Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the most noteworthy African-American poets of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He also was born and died in Dayton, Ohio, although he lived several other places in between.
The Paul Laurence Dunbar House, at 219 Paul Laurence Dunbar Street (formerly 219 N. Summit Street), dates to about 1870, although the Dunbars didn’t live there until the early 20th century.
After Paul’s mother Matilda Dunbar died (in 1934), the house was soon acquired by the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society (now the Ohio Historical Society). On June 27, 1938—what would have been Paul’s 66th birthday—the house was formally dedicated as an historical shrine and museum.
Over the past 75 years, the Paul Laurence Dunbar House museum has been opened, closed, and re-opened a handful of times for various reasons, but it is currently open again, being administered by the Ohio Historical Society and locally managed by Dayton History.
Enjoy these photos of the Paul Laurence Dunbar House over the years, from the Dayton Daily News Archive. And if you’d like to learn more about Paul Laurence Dunbar himself, take a look at our Paul Laurence Dunbar Collection (digital exhibit).
More information can be found in these resources at Wright State University Special Collections & Archives:
- Dayton Daily News Archive, JHAN Files, Box 563, 95d: Dunbar House, Paul Laurence (2 folders).
- Paul Laurence Dunbar Collection (digital exhibit).