December 17 marks the date of the Wright Brothers’ “First Flight” at Kitty Hawk in 1903. This notable milestone in the history of aeronautics is well documented in the collections of the Library of Congress. If you are curious about the Wright Brothers or the history of flight, then the Library of Congress has many items that may be of interest to you:
The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers digital collection contains correspondence, diaries, drawings, notebooks, photographs, printed matter, scrapbooks, and other documents from the Library of Congress Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers. However, not all of the papers have been digitized–see our Manuscript Division’s Wilbur and Orville Wright Finding Aid for detailed information about the entire collection.
L’Aerophile Collection , in the Technical Reports and Standards Division, is from one of the premier journals early in the history of aviation. This collection of over 15,000 items in 150 boxes documents the history of flight from 1893-1947. Box 18 contains original news clippings and photos covering the progress of the Wright Brothers. A large number of L’Aerophile images appeared in the National Air and Space Museum’s major exhibition in 2003, the Wright Brothers & the Invention of the Aerial Age, which celebrated the centennial of the Wright Brothers’ first flight.
The collections of the Library of Congress in the history of aeronautics are the best in the world. Our engineering specialist John Buydos compiled the following Science Tracer Bullet bibliographies to assist with researching topics on Aircraft, Aerodynamics (Mechanics of Flight) and Balloons/Airships. The Aeronautical and Astronautical Resources of the Library of Congress: A Comprehensive Guide is the first comprehensive, annotated guide to the Library’s collections concerning the history of aeronautics and astronautics. To supplement this guide, John compiled Aeronautics: A Selected Bibliography, which lists books used in preparing Aeronautical and Astronautical Resources of the Library of Congress: A Comprehensive Guide.
Also of interest is the U.S. Centennial of Flight CommissionWeb site. In 1998, the United States Congress passed the Centennial of Flight Commemoration Act (Public Law 106-68). This Act established a commission to assist in commemoration of the centennial of powered flight and the achievements of the Wright Brothers. This site brings together an amazing collection of images, essays, and movies that highlight the Wright Brothers and history of flight.