New Exhibit “Rightfully Hers” Explores History of Women’s Suffrage

Rightfully Hers

Rightfully Hers exhibit on display in Dunbar Library first floor lobby, alumni case.

Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries, is excited to host a new popup exhibition from the National ArchivesRightfully Hers, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Rightfully Hers contains simple messages exploring the history of the ratification of the 19th amendment, women’s voting rights before and after the 19th, and its impact today. Despite decades of marches, petitions, and public debate to enshrine a woman’s right to vote in the constitution, the 19th Amendment – while an enormous milestone – did not grant voting rights for all. The challenges of its passage reverberate to the ongoing fight for gender equity today.  This exhibit runs through at least December 2020. 

Rightfully Hers co-curator Jennifer N. Johnson states:

“The ratification of the 19th Amendment was a landmark moment in American history that dramatically changed the electorate, and although it enshrined in the U.S. Constitution fuller citizenship for women many remained unable to vote.”

The exhibition is on display on the first floor lobby of the Dunbar Library, in the Alumni Case, and can therefore be viewed any time during Dunbar Library open hours. Admission is free and open to the public (view map, directions & parking information). No appointment is needed to view the exhibit; however, due to COVID-19, face coverings are required to be worn at all times on Wright State’s campus (view current WSU health & safety protocols). For questions about visiting this exhibit or about Special Collections & Archives, please Ask an Archivist.

For additional information about the Rightfully Hers exhibit, including an online version of the exhibit, as well as teaching resources, please visit

Rightfully Hers is organized by the National Archives and Records Administration. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the National Archives has launched a nationwide initiative and major exhibition that explores the generations-long fight for universal woman suffrage. The exhibition is presented in part by the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of Unilever, Pivotal Ventures, Carl M. Freeman Foundation in honor of Virginia Allen Freeman, AARP, and Denise Gwyn Ferguson.

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Happy Birthday and Happy National Aviation Day!

Katharine and Orville in a Wright Model H Flyer, 1914 ( ms1_20_6_19 ).

Not only is August 19th the birthday of siblings Orville and Katharine Wright, but it is also National Aviation Day! Orville was born on August 19, 1871, while his sister Katharine arrived on August 19, 1874.

National Aviation Day was created with a presidential proclamation by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in August 1939 to recognize the history and development of aviation in the United States. August 19th was picked to coincide with the birthday of Orville Wright. The proclamation calls for all federal buildings to display the U.S. Flag and “invites the people of the United States to observe National Aviation Day with appropriate exercises to further stimulate interest in aviation in the United States.”

Orville at Huffman Prairie in 1916 (ms1_20_7_6).

There are many ways to celebrate both National Aviation Day and the Wright birthdays on August 19th. You can browse the thousands of Wright photographs that have been digitized from the Wright Brothers Collection (MS-1) and made available on CORE Scholar. Download a coloring sheet featuring Katharine Wright or one of the aviation word searches from our Fun and Educational Activities page. Maybe even browse the diary of their father, Milton Wright, in search of references to their birthdays.

If you are interested in aviation history, browse and search many of our aviation collections that have been digitized. Use the aircraft database to search for a specific plane or view the Wright Company Glass Plate Negative Collection.

Orville, Wilbur and the 1904 Flyer, May 1904 ( ms1_16_5_2)

Since the weather forecast this week is almost perfect, take the time to visit one or more of the National Aviation Heritage Area partners. Make a family outing to Huffman Prairie to see where the Wright Brothers mastered the principles of powered flight, visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force and walk through galleries of aircraft and aviation history, or take a stroll through Woodland Cemetery, the burial location for the Wright family.

If you want to celebrate from home feel free to bake a cake for Orville and Katharine or simply relax on your back patio for a few minutes, gaze up at the blue summer sky, and watch all of the air traffic pass over.

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Take an Archives Staycation

Orville Wright (driving), Katharine Wright, and Harriet Silliman in the "St. Louis" automobile purchased by Charles Webbert through the Wright Cycle Company, 1903. (photo ms1_28_7_5)
Orville, Katharine Wright, and Harriet Silliman in a “St. Louis” automobile 1903. (ms1_28_7_5)

While many of us will not be taking a vacation this summer due to the Pandemic, you can still take a virtual “road trip” of our collections visiting locations throughout the United States and world. Believe it our not, many of our collections include photographs, diaries, letters, travel pamphlets, maps, tickets, schedules, and other items from residents of the Miami Valley who traveled on family vacations, business trips, research expeditions, or for military service.

Wednesday, July 1, 1857. We started at 7:00 for New York. We went through Columbus, Crestline, Pittsburgh, and reached Altoona before daylight. We rode across the Allegheny River in an omnibus, in the dark. Our fare from Dayton to New York about $19.00. -Milton Wright

The Wright family, beginning with Bishop Milton Wright, traveled extensively by foot, wagon, train, boat, and automobile throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Bishop’s diaries, starting with a trip to the Northwest Territory in 1857, describe his travels along with those of his children. The siblings, Wilbur, Orville, and Katharine, made several trips to Europe between 1907-1910 and spent time in France, England, Germany, and Italy. The photographs of these trips, showing the locales they visited and those they met, can be viewed and searched online.

Of course, you can’t have summer vacation without the family road trip! Remember those long days crammed into the minivan asking “are we there yet?” every few minutes? In the summer of 1921, the McCarthy family left Dayton for the west coast. The family photo album documents the 6 month trip from Ohio to California with images of camping, famous landmarks, the open road, and, of course, car trouble.

Finally, if you do get to take a road trip this summer and would like some activities to keep the young travelers occupied for a while, look no further than our Special Collections & Archives Fun and Educational Activities topic guide. The guide offers a variety of word searches and coloring sheets that can be downloaded and printed.

If you want to explore our collections further, you can view the SC&A web site or browse our digital collections on CORE Scholar. Have a great summer and safe travels!

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