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Wright Company Glass Plate Negative Collection

Identifier: MS-398

Scope and Content

Series I, The Wright Company Factory, consists of 19 glass plate 5”x7” negatives and 1 nitrate film negative of different departments in the factory, with employees at work. Most of the images are from the Wright Company’s Home Road location in Dayton, Ohio. Frank Quinn, James Davis, Dan Farrell, Bill Conover, and Ida Holdgreve are identified in this series. Series II, Wright School of Aviation, contains many posed photographs of men either standing next to or sitting in a Wright airplane. There are also images of Wright airplanes in flight. The following men are found in this series: Steinway, Harry Harold, Arthur L. Welsh, Ralph Johnstone, Archibald Hoxsey, Frank Coffyn, Walter Brookins, and James Davis. Series III, Early Flight, consists of ten images of the first flight, other Kitty Hawk images, and the Wright Flyer in flight.

Series IV, Celebrations and Aviation Events, consists of five images, including Claude Grahame’s landing on Executive Avenue in Washington D.C., and the Wright Homecoming Celebration of 1909, as well as a few other unidentified events. There are also images of Max Morehouse and Roy Knabenshue.

Series V, Children, consists of images of a few children. The majority of the images are studio images, but a few appear less formal. The children are unidentified; however, the name Hermes is written on a few of the glass plates.

Series VI, Reference Prints of Negatives, consists of 8”x10” prints of the negatives in the collection. They are arranged in order of Series I through V and are numbered on the reverse of the photograph. Researchers are encouraged to use the prints in this series in place of the fragile negatives.


  • 1900-1913
  • 2009
  • Majority of material found within 1910-1911


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing this collection. Please use the prints of each negative in Series VI. for reference.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restriction may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

History of The Wright Company

The Wright Company was founded in November 1909 with the financial backing of New York investors who were interested in backing the fledgling aviation industry. In January 1910, the Wright Company set up a factory in Dayton, Ohio, and established a flying field and flight school at Huffman Prairie. The Wright Company rented factory space from the Speedwell Motor Car Company in Dayton, from January 1910 until the Wright Company factory at 2701 Home Road in Dayton was completed in November 1910.

The brothers hired Roy Knabenshue, an experienced balloon and airship pilot, to manage an exhibition flying team. Although the Wrights were not eager to enter the “mountebank business,” as they referred to stunt flying and exhibitions, they recognized that an exhibition team would add to their income. The Wright exhibition team first performed at Indianapolis, Indiana, in June 1910. It stayed in business until November 1911, when the deaths of several team members prompted the Wrights to discontinue it. The Wright School of Aviation, however operated through 1915. For a short time, in the spring of 1910, Orville Wright and Charlie Taylor, their longtime mechanic, set up a flying school in Montgomery, Alabama, where Maxwell Air Force Base would later be located.

In the summer of 1910 the Wright Company introduced what would become their most popular aircraft, the Wright Model B, which was produced from 1910-1914. Orville sold the Wright Company in 1915.


2.5 linear feet (102 negatives)

Language of Materials



: The Wright Company Glass Plate Negative collection consists of 92 glass plate negatives, and 10 film negatives relating to the Wright Company, the Wright School of Aviation, flights at Kitty Hawk, N.C., celebrations and aviation events, and a series of unidentified children.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged in six series:

Series I.
Wright Company Factory, 1910-1911
Series II.
Wright School of Aviation, 1908-1913
Series III.
Early Flight, 1900-1910
Series IV.
Celebrations and Aviation Events, 1909-1911
Series V.
Children, circa 1911
Series VI.
Reference Prints of Negatives, 2009

Other Finding Aid

A complete finding aid is available on the Special Collections & Archives, Wright State University web site at

Acquisition Information

Purchased at auction from Cowan's of Cincinnati in June 2009.

Existence and Location of Copies

A selection of images from this collection is available online in Wright State University’s Campus Online Repository (CORE Scholar):

Related Material

MS-1 Wright Brothers Collection

MS-152 Dayton-Wright Airplane Company Collection

Processing Information

Note: Many of the images are copy negatives made from photographs, which is indicated in the item level inventory.

The images in this collection were identified by comparing them to prints in the Wright Brothers Collection. If the image is a duplicate of an image in the Wright Brothers Collection or within this collection, the repository number (Collection number-Box #- File #-Item Number) for the duplicate image is included after the image description.


Guide to the Wright Company Glass Plate Negative Collection (MS-398)
Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth K. Morgan, Fall 2009.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 2019 December: Finding aid revised by Toni Vanden Bos

Repository Details

Part of the Wright State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA