The Wright brothers photographs


Wilbur and Orville took more than 300 glass-plate photographs, including images of their early experiments with gliders and powered flyers. Today 303 of these negatives are still in existence. The executors of Orville Wright's estate donated these negatives to the Library of Congress, where they are held in the Prints and Photographs division. We are working to restore these images, many of which were damaged when Dayton was flooded in 1913. As a part of this restoration project, we paid our local service bureau to scan these images from a set of microfiches published by the Library of Congress. The microfiche publication, available in many libraries, is entitled: Photographs by the Wright Brothers.

The scans from the microfiche are of marginal quality. As we obtain better negatives, the scans are replaced with larger and higher-quality images. Please be patient, or send lots of money.

All 301 photographs in the Wright collection are online, in the grouping determined by the Library of Congress microfiches. To facilitate access, each microfiche was further subdivided, so the final access hypertexts only incorporate a few thumbnail images and descriptions.

Each photograph is described in three ways. First, we give the microfiche location: 1A10 refers to frame 10, row A, of fiche 1. This is followed by the Library of Congress description of the image. Finally, we provide the Library of Congress negative number. You may order reproductions from:

The Library of Congress
Photoduplication service
Washington, D.C.  20540
(202) 707-5640

End Notes

Eagle-eyed viewers will note that the Library of Congress has 303 negatives, but only 301 images are available. What happened to the other two images? There were only 301 images on the source microfiches. Two of the images were not reproduced because they were near-duplicates of other images and in very bad condition. I don't know their exact status, but will look into it as soon as possible. My recollection is that the two images were of the 1904 craft in flight.