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Dayton, Ohio - An Intimate History
Chapter Fifteen





The most cherished archives of the Dayton Public Library contain a thin volume of some sixty pages bound in yellow marbleized paper – or was, before the congenital weakness due to eighty years of service had made a new cover necessary. On the stained title page may be read “A Sketch of the History of Dayton,” By Maskell E. Curwen (Thomas Odell, Publisher).

This was the first book written in Dayton and should not be overlooked by future historians. Indeed all those in the past have consulted it and it may be said to be the basic material for all we know of our beginnings. It was put out after Dayton had passed the half century mark and the writer felt that nothing could be more important than to record its remarkable progress. Moreover, Curwen wrote from actual cognizance and has left a book which is a medley of Indian history, personal anecdotes of the first settlers, a description of the first town plat, the incorporation of Dayton, the first newspaper, the War of 1812, the great flood of 1847, together with good moral observations and quotations from the poets. It is to be hoped that the little book will last another eighty years to be consulted by many more readers and authors, for it is a well-told story, more and more interesting as time goes on.

Dayton has been noted for its commercial rather than for its literary attainments. Nevertheless when the tale is fully told there will be found quite a number of writers whose fame has extended beyond our narrow locality.

John Van Cleve, perhaps the first real scholar among us, has already had biographical mention in an earlier chapter. In 1828 he was owner and proprietor of the “Dayton Journal,” contributing editorials and literary articles and finding time among his multitudinous duties to translate Schiller’s “Robbers” and to do some charming sketches, fairy tales and plays. Another translation from the German was the first volume of “Goldfuss.” His best work was done on the “Log Cabin,” that satirical sheet that had such influence during the Harrison campaign in 1840. His political skits were accompanied by caricatures drawn and engraved by himself.

It is to Mary Steele that we owe most of the information we have of this remarkable man, which brings us to the Steeles – father and daughter, who both meant so much to Dayton. Robert W. Steele’s memory has been enshrined in the high school named for him and it was a well-earned honor on account of his taste for books, his interest in the schools and all that was intellectual and cultural among us. How thrilled we were when an article from the pen of Mary Davies Steele appeared in the “Atlantic Monthly.” It was entitled “A Learned Lady of Gournay” and was the picturesque narrative of an early intellectual woman of French birth at a time when few women anywhere in the world knew as much as how to spell. People read it and talked of it and it seemed to fix Dayton in the same category with Boston and the New England writers who flourished at that time – the early ‘seventies. We were accustomed to seeing articles by Robert Steele, mostly in the local papers, and now here was his daughter, a semi-invalid and recluse, coming forward out of the twilight of a sick room to contribute an article to the leading American monthly. It was heartening to hear her tell of her father’s surprise on opening the magazine to see her name in the index, for she had carefully kept it a secret. Encouraged by the cordial reception of her first essay Mary Steele wrote “Early Dayton.” Based primarily on Curwen’s book, there was an interesting accumulation of local history in the added thirty years and no one better qualified than she to put it down. Belonging herself among the old families, she could write from personal knowledge and experience of things and people in the Miami Valley. It still remains a much-read and often consulted book. Many articles in the “Dayton Journal” came from her pen, also a small volume published privately by friends entitled “A Happy Life.” This simple meager volume bears upon its title page a line which expressed the writer’s view of life, of human obligation and of the contemplation of death, which was never very far from her. “Expectant, grateful and  serenely acquiescent.” Her smooth, pleasing literary style has preserved to posterity many things that otherwise would be lost to the community. Articles of a more extended interest are to be found in the pages of the “Magazine of Western history” and the “New York Evangelist.”

