Orville & Wilbur Wright Collection, 1899, 1908, 2003-2004

Manuscript Collection #931

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Orville & Wilbur Wright Collection
Creators: Wright, Orville, 1871-1948
Wright, Wilbur, 1867-1912
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Collection (1899-2004) of printed materials compiled for the centennial of the Orville & Wilbur Wright's first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; including an article written by the Wright brothers on their flight experiments with various airplanes coupled with printed copies of photographs and a printed reproduction of the article; also copies of Monthly Weather Review magazines from August-September 1899; and a copy of the North Carolina Literary Review dedicated to commemorating the centennial of the first flight complete with poetry and interviews; also two calendars illustrated with images of the Wright brothers flight experiments.
Extent: 0.32 Cubic feet, 1 archival box & 1 oversized folder; 7 items, Clippings, photocopies, periodicals, calendars

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

August 15, 2003, 2 items, 0.003 cubic feet; The Wright Brothers' Aëroplane, by Orville & Wilbur Wright, with pictures from photographs supplied by the authors, clipping from "The Century Magazine," Vol. 76, no. 5 (September 1908), pp. 641-650; and photocopy reproduction. Printed & photocopied materials. Donor: Jonathan Dembo.

February 4, 2004, (addition 1) 2 items, 0.035 cubic feet; Monthly Weather Review issues (August - September 1899) edited by Prof. Cleveland Abbe, vol. XXVII, nos. 8-9 (W. B. nos. 207, 210), pp. 343-393, 395-448, and charts. (Washington, DC: Weather Bureau, 20 October, 17 November 1899) that convinced the Wright brothers to choose Kitty Hawk for their flying experiments. Donor: Friends of J.Y. Joyner Library.

February 23, 2004, (addition 2) 1 item, 0.07 cubic feet; Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the First Flight: Aviation in North Carolina Literature and Letters: Interviews with Clyde Edgerton and Tim McLaurin; also, poetry by James Applewhite and Elizabeth Spencer on Look Homeward, Angel, North Carolina Literary Review, Margaret D. Bauer, editor, No. 12 (© 2003 NCLR), pp. 7-78. 1 vol. 202 p. Donor: North Carolina Literary Review.

August 30, 2004, (addition 3) 2 items, 0.025 cubic feet; Calendar (December 2003 - December 2004) entitled Hidden Images from the Wright Brothers' Photographs: Kitty Hawk, NC 1900-1911 Celebrating the Wright Brothers Centennial; Images selected and annotated by Dr. Larry Tise, Wilbur and Orville Wright Visiting Distinguished Professor of History at East Carolina University from the Wright Brothers Centennial Digital Exhibit, Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. Donor: Jonathan Dembo.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Orville & Wilbur Wright Collection (#931), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of the Friends of J.Y. Joyner Library
  • Gift of the Margaret D. Bauer, editor, North Carolina Literary Review
  • Gift of Jonathan Dembo

Processing Information

  • Encoded by Mark Custer, March 26, 2008; Processing, inventory and finding aid by Alissa Liggett, May 5, 2011; Finding aid revised by Jonathan Dembo, June 26, 2012; Encoded by Jonathan Dembo, June 26, 2012; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, July 23, 2012.


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The Wright brothers – Wilbur and Orville Wright -- were the first to accomplish self-propelled mechanical flight. They were able to do so by experimenting with various glider designs and then designing a gasoline powered airplane and demonstrating its capabilities. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, the Wright brothers needed a location with more reliable wind conditions to test their airplanes. They researched various locations before settling on the windy beach of Kill Devil Hill, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. They began their researches there, in 1899 and continued to return to the site for the next decade. They achieved their first powered flight in December 1903.

On the centennial of the Wright Brothers' first flight, in 2003-2004, North Carolina's First Flight Commission, sponsored numerous events and publications to celebrate that great accomplishment. A variety of of institutions and individuals supported the centennial celebrations. Some of these contributions are recognized in this collection.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The Orville and Wilbur Wright Collection contains a clipping from and article by the Wright Brothers entitled "The Wright Brothers' Aeroplane" from The American Century magazine (September 1908) that details the first flight experiments of the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk, NC and Dayton, OH. The clipping includes printed photographs contributed by the authors that demonstrate their trials using the first self-propelled aeroplane [airplane] designed by the Wright brothers; a photocopy of the article is also included. The collection also includes two issues of the U. S. Weather Bureau's Monthly Weather Review (August and September 1899); The issues include weather tables, charts, and maps of weather trends and patterns as well as charts cataloguing wind speeds and direction. It was information such as this that convinced the Wright Brothers to conduct their experiments at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

The collection also includes a book commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first flight of the Wright brothers published by the North Carolina Literary Review in 2003. The volume includes literature, letters, interviews, and poetry describing the Wright brothers’ efforts in 1903.

In addition, the collection includes two copies of a commemorative calendar produced by East Carolina University and including images of the Wright brothers’ flight trials at Kitty Hawk and featured in an exhibit entitled Wright Brothers Centennial Digital Exhibit, Joyner Library, East Carolina University (www.lib.ecu.edu/exhibits).

The Orville and Wilbur Wright Collection is arranged in original order in two series:

SERIES I: PRINTED MATERIALS;

SERIES II: OVERSIZED MATERIALS.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

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Series 1:
Printed Materials
  • Box 1#0931.1
    • Folder a#0931.1.a
      "The Wright Brothers' Aeroplane", by Orville and Wilbur Wright, The Century Magazine, Vol. LXXVI No. 5 (September 1908) clipping and photocopy; 2 items, 15 pages
    • Folder b#0931.1.b
      Monthly Weather Review, edited by Prof. Cleveland Abbe, Vol. XXVII, No. 8 (August 1899): pp. 343-393; Tables, charts, maps, plates. 1 item, 36 p.
    • Folder c#0931.1.c
      Monthly Weather Review, edited by Prof. Cleveland Abbe, Vol. XXVII, No. 9 (September 1899): pp. 343-393; Tables, charts, maps, plates. 1 item, 35 pages
    • Folder d#0931.1.d
      "Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the First Flight: Aviation in North Carolina Literature and Letters" North Carolina Literary Review (2003) ; 1 item, 202 pages
Series 2:
Oversized Materials
  • Box 1#0931.1
    • Folder d#0931.1.d
      • Calendar (December 2003 – December 2004) entitled Hidden Images from the Wright Brothers’ Photographs: Kitty Hawk, NC 1900-1911 Celebrating the Wright Brothers Centennial; Images selected and annotated by Dr. Larry Tise, Wilbur and Orville Wright Visiting Distinguished Professor of History at East Carolina University from the Wright Brothers Centennial Digital Exhibit, Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC (www.lib.ecu.edu/exhibits). 2 items, 30 p. Note: Images taken by Orville and Wilbur Wright of their flight trials and life in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and supporters of the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk, NC; used with permission from the Library of Congress and Wright State University.  (item #os1)

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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