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Richard Fullerton Photographic Collection

Identifier: MS-213

Scope and Content

The collection contains a rich assembly of portraits and studio photographs by photographers in Dayton, Ohio as well as across the country dating back to the 1850s. These photographs were collected by Fullerton, and represent a study in the history of photography formats and styles. In addition the collection is a rich source of photographic history of Dayton, Ohio, as well as Fullerton’s family history. The collection is divided into 5 series.

Series I: Portraits and Studio Photographs, circa 1855-1922, undated contains portraits and photographs produced in a studio. This series is divided into subseries by photographic format, with one subseries broken out to highlight Dayton area photographers. While many of the tintypes, cartes-de-visite, and cabinet cards are portraits, many are also in the style of later photography in which individuals and small groups are photographed with items or backdrops representing their interests, such as musical instruments, bicycles, and books.

Subseries IA, Tintypes, circa 1860-1892, undated, contains tintype photographs collected by Richard Fullerton. Tintypes made from iron, not tin, were produced in the mid to late 1800s. This series contains multiple sizes, however the majority are sixth-plates (3 ½ x 2 ½ inches). Many of the individuals in the photographs are unidentified portraits of infants, girls, boys, women, and men. The few with photographer information are by photographers in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York. However, only a small number of the 272 tintypes have this information.

Subseries IB, Cartes-de-visites, circa 1860-1872, undated, contains over 300 images by photographers from across the United States and some international locations such as Germany, Canada. The cartes-de-visite format was popular from the mid-1850s to late 1890s. Some of the photographs of celebrities such as Tom Thumb and Abraham Lincoln, were mass produced and sold. The majority of the photographs are albumen prints. While many of the individuals in the cartes-de-visites are unidentified, most of the mounts contain photographer information.

Subseries IC, Cabinet Cards, circa 1870-1900, undated, also contains the work of photographers from across the United States and some international locals. Cabinet cards are typically 4 ¼” x 6 ½” in size and became available around 1870, taking over the popularity of the cartes-de-visite. Like the cartes-de-visite, photographer information is common on the mount of the cabinet card. Again, individuals in the majority of the photographs are unidentified, but many of the mounts offer photographer information and location. Please note that several of the cabinet cards in this series were made by Ohio photographers outside of the Dayton, Ohio area. Of special interest in this series is the image of Buffalo Bill.

Subseries ID, Photographs by Dayton Area Photographers, circa 1855-1922, undated contains photographs of individuals in the form of cartes-de-visites, cabinet cards, and portrait folders made by Dayton, Ohio area photographers. Several of the cartes-de-visites are very early, many with photographer information on the card mounts. This series contains albumen, platinum, matte collodion, and silver gelatin prints. Also included are a few postcard photographs.

Series II: Dayton History Photographs, circa 1850-1989, undated, contains some original photographs and many reprints of photographs depicting Dayton’s railroads and interurban, fire houses and vehicles, the Montgomery County courthouse, Dayton photographers and their studios, Wright Brothers and aviation, the Dayton 1913 Flood, and many Dayton street scenes. Many of these photographs were used in the 1976 book "Dayton: a History in Photographs" compiled and edited by the Junior League of Dayton, for which Fullerton served as a photo consultant. Negatives for many of the prints in this series are found in Series IV.

Subseries IIA, Dayton Railroads and Interurban, circa 1900s, undated, primarily contain 8x10 black and white silver gelatin reprints stamped on the back “From the collection of Richard D. Fullerton”. In some cases, the back of the photograph reveals the source of the original photograph, such as photographer William Preston Mayfield. Dayton’s first railroad station at 6th and Jefferson Streets in 1851, a railroad near Harshmanville, Union Railway Station, map of the principal railroads of the Dayton area, and Cincinnati Hamilton & Dayton Railway are all represented in this series, among others. The photographs also include some aerial photographs.

Subseries IIB: Dayton Fire Department, circa 1880-1965, undated, contains primarily 8x10 black and white silver gelatin reprints documenting the Dayton, Ohio Fire Department. Several Dayton Fire Department engine houses and companies are photographed, along with various fire apparatus, and personnel. The 3rd and Euclid Engine House, Wayne Avenue Engine House, 5th at Brown St., Main and Monument Streets, and Chapel and Maryland are just a few included in the series.

