Frequently Asked Questions about the Archives and Sinclair History

What is an Archive?
There’s a fun phrase that goes “The Archives keeps the Archives in the Archives.” As you can see the word has three meanings:
  • A department that is in charge of maintaining the historical collections of an organization.
  • The historical collections themselves.
  • The room(s) or building the historical materials are actually kept in.
An easy way to remember is – it’s the “cool old stuff.”

Can anyone use anything in the Sinclair Archives?
Many stored materials are available for public use. Some materials are technically still the property of the office that created them and it is necessary to get permission to use them. The Records Manager will gladly help you get permission, if possible.

Is Sinclair Community College haunted?
It depends on whether you believe in ghosts or not. There are stories about ghosts in Building 7, Building 2, and Building 13. More information is available in the Archives. For information email Bob Smith or call 937-512-2319.

When was Sinclair Community College Founded?
In 1887, when David Sinclair, the Secretary of the Dayton YMCA, decided to help the many jobless men he saw in the streets get the training they needed to get jobs. Up until then, the Education Department of the Y only offered Bible Study classes. The Y expanded to include Bookkeeping and Mechanical Drawing courses and had 55 students that first year.

What was Sinclair Community College’s relationship with the YMCA?
Sinclair began in 1887 as a few vocational training programs offered through the YMCA’s Education Department. As the need grew rapidly for more training, the school developed into the YMCA College and later had an administrative relationship with Wittenberg College as well. Sinclair was a part of the YMCA’s educational program in Dayton until 1965, when Montgomery County took it over and it became a community college.

Was Sinclair Community College ever a four-year school?
Yes. From 1923 until 1960, Sinclair offered several Bachelor’s degrees, including one in Law.

Were minorities always admitted to Sinclair?
It is probable that minority men were admitted from the beginning. Our oldest graduation photograph is from 1906, 2 years after Sinclair began awarding diplomas, and there is an African American man in that graduating class.

Were women always admitted to Sinclair?
No. Because the programs were offered through the Young Men’s Christian Association, they were not available to women. The decision to admit women was a difficult one and, at first, women were only allowed in the singing classes - and then they had to sit away from the men. In 1920, the same year women got the vote, women were given full admission to Sinclair courses.