“The Speeches of Thomas Corwin,” compiled when Corwin was at the height of his reputation, by Isaac Strohm, a Dayton man, were published by the veteran newspaper man W. F. Comly. In this volume you will find Corwin’s great speech on the Mexican War in the Senate, 1847, not infrequently quoted in these days of our relations with Mexico; also his address on “Current Political Issues” at Ironton, Ohio, 1859. Here was another instance of a father and daughter in literature, for Gertrude Strohm contributed to magazines and compiled several books: “Word Pictures,” “Flower Idylls,” “Scripture Exercises for Sunday Schools” and “Social Games for Home Amusement.” She must have been considered a clever compiler because her books bear the imprint of such publishing houses as Estes and Lauriat and D. Lothrop and Company.

The Houks were both writers – George W. and his wife, Eliza Thruston Houk. George Houk was literary, not by profession but because he couldn’t help it. Everything he wrote had the tang of originality, spice and grace, even when he was writing obituaries for which he was much in demand. A deep student of the English classics, Mr. Houk’s writing reflected their source. Among his published addresses are: “Religion and Science” (Y. M. C. A. Music Hall, 1875). “The Centennial of Humboldt,” “On the Centennial of the writing of the Constitution of the United States”; “On the Centennial of the Inauguration of George Washington as President of the United States.”

Eliza P. Thruston Houk was a daughter of Robert Thruston, a brilliant member of the Dayton bar, and Marianna Phillips Thruston, afterwards Mrs. John G. Lowe. A graduate (in 1851) of Cooper Seminary, she developed a taste for books and reading which became  the basis for her own literary work. Several published books remain to Mrs. Houk’s credit. The first is a long poem entitled “Puritan,” in eleven cantos, containing two hundred and forty-five stanzas in Spenserian verse. This is a very difficult metrical form and has been quite abandoned by modern versifiers. “Puritan” is a historical poem, the first canto depicting the voyage of the “Mayflower,” the hopes, aspirations and religious fervor of the devoted band who are known as the Pilgrim Fathers; the second details other famous voyages of the past, the adventures of Menelaus, Ulysses, Aeneas, Columbus and de Gama. The third canto describes the landing of the Puritans; the fourth a retrospect of the rise and progress of Puritanism; the fifth, the settlement on the inhospitable shores of New England; the sixth, labors in England; the seventh, final success. Another long unpublished poem of Mrs. Houk’s of eighteen cantos and six hundred and seventy-four stanzas, which celebrates the accomplishments of Virginians as the first book does those of the Puritans, is called “Virginius.” Also unpublished are two five-act dramas, “Martin Luther” and “The Three Lovers.” A published essay of a purely scientific nature was read at Portland, Maine, before a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at its annual meeting in 1873. Among the other published work of Mrs. Houk are two novels, “The Lamarks” (1889), and “Louisa Varena” (1905); she also had printed, in 1905, “Memorials of Gates Thruston.”

Dr. J. C. Reeve during his life was called “the best medical reviewer in the country,” his contributions in this line being found most often in the “Journal of Medical Sciences,” Philadelphia. His most notable published work is a translation from the French of “History of the Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood,” by Flourens, secretary of the Academy of Medical Science, Paris, 1851. He also wrote papers on medical and surgical subjects for inclusion in such volumes as “American Surgery” and Holmes’ “Surgery.” The articles on “Chloroform and Other Anaesthetics” in Wood’s “Reference Book on the Medical Sciences” (New York, seven volumes) is by Dr. Reeve. Also “Anaesthetics in Labor” in the “American System of  Obstetrics” and a chapter on “Diseases of Women” in Pepper’s “System of American Medicine” (five volumes, Philadelphia). The “Medical Pickwick,” published (in the ninetieth year of the writer’s age), contains a charming series of memoirs called “Recollections and Reminiscences,” being a compilation of professional, social and literary matter accumulated during a long lifetime. “Excursions in my Library” will also be found in this same publication. Others of Dr. Reeve’s works are: The chapter on anesthesia in Hirst’s “American System of Obstetrics,” “Life of Henry Bouquet” in the Ohio State Historical and Antiquarian Quarterly.” The list of Dr. Reeve’s unpublished writings will include the papers written by him and read at the Saturday Club, an organization of leading thinking men of Dayton that lasted for four decades. “The Cross and Crucifixion,” “The Birth of a King,” “Phallic Worship,” “The Conquest of Yellow Fever,” Maeterlinck’s “Monna Vanna,” “The Discovery of Surgical Anaesthesia” are some of them. In the “Ohio State Historical and Archaeological Quarterly” is an article on Henri Bouquet, the French explorer in North America. In all Dr. Reeve’s writings may be seen proof of his scholarly mind and the deep research at the bottom of everything he wrote.

