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Max Baker Aviation Collection

Identifier: MS-88

Scope and Content

Series 1 is a collection of Max Baker's research papers. Many of the papers are about the Wright Brothers and their contributions to aviation and engineering. The most formal paper is Baker's "The Wright Brothers as Aeronautical Engineers." Baker presented most of these papers at engineering society meetings, where he also presented slide-shows. A slide-show script is also included. Max Baker's patent of the drive shaft is also in this series.

Series 2 contains copies of the Wright Brothers materials and research. Included are copies of Wilbur Wright's diaries (1904,1905, and 1908), Wilbur Wright's correspondence with Octave Chanute (1901-1903), and their various patents. Wilbur Wright's article "Experiences and Observations in Soaring Flight" and research about Orville Wright's wind tunnel is also included.

Series 3 is Max Baker's photograph collection. Included are photographs of Max Baker, photographs and negatives of the Wright Brothers' engines, wind tunnel and its components, the Wright propellers, and various equipment and experiments. Max Baker made the glass slides from the photos to use in his lectures.

Series 4 is Max Baker's correspondence which spans 1940-1967. The correspondence includes contracts with individuals and institutions about Baker's research. Some of the correspondence is with Orville Wright's brother-in-law Henry Haskell. The letters discuss upcoming articles about the Wright Brothers, including a piece in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Series 5 consists of oversized drawings. These include drawings of the Wright's' 1903 aircraft and engine, their 1905 aircraft, their 1903 airplane propeller and starting trolley details, Orville's wind tunnel and wind tunnel tests, their 1903 airplane, and two large photographs of wind tunnel testing equipment. Most valuable is a drawing of an engine by the Wright's mechanic, Charlie Taylor. Incidentally, the drawing was commissioned by Henry Ford of Ford Motor Company. All of these over-sized drawings are kept in the archive's over-sized file.

Series 6 consists of miscellaneous items such as an airmail stamp commemorative and newspaper articles. Most of the newspaper articles are from the 1938,1949, and 1950 Dayton newspapers. These include articles about the Wright Brothers and their work in Dayton. Other articles are about the contribution of replicas that were donated to Miami University and Oberlin College. A Kansas City Star column by Henry Haskell describing some of the contributions of the Wright Brothers and Max Baker's research is also included.

Series 7 consists of published materials. These include various professional journals, which are grouped by titles, span 1916-1945. One-of-a-kind journals are in files titled "Miscellaneous Journals." Max Baker used these materials in his job as an aircraft engineer and his research about the Wright Brothers. The journal U.S. Services, contains an article about the Wrights' 1903 airplane.


  • Creation: 1904-1967


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

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

Biography of Max Baker

Max Baker was born in Dayton, Ohio. As a young boy, he witnessed the Wright Brothers flights around 1910-1915. From that young age, he was hooked on the flying machines and how they worked.

Baker attended Miami University and studied advanced mathematics at Ohio Northern University. He worked for General Motors Research in Moraine City, Ohio, from 1924-1926. From 1926-1929, he worked at the Pontiac Motor Car Division, In 1929, Baker went to work for the Waco Aircraft Company, where he designed airplanes, In 1938, he worked for Lockheed Aircraft Company, While there, he designed British Bombers for Lockheed's contract with the British government. In 1939, Baker returned to Waco Aircraft Company as assistant chief engineer. In 1947, he returned to General Motors Inland Division as a project engineer. Upon Orville Wright's death in 1948, Baker assisted the technical advisor to the Wright Estate, Harvey Geyser. This enabled Baker to gather data for his research about the Wright Brothers.


2.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



Max Baker was an engineer with a keen interest in the Wright Brothers and early aviation. His collection includes copies of his research papers on technical aspects of the invention of flight, copies of Wilbur Wright's diaries and correspondence with Chanute, copies of the Wrights' patents, photographs of Wright propellers, wind tunnels, and various other experimental equipment, Baker's correspondence with aviation experts and enthusiasts, and drawings and blueprints of Wright aircraft and equipment, including a drawing of the engine Charles Taylor designed and built for the 1903 Wright Flyer.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 7 series:

  1. Series 1: Max Baker research materials
  2. Series 2: Copies of the Wright Brothers' material
  3. Series 3: Photographs
  4. Series 4: Max Baker Correspondence
  5. Series 5: Oversized Drawing
  6. Series 6: Miscellaneous Materials
  7. Series 7: Published Materials

Other Finding Aid

The finding aid is available on the Wright State University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives web site at

Acquisition Information

The collection was accessioned into the Wright State University Department of Archives & Special Collections in October 1994. It was donated by Max Baker's son, Thomas Baker of Birmingham, Alabama.

Related Material

MS-1 Wright Brothers Collection MS-286 Charlie Taylor - Howard DuFour Collection

Processing Information

Processed by Kris Moore, May 1991.

Guide to the Max Baker Aviation Collection (MS-88)
Finding aid prepared by Kris Moore, May 1991
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA