Some Background on the Dayton Daily News Archive

March 1, 2011


The Dayton Daily News was purchased and given its current name by James M. Cox (1870-1957) in 1898. Active in both the media and political worlds, Cox was a U.S. Representative from Ohio (1909-13), the 46th (1913-15) and 48th (1917-21) Governor of Ohio, and the Democratic candidate for President of the United States in the election of 1920. Prior to 1986 the Dayton Daily News served as Dayton’s evening newspaper. Its companion morning newspaper, the Journal-Herald, was created in 1949 when Cox purchased the Dayton Journal (1905-49) and Dayton Herald (1923-49) and combined them into a single publication. In September 1986 the Journal-Herald was merged into the Dayton Daily News, the combined newspaper becoming a morning-only publication.


The Dayton Daily News Archive consists of over 3,000 cubic feet of records presently stored on the Main Campus of Wright State University. The collection date span is 1930 to 1990, although the bulk falls after 1950, and includes the combined materials from the Journal-Herald and Dayton Daily News. The types of materials in the collection include: newspaper clippings, both black and white and color photographs (some oversized), AP wire photograph proofs, color slides, negatives of various sizes, documents, microfilm and microfiche, maps, and bound volumes of newspapers. General topics to be found in the collection include: personalities (including VIP files and obituaries), subjects, and events.


From the paper’s inception in 1898 until the donation of the collection in 2008, the archive had been used solely by internal newspaper staff with very limited access to historians, students, and the general public. Under the care of Wright State University’s Special Collections and Archives, it will be opened to public researchers for the first time.

The significance of the Dayton Daily News Archive lies in the thousands of stories it has recorded about the individuals, companies, organizations, and groups who have shaped and guided the course of the city through the twentieth century. These stories have ties to not only the local scene, but to the region, state, and nation, and in some cases, to the world. Dayton, considered the cradle of invention in the early 1900s, generated more patents than any other city in America. Creativity abounded, not only in technology but in local government, literature, music, and dance. Dayton was the site of the invention of the airplane, the creation and implementation of the city manager form of government, and the first cash register. Its history includes a strong history of the women’s club movement, innovative industrial development, dynamic political figures, ground-breaking aviation technology, a vital military establishment, strong progressivism, and diplomatic milestones, such as the Dayton Peace Accords. It was the first city to establish a conservancy district to protect the city from devastating flood waters. The spirit and history of Dayton’s innovators and the everyday lives of its citizens are told in the photographs and stories recorded in the newspaper. Dayton’s history is a rich example of American ingenuity and perseverance in the twentieth century. Its connection to the nation and world is seen through the reporting of its day-to-day news by prize-winning Dayton Daily News writers, reporters, and photographers.

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3 Responses to Some Background on the Dayton Daily News Archive

  1. Lisa Rickey on March 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Nice background on the DDN. I didn’t know all the specifics of how the Journal/Herald/DDN merged together.
    I’m looking forward to hearing more in the future about how the archive is being arranged and how it will be available. I’ll be pretty ecstatic if by any chance there is a file/folder listing available online or in print. I work at the Dayton library, and such a thing would be very helpful to us in directing patrons to your archive, to know if/what you do have files on. Looking forward to learning more!

    • Bill on March 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Mrs. Rickey, we are currently creating metadata for the collection and inputting it into a Microsoft Access database. Next year (when the majority of the collection has been minimally processed) we will create a MARC record and EAD finding aid for OhioLINK. We will keep the public informed on the progress. Thanks for the comment, it’s always great to heard feedback from local institutions.


  2. Lee Trimble on September 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I am researching a book on Captain Robert Trimble, and am interested in finding evidence of a prestigious award he received at the Wright Air Field in late 1945. I am hoping the Dayton Daily News covered it, though I would be interested in any news media that might have. The French ambassador personally made the presentation of the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star for bravery in saving 400 French women prisoners in Poland.

    Is the Dayton Daily News on microfilm from that time, and is it possibly available as an inter-library loan? Would any other news publication from that time possibly have covered it?


    Lee Trimble

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