Dr. Henry S. Jewett wrote much professionally but nothing that has been published. “The Mosquito in Relation to Yellow Fever and Malaria” will be remembered by those having heard it read in the Saturday Club.

Major Bickham (William D.) was a clever and caustic writer and called the best paragrapher in the newspaper world of his day, and one of the leading war correspondents of the Civil War. His major work, written when he was volunteer aid-de-camp to General Rosecrans, was “Rosecrans’ Campaign with the Fourteenth Army Corps. His letters to the press give a vivid picture of men and battles, different phases of army life, and are a valuable contribution to the literature of the Civil War.

Sidney A. Reeve, youngest son of Dr. J. C. Reeve might also be included among Dayton writers, although he has lived many years in New York. He was professor of gas and engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute for many years, lecturer at Harvard and at Annapolis, and is now consulting engineer in New York. He is the author of “The Hydraulic Interaction Between Passing Vessels Called ‘Suction,’” an address delivered before the School of Marine Engineering at the United States Naval Academy and reprinted by the United States Naval Institute. His first book was “The Cost of Competition,” which was reviewed widely in periodicals on both sides of the ocean. “Modern Economic Tendencies” is put out by E. P. Dutton and is a comprehensive view of the trend of economics in the present day. His book on “Entropy” is used as a text-book in several colleges.

Loyal Dayton historians are prone to include William Dean Howells among our writers, but it is an unsubstantial claim. Howells did live here for a short time when his father owned and edited the “Dayton Transcript” and the son set type and otherwise supported the dying sheet. But it was a short up-hill experience and none of his writings were accomplished here. About the only record the great novelist gives of his association with Dayton is that when they could not make the paper go they went down to the Miami River and in swimming, which is what a good many Dayton boys have done between that time and this.

The United Brethren Church has contributed quite a group of writers to the Dayton list, most of them on religious topics. A. W. Drury, D. D., has written two biographies, “Life of William Otterbein” and “Life of Bishop J. J. Glossbrenner, D. D.”  Rev. E. S. Lorenz is a prolific author but his publication will come under the head of music in the chapter devoted to that subject. Pearl V. Collins wrote one novel., “A Baton for a Heart.”

Charlotte Reeve Conover is the author of several works of historical or biographical interest. “Concerning the Forefathers” is a volume dealing with the fortunes of two pioneer families, the Pattersons and the Johnstons, both being forebears of the late John H. Patterson. “The Story of Dayton” is a small book written especially for children in the grade schools in order to interest them in the town in which they lived. It was a result of the renaissance of local patriotism following the misfortunes of the flood of 1913. This book was written in a simple style and is very popular with school children. Another book of local interest is “Some Dayton Saints and Prophets” being Mrs. Conover’s personal recollections of some the interesting old people in Dayton who gave to the times a peculiar atmosphere of originality and charm. The subjects are not by any means the most prominent citizens but those who by their spicy and vivid personality ought to still live in remembrance.

For three years Mrs. Conover conducted a department known as “The Secret Society of Mothers” in the “Ladies Home Journal” from which she became widely known throughout the women readers of that magazine. For a period of twenty years or more her articles appeared with regularity  in one or the other of the Dayton papers. After four years of research in the libraries of the United States and Europe she prepared a course of six interpretative lectures on the great comic dramatist Moliere which were given at the Chautauqua Assembly, at the Brooklyn Institute, at the West College, Oxford, at Mills College, California, and before clubs and private schools in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. A number of pamphlets from Mrs. Conover’s pen have been published: “The Old Log Cabin,” “Kitty Patterson.”

