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William F. Patterson Photograph Collection

Identifier: MS-424

Scope and Content

The William F. Patterson Photograph Collection is a representation of the lifework of the Dayton-area commercial photographer. The images include items, people, and buildings he photographed for commercial clients such as Antioch Company, Danis Corp., GM Goodwrench, motivational speaker Raymond Montsalvatge, and prominent Dayton architects William Yeck and Richard Neutra. This collection also consists of images from Patterson's travels throughout Europe and North America, as well as many images of the Dayton area, including the Dayton skyline, Woodland Cemetery, the University of Dayton, Wright State University, and the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Also included in the collection are local advertising publications from the 1960s through the 1980s that feature Patterson's photographs and writing.

The William F. Patterson Photograph Collection is alphabetized whenever possible. Many of the sleeved images are identified individually along the edge of the sleeve sheet. Any unmarked and/or unidentified sleeves are placed at the end of a folder containing related material or in a miscellaneous folder within the series.

Series I, Commercial Photographs, contains commercial slides, negatives, transparencies, and photographs taken between 1979 and 1996 for client advertising material. It is arranged alphabetically, with no dividers between subjects, and it contains advertising images for the Air Force Officers' Club Menu, Antioch Company, and GM Goodwrench.

Series II, Architect Photographs, contains a variety of architectural photographs, negatives, slides, and transparencies taken by Patterson for various architects. It is divided into two subseries, and it is organized alphabetically, with no dividers between subjects. Subseries IIA, Danis, contains images of the Danis Corporation, the primary client represented in this series from 1984 to 1988. Patterson photographed Danis Corporation itself, as well as the many architectural structures the company constructed. The boxes are organized according to specific architectural endeavors, including Bethany Lutheran Village, Citizens Federal Bank, Columbus Zoo, Danis Corp. Building, Dayton International Airport, Friendship Village, Good Samaritan Hospital, Greene Memorial Hospital, Rt. 35 construction, University of Dayton and Dayton's VA Hospital. Subseries IIB, Other Architects, contains other architects who were Patterson clients, including Eugene Betz, Charles Morris, Richard Neutra, architect of the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and Bill Yeck, prominent Dayton architect and founder of Centerville's Park District.

Series III, Dayton Photographs, contains photographs, slides, transparencies, and negatives from Dayton and the immediate area, taken from 1972 to 1989. There are many images of Dayton's skyline, as well as historic areas, local neighborhoods, the University of Dayton, and Wright State University. Sleeves that are labeled in Box 13 are organized alphabetically according to location with no dividers, while sleeves in Box 14 are divided by subject matter.

Series IV, Travel Photographs, contains slides, negatives, photographs, and transparencies covering travel throughout Europe and North America that primarily took place during the 1970s and 1980s. There are images of the landscape and architecture of Norway, Sweden, Italy, Great Britain, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, The Virgin Islands, the United States, and Canada. The images of the United States include Ohio, the Grand Canyon, Mt. Ranier, and covered bridges. All images are organized according to country.

Series V, Recreation Photographs, contains slides, negatives, photographs, and transparencies that depict various recreational activities, including boating, sports, the Cincinnati Bengals training camp, the space shuttle Enterprise in 1983, and the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Series VI, Other Photographs, contains slides, negative, transparencies, and photographs primarily depicting animals, nature, schools, cemeteries, and people from 1967 to 1989. There are images of President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn, as well as motivational speaker Raymond Montsalvatge. Images of specific people in Box 26, File 3 are organized alphabetically with no dividers; however, images of Raymond Montsalvatge are filed separately in Box 27, File 1.

Series VII, General Papers, contains a variety of printed material from Patterson's professional career, including issues of the professional advertising newsletter Ad-Viser, which feature Patterson's column "Bill's Board." It also includes issues of the publication Dayton USA, which showcase some of Patterson's photographs in its advertisements. This series also contains correspondence and printed material related to the career of motivational speaker Raymond Montsalvatge.


