New Digital Collection: Wilbur F. H. Bigelow, Sr., Dayton-Wright Company Collection

We are pleased to announce the recent processing and digitization of the Wilbur F. H. Bigelow, Sr., Dayton-Wright Company Collection (SC-347). The entire collection can be freely accessed online, anytime, through the Wright State University Campus Online Repository, at CORE Scholar: Wilbur F. H. Bigelow, Sr., Dayton-Wright Company Collection (SC-347).

Wilbur F. H. Bigelow, Sr. (1897-1968), was a foreman in the Mill department of Dayton-Wright Airplane Company factory at Moraine (Plant 1), during World War I. The collection consists primarily of 28 photographs, most of which relate to Bigelow’s work at the factory, including DH-4 aircraft, employees and factory scenes, air demonstration shows, and aerial photographs captured during a test flight.

An interior view of the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company, Plant 1, Mill department (wood shop), which was supervised by Wilbur Bigelow. A large American flag can be seen hanging from the beams, and various wooden components are on cart. Circa 1917-1919. (sc347_05_21)
An interior view of the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company, Plant 1, Mill department (wood shop), which was supervised by Wilbur Bigelow. A large American flag can be seen hanging from the beams, and various wooden components are on cart. Circa 1917-1919. (sc347_05_21)
An aerial view of the Moraine factory and airstrip (sc347_04_16)
An aerial view of the Moraine factory and airstrip, including a portion of the wings and rigging. This is the first in a series of aerial photographs taken by Wilbur Bigelow during a test flight. The large bend in the Great Miami River can be seen in the upper left, and a church (possibly Zion Memorial United Church of Christ at the corner of Dixie and Stroop) and its graveyard can be seen in the lower right near the wing. Circa 1917-1919. (sc347_04_16)
Group Photo of the Supervision Staff of the Moraine Plant of Dayton-Wright Airplane Company (sc347_06_22)
A group photo of the Supervision Staff of the Moraine plant of Dayton-Wright Airplane Company, gathered around a DH-4 aircraft. There are 35 people in the photo, including 6 women. Only Wilbur Bigelow is identified, standing seventh from right in the second row (second to right of the propeller), standing, and indicated by a circle around his head. Writing on propeller reads: “Test Propeller #128(?). Return to Motor Assembly.” Original caption reads: “Supervision Staff at Moraine City Plane of ‘DeHaveland 4’ [sic] during World War I, 1918 –Pop had charge of the mill (wood).Wilbur Bigelow Sr. 7th from right in 2nd row (standing).” (sc347_06_22)

Photos unrelated to Dayton-Wright Airplane include: one photo depicts the Wright Brothers’ Homecoming in June 1909, one depicting a crash at McCook Field in 1917, one of Hills and Dales Country Club, and five at an unidentified outdoor location.

Individuals in the photographs include Wilbur’s wife, Helen; his daughter, Janice Pahnke; mechanic Charles Irwin, and pilot Bernard Whelan. Also included are three documents related to Bigelow’s WWI draft status, a piece of wing fabric from an aircraft that crashed in Dayton in 1928, and a commemorative coin from the Dayton “Frontiers of Freedom” celebration in 1941.

This digital project has been a collaborative effort between the University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives and the University Libraries’ Digital Initiatives and Repository Services (DIRS) Department, which provided the digitization, metadata encoding, and uploading of digital content to CORE Scholar.

Please visit the Special Collections & Archives’ CORE Scholar page to browse additional digital collections. Don’t forget to check out the University Archives’ CORE Scholar page as well.

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