Visiting Information

The following is visiting information for Paul Laurence Dunbar sites of interest in Dayton, Ohio

Paul Laurence Dunbar Library, Wright State University

Wright State's University Library was renamed in 1992 in honor of Dayton-born Paul Laurence Dunbar, recognizing not only his significant literary contributions but his importance to Dayton and his friendship with the Wright Brothers, for whom the university is named. People entering and leaving the building are greeted with some of Dunbar's most famous lines painted on the walls behind the Circulation Desk.

Located on the fourth floor of the Dunbar Library, Special Collections and Archives is home to Dunbar research materials, including a complete set of first editions of Dunbar's works. The Archives also holds copies of several of his songs, research collections of Dunbar scholar Herbert Woodward Martin and of Charles Austin, and an original handwritten and unpublished poem, "To Anna."

Paul Laurence Dunbar House

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966, the Paul Laurence Dunbar house and the surrounding Dunbar Historic District reflects Dayton's pride in the achievements of Dunbar's short life. Following his death in 1906, his mother, Matilda, remained in the house and preserved his possessions until her death in 1934. By 1936, the Dunbar House was recognized by the state of Ohio and became the first state memorial to honor an African-American. Following a major capital improvement project beginning in 2002, the Dunbar House has been restored to the time period when Paul and Matilda Dunbar lived in the house. A visitor's center contains further exhibits and materials on Dunbar's life. As part of the National Park Service's Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and Dayton Aviation Trail, the Dunbar House helps commemorate the important and vibrant history of Dayton at the turn of the 20th century.

Paul Laurence Dunbar House, Ohio History Connection website

Paul Laurence Dunbar House, National Park Service website

Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site, Dayton History website

Dunbar House, National Aviation Heritage Area website

Paul Laurence Dunbar and Matilda Dunbar Gravesites, Woodland Cemetery

Paul Laurence Dunbar is buried in historic Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio, as are many other prominent figures from Dayton's history, including the Wright Brothers, located in the same section of the cemetery. Dunbar's grave is marked by a willow tree and a large stone marker, which contains the first verse of his poem "A Death Song." The Dunbar room of the Woodland Mausoleum contains a stained glass window highlighting the view he depicted in the poem. His mother, Matilda Dunbar, was buried next to him following her death in 1934.

Founded in 1841, Woodland Cemetery is one of the nation's five oldest rural/garden cemeteries. Visitors are encouraged to visit the gateway, chapel and office, which were completed in 1889 and are on the National Register of Historic Places. The chapel features an exquisite original Tiffany stained-glass window. In 2011, the Victorian section of Woodland was added as a Historic District on the National Register. Other notable gravesites include Ohio Governor James Cox, writer Erma Bombeck, inventor Charles F. Kettering, and some of Dayton's famous entrepreneurs.

Paul Laurence Dunbar gravesite, Woodland Cemetery website

Paul Laurence Dunbar gravesite, Find-A-Grave website

Joshua Dunbar Gravesite, Dayton National Cemetery

Joshua Dunbar was Paul Laurence Dunbar's father. Having served as a soldier in the Civil War, Joshua Dunbar was eligible to be buried in the National Cemetery.

Dayton National Cemetery website

Joshua Dunbar gravesite, Find-a-Grave website