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James Keen Photographic Collection

Identifier: MS-450

Scope and Content

The James N. Keen collection consists of black and white negatives and photographs ranging from 1939 to 1945. It is arranged into eleven series. The bulk of the collection consists of images of Dayton, OH and the surrounding region. They include pictures of local businesses, schools, and the military. These photographs were most likely taken to accompany newspaper stories.

Series I, Business, consists of images of specific businesses, such as Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco), National Cash Register (NCR) and Rike's Department Store, workers' strikes, and more genetic images of people in various occupations and industries. Images include local companies being awarded the Army-Navy "E" Award for excellence in production of war equipment.

Series II, Community Organizations, includes images of the Boy Scouts of America, the YMCA/YWCA, Community Chest (now known locally as the United Way), and the Red Cross. These are images of events that these organizations held and people who worked for and may have been helped by these charitable organizations.

Series III, Schools, is comprised of images of high schools, such as Fairview and Stivers, colleges, including the University of Dayton and the Ohio State University, as well as specialized education for the deaf and blind. The images include sports, graduations, and campus life. The bulk of the series are images from Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio that merged with Miami University in 1974. Series IV, Sports and Outdoor Activities, consists of non-collegiate sports, including the Dayton PGA tournament, and other activities such as hunting and fishing.

Series V, People, consists of photographs of individuals, families and children. This series includes several images of Charles Kettering.

Series VI, Military, is comprised of images of soldiers and aircraft. The bulk of this series is made up of pictures of Wright Field and Patterson Field, prior to their merger. It includes images of soldiers on base, events for the troops and soldiers' wives.

Series VII, News, consists of Dayton Journal-Herald images, as well as photographs that were most likely shot to accompany lifestyle stories, such as weddings and deaths, accidents and disasters, and entertainment news. Series VIII, Cities, includes images of Dayton, Ohio and nearby cities and towns, including New Carlisle and West Carrolton.

Series IX, Animals and Nature, is comprised of photographs of primarily domesticated animals, such as dogs and rabbits, and natural features, such as clouds, snow, and foliage. Series X, Other Images, consists of miscellaneous images from Florida and some unidentified photographs of people, gatherings and items.

Series XI, Photographs, is comprised of numerous black and white photographs, including photographs of Wright and Patterson Fields, rallies in support of the United States military, worker strikes, and other various images of science and industry.


  • Creation: 1933 - 1946
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1941 - 1945


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection. Digitization of this collection is in process for preservation. For negatives listed in Boxes 1-2, please use Reference Copies available in Box 17B instead of the originals.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biography of James N. Keen

James N. Keen was a photographer for a number of newspapers, including the Dayton Journal-Herald, Chattanooga News, Associated Press, Louisville Courier-Journal and Louisville Times. His work appeared in national publications such as Life and U.S. Camera Annual. His subjects included high-profile individuals, such as Orville Wright and Charles Kettering.


13 linear feet

Language of Materials



James Keen was a newspaper photographer for a number of newspapers throughout the country, including the Dayton Journal-Herald. This collection consists of approximately 9,300 black and white negatives and black and white photographs. These photographs were taken from 1937 to 1946 in and around the Miami Valley, including Dayton, Wright and Patterson Fields and other nearby Ohio areas. As a newspaper photographer, many of these photographs were taken to accompany news in the Dayton Journal Herald.

Statement of Arrangement

This collection is arranged into 11 series:

  1. Series I: Business
  2. Series II: Community Organizations
  3. Series III: Schools
  4. Series IV: Sports and Outdoor Activities
  5. Series V: People
  6. Series VI: Military
  7. Series VII: News
  8. Series VIII: Cities
  9. Series IX: Animals and Nature
  10. Series X: Other Images
  11. Series XI: Photographs

Technical Requirements

This collection is comprised primarily of black and white film negative which will require a light box for viewing.

Other Finding Aid

A complete box and folder inventory for this collection is available on the Special Collections and Archives web site at .

Acquisition Information

The materials were donated by the University of Louisville Special Collections in 2011.

Related Material

MS-189, Rike's Historical Collection, 1911-1979 (finding aid )

MS-193, Jane Reece, Schwarz Collection, 1912-1937 (finding aid )

MS-218, Josephine Schwarz Papers, 1920-1990 (finding aid

MS-275, Dayton YMCA Records (finding aid )

MS-278, Frank Martin Krebs Collection (finding aid )

MS-365, P.H. Richardson Wright Field Photograph Collection (finding aid )

MS-432, Inland Children's Chorus Collection (finding aid

Dayton Daily News Archives

James N. Keen Photograph Collection, University of Louisville, University Libraries

Guide to the James Keen Photographic Collection (MS-450)
Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Stanze, June 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA