Wright Brothers' Aeroplane of 1903: Program from the Smith...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionWright Brothers' Aeroplane of 1903: Program from the Smithsonian Institution Dedication Ceremony, December 17, 1948. This eight page program, 7" x 10", brings the long-standing feud between the Smithsonian Institution and the Wright Brothers to an end, and includes the infamous "label" negotiated between the two parties, crediting the Wright Flyer as the first plane flown by man. The origins of the feud began with Samuel Langley, Secretary of the Smithsonian and flying enthusiast, who fancied himself as building the first aeroplane. His plane, the Aerodrome, was long displayed by the Smithsonian as the first plane "capable" of flight, diminishing the Wright Flyer's status as a result. When Orville Wright decided to donate the their aeroplane to the Smithsonian, he insisted upon approving the label that would accompany its display, however, as Orville died in January 1948, that task fell to his estate, including his long-serving secretary Mabel Beck, who fought diligently for proper credit. The final, agreed-upon label that accompanies the plane is printed within this program:
"The Original Wright Brothers' Aeroplane. The world's first power-driven heavier-than-air machine in which man made free, controlled, and sustained flight invented and built by Wilbur and Orville Wright. Flown by them at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina December 17, 1903. By original scientific research the Wright Brothers discovered the principles of human flight. As inventors, builders, and flyers they further developed the aeroplane, taught man to fly and opened the era of aviation".
Although Mabel Beck was unhappy that the word "capable" was left off the label, and that the word "further" was included, history knows that the Smithsonian finally did, indeed, give proper credit to the Wright Brothers' historic invention. Program includes an original 7.25" x 4" photo of the Wright Flyer included, stamped "Photograph from the Smithsonian Institution" on its verso. Photo was originally affixed to page 6 of the program, but has fallen off. Vertical fold, light soiling, overall near fine.
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