About Miriam Rosenthal
Miriam Rosenthal, born in Lebanon, Ohio in 1900, was the daughter of Russian immigrants, Celina and Joseph Rosenthal. She graduated from Steele High School in Dayton and attended both the University of Cincinnati and Ohio State University. At UC, she studied sociology with vocational training in hospital social work. At OSU, she studied journalism and wrote for the school newspaper.
Beginning in 1922, Miriam Rosenthal had a significant tenure with Dayton’s two newspapers – the Herald and the News. She wrote articles and columns on everything from crime to advice for the lovelorn. In 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression she decided to establish her own public relations business in Dayton. She established the Ohio News Bureau and free-lanced for national news-feature syndicates. Later she became director of publicity for the Community Chest, and finally turned to management of fund-raising projects and entertainment-cultural programs in the Dayton community.
The list of community projects in which Miriam Rosenthal played a significant fund-raising and/or public relations role was expansive. Construction and institutional building included the remodeling of Memorial Hall, the expansion of the University of Dayton, the creation of Wright State University, the birth of the Air Force Museum at Wright Field, the growth of four local hospitals: Kettering, Good Samaritan, St. Elizabeth’s and Miami Valley, Beth Abraham Synagogue, and the $10 million expressway (interstate) program. Operational and program-specific campaigns included the Dayton Boys Clubs, United Theological Seminary, Salvation Army Citadel, Goodwill Industries, YMCA, YWCA, the Dayton-Montgomery County Public Library, Boy Scouts of America, the United Jewish Appeal, city and county welfare programs, polio, the American Red Cross and others.
Perhaps Miriam’s greatest contribution – and her personal interest – was to the cultural life of the Dayton community. In addition to guiding the public relations and business affairs of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra for more than thirty years, she brought to Memorial Hall world-famous orchestras, concert artists, and dance companies. Additionally, during World War II, Miriam Rosenthal staged three short seasons of grand opera.
Miriam Rosenthal was not a person of great personal means, although she was generous in sharing what she did have. It is a fact that during a 25-30 year period in Dayton’s history (beginning in the early 1930s) hardly any major community project or fund-raising effort was undertaken without Miriam’s behind-the-scenes participation and planning. Testament to her role exists today through buildings named for her at the University of Dayton, Wright State University, Sinclair Community College, as well as a brick in the community’s Walk of Fame. Whatever she helped accomplish for the community and its people, even for the nation and its people, she did it, as Glenn Thompson, then editor of the Journal-Herald noted, “Through her wisdom, her modesty and her goodness.”