American aviation pioneer.
Typewritten Letter Signed, one page, quarto, Dayton, Ohio, December 21, 1937. On his name-imprinted stationery, to Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.
“Please accept my thanks for your telegram of greetings and congratulations on the thirty-fourth anniversary of our first flight.”
The Wright brothers made history’s first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane flights—from level ground without any assistance at takeoff—at the Kill Devil Hills on the morning of December 17, 1903. The first lasted twelve seconds; the last, fifty-nine seconds, covered 852 feet of ground but, because of a head wind, the second flight actually covered more than one-half mile of air distance.
Ford’ respect for Orville Wright’s inventive genius resulted in his purchase of the Wright family home at 7 Hawthorn Street and the old Wright bicycle shop on West Third Street in Dayton, Ohio, for relocation to his museum at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan. That purchase took place in 1936, the year before the present letter was written. “Both structures were carefully dismantled and painstakingly reconstructed, side by side, on a grassy plot in Greenfield Village” [Fred Howard, Wilbur and Orville].