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ecause the work of the Wright brothers and the invention of the airplane has had a global impact, it's not surprising that there are books and videos in every language, museums and libraries in every country, and web sites in every corner of the Internet that tell part of the story of pioneer aviation. As we find each new resource, we publish it here to help you find more information and different perspectives. Here's what we have found so far:


Books and Videos

Although we list many worthwhile books in our bibliography, three stand out. The Wright Brothers by Fred Kelly is the "official" biography of the Wright brothers. Because Kelly worked extensively with Orville Wright in preparing this book, and because it was approved (and probably edited) by him, it can be consider a primary source, straight from the horse's mouth. In To Conquer the Air, historian James Tobin puts the Wright brothers in historical perspective, telling not just their story but also that of their contemporaries and the times they lived in. Finally, Tom Crouch delivers volumes of details and in-depth information about the Wrights, their work, and their family in The Bishop's Boys.

As for videos, far and away the best and most complete is Kitty Hawk: The Wright Brothers' Journey of Invention, directed and produced by David Garrigus. This 2-hour PBS special first aired in 2003. The DVD set that comes with this documentary includes a mini-series called Machines of the Wright Brothers. Eight short (3 to 5 minutes) videos explain all of the the Wrights' experimental aircraft and equipment that led to the first practical airplane. These are an excellent teaching tool and we use them in our exhibitions.


Museums and Libraries

Almost every aviation museum offers at least a mention of the Wright brothers, but three tell a substantial part of their story. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC has a hall devoted to the Wright brothers that explains the invention of the airplane and displays a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer and two Wright gliders. They also display the original Wright Flyer I in a special display on the Birth of Aviation and offer a huge research library on all phases of aviation history. The Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina tells the story of the Wrights' initial test flights on the spot where they happened. The display includes a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer I and the 1902 Wright Glider, as well as the broken case of the original engine. The original Wright Bicycle Shop where they built their airplanes and Wright Home were moved from Dayton, Ohio to Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum in the 1930s. The museum also has a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer I.  In Dayton, Ohio you can still see the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park, which includes Huffman Prairie where the Wrights developed the first practical airplane and established a flight school.

If you're doing historical research, far and away the best archive of Wright information, papers, photographs, and other memorabilia is the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library, Special Collections at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.



While our web site has the most extensive collection of information about the Wright brothers on the Internet, there are many more that you should visit for a balanced, in-depth understanding of the Wright story. There are also web sites that focus on other pioneers aviators whose lives brushed those of the Wright brothers. As we discover these, we list the links here. If you know of a pioneer aviation web site that we have not listed, we would very much like to know about it. Please contact us.


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