As time went on Dayton writers increased in number and prestige. Of late years there has been a surprising harvest and they have ceased to be merely local. Leading all these is Anne O’Hare McCormick. Her work has been crowned by the “New York Times” in its weekly magazine whose pages seem never to be so interesting when they include an article from her typewriter. She excels as a political correspondent and during the last presidential election her weekly papers on the promise of the campaign were widely read and incessantly quoted. She seems to be able to be in all places at one and to secure interviews with the most exalted personages who have denied themselves to lesser scribblers. And because the books are written hot off the brain they are vital and gripping. It was foreordained that her letters to the “Times” on Russia, achieved at the price of a long and arduous journey, should go into book form, which they did, under the title of “The Hammer and the Scythe,” (Alfred A. Knopf), acknowledged to be the authoritative book on Russia as long at least as the conditions which she reported are existent. Mrs. McCormick’s book leaves philosophy to those who think they know what is going to happen to Russia. She is a faithful reporter of what she and her husband saw in that mysterious country and when you have read her book you feel as if you had been a third in the party.

Frank J. McCormick has collaborated in the book, being already the author of a volume of pleasant sketches entitled “Four in Hand.”

It is but natural that Dayton, being the center of aviation interests and aviation itself such a soul-stirring occupation, that knights of the pen should turn up and illuminate the subject. “This Aviation Business” by Lieutenant Ernest W. Dichman is an attempt by a former field officer to supply what he thinks is most needed in the public mind, a plain chronicle of aviation as it stands today. He finds it obscured by mystery, ignorance, misdirected enthusiasm and plain lying. His effort is to rescue the subject and bring it out into the light of intelligence so that it may achieve a healthy growth and development.

Another book, written especially for boys, is by Marguerite Jacobs Heron, a member of the department of technical data of Wright Field, and she calls it “Knights of the Wing.”  To say that this book is a best seller is to say it all. Boys from one end of the United States to the other pore over “Knights of the Wing.” Miss Jacobs has the rare skill of handling technical details without letting them interfere with the charm of the narrative, and is accurate into the bargain.

A kindred but unconscious subject is on the title page of another work by an aviation employee, Lieutenant Lester J. Maitland, who made the historic flight across the Pacific and is now in the air corps at Washington. But he wrote his book in Dayton and called it “Knights of the Air.” No one will object to either writer’s use of the word “Knight,” for “gentlemen unafraid” they have to be when they take to the air. Maitland adds to his own experiences that of the great flyers of history, the Wright brothers, and will be held as the completest record yet out of the heroes of aviation.

Our story must not move too swiftly and forget the one really nationally known poet that we have ever had – Paul Laurence Dunbar – the negro bard. Born of a mother who had been a slave, reared in humble circumstances, educated in the Dayton public schools, what promise could there have been for the gift that set him apart from his fellows and gave him both rapture and grief? He did not want to be celebrated as a negro poet but just as a poet. His gift he felt must not be sullied by the flavor of a human curiosity, a museum freak. Well, he need not have trouble about that, for when Richard Watson Gilder, editor of the “Century Magazine,” published that charming lyric “When Malindy Sings,” he had no idea that his contributor was a colored man. The poem was beautiful – what difference the color of the writer’s skin? In reality Gilder was delighted when he found out the truth. One of the staunchest friends of the negro race, the discovery of this gifted boy justified his best hopes. From that time many a song, many a sonnet, many a lilting lyric appeared in the “Century.” It was through Gilder that Dunbar met William Dean Howells, Joel Chandler Harris, James A. Hearne, Ruth McEnery Stuart, George W. Cable and the other eminent writers of the ‘nineties, and in turn through them he had his New York experiences and afterwards went to London where he read before Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace and was received by the best in England. His dialect poems have been criticized as being not indigenous. How could they have been when the poet’s education had nothing to do with plantation songs and experiences. He talked as all the rest of the Dayton boys talked that he went to school with, but he inherited the flavor of dialect and used to go and sit with old colored women of his mother’s acquaintance and listen to their southern speech. At any rate, when the poem was done the dialect was good and people enjoy it as well as if it had been natural with him.

