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Paul Laurence Dunbar, primary sources, Black history, Black poets, prominent Ohioans


Rebekah Baldwin suggests to Dunbar that he apply for a vacant teaching position at the high school (English literature). She suggests that Frederick Douglass might be able to support him in this pursuit and refers him to Charles R. Douglass, a candidate for trustee at the school.

Full text of letter:

(Page 1)

Washington D.C.

Sept. 4, 1894

My dear Paul:

Your letter was received some time ago and no doubt my delay in answering has surprised you, as it is very seldom so long a period passes between the receipt of, and response to, a letter from you. Now would so long a period have elapsed this time but for the

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Fact that we have been having some repairing done about the house and everything has been so topsy turvy and so dirty that I could not find space enough in which to write.

I saw your good friend Mr. Douglass not long ago and he told me you had written him. He also added that he was going to write you a long letter very soon. Have you received it yet? He says you are despondent.

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I too have noticed that, my dear Paul, and have remonstrated with you. Why are you so cast down in spirit my friend? If there is anything that I can do to lighten the burden or lesson your “moods” let me know and I shall be only too happy.

It has occurred to me that the position of teacher of English Literature in our High School is vacant. Why not apply for it? Some of your friends might

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be able to help you. Of what school are you a graduate? – it is necessary that you be a graduate of some recognized school or college. I should think you would make a very successful teacher of that branch. Mr. Douglass might be able to help you. His son is being named for trustee in place if the present incumbent and if he is appointed I should think your

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chances would be excellent. Mr. Chas. R. Douglass is the candidate. There are indeed two positions vacant (the same branch) one paying one hundred dollars and the other eighty five. If you could care for the appointment lose no time in applying as it is likely the places will be soon filled.

You would address your application to Hon. L. A. Cornish (he

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Is the present trustee) 312 B St. S. E. Of course you would have to accompany it with letters of recommendation and also have your friends here intercede for you. If however as I said before, Mr. Douglass is appointed I should think you would have no difficulty in securing the appointment.

I would give much to see you fill a position in our high school. I am writing this letter

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in the dark dear, so please overlook the miserable writing.

Write to your friends Paul and make an effort to secure the place if you want it. I shall write you at once if any change is made in the trustee. It is really too dark to write more now. Let me hear from you soon.

With love,



Primary Item Type

Personal Correspondence


This item is part of the Paul Laurence Dunbar House collection at Ohio History Connection, Columbus, Ohio. The collection contains items from 219 N. Summit St., Dayton, Ohio (later 219 N. Paul Laurence Dunbar St.), the home Dunbar purchased for his mother, Matilda J. Dunbar, in 1904. Paul Laurence Dunbar lived there until his death in 1906; Matilda lived there until her death in 1934. It is now the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site, part of the National Park Service.


Paul Laurence Dunbar, primary sources, Black history, Black poets, prominent Ohioans