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Paul Laurence Dunbar photograph collection [graphic]

Identifier: P 70

Scope and Contents

Collection contains formal and informal photographs of African American author Paul Laurence Dunbar dating as early as the 1890s. Portraits of Dunbar s wife, Alice Dunbar Nelson, and his mother, Matilda J. Dunbar and other family members, including his half brother Robert Murphy and various nieces and nephews, are also found in the collection. Portraits given to Paul and Matilda Dunbar by friends and acquaintances comprise the bulk of the collection. Some of the people pictured are identified by information recorded on the photographs. There are also photographs of a bust sculpture and a painted portrait of Dunbar; images of his home on Summit Street in Dayton, Ohio and his grave stone in Woodland Cemetery, also in Dayton. Additionally, the collection includes photographs of southern scenes portraying poverty, agricultural labor, children and family groups. They were probably photographed by Leigh Richmond Miner, ca. 1900. Ephemera in the collection includes an announcement of the 60th anniversary of Dunbar's birth; a program from Dunbar's European Tour; Dunbar's poem "A Death Song" and a poem written in memorial to Dunbar, "Asleep Beneath the Willow," by R.S. Murphy.||||Credits: Photographers Appleton's Portraits, Baker Art Gallery, Baker and Potter, Bowersox, Bradley, Dougherty Bros., O.G. Fields, Grossman & Owings, Hord and Harmon Photographic Art Studio, Ideal Studio, E.E. Kile, Randall's Photo Store, A.C. Swain's Photo Rooms, VanLoo & Trost and M. Wolfe. Postcard publisher Aladdin Studio, the Division of State Memorials


  • circa 1860-1970


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Use

This collection is available for the purpose of research. Consideration of copyright is the responsibility of the author or publisher.

Biographical / Historical

Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio to former slaves, Joshua and Matilda Dunbar, on June 27, 1872. At the age of six Paul began writing poetry. At Central High School, Paul was the only black man in his class. Upon high school graduation Paul was as an elevator operator while he was trying to establish himself as a writer. For a brief time he published an African American newspaper, The Dayton Tattler, printed by his friends Orville and Wilbur Wright. His first collection of poems, Oak and Ivy, was published in 1892. In 1895 Dunbar published his second book, Majors and Minors, which propelled him to fame. In March 1898 he married Alice Ruth Moore, a poet and teacher. The marriage lasted only four years. On February 6, 1906, at the age of thirty-three, Dunbar died of tuberculosis in his Dayton home. By the time of his death Dunbar had produced twelve collections of poetry, four collections of short stories, a play and five novels. In 1936 the Dunbar House became the first state memorial to honor an African-American.


1 unit


Photographs are arranged by subject.

Physical Location

AV Cage, 3/5/2/H (Boxes 1-2)

Other Finding Aids

printed aid available

Existence and Location of Originals

Original photograph of Paul Laurence Dunbar's class picture at Central High School in Dayton, Ohio is owned by Wright State University.

Physical Description

134 photographic prints : b&w, mounted ; 23 x 29 cm. or smaller.,56 photographic prints (7 printed on postcards) : b&w ; 21 x 26 cm. or smaller.,6 photomechanical prints (1 printed on postcard) : b&w, 1 col.; 21 x 29 cm. or smaller.,4 ephemera : 23 x 11 cm. or smaller.

Paul Laurence Dunbar photograph collection [graphic]
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Ohio History Connection Repository

800 E. 17th Ave.
Columbus Ohio 43211