This is not the place for a long critique of Dunbar’s poems. But the best of them, those that will live, are “When Sleep Comes Down to Close the Weary Eyes,”  “When the Co’n Pone’s Hot,”  “In the Morning,”  “A Drowsy Day,”  “The Poet and his Song,” “When Angelina Johnson Comes Swinging Down the Lane,”  “Jump Back, Honey, Jump Back,”  “Behind the Arras.” His first poems appeared in small volumes: “Oak and Ivy,” “Majors and Minors,”  “Lyrics of Lowly Life,”  “Lyrics of the Hearthside.”  “Lyrics of Love and Laughter,”  “Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow.: All of these have been gathered within one binding and with a biographical sketch by Lida Keck Wiggins and with an introduction by William Dean Howells. The poet began life as an elevator boy and ended it a voice of the century and the prophet of his people. He lies in Woodland Cemetery.


Lay me down beneath the willers in the grass.

Where de branch’ll go a singing as it pass,

        And when I’se a laying low

        I kin heah it as it go

Singin’  “Sleep my honey tek you’ rest at las’.”


When a book by a Dayton author finds its way to the desks of Congressmen, who reach for it to consult on a matter that is holding the attention of most of the United States, it is something for which his townsmen may justly feel gratification. This is what happened to Lewis F. Carr’s late volume “America Challenged.”  Farmers’ relief, a protected and unprotected market, living standards, international banking – these are some of the expressions that have filled the newspapers during the months of 1928 – 1929. The last election hung upon what the farmers were going to get out of it. The special sessions of Congress dealt with it. In such a situation Mr. Carr has been a triumphant opportunist. He has plunged into the melee and written a book that goes to the core of the subject and he writes from the only possible standpoint – his own wide experience – as he puts it – “from between plow-handles.: It is withal a scholarly book and added to his adventures with the subject in forty-seven states, it has taken him into college halls and scientific laboratories, into the professor’s chair, into public libraries and finally into a newspaper office – that practical graduate school for all book writers.

The essence of his message is – but we will let the reader find that out for himself, being comforted by the assurance that in Mr. Carr’s book he will neither be assaulted by technicalities nor burdened by complicated statistics, but will find a vital human document, satisfying to read after the family have gone to bed.

Horace Lytle was born a lover of dogs. His favorite prepossession has resulted in a number of books that will be enjoyed by those who hunt, those who hike, and those who love to sit by the fire and read about the great open spaces. The titles are: “Breaking a Bird Dog,”  “Bird Dog Days,”  “Sandy,”  “No Hunting,” and “The Story of Jack,” the last considered one of the best dog stories ever written, and “How to Train Your Bird Dog.: It is not all canine sentiment either, for Mr. Lytle writes from the standpoint of the expert when he brings up a number of challenging questions in regard to game restoration, game laws, the future of hunting in this section of the country and other pertinent subjects.

Mr. Lytle also wrote the chapter on “Pointers and Setters” in the deluxe volume “Upland Game Bird Shooting in America,” published by the Derrydale Press, New York, and has contributed articles in the “Saturday Evening Post,”  “Leslie’s Weekly,” “Outers’ Book,”  “St. Nicholas,”  “Golfers’ Magazine,”  “Field and Stream,” “Out-door Life,” “System.”  His fiction stories under the titles “The Monarch of Moose Lake,”  “The Heart of a Pal,”  “The Mightiest Eagle,”  “The Putt That Won,” and others are eagerly sought for by his readers. He is Gun Dog editor of “Field and Stream” and writes an article for them each month on kindred subjects.

