Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 – February 9, 1906) was a gifted and prolific 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 over 400 works including 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. The house was dedicated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
Hours of Operation
Normally, 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. You can also send us an email to make your group reservation.
A project through the Save America's Treasures Grant Program, which helps preserve nationally significant historic properties and collections, funded resoration work on the Paul Laurence Dunbar House in 1999.