated with a degree in communications studies in 1991 and was a member of the varsity wrestling team.

We did find his name and photos several times among our collection of wrestling team documents and photographs from the years 1986-87 and 1987-88.

Below are items from the 1986-1987 season:

Eddie McClintock, wrestling profile, 1986-1987

Eddie McClintock, wrestling profile, 1986-1987

Can you spot him in the 1986-1987 wrestling team photo below? Give it a try, then check the photo caption. (Click on the photo to view a larger version of it.)

WSU Wrestling Team, 1986-1987

WSU Wrestling Team, 1986-1987

And here are a couple of items from the 1987-1988 season:

Eddie McClintock, wrestling profile, 1987-1988

Eddie McClintock, wrestling profile, 1987-1988

Try finding him in this one, the 1987-1988 wrestling team photo, then check the caption.  (Click on the photo to view a larger version of it.)

WSU Wrestling Team, 1987-1988

WSU Wrestling Team, 1987-1988

And here are a few other items of interest, like team rosters and seasonal results (click on a thumbnail image to enlarge it):

We hope Mr. McClintock will see & enjoy this little trip down memory lane, and we hope the rest of you did as well! Welcome back, Eddie! We know you’ll be a great M.C. on Saturday, and thanks for all the Raider pride t-shirt love on Warehouse 13!

The above materials can be found in the University Archives under Athletics (series 02-07)–Publications & Publicity–Sports Events Information–Wrestling, 1986-1989.

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