Joseph W. Sharts, a local attorney, is the author of quite a number of works of fiction which show a certain insight and power of characterization. The titles are “Ezra Caine,” “Hills of Freedom,”  “The Romance of a Rogue,”  “Vintage.”

We have at least one Dayton writer whose writing falls behind the constant demand of the publisher and that is Helen Joan Hultman. A teacher by profession, Miss Hultman has fallen into the writing of clever detective stories. This is something like falling into a gold mine, for the public never gets enough of detective stories and the publishers in trying to supply that demand push Miss Hultman much beyond her capacity. Her ingenuity is marvelous. The reader never knows where the plot is taking him and not until the last page are all the murders cleared up and all the malefactors brought to judgment. She has chosen for her best title “Find the Woman.” If the book indicates anything it indicates that Miss Hultman better give up teaching and go to thriller-producing, for she does it unquestionably well and will always have both publishers and readers. She is also a frequent contributor to magazines, among them “Modern Home Maker,” “Every Girls Magazine,” the D. C. Cook publications, and the denominational journals of the Methodist, Baptist and Lutheran churches.

Miles H. Krumbine, when he was pastor of the First Lutheran Church, contributed to the “Century Magazine”  “A Famine of Prophets,” and to the “Christian Herald” “Sources of Power.” These essays, together with two sermons preached in Leon Mandel Hall at the University of Cincinnati, “A New Apostolate” and “The Adequate Witness” and other Sunday utterances were gathered into a volume entitled “The Way to the Best” and published by the Doran Company. The twelve sermons make a book of unusual spiritual appeal.

Dr. J. Morton Howell (LL.D. Otterbein) was a practicing physician for a number of years and still maintains his nominal residence in Dayton. He has written several professional books, among them “Inheritance a Factor in Disease,” and “What the Medical Profession may do in Matters of State.”  In 1922 Dr. Howell was appointed Minister from the United States to Egypt. During his sojourn there he had unusual opportunities to record matters of political interest, the result of which is a comprehensive book entitled “Egypt’s Past, Present and Future.”  Dr. Morton received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Starling Medical College, Columbus, in 1885.

Henry Preserved Smith, now deceased but formerly of Dayton, has been professor of Biblical history and interpretation in Amherst College, also Davenport professor of Hebrew and the Cognate languages in the Union Theological Seminary. He is the author of “Essays in Biblical Interpretation” and “Old Testament History.”

“How Men Make Markets” is a book for juniors on the place commercialism takes in the development of the world we live in. It is a compilation of the various talks on Commercial Geography given to his classes in Steele High School by the beloved and revered professor, William B. Werthner. Macmillan is the publisher.

Edwin L. Shuey, for years identified with educational and social service work in Dayton, published “Factory People and Their Employers.” It is a practical handbook on factory conditions, the relations between capitalists and their workers, the inspiration for which Mr. Shuey gained while in the employ of Lowe Brothers and the National Cash Register Company, both of which are laboratories for social study. “Industrial Training Essential” is from the same mind and pen.

Edward W. Keever is the author of “Shorty of the Tank Corps,” a story of the Great War.

Thomas Marc Parrott, formerly a Dayton boy, now professor of English in Princeton University, is the author of “Studies of a Book Lover”: in which he treats of Matthew Arnold, Milton, Dr. Johnson, Gray, Goldsmith, Browning, and Scott.

John H. Patterson wrote “Letters from Abroad,” which was published by the National Cash Register Company. Edward Breene Grimes is the author of “Poems for all the Family.”

Frederick H. Rike, president of the Rike-Kumler Company, gave an address before the annual convention of the National Retail Dry Goods Association at the Hotel Biltmore, New York, February 18, 1916, which was afterwards issued from the press under the title of “The Evils of the Stevens Price Maintenance Bill.”

