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Air Force Museum Wright Brothers Collection

Identifier: MS-157

Scope and Contents

The Air Force Museum materials on the Wright brothers consist of clippings and articles, correspondence, photographs, programs and speeches from dedications, and publications related to the Wright brothers achievements in flight as reported and celebrated locally and around the world.

Clippings and articles, correspondence, pamphlets and speeches, and photographic prints document the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers as reported by the media and celebrated by the public. The collection is arranged into four series. Series I contains the bulk of the collection and consists of clippings and articles about the Wright brothers which appeared in local, national and international newspapers and journals from 1903-1979. The clippings and articles are arranged into eights topics: Interviews, Personal history; Flights and planes of the Wright Brothers; Smithsonian and Langley controversy; Honors museum sites, memorials; Buildings moved to Dearborn and Carillon Park; Flights by others, non-aviation; Obituaries, funerals, tributes; and recollections of the Wright Brothers by others.

Series II. contains correspondence which briefly covers a variety of topics. Included is a memorandum regarding speed tests for the Wright aeroplane in 1909 and in 1913, a request from Rep. Fitzgerald in 1922 for funding of aircraft research endorsed by Orville Wright, as well as notes from a conservation with Orville Wright in1934 concerning measurements of the Wright brothers’ machines. Of note is correspondence from 1936-1937 between Fred Black of Ford Motor Co., James Piersol from the Detroit News, and Orville Wright discussing plans for moving the Wrights’ family home and cycle shop to Greenfield Village. Additional correspondence between James Piersol and Orville Wright discusses a claim that Gustave Whitehead made the first flight. Also included is correspondence from Air Corps Major A.W. Stevens to Orville Wright in 1939 regarding plans for an aviation exhibit at the New York World’s Fair. Correspondence from the Air Force Museum relates to Wright brothers’ artifacts and research.

The majority of the photographs in Series III are reprints. Images are of the Wright brothers experimenting on the Miami River in Dayton in 1907; the interior of the superintendent’s office at the Wright Aeroplane Co. of Dayton; an Army Air Corps “Flying Fortress” flying over the Wright Brothers Monument at Kitty Hawk; the Wright Brothers Plant; and a Print of a Wright Cycle Co. drawing. Also included is a photostat negative of the Dayton Evening Herald from Dec. 18, 1903, and of an article reporting on the Ft. Myer, VA accident in 1908.

Series IV consists of pamphlets and speeches from dedications and celebrations. Included are programs from the homecoming celebration in Dayton in 1909, 25th anniversary celebrations at Dayton and Kitty Hawk in 1928, dedication in 1938 at Greenville Village of the Wright brothers’ family home and cycle shop, and the 1948 Smithsonian ceremony for the Wright brothers 1903 Aeroplane. Also included are speeches given at the dedication of the Wright Brothers’ Monument in 1940 and Kitty Hawk memorial in 1950, as well as a 1950 Dayton Chamber of Commerce ceremony commemorating the first flight.


  • Creation: 1922-1978


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of the collection.


1 linear feet

Language of Materials



Consists of articles, letters, speeches, and clippings pertaining to the Wright Brothers collected by the Air Force Museum at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. Subjects covered include removal of Wright buildings from Dayton, interviews and personal history of the Wrights, the Smithsonian-Langley controversy, obituaries, funerals, and miscellaneous aviation materials.


The collection is arranged into the following series:

  1. Series I: Clippings and articles
  2. Series II: Correspondence
  3. Series III: Pamphlets and speeches
  4. Series IV: Photographic prints and photostat negatives

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Clippings are fragile and should be handled with care.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was given to the Wright State Archives by the Air Force Museum, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The date of transfer is unknown.

Guide to the Air Force Museum Wright Bros. Collection (MS-157)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2003 Feb: Toni Jeske

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