August 2017 Auction Ends Thursday, August 24th, 5pm Pacific
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/24/2017
Letter signed by Harold Miller, the Wright brothers' nephew and co-executor of Wilbur Wright's estate, who here discusses the Smithsonian ''label'' that was to accompany the Museum's display of the ''first in flight'' Kitty Hawk bi-plane. The much publicized feud between the Wright brothers and the Smithsonian Institution is well documented, but the minutiae over wording of the label that was to accompany the Kitty Hawk is not as well known, which this letter elucidates. After Orville Wright's death in January 1948, it fell to his heirs as well as his secretary Mabel Beck to negotiate with the Smithsonian to give proper credit for the Wrights' invention, in exchange for the Smithsonian's right to purchase the Kitty Hawk. Mabel Beck, in particular, was suspicious (as Orville Wright had been) that the Smithsonian wouldn't properly credit the plane in its display, since the secretary of the Smithsonian, Samuel Langley, fancied himself as building the first plane capable of human flight. Dated 18 September 1948 on Orville Wright's stationery, letter to reporter Earl Findley reads in part, ''...We were happy to know that you sat in on the 'label' discussions in Washington. We understand from Mr. [Fred] Kelly and Mr. [Major Lester] Gardner that you are in agreement with the wording of the label as it was finally approved. We feel that it is vitally important in this matter that we have the advise of Uncle Orv's close friends and associates. When Mr. Gardner and Mr. Graf of the Smithsonian came to Dayton with the text for the label as it was revised from our suggestions we made only some slight alterations. Mr. Gardner then had a lengthy conference with Miss Beck, who suggested several changes which we felt improved the label, and except for not using the word 'capable' we understand she is in agreement with the text as it now stands. I am enclosing a copy of the final draft of the label that was accepted. It is our intention to cover the word 'capable' in the bill of sale so that the Smithsonian will never use the word in connection with any aircraft in its collection...[signed] Hard S. Miller''. Two page letter on two sheets measures 7'' x 10.25''. Folds and block of toning to first page, overall very good condition.
Orville Wright's Nephew Regarding the Infamous Smithsonian Label to Display the Kitty Hawk -- ''...so that the Smithsonian will never use the word in connection with any aircraft...''Orville Wright's Nephew Regarding the Infamous Smithsonian Label to Display the Kitty Hawk -- ''...so that the Smithsonian will never use the word in connection with any aircraft...''Orville Wright's Nephew Regarding the Infamous Smithsonian Label to Display the Kitty Hawk -- ''...so that the Smithsonian will never use the word in connection with any aircraft...''
Orville Wright's Nephew Regarding the Infamous Smithsonian Label to Display the Kitty Hawk -- ''...so that the Smithsonian will never use the word in connection with any aircraft...''
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Auction closed on Thursday, August 24, 2017.
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