Charles Morgan Wood made a translation of “The Life of Old Siena,” by Lodovici Zdekauer, published in 1914.

Charles Wuichet, in his collection called “The Sunny Side of a Busy Life,” proves how much cheer he added to social life in Dayton when he was alive. These are papers which were read at the Present Day Club, the Woman’s literary Club, the Alumni Association of Central High School and on divers other occasions. Taking them all in all there is much Dayton history in them, recalling such occasions as the unveiling of the Sun Dial at the old Log Cabin in 1896, the reception of the class of ’99 into the Alumni Association. Much of the hilarity of any occasion was due to Charles Wuichet and he seems to have no worthy successor.

August F. Foerste is our indigenous authority on geology as Mr. Werthner was on botany. The two collaborated – one in text and the other in illustrations – in a fine large volume entitled “Geology of the Vicinity of Dayton with Special Reference to Hills and Dales and Moraine Park.” The whole region of this valley gives abundant material for such a work and it has been adequately dealt with. Both have been teachers.

Another teacher of beloved memory, Grace Greene, for many years head of the Normal School, and whose name the lately built Normal School bears, compiled a collection of her favorite poems used in the teaching of her literature class work. The book is called “The Golden Treasury” and is much prized by those who were the fortunate recipients of her inspiration.

John F. Edgar wrote a book, which he eminently could do, about the old families of Dayton. If one is after biographical or genealogical details, consult “Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity.”

George Bancroft Smith, big business executive though he is, has put out a little volume with the atmosphere of the farm and nature in it and calls it “Timothy and Red Clover.”

William G. Frizell has been an indefatigable traveler and has used his gains to gratify his friends. His experiences are embodied in three volumes entitled respectively “Around the World on the ‘Cleveland,’ ”  “Out of the Way Places,” and “Sight-seeing in South America.”

James L. Vallandigham has written the “Life of Clement L. Vallandigham,” his distinguished brother, member of Congress from this district, and has also compiled his speeches on “Abolition,” the “Union and the Civil War” included in a volume “The Record of C. L. Vallandigham.”

David M. Rowe is the author of a book of sermons put out by the United Brethren Publishing Company, “Twentieth Century Christianity; the Wheat and the Tares,” 1914.

Rev. E. Herbruck, Ph.D., editor of the “Christian World,” has put out a book through the Reformed Publishing Company of Dayton, “Under Eastern Skies.”

Not a few novels have come out of the minds of Dayton writers. “A Baton for a Heart,” by Pearl V. Collins; “Folks from Dixie,”  “The Sport of the Gods,”  “The love of Landry,”  “Old Plantation Days,”  “The Uncalled,” and “The Strength of Gideon” are all by our negro poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. “Romance  of a Rogue” by Joseph Sharts.

Alfred Addison Thomas always wielded a pregnant pen although he did it more rarely than his friends wished. His compilation of his father’s (Rev. Thomas E. Thomas) letters, his anti-slavery correspondence, are good reading and give incidentally not a little inside Dayton history. “To my Son” (Thomas Head Thomas) is so parentally human that it should be better known. While he was general counsel for the National Cash Register Company Mr. Thomas made a compilation from various sources and called it “The Temptations of Employees who Handle Money”; (N.C.R. Co., 1910).

Helen Rickey Albee lived in Dayton in her girlhood although her later life has been spent in New England or Washington. Her father, James Rickey, was the leading bookseller in Dayton and had a store on Main Street near Second, where the book lovers of the little city used to congregate and where his daughter probably got her first inclination toward authorship. Among her four books two are the result of efforts toward making the inhabitants of small centers self-supporting and bring them in touch with the outside world through home crafts. They are “Mountain Playmates,”  “Hardy Plants for Cottage Gardens,”  “Abnake Rugs,” and “The Glen.”

