Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Wright 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.


    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    November
    2nd Monday
    Auction Dates
    November
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    13 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 17
    Auction Type
    Signature®:  Heritage Live®:After Internet bidding closes, live bidding will take place through www.HA.com/Live. Your secret maximum bid placed prior to the live event will compete against the live bids. To maximize your chances of winning, enter realistic secret maximum bids on our site. Many of our proxy bidders are successful at winning lots in these auctions, and usually below their secret maximum. You can also place last minute bids directly with us by e-mailing Bid@HA.com or calling 1-866-835-3243. (Important note: Due to software and Internet latency, live bids may not register in time, so enter realistic proxy bids.)

    Signature® Floor Sessions
    Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 24 hours before the live session begins and continues through the session. During the live auction event, bidding in person is encouraged, and Heritage Live includes streaming audio and often video during the event.
    Track Item