Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906) was an American poet and author who was best known in his lifetime for his dialect work and his use of metaphor and rhetoric, often in a conversational style. In his short career he produced twelve books of poetry, four novels, four books of short stories, and wrote the lyrics to many popular songs. Dunbar became the first African American to support himself financially through his writing.
Dunbar purchased this house for his mother in 1904, and he lived there with her until his death from tuberculosis in 1906. In rapidly failing health, Dunbar continued to write, and he completed his last works in the house. The Dunbar House appears today much as it did at the time of the poet's death.
Hours of Operation
You can visit the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day). Tours take place throughout the day and admission is free. The last tour is at 3:30 pm. You can start your visit at the visitor center entrance located on Edison Street (just around the corner from the Dunbar house) where you can view a movie and see artifacts and exhibits dedicated to the life of Dunbar. Visit the Directions page for detailed directions to the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site.
Adult and school groups are welcome. Please call the site in advance to make a reservation at 937-225-7705, ext. 224 or 937-224-7061. You can also send us an email to make your group reservation.
Dunbar Literary Circle
The Dunbar Literary Circle usually meets on the second Sunday in each month and is a collaboration of the National Park Service and ASALH (Association for the Study of African American Life and History). Please call the site during normal operating hours or send us an email for more information about the next Dunbar Literary Circle gathering.
Last updated: January 17, 2020