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WRIGHT, Orville (1871-1948). An expansive correspondence with Earl Findley concerning his continuing feud with the Smithsonian Institution over their refusal to credit the Wright Brothers as the inventors of the first flying machine. --WRIGHT, Orville. Series of 12 typed letters signed ("Orville", "Orville", and "Orv"), 11 January 1933 - 25 October 1942. 15 pages, 4to; autograph note signed ("OW.") 4 December 1933. 1 page, 12mo; typescript with autograph marginalia, "COMPARISON OF THE LANGLEY MACHINE OF 1903 WITH THE HAMMONDSPORT MACHINE OF MAY-JUNE 1914." 4 pages, oblong 4to. [With:] additional related correspondence from Hiram BINGHAM (1875-1956), Mabel BECK (1890-1959), and others, and complimented with numerous enclosures and supporting documents.
WRIGHT, Orville (1871-1948). An expansive correspondence with Earl Findley concerning his continuing feud with the Smithsonian Institution over their refusal to credit the Wright Brothers as the inventors of the first flying machine. --WRIGHT, Orville. Series of 12 typed letters signed ("Orville", "Orville", and "Orv"), 11 January 1933 - 25 October 1942. 15 pages, 4to; autograph note signed ("OW.") 4 December 1933. 1 page, 12mo; typescript with autograph marginalia, "COMPARISON OF THE LANGLEY MACHINE OF 1903 WITH THE HAMMONDSPORT MACHINE OF MAY-JUNE 1914." 4 pages, oblong 4to. [With:] additional related correspondence from Hiram BINGHAM (1875-1956), Mabel BECK (1890-1959), and others, and complimented with numerous enclosures and supporting documents.

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WRIGHT, Orville (1871-1948). An expansive correspondence with Earl Findley concerning his continuing feud with the Smithsonian Institution over their refusal to credit the Wright Brothers as the inventors of the first flying machine. --WRIGHT, Orville. Series of 12 typed letters signed ("Orville", "Orville", and "Orv"), 11 January 1933 - 25 October 1942. 15 pages, 4to; autograph note signed ("OW.") 4 December 1933. 1 page, 12mo; typescript with autograph marginalia, "COMPARISON OF THE LANGLEY MACHINE OF 1903 WITH THE HAMMONDSPORT MACHINE OF MAY-JUNE 1914." 4 pages, oblong 4to. [With:] additional related correspondence from Hiram BINGHAM (1875-1956), Mabel BECK (1890-1959), and others, and complimented with numerous enclosures and supporting documents.

An important and substantial archive of material documenting Orville Wright's long fight for recognition from the Smithsonian Institution. Featuring lengthy and frank letters from Orville Wright, including a detailed point-by-point comparison of the failed 1903 Langley Aerodrome and the successful 1914 tests of an improved version of the same plane constructed and tested by Glenn Curtiss.

In Wright's letter enclosing the Langley-Curtiss comparison, he observes, "The most vital change was one that few would have noticed. That was in the location of the guy-posts which braced the wings. The wings of the Langley machine collapsed in both attempts to fly it in 1903, due to a fault in the wing trussing. When Langley designed his wing trussing he had no data on the location of the center of pressure on cambered wings and placed the guy posts too far forward.... This fatal fault in Langley's design was corrected by Zahm and Curtiss in 1914 by moving the posts approximately 30 inches rearward... Without the change in the location of the guy-posts the Langley plane of 1903 would have collapsed in every attempt to fly it."

