Some Background on the Dayton Daily News Archive

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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