Greetings from Kitty Hawk!



This Monday, December 17, marks the 115th anniversary of the first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. We are all familiar with the iconic image of the Wright Flyer in flight with Wilbur Wright running alongside at Kill Devil Hills. However, did you know December 1903 actually marked the 4th visit to Kitty Hawk by Wilbur and Orville?

The Wrights researched wind speeds for areas all over the United States and selected Kitty Hawk for the favorable winds and sand beaches. Wilbur left Dayton for the first trip to the Outer Banks on September 6, 1900, and Orville followed on September 24. The brothers stayed in the home of William J. Tate, Postmaster for Kitty Hawk, until their camp was ready. Tate assisted the Wrights with many of the glider and airplane flights and remained a life-long family friend. Over the next month the brothers conducted both manned and unmanned flight experiments with the 1900 Wright glider.

Wilbur gliding at Kill Devil Hills in 1901

On July 7, 1901, Wilbur and Orville again departed for Kitty Hawk with a new glider.  This time they were joined by Edward Huffaker and, George Spratt, both of whom were recommended by Octave Chanute, who, incidentally, would also spend a week with them that summer. While there they conducted an estimated 50-100 manned and unmanned flights with the 1901 glider.

Then in 1902, the brothers traveled to Kitty Hawk, arriving on August 26 and staying until October 28. During the next few months Wilbur and Orville conducted almost 1,000 glides with the 1902 glider. Lorin Wright, their older brother, made the trip from Dayton and witnessed some of the gliding experiments during his two week visit.

Orville piloting the 1902 glider (ms1_15_6_26)

September 25, 1903, marked the 4th trip of Wilbur and Orville to Kitty Hawk. Upon arrival they began new gliding experiments and started assembling the 1903 Wright Flyer. Orville made a quick trip back to Dayton on December 9-11 to get a replacement propeller shaft. By December 17, the Wright Brothers were ready to make history. At 10:35 a.m. Orville successfully completed the first motorized flight by flying for 12 seconds and covering 120 feet. Each brother made 2 flights on December 17 with Wilbur having the longest of the day at 59 seconds.

Even after the first flight, the Brothers were not finished with Kitty Hawk. Wilbur and Orville returned in April-May 1908 with the 1905 Wright Flyer to practice flying. This trip would mark Wilbur’s last. In October 1911, Orville, accompanied by his brother Lorin, nephew Horace, and Alexander Ogilvie, spent several weeks at Kitty Hawk conducting glider experiments. Then on November 19, 1932, he attended the dedication of the Wright Brother National Memorial. Orville’s final Kitty Hawk visit, accompanied by Earl N. Findley and William Tate, was on April 18, 1939.

Enjoy the gallery of photographs showing the Wright visits over the years. Additional images of the Wright Brothers, first flight, Kitty Hawk, and more are available on CORE Scholar.

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Winter Break Closure, December 22, 2018-January 1, 2019

Special Collections & Archives will be closed December 22, 2018-January 1st, 2019, for Wright State University’s winter break.

The reading room will re-open Wednesday, January 2, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. The hours for the week of January 2-4 will be 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Our extended Wednesday night hours until 9pm will begin again on January 16.

While the office may be closed, our web site, blogs, and digital collections on CORE Scholar are available 24/7/365.

SC&A would like to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season!

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I Learned it in the Archives: Women’s Rights Activism Runs in Steinem Family

We are currently in the process of reviewing collections for women’s suffrage and women’s rights materials to potentially digitize to help commemorate the upcoming women’s suffrage centennial (2020).

Martha McClellan Brown (1838-1916) was active in the temperance and women’s rights movements in late 1800s/ early 1900s. Naturally, her collection – MS-147: Martha McClellan Brown and Rev. William Kennedy Brown Papers – was high on our list to review for items of interest, and as expected, there are many! For a time, Mrs. Brown was even president of the Cincinnati Harriet Taylor Upton Club, a women’s suffrage organization.

One file of suffrage correspondence held many items on letterhead from the Ohio Woman’s Suffrage Association, of which Harriet Taylor Upton was president for many years. The letterhead listed the names of all the officers, and one name in particular caught my attention. Further review of this same folder yielded two letters signed by this intriguing officer, during the time period in which she served as president (1910-1911).

The woman’s name was Pauline Steinem.

I had never heard of Pauline Steinem, but I knew of feminist and activist Gloria Steinem. Two women named Steinem fighting for women’s rights? That didn’t seem like a coincidence.

A quick Internet search returned a helpful encyclopedia article from the Jewish Women’s Archive in Brookline, Massachusetts: Pauline Perlmutter Steinem, 1866-1940. The article was written by none other than Gloria Steinem, who, as it turns out, is Pauline’s granddaughter. In addition to learning about this family connection, I also learned of their Jewish heritage and that they both lived (at least part of their lives) in Toledo, Ohio! (You can also read the JWA’s article about Gloria Steinem.)

Gloria Steinem speaking at Wright State University on January 26, 1972 (University Archives) (click to enlarge)

Gloria Steinem speaking at Wright State University on January 26, 1972 (University Archives) (click to enlarge)

Another Steinem connection here in the archives? Gloria Steinem actually spoke at Wright State University on January 19, 1972, in the Oelman Auditorium. You can read more about that in the January 26, 1972, issue of The Guardian on CORE Scholar.

You never know what you might find or learn when you open that acid-free box!

The two Steinem letters were just two pieces of correspondence in a single folder (among dozens of other letters), in a 0.5 linear foot box. Imagine what could be waiting in any of the rest of our 16,000+ linear feet of materials!

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