[Includes:] WRIGHT, Orville. TL, 28 September 1928, 7pp. 4to marked in red at top “Not for Publication” and identified in type at top as a copy of Wright’s letter in response “to a 36-page statement entitled ‘Aeroplane Pioneers’ enclosed in a letter from Dr. Abbot to Mr. Wright dated May 31, 1928. This statement, somewhat modified, was released by Dr. Abbot to the press September 30th, under the title ‘The Relations between the Smithsonian Institution and the Wright Brothers.’“ Wrights lengthy response, reads in very small part: “If one wishes to continue to believe that the Langley machine was capable of flight in 1903 in spite of all the evidence to the contrary he has the privilege of doing so. But no one has the right to lead others to this belief through false and misleading statements and through the suppression of the important evidence I have mentioned...” ; ____. TLS (“Orville”) 7 January 1933. 1 p. 4to - “I am greatly pleased to find one man that understands why the Kitty Hawk plane can not be placed in an American museum other than the National Museum...; ____. TLS (“Orville”) 11 January 1933. 1 p. 4to enclosing copies of “late letters between Dr. Abbott and myself...”____. TLS (“Orville Wright”) 24 January 1933. 1 p. 4to “...I think Reed’s tying Abbot’s article up with the plane in the British Museum is very good. It is especially well designed for a reaching the man who does not care anything about the truth in history so long as it does not effect [sic] national price... Abbott can not complain if Mr. Reed did not know of this pamphlet, because the Smithsonian has not given the same publicity to this pamphlet as was given the original falsehoods which it purported to correct, but it did not.”; ____. Telegram, 24 Jan. 1933, “...THE NEW SECRETARY HAS NOT BEEN ENTIRELY SILENT SEVERAL YEARS AGO HE ISSUED A PAMPHLET ENTITLED QUOTE THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION AND THE WRIGHT BROTHERS END QUOTE IN WHICH THERE WAS A PRETENSE OF CORRECTING FORMER MISSTATEMENTS MADE BY THE SMITHSONIAN...”; ____. TLS “Orville” 27 January 1933. 1 p. 4to, concerning “Volume XII Smithsonian Scientific Series... entitled ‘Great Inventions.’ The article on ‘The Airplane’ is only a part of chapter eight in this book...”; ____. TLS (“Orville”) 10 February, 1933, 4 pp. 4to, concerning the “history of the McSwain bill... a ‘Joint Resolution to Ascertain which was the First Heavier-than-air Flying Machine.’ Of course, if I had been suggesting a bill I would have recommended an investigation of the Smithsonian’s conduct in its administration of the affairs of the U.S. National Museum and its use of public funds for disseminating misinformation to pervert the history of the flying machine.”; ____. ANS (“OW”) c. 4 December 1933. 1 p. 12mo: “Earl, Maybe Mrs. Jack Sterns Gray intended to make an announcement of this at the dinner on the 16th. OW.” and enclosing a copy of a letter from the “WOMEN’S NATIONAL AERONAUTICAL ASSOCIATION” (marked in his hand “Confidential” at top”): “The best news I have for you at this time is in the fact that from close observance I believe Dr. Abbott [sic] is beginning to see the light... Mr. Paul Garber, who is in charge of aeronautics down at Smithsonian is 100 per cent for you--and has always been!... Only Dr. Abbot is the ‘fly in the ointment’--and he WILL COME OVER! ... Paul Garber has gotten Dr. Abbot to consent to place a wonderful model of the original...giving you and your brother FULL JUSTICE!”; ____. TLS (“Orville”) 16 October 1934. 1p. 4to - “It was awful nice of Zahn to give us credit for something, even if the credit was only an ‘accident’... On February 24, 1906, Zahm wrote a letter to Wilbur telling of a proposal to have the Aero Club of America pass resolutions concerning our work... Zahn said, ‘This would be the first formal indication that your countrymen appreciate your work and are proud of it. It may also prove of historic value in showing that the specialist of your day regard you as the inventors of the first successful flying machine.’ Of course, Zahm is not is not without the old woman’s privilege of changing his mind.”; ____. TLS (“Orville”) 19 January 1933. 1 p., 4to: “...sending inclosed [sic] a copy of Dr. Abbot’s letter acknowledging mine giving him advice on correcting his article in the ‘Smithsonian Scientific Series’. I believe he didn’t appreciate my advice, and is not going to follow it!”; ____. TLS (“Orville”) 31 January 1933. 1 p., 4to, concerning an offer from Abbot to return the Kitty Hawk plane to the United States, “...telling him of my reasons for sending the machine abroad and stating that if the machine were returned to America before a full a full and candid correction was made by the Smithsonian the whole purpose of sending it abroad would be nullified; ____. TLS (“Orv.”) 23 December 1933. 1 p., 4to: “I do not see anything to complain about excepting Bingham’s parading the Smithsonian Institution on the platform and helping out all he could their publicity stunt. That made my blood boil and in the future he will get no help from me.”; ____. TLS (“Orville”) 4 April 1935. 1 p, 4to, enclosing “copies of the correspondence... between the Smithsonian and myself...”; ____. TLS (“Orville”) 28 June 1939. 2pp. 4to - “I had a letter from Lindbergh about ten days ago. You will remember that I had a talk with him immediately following the N.A.C.A. meeting last April. I showed him a copy of a letter which Abbot has been sending out to senators, representatives and many others... When he read the paragraph following No. 6, he said, ‘that is not true’. I asked him whether he would be willing to write me a letter to that effect. He said he would...” (Copies of both letters included); ____. TLS (“Orville”) 25 October 1942. 3 pages, 4to, “You, no doubt, have read the release given out by Dr. Abbot... Since reading it I think I was a little too optimistic in suggesting that you be altogether lenient with Abbot.” Wright offers a detailed analysis of the differences in the 1903 and 1914 Langley-Curtiss flights, writing “The most vital change was one that few would have noticed. That was in the location of the guy-posts which braced the wings. the wings of the Langley machine collapsed in both attempts to fly it in 1903, due to a fault in the wing trussing. when Langley designed his wing trussing he had no data on the location of the center of pressure on cambered wings and placed the guy posts too far forward.... This fatal fault in Langley’s design was corrected by Zahm and Curtiss in 1914 by moving the posts approximately 30 inches rearward... Without the change in the location of the guy-posts the Langley plane of 1903 would have collapsed in every attempt to fly it.” Wright continues, noting other important changes including the “varnishing of the wing fabric”, strengthening of the “spars and ribs of the wings” and other significant changes. He concludes, “I had thought that the trouble with the Smithsonian was at an end, but the release to the press shows that the Smithsonian will again be back at their old tricks if the plane were returned to this country... It clearly shows that the National Museum is not a safe place for the deposit of any historic relic in aviation that may have to compete with things belonging to the present or former officers of that Institution, so long as the affairs of the National Museum are administered by the Smithsonian Institution.” Wright encloses a typed list bearing a side-by-side comparison of the plane Langley attempted to fly in 1903 and the model flown by Curtiss at Hammondsport in 1914 with penciled comments in the right margin.


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