Collection Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers at the Library of Congress

Articles and Essays

  • Collection Highlights

    The Brothers' Boyhood. Postcard from Orville Wright to Milton Wright, 1881 It is no coincidence that the earliest communication found from either Wilbur or Orville is this postcard, written by nine-year-old Orville to his father, in which he demonstrates a typical Wright Brothers trait–natural curiosity followed by an experiment. Bishop Wright made sure that his children knew how to write letters in clear language ...

  • Photography and the Wright Brothers

    Among the materials acquired by the Library of Congress in 1949 from the estate of Orville Wright were 303 negative photographic plates. Nearly all these glass plate negatives were taken and developed by the Wrights themselves between 1898 and 1911. The images are as important as the Wrights' diaries, notebooks, and letters to knowledge and understanding of the brothers' historic accomplishments. Rarely in the ...

  • "The Belief that Flight is Possible to Man"

    O. Chanute. [between 1900 and 1910]. George Grantham Bain Collection. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. LC-USZ62-106858 On May 13, 1900, Wilbur Wright wrote one of the most remarkable letters in the history of science. In his letter to Octave Chanute, a wealthy businessman and successful engineer, Wilbur seems not at all hindered by the fact that an essentially unknown person from Ohio ...

  • The Wilbur and Orville Wright Timeline, 1846 to 1948

    1867 to 1889. April 16, 1867 Wilbur Wright born to Reverend Milton Wright and Susan Catherine Koerner Wright near Milville, Indiana. He is their third child; his older siblings are Reuchlin (b. 1861) and Lorin (b. 1862).

  • Wright Family Tree

    Milton Wright (1828-1917) married Susan Catherine Koerner (1831-1889)