Subseries IIC: Montgomery County (Ohio) Courthouse and Aerials, circa 1850-1975, undated, contains a mix of reprints and originals depicting historical images of the Montgomery County Courthouse back to the 1800s and as recent as 1975. This series also contains several aerial photographs of Dayton, Ohio from the 1920s and 1930s, some of which were taken by the Air Service, U.S. Army.

Subseries IID: Dayton Photographers and Studios, circa 1875-1976, undated, contains black and white reprints of Dayton photographers from the early 1900s, such as Samuel Owings, Thomas W. Cridland, Jane Reece, William Preston Mayfield, and Prof. Theodore Georgi. The series also includes some historic advertising by photographic studios. Photographs of the studios of Higginbothom, Cridland’s, Grossman’s, and H.G. Cole are included. Many of the photographs appear in Fullerton’s book "99 Years of Dayton Photographers", 1982 (call number TR24.O3 F84 1982). Of note are four scrapbook pages highlighting an event for the "Dayton: A History in Photographs" book, at the Dayton Art Institute in 1976.

Subseries IIE: Wright Brothers and Aviation, circa 1887-1988, undated, are reprints of photographs of buildings and events important in the Wright Brothers story in Dayton, Ohio. Included is a photo of the Wright’s first print shop at 1210 West Third St. A photograph of the Wright Cycle Shop at 22 S. Williams in 1896, the West Dayton Reception Committee in 1909, the Hoover Block at 1060 West 3rd, a group photo of Canadians at Wright School taken at Simms Station in 1915, a plaque on the site of the original hangar, the 1950 dedication of the Bicycle Shop at 1129-31 W. Third St., the 1988 dedication of the Wright Cycle Company at 22 South Eilliams St., the Bothezat Helicopter from McCook Field in 1922.

Subseries IIF: Dayton Street Scenes and History, circa 1884-1989, undated, contains a mix of original prints and reprints depicting street scenes, buildings, shops, historic markers, vehicles, and people across the span of a century. Some of the photographs in this subseries are reprints of photographs that appear in the book "New Dayton Illustrated: or the Gem City as Seen Through a Camera, 1893" compiled by C.W. Faber and published by the Press of United Brethren Publishing House, and available in the reading room under call number F499.D2 .F1, while others appear in the book "Dayton a History in Photographs", compiled and edited by Junior League of Dayton, 1976 under call number F499 .D2 J7.

Subseries IIG: 1913 Dayton Flood, 1913, contains some original sepia toned photographs and several black and white reprints showing scenes in the aftermath of the historic 1913 flood.

Series III: Negatives, 1855-1981, undated, contains photographic negatives for many, but not all, of the prints in Series II. Represented in this series are Dayton photographers, railroad and traction, Dayton Fire Department, aerial photographs, aerial maps, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, famous Daytonians including the Wright Brothers, and Dayton Dayton buildings and street scenes. Several of the negatives are identified and have accompanying reference prints.

Series IV Fullerton Family Photographs and Negatives, circa 1900s, undated, contains photographs and negatives of individuals and families from Fullerton’s genealogy. The genealogy spans Richard Dunlop Fullerton’s wife’s family (nee Ruth Montgomery) as well. Included are the Bassett family, Dunlop family, Doll family, Fullerton family, McGlyn family, Montgomery family, Mulhair family, Pomeroy family, and Turner family. Due to the crossover of names as individuals married, researchers should look through files of all relatives that the individual may appear with in a family photograph. While not all are identified, many are and have accompanying reference prints.

Series V. Subject Files, 1858-1989, undated, contains documentation related to topics represented in photographs within the collection. Included in this series is information on Dayton photographers, the Montgomery County Courthouse, the local traction lines and railroad stations, Dayton Fire Department, the Wright Brothers history, and the 1913 Dayton flood. Fullerton’s research for his book "99 Years of Dayton Photographers", and his file with clippings and the book "Dayton: A History in Photographs" are included.


  • Creation: Circa 1850-1989
  • Creation: Majority of material found within Bulk 1860-1930


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection. Researchers are asked to slowly turn pages in the binder boxes so as not to place undue pressure on the brittle mounts of the cartes-de-visites and cabinet cards.

