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Exhibit celebrates Erma Bombeck’s legacy

A new exhibit in Roesch Library will celebrate the life and legacy of Erma Bombeck (1927–1996), trailblazing humor writer, bestselling author and syndicated columnist who found and developed her writing voice as a UD student.

The upcoming exhibit, "Beyond the Byline: Erma Bombeck’s Story," will be on display Feb. 1 through June 15 in the Stuart and Mimi Rose Gallery. It is free and open to the public. 

"We invite the community to see how Bombeck’s witty observations and roles of writer, housewife, feminist, humorist, mother, activist, philanthropist, columnist and pioneer are inseparably linked and continue to connect us to her story,” said Kristina Schulz, university archivist. 

Bombeck, a 1949 UD alumna, is among the University’s most famous graduates. Her syndicated column, “At Wit’s End,” appeared in more than 900 newspapers. She wrote more than 4,500 columns and 12 books, nine of which made The New York Times’ Bestseller List. Bombeck also appeared regularly on ABC's Good Morning America for 11 years. She was still writing her column for Universal Press Syndicate and developing a new book for HarperCollins Publishers when she died from complications of a kidney transplant on April 22, 1996.

The exhibit will feature Bombeck’s original manuscripts, columns, handwritten notes, speeches, articles, photographs and memorabilia from her personal collection, which was donated by the Bombeck family to the University of Dayton Archives in December of 2020.

The University Libraries will host an opening event 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8. The event is free, but space is limited so registration is required. Gina Barreca, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of English Literature at the University of Connecticut and humorist, will kick off the opening of the Erma Bombeck archives exhibit with an inspiring and funny address. Barreca’s talk will also be live streamed on the University's YouTube channel. 

For information on the exhibit and register for the opening event, visit 


News and Communications Staff