1913 Preserving the Memories of Dayton’s Great Flood: Proceedings of the Symposium, October 22, 2002, with a Guide to Resources on the Flood

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March 1, 2005 by J. Johnson

The Dayton Metro Library has published the proceedings of the symposium 1913: Preserving the Memories of Dayton’s Great Flood, held in Dayton, Ohio, October 22, 2002, under the sponsorship of the Dayton Metro Library, the Ohio Humanities Council, the Miami conservancy District, the Ohio Preservation Council, and the Beavercreek Women’s League. This publication gives extensive historical information about important events related to Dayton’s Great Flood, including the memories of flood survivor Charles O. Adams, the flooding of the Dayton Library and the subsequent construction of flood control dams. The book contains nearly 250 photographs, many not published elsewhere, which will aid archivists, curators and historians in preparing their exhibits
and publications and also inspire libraries and archival institutions to prepare and have
available a disaster preparedness plan.

Dr. Marjorie McLellan, Director of the Public History program at Wright State University, has evaluated the book. She writes, “1913: Preserving the Memories of Dayton’s Great
Flood moves beyond recording the history of the flood, to explore the ways in which the flood story lives on in memory and memorial as well as inscribed on the landscape of the Miami Valley. By casting the event in a new perspective the Dayton Metro Library has produced a valuable addition to the literature of the 1913 flood.” There is wide interest in the flood, its consequences, and the significance of these events in the Miami Valley, which will draw audiences repeatedly to this resource. The publication, coming months before a documentary on local public TV scheduled for March, is very timely. The documentary will use the Proceedings as a reference.

Dayton FloodIn his paper, The 1913 Dayton Flood Twins, which appears in the Proceedings, Flood survivor Charles O. Adams, reminisces about the adventures and survival of his family during the flood of 1913. More than that, he develops a kaleidoscopic view of the enduring landmarks of the city and of roiling waters and the men and women, prominent and otherwise, who gave balm to the city and the valley during and after the flood. His is memory encompassing travail and triumph, a tale demonstrating,” a connection to events surrounding the Great Flood.

In her evaluation, Dr. McLellan further states,  “The excellent selection of illustrations including photographs that I had not seen before as well as newspaper articles, cartoons, and illustrations will engage audiences while providing a solid
introduction to the local history collections. The library has appended a selective biography of the flood which will be an important guide for historians, teachers, and students.” She feels that “The Dayton Metro Library and the Ohio Humanities Council are to be applauded for carrying the story of the flood forward. The volume is well designed and clearly organized. It features a mix of both historical and local
perspectives that reflect the Ohio Humanities Council’s mission to foster engagement between scholars and publics.”

The proceedings are available through the Dayton Metro Library. For further information
contact: Elli Bambakidis, Archivist, Dayton Metro Library, (937) 227-9500, ext. 333.

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