Two writers have shown their sense of opportunism in the selection of a topic that has put Dayton on the map in a new way – as the exemplification of what is known as “the Dayton Plan” of city government. The story is told elsewhere of how at the time of the flood the old federal system of ward representation being proved to be inadequate, the citizens took it upon themselves to adopt a new plan. The frequent requests for information upon its experience were the indirect stimulation of two books, both terse, informative, and well written. They are “The City Manager, A New Profession,” by Harry Aubrey Toulmin, Jr., with an introduction by Clinton Rogers Woodruff and published by Appleton; the other “City Manager in Dayton; Four Years of Commission-Manager Government” (1914 – 1918) and comparisons with the four years preceding, under the mayor-council plan (1910 – 1913) by Chester E. Rightor, B. D., of the Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, formerly director of the Dayton Bureau of Research. (Macmillan and Co.).

Among the technical writers of Dayton none stands higher than Charles Howard Paul, engineer United States Reclamation Service; construction engineer Lower Yellowstone project; constructor Arrowrock Dam, Boise, Idaho; with Miami Conservancy District (for design and construction); ex-member Dayton City Commission, Chamber of Commerce, American Society of Civil Engineers. His published works are: “Temperature Changes in Mass Concrete,”  “Flood Control in the Miami Valley,”  “Core Studies in Hydraulic Fill Dams,” chapter on dam foundations in “Foundations, Abutments and Footings,”  “Construction Plant, Methods and Cost,” and “Methods and Plant for Excavation and Embankment” (co-author with C. S. Benett). Also  numerous contributions to technical magazines and to publications of technical societies. One of these papers in 1922 was awarded the Norman medal (for best contributions to engineering science) by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the oldest of the engineering societies.

“My Progress Book in English for the Second Grade Children” is the title of a book written by Miss Ida Odelle Rudy and Miss Gretchen Smalley, principal of Harmon Avenue Elementary School in Oakwood, which has just been issued by the American Education Press at Columbus. It is designed to help the children to gain language expression through life activities familiar and interesting to young minds. A sister, Stella M. Rudy, has also written a book for children entitled “Rainbow Missionary Stories.”

Harry Aubrey Toulmin, not an original Daytonian but a lawyer-author who has contributed largely to the literature of business and invention, has put out a number of valuable volumes of information and reference. They are “The City Manager, a New Profession,”  “How to Keep Invention Records,”  “Bothering Business,”  “Trade Mark Profits and Protection,”  “Air Service of the A. F. F.,”  “Patent Law for Inventors and Executives.” And “Millions  in Mergers.”

The latest Dayton author is Philip McKee, whose book “Big Town” is brought out by the John Day Book Company. It is a biting satire on the customary American town. If, in places, it sounds like the author’s home town it is because in some of its aspects Dayton is just that kind of a place. It shares with its contemporary communities the elements of buffoonery, exaggeration, bragging, “watch us grow,” boosterism, the lost cause of the “noble experiment” and the taint of graft running through it all. Nothing escapes – churches, schools, the “Y.” the Rotary and the women’s clubs. All have their intrinsic weaknesses exposed. Perhaps it is good for Dayton (and the other Daytons) to have their weaknesses laid open to view. The foreword is by Sherwood Anderson.

James McLain Smith, a scholarly man who contributed to leading magazines during the ‘seventies and ‘eighties wrote one article which caused a good deal of comment at the time – “The Doctrine of Final Causes,” in the “National Quarterly,” Vol. 41. Mr. Smith was at one time editor of the “Dayton Daily Herald,” also a member of the Ohio Legislature.

Merab Eberle is a young woman whose verse has just begun to appear in some of the best magazines. The “North American Review,” the “Christian Science Monitor,” the “Homiletic Review,” the “Christian Century,” the “Churchman” and the “Christian Endeavor World” are some of those whose pages have carried her work.


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