Dayton Daily News Archive at Wright State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives

January 7, 2011

DDN Archive move to Wright State



The story of a city is drafted in the myriad experiences of its citizens; it is forged on the face of its architecture and geography. It is taught in its schools and exported through its enterprise. Perhaps nothing encompasses all of these elements like a city’s newspaper. A newspaper not only reports and interprets events; it provides a lens through which the cultural essence of a city can be viewed.  By reading the headlines and viewing the pictures in the newsprint we can discover the spirit of times gone by and discern the historical record of a city. The purpose of this blog is to show that the Dayton Daily News collection is not just an assortment of photos and articles; the collection tells the story of our town, the story of Dayton.

The story of how the DDN collection came to Wright State began in May 2008.  Wright State Special Collections and Archives were notified that we had been selected as the repository for this significant, amazing, and really, really big collection. The collection was located on the third and fourth floors of the rear of the DDN building at the corner of 4th and Ludlow in Dayton. Newspaper staff vacated the downtown building and moved to S. Main St. across from NCR approximately 2 years ago. The presses in the downtown building have been silent since 1999 when they moved production to a new plant in Franklin. The building was a ghost town, no water, no heat, no air conditioning, just electricity. It had been mothballed. Needless to say, this wasn’t the best environment for the collection.

State of the collection at the old DDN building

State of the collection at the old DDN building

State of the collection at the old DDN building

In June 2008, we spent two days conducting a preliminary inventory to get a handle on what was there, its size and condition, and gather information to enable us to develop a processing and preservation plan. Remember when I said the environment wasn’t good for the collection? Well, it wasn’t fit for humans either. When we worked in the building in June, the temperature was in the eighties outside, so you can imagine how hot it was inside. There was no air moving anywhere, odors from the presses downstairs wafted upstairs, and there were no bathroom facilities. Bottles of water, towels to wipe the sweat away, and masks were the order of the day.

WSU Special Collections and Archives staff taking an inventory of the collection

In November of 2008, the archives Staff prepared to move the collection to the WSU Kettering Center for Excellence  in downtown Dayton.  We boxed up loose materials on top of filing cabinets over 2 days. The move was finished by December. The archival material took 12 truckloads to get to the new destination. It encompassed 250 file cabinets and 200 plus records center boxes. Wright State President, Dr. David Hopkins, formally accepted the donation for the university in February of 2009.

In May 2009, Wright State was fortunate enough to receive a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). The grant allowed for the hiring of a full time archivist to perform basic processing on the collection, as well as a position for a part-time graduate student assistant. The project archivist began in November of 2010 and the collection is currently being arranged into proper series within the DDN filing system. The collection is roughly 3500 cubic feet in the form of 250 file cabinets and 200 plus records center boxes. This blog will detail the progression in gaining physical and intellectual control over the collection.

I hope you enjoy the WSU DDN blog, made possible by the NHPRC.

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10 Responses to Dayton Daily News Archive at Wright State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives

  1. Veril gillette on October 2, 2012 at 5:02 am

    Do you have picture from back around 1956 of Joey gillete riding a Metal scooter?

    • Bill on October 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Hmmm. We may have such a photo. Do you know where the picture was taken (at a festival or town)? Thanks.

  2. Robert Kerr on November 11, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Please tell me what years are covered in the Dayton Daily News Archive at WSU.

    • Bill on November 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      The majority of the information we have is from the 1940s to the mid 1990s.

  3. BOB MARTINDALE on December 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm


    • Bill on December 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      Please contact the main archives at (937) 775-2092 to submit a research request. The website for the archives can be found here:

  4. Rex Maggert on December 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    If a story is written in the newspaper with a single photo used would the archives have additional photos that were not used in the story? Rex

    • Bill on December 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      It is possible. It is not uncommon to find numerous photos of a person/subject in which only one was used for a story.

  5. Constance Steele on February 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    There were marches for equal opportunity employment in Dayton, definitely at Rikes, maybe elsewhere, I think in 1966. I am seeking photos of these as well as of W.S. McIntosh for use in an elementary school presentation for Black History month.

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Wright State University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives welcomes you to our Dayton Daily News Archive blog. We are excited to share selections from the DDN Archive with you!

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