On September 25, 1910, in Aotearoa New Zealand, a stunning Maori kite caught Alexander Graham Bell's eye. His journals show Bell's brief encounter with an indigenous scientific tradition and reveal his own obsession with transporting human beings through the air in enormous tetrahedral kites.
The Library of Congress Manuscript Division holds the papers of aviation pioneer Octave Chanute, which include correspondence between Chanute, George Spratt, and the Wright Brothers. These letters provide insights into their aeronautical experiments as they share ideas on wing design, lift, drag and other problems facing early experimenters.
Wilbur Wright’s letter to his sister describing of a 30-mile bike ride he took with his brother Orville in September 1892 illuminates an enthusiasm for bicycles and bicycling adventures that was a precursor to their pioneering work in aviation.