Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in June 27, 1872 in Dayton, Ohio. He was the son of ex-slaves and attended school at Dayton Central High School, the only African-American in his class. Dunbar was a member of the debating society, editor of the school paper and president of the school's literary society. He also wrote for Dayton community newspapers. He worked as an elevator operator in Dayton's Callahan Building until he established himself locally and nationally as a writer. He published an African-American newsletter in Dayton, the Dayton Tattler, with help from the Wright brothers. Dunbar was the first African-American to gain national eminence as a poet. Oak and Ivy, his first collection,… was published in 1892. As his book gained fame, Dunbar was invited to recite at the World's Fair, in 1893 where he met Frederick Douglass. Dunbar's second book, Majors and Minors, propelled him to national fame. A New York publishing firm, Dodd Mead and Co., combined Dunbar's first two books and published them as Lyrics of a Lowly Life. Dunbar then took a job at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He found the work tiresome, however, and the library's dust contributed to his worsening case of tuberculosis. He worked there for only a year before quitting to write and recite full time. Depression and declining health drove him to drink, which further damaged his health. He continued to write, however. He ultimately produced 12 books of poetry, four books of short stories, a play and five novels. His work appeared in Harper's Weekly, the Sunday Evening Post, the Denver Post, Current Literature and a number of other magazines and journals. He died there on Feb. 9, 1906 at the age of 33.