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 Richard Fullerton

Richard Fullerton was born in Jersey City, N.J. in 1915. He graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 1938. After service in the Army, he joined the Air Force. Fullerton eventually came to Dayton, Ohio where he worked in the photography laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He worked at the laboratory for thirty years, retiring in 1972. Richard Fullerton continued his passion for photography and Dayton’s history, contributing research and counsel to the book titled "Dayton: a History in Photographs" compiled and edited by the Junior League of Dayton, Ohio, Inc. in 1976. Richard Fullerton published his own book in 1982 titled "99 Years of Dayton Photographers". Many of the photographs featured in both publications are in this collection, as well as documentation on the projects in the subject files in the collection. In addition to being a photographer and collecting photographic images, Fullerton was interested in model railroading and genealogy, which he actively pursued during his retirement and which is also reflected in the collection. In February 1990 Fullerton passed away at the age of seventy-five.


7.0 linear feet

Language of Materials



This collection consists of over 2,000 photographs and negatives collected, and in some cases taken by Richard Fullerton, who spent his career in the photography laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The portrait photography in the collection represents predominant photographic processes, portraiture styles, and formats from the second half of the 19th century. The collection contains tintypes, cartes-de-visites, cabinet cards, albumen prints, platinum prints, matte collodion prints, silver gelatin prints, and negatives. Also included is a visual history of Dayton, Ohio with photographs of Dayton railroads and interurban, the local fire departments, Montgomery County Courthouse, Dayton photographers and their studios, Wright Brothers buildings and events, the 1913 flood, street scenes, and aerial photographs. The collection also includes Fullerton’s subject files on Dayton history topics, and negatives. Fullerton’s family genealogy photographs are included.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 5 series:

  1. SERIES I: PORTRAITS AND STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHS, circa 1855-1922, undated
  2. Subseries IA: Tintypes
  3. Subseries IB: Cartes-de-visites
  4. Subseries IC: Cabinet Cards
  5. Subseries ID: Photographs by Dayton Area Photographers
  6. SERIES II: DAYTON HISTORY PHOTOGRAPHS, circa 1850-1989, undated
  7. Subseries IIA: Dayton Railroads and Interurban
  8. Subseries IIB: Dayton Fire Department
  9. Subseries IIC: Montgomery County (Ohio) Courthouse and Aerials
  10. Subseries IID: Dayton Photographers and Studios
  11. Subseries IIE: Wright Brothers and Aviation
  12. Subseries IIF: Dayton Street Scenes and History
  13. Subseries IIG: 1913 Dayton Flood
  14. SERIES III: NEGATIVES, 1855-1981, undated
  16. SERIES V: SUBJECT FILES, 1858-1989, undated

Acquisition Information

The Richard Fullerton Photographic Collection was accessioned into the Wright State University Department of Archives and Special Collections in the Fall of 1990. It was donated by Richard Fullerton's wife, Ruth.

Related Materials

• SC-74 Jane Reece Studio Collection • MS-151 Jane Reece Photographic Collection • MS-185 Fullerton / Jane Reece Collection • MS-271 Peerless Mayfield Photograph Collection

• 99 Years of Dayton Photographers, by Richard D. Fullerton, Dayton, Ohio, 1982. Call number TR24.O3 F84 1982.

• Dayton a History in Photographs, compiled and edited by Junior League of Dayton, 1976. Call number F499 .D2 J7.

• New Dayton Illustrated: or the Gem City as Seen Through a Camera, 1893 compiled by C.W. Faber and published by the Press of United Brethren Publishing House in 1893. Call number F499.D2 .F1.

Processing Information

Processed by Alan D. Robison, April, 1991. Revised by Kathryn D. Goetz in 1995, and Kellie Fox in 2008. Rehoused and revised by Nina Herzog, Katie Griffith and Toni Vanden Bos, 2017.

Guide to the Richard Fullerton Photographic (MS-213) Collection
Finding aid prepared by Alan D. Robison, 1991.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 1995: Kathryn D. Goetz
  • 2008: Kellie Fox
  • 2017: Rehoused and revised by Nina Herzog, Katie Griffith and Toni Vanden Bos

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA