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Michael J. Damas Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS-224

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence, photographs, and other materials of the former mayor of Toledo Michael Damas, from 1958 to 1964, during the time that he was a politician. Examples of correspondence include letters of congratulation upon winning the mayoral race in 1959. There is also campaign material, as well as a Certificate of Election from when Damas took office.

Additionally, there are photographs of building projects, meetings and events, the mayor himself, and wedding photos of Damas and his bride, Rose. Other materials include booklets and passes, telegrams- including one from the Ohio governor, congratulating Damas on his mayoral win- and other correspondence that concerns a grant for the Gunckel Urban Renewal Project as well as from the Mayor of San Luis Obispo, Fred M. Waters.

Scrapbooks also make up the Damas collection and contain newspaper clippings of various events, such as citizen polling and the Mayor's activities while he was in office. Finally, several framed items complete the collection, including an artists' rendering of the Health Education Building, the earliest constructed on the Arlington Avenue campus of the former Medical College of Ohio, the development of which Damas was involved.

For a more detailed list of the contents of this collection, see the Box and Folder list of this guide.


  • Majority of material found within 1958 - 1964

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials may be accessed by request at the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections on the fifth floor of the William S. Carlson Library on the main campus of the University of Toledo. Materials do not circulate

Conditions Governing Use

In most cases, the Canaday Center does not own the copyright and literary rights to items in its collections; it is the responsibility of the researcher to adhere to U.S. Copyright and Fair Use laws, including seeking permission from the copyright holder and payment of any royalty fees, in the reproduction and use of archival materials. Providing copies or scans does not constitute a license to publish or reproduce images in print or electronic form.

Biographical / Historical

Michael Damas was born in 1912, the seventh child of Joesph and Hulda Damas, who were immigrants from the Lebanese village of Ayta al- Fakhkhar. They came to Toledo in search of better paying jobs and to escape being drafted into the Ottoman military. Damas graduated from Waite High school in 1931 and attended the University of Toledo for a couple of years berofe dropping out to start work at an old Electric Auto-Lite plant. He served in World War II as a staff sergeant in North Africa before becoming a politician.

Michael Dames was elected as a Democrat to the Houes of Representatives in 1948 and served two three-year terms before becoming mayor in 1959 until 1961. He is credited as being the first Arab-American Mayor that was elected to a major city in America. During his time in politcs, Damas was invested in public service, serving on the school board of Toledo City Schools and city council, as well as many other things. He authored a book of short stories titled, " The Day Israel Died... And Lived," that was published in 1947. He was honored at a City Council meeting in 2000 for his service to Toledo and a Resolution was drafted that read, "Mr. Damas has served as a pioneer and role model for other in Toledo's important Arab-American community". Damas passed away on April 14, 2003 at age 90.


4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Michael J. Damas Papers, 1958-1964
Sarah (Nicky) Rhymes
December 19, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections Repository

2801 West Bancroft Street
William S. Carlson Library, Fifth Floor
Toledo Ohio 43606 United States