Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright

Chicago, June 16, 1909

I thank you warmly for your letter of 6th inst. giving me an account of the causes and eventualities which led to the accident to Orville and to Selfridge on the 17th of last October.1 This is the first complete statement which I have received, as I would not let Orville talk about it when he was in the hospital, and I am very glad to be able to add it to the file of your letters describing the evolution of your invention, which will hereafter constitute historical documents of great value.

You must be now pretty well satiated with glory. The harvesting of prizes, the receiving of unstinted praise, the reception of numerous medals, are now about to be capped by the acclaim of your fellow townsmen in the carnival which is to occur tomorrow, and I beg to add my own congratulations for the great success which you have achieved.

You state that this last demonstration was in opposition to your own wishes. I know that the reception of such honors becomes oppressive to modest men and they would avoid them if they could, but in this case you have brought the trouble upon yourselves by your completing the solution of a world old problem, accomplished with great ingenuity and patience at much risk of personal injury to yourselves, and I hope that when the present shouting is over you will continue to achieve further success and to receive ample rewards of all kinds.

Please present my best respects to your sister, to Orville, and to your father, and believe me, your friend.

1 Mistake for September.

Wilbur Wright to Octave Chanute, December 6, 1909