  • Creation: 1967-1993
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980-1989


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

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 William F. Patterson

William "Bill" Patterson was born in Florida on March 27, 1926, and grew up in Green County, Pennsylvania. As a child, Patterson spent his time drawing on his bedroom furniture and the blackboards at Iron Rock School in Pennsylvania, and Kiser High School in Dayton, Ohio. As a young man, he used photography to capture images that he used as a foundation for his still-life paintings. He is still an avid artist, after spending years as both a student and teacher at the Dayton Art Institute (DAI), where he was one of few who obtained a degree in art from the DAI school.

Patterson met his wife, Jane, while they were stationed together in Seattle, Washington during World War II. Patterson and his wife both separated from the Army and married soon after on July 18, 1946.

Photography became an integral part of Patterson's life as he began his prolific career as a commercial photographer. His wife served as an assistant to his photographic endeavors and has been the driving force in his creative life. Their sons, Bill, Dan, and Tom also assisted in Patterson's photo shoots, which inspired them to all become involved with photography. Dan Patterson is now a prominent Dayton aviation photographer.

Patterson rose to prominence in the local commercial advertising community during the 1960s and 1970s when Dayton supported a thriving publishing industry. From the mid-1960s, he took thousands of photographs for a variety of businesses and subjects. He enjoyed taking photographs of architecture, and this can be seen in his professional portfolio of industrial, commercial and architectural shots.

As he spent most of his life in Dayton, Ohio, Patterson often photographed the greater Dayton area. These photographs provide a well-rounded and creative view of Dayton, and consist of views of Wright State University, downtown Dayton, the National Museum of the United States Air Force, the University of Dayton, Carillon Park, the Dayton International Airport, major highways, and farmland in Springfield. In addition to professional photographs, Patterson captured a variety of leisure activities representing Dayton and international locations. He photographed an assortment of subjects including the 1991 Cincinnati Bengals training camp, the Dayton Air Show, Jimmy and Roslyn Carter, the Grand Canyon, and a multitude of European countries and tropical destinations. Some of Patterson's work was published in Time-Life Books, and certain images were used for the US Air Force Officer's Club restaurant menus.

In addition to his career as a professional photographer, Patterson was active within the Dayton area. He served on the Dayton Public School Board for four years and was instrumental in promoting fair housing and desegregation within the district. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

William "Bill" Patterson continues to develop his photographic skills in retirement. As the photography industry evolves and modifies with the digital world, Patterson has recreated his photographic process, and his current photographic endeavors embrace this change. Much of Patterson's work now consists of brilliant scanned photographs of flowers, fruits and vegetables which can be found on his website


14 linear feet

Language of Materials



William F. Patterson, a prominent commercial photographer in the Dayton area, has been photographing the work of local architects, businesses, and events since the 1960s. This collection includes approximately 20,000 negatives, slides, transparencies, and photographs taken by Patterson for commercial clients and placement in books, advertisements, catalogs, and brochures. Patterson's work also includes approximately 10,000 images from his travels throughout Europe and North America.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 7 series and 2 subseries

  1. Series I: Commercial Photographs
  2. Series II: Architect Photographs
  3. Subseries IIA: Danis
  4. Subseries IIB: Other Photographs
  5. Series III: Dayton Area Photographs
  6. Series IV: Travel Photographs
  7. Series V: Recreation Photographs
  8. Series VI: Other Photographs
  9. Series VII: General Papers

Technical Requirements

The majority of this collection consists of negatives and slides; therefore appropriate equipment may be necessary to view or make prints of the collection.

Acquisition Information

The William F. Patterson Photograph Collection was donated to Wright State University Special Collections and Archives by William F. Patterson on May 16, 2003.

Guide to the William F. Patterson Photograph Collection (MS-424)
Finding aid prepared by Brittany Guerra and Maggie Zakri, March 2011
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