Story by HAnnah ToKASZ, COM 2560 STudent
A tattered piece of paper that could understandably be thrown away is instead recognized for its historical significance at the Wright State University Archives.
The piece of paper is the last issue of The Evening Item. It is the last issue of the Wright brothers' daily newspaper published from April to July in 1890 by their company, Item Publishing Co.
The Wright State University Special Collections and Archives possess a broad range of Wright brothers memorabilia, revealing information on the aviation’s inventors that may otherwise be lost. Wright State is a public university founded in the birthplace of aviation: Dayton, Ohio.
Even though Orville and Wilbur Wright are known for their development of the airplane, their passion for journalism struck first. Orville and his school friend Edward Sines created The Midget newspaper for their classmates in Intermediate School, and the WSU archives have the only issue published in their records.
In March 1889, Orville created his own paper, West Side News, another prominent section of the Wright brothers’ archives. The paper featured stories on a national scale, and Orville brought Wilbur onboard as editor until the publication ended in May 1891.
The world would be very different if the Wright brothers stayed in the printing press business. After working tirelessly to obtain flight by airplane on December 7, 1903, the Wright brothers found their niche.
Archives show that the brothers were protective of their newfound invention. After receiving patent in May 1906, the Wright Company began suing others for their own versions of “Flying Machines.”
While Orville and Wilbur’s success is the most known, their family members' legacy is preserved in the archives as well. Milton Wright, father of Orville and Wilbur, kept a diary to record his daily activities.
Milton expressed his grief of Wilbur dying from typhoid fever in 1912 in the diary and shared that he and Orville bought a new car to cope with their loss.
Milton and Orville would use the car for taking long drives to relax themselves and relieve each other from their grief.
Dawne Dewey, Head of WSU Archives, has her masters’ degree in history with a public history concentration from Wright State. She said, “Probably the most research I’ve done over my career is the Wright brothers. I’m really lucky to work in an archive that has so much material on the Wrights.”
The Wright brothers’ history continues to capture national attention. ABC News 22 reported on Thursday, April 6, that Leandro Narloch, a Brazilian author, is coming to Dayton to bust the myth that the Wright brothers did not take the first flight.
edited by Serenity Mckenzie, EDitor-in-Chief.