The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers
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COLLECTION HIGHLIGHTS: The Brothers' Boyhood

Postcard from Orville Wright to Milton Wright, 1881
Image, caption following [Postcard, Orville Wright to Milton Wright, April 1881]. Family Papers: Correspondence--Wright, Orville, 1881, 1888-1898. Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. 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 at an early age. He also saved all their letters that came into his hands, not for posterity but simply because it was from one of "the boys." This postcard, written in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before the family returned to Dayton, Ohio, is the earliest surviving document in the Wright collection.
Deposition given by Orville Wright, January 13, 1920
[Deposition, 13 January 1920]. Subject File: Legal Cases--Montgomery v. Wright-Martin Airway Corp. --Depositions: Wright, Orville, 1920. Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

Bishop Wright was in the habit of bringing small toys home to his children after traveling on church business and it was to one of these toys that Orville attributed his and Wilbur's earliest interest in flight. The Penaud helicopter that Milton Wright brought home in 1878 was a variation of one of Europe' s oldest mechanical toys. In this court document submitted by the forty-eight-year-old Orville, he tells how the young brothers' fascination with a small toy powered by a rubber band eventually led them to a much more serious consideration of the problem of flight.

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The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers