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Special Collections and Archives

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A New Home for Wright State University’s Special Collections and Archives

When the family of former Ohio governor and Dayton Daily News founder James M. Cox decided to donate his manuscript collection to Wright State University in 1967, the university’s Special Collections and Archives was born.

More than 50 years later, Wright State University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives are entering a new era and hopefully, one day soon, a new home. Currently housed in two separate buildings of the Wright State University Libraries, we have run out of adequate space for our world-class collections.

Scholars and aviation experts come to Wright State from around the globe to see our renowned Wright Brothers Collection, first-edition works by Dayton poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, the archives of the Dayton Daily News, and countless other historic treasures.

To properly preserve and protect these priceless memories of our past, we need to relocate our Special Collections and Archives to a new home where we envision: 

  • A reading room where students, scholars, and visitors may examine historic materials in an up close and personal way
  • An exhibit gallery housing rotating exhibitions that highlight the depth and breadth of our collections
  • A conference room for lectures, meetings, and special events
  • A classroom to welcome area school children and students from Wright State’s public history graduate program
  • A preservation lab, processing room, clean room, and exhibit prep room that will give staff the tools and space they need to adequately care for our region’s history

The facility will also provide the proper storage and climate control to preserve our historic materials for generations to come.

Above all else, it will bring history to life and celebrate the legacies of the trailblazers and pioneers who shaped the history of our region and beyond.

To help create the new home for Wright State University’s Special Collections and Archives, please contact:

Tim Littell
Assistant Vice President, Corporate Relations and University Initiatives 


Special Collections and Archives news

A special collection, indeed

Wright State University is home to region’s rich history in the arts
The Special Collections and Archives preserves the history of Dayton’s visual and performing arts organizations, giving researchers access to photographs, recordings, costume designs and business records.

Century-old architectural photographs of Dayton made available to public by Wright State’s Special Collections and Archives

The century-old collection of photographs from around Dayton was created by architect Louis J. P Lott, and donated to Wright State by the Dayton Art Institute in 2022.

Wright State Special Collections and Archives conserves rare books by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Rare, first-edition books by Paul Laurence Dunbar can now be safely viewed and studied in Wright State’s Special Collections and Archives after undergoing conservation treatment.

View All Special Collections and Archives news


Conceptual Plans and Renderings