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Paul Laurence Dunbar House, Dayton

Categories: Specialty Museums, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
4.2/5 based on 25+ reviews on the web
The Paul Laurence Dunbar House was the 1904-1906 home of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar in Dayton, Ohio. It is a historic house museum owned by the state of Ohio and operated by Dayton History on behalf of the Ohio Historical Society. It is located at 219 Paul Laurence Dunbar Street (formerly called North Summit Street) in Dayton.HistoryDunbar had a long association with Dayton. He was born there in 1872, the son of former slaves, and his first poems were printed in the Dayton Herald in 1888. His first book, Oak and Ivy (1892) was published in Dayton by the United Brethren Publishing House as well.After serving as an elevator operator in Dayton and meeting some success for his writings, Dunbar took a job in Washington, D.C., at the Library of Congress.Dunbar purchased the home for his mother, Matilda Dunbar, in June 1904. The house is an eight-room brick structure on a quiet street. When Dunbar separated from his wife Alice Ruth Moore in 1902, he moved in as well.By the time Dunbar moved into the house, he was very sick with tuberculosis. He also suffered from alcoholism. It was in this home that Dunbar died in 1906. His death that February was signified by a black wreath which hung on the front door of the home.After Dunbar's death, his mother Matilda lived here for the remainder of her life and kept his books, manuscripts, and study as he left them. In 1932, it was reported that Matilda held an open house every year on June 27, the anniversary of her son's birth. She died February 24, 1934.
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  • Really enjoyed this museum , it was a guided tour through Paul L's house , which was very interesting (We did not book it in advance, just arrived) Plan to arrive by Car as the neighborhood is so-so t...  read more »
  • Not a whole lot to see besides the preservation of an old house, but it is some good old Dayton history. It looks like a spot in an end of town that needs some revitalization. 
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar is our first great African-American poet. Here in this house he wrote many of the poems we still read today. The house is a National Park and the guides are very knowledgeable. Mu...  read more »
  • This is a historic place and the only site historian really gave us an education on Paul Laurence Dunbar. I recommend it to anyone looking to explore their history.
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar was a literary genius whose poetry, prose and dramatic works as well as his very existence as a black complexioned celebrity vindicates the humanity of a beseiged people. Dunbar was a national icon with schools named for him from his home in Dayton to Little Rock, Lexington, Baltimore, Ft. Myers, Ft. Worth and Washington, D.C. which is infact the first Black public high school in the USA - see the book, "First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America's First Black Public High School" by Alison Stewart, Melissa Harris-Perry (Foreword by Melissa Harris-Perry). It is an honor to walk into Dunbar's home and see his possessions kept so well over the years by the Ohio Historical Society, Dayton History and the National Park service. It is my hope that the site will again employ a full time African American curator of the caliber of the retired LaVerne Sci.
  • Nice tour, "the first recliner" and a dining room cupboard that makes into a drop down bed.
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