WRIGHT, Wilbur. Typed letter signed ("Wilbur Wright") with six words added in his hand, to the "Editor of the Independent," Dayton, Ohio, 5 February 1904. 1¼ pages, 4to, typed on rectos of two sheets, minor marginal tears, small triangular piece torn from blank lower portion of p.2.
AN ANGRY WRIGHT ATTACKS THE PRESS, TWO MONTHS AFTER THE KITTY-HAWK FLIGHT
A fine early letter from the pioneer of aviation, written only two months after the first successful flight. On December l7, 1903, at l0:35 a.m., the brother's fragile biplane, with Orville at the controls and Wilbur running alongside, lifted into the air at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Although the first flight covered a mere 120 feet and the aircraft remained aloft for only 12 seconds, it consitituted man's first powered, sustained and controlled flight. Immediately, the event attracted the media, sometimes with disastrous results. Wilbur writes: "My attention has this day been called to a case of most unmitigated impudence in the Independent of February 4th. On page 242 an article 'The Experiments of a Flying Man,' was published under my name which I did not write and which I had never seen. The bulk of the article consisted of carelessly arranged or garbled extracts from two addresses, which I delivered before the Western Society of Engineers... published in the Journal of that Society...Following this came extracts from two press dispatches...A few sentences from a strange source were interpolated, in which an attempt was made to describe the methods by which the power machine was sustained and propelled. This part was entirely fanciful and untrue. The pictures which accompanied the article were not obtained from us..." Obviously furious, Wright continues: "I have never given to any person permission or encouragement to palm off as an original article extracts from these copy-righted addresses, and newspaper dispatches. Neither have I given to the Independent, or to any one, the least permission or excuse for using my name...Nor have I given the faintest permission to attach my name to any article of any kind in any paper, excepting the statement which my brother and I gave to the 'daily' papers on January 6, 1904." He is aware of other cases "in which conscienceless but enterprising reporters" had cobbled pretended interviews from these addresses, "but it remained for the Independent to serve them in the form of a forged signed article."
Letters of Wilbur are quite rare, especially from this very early period of the brothers' aeronautical experiments.