The most complete archive of Wright brothers newspapers available to date is now available in an online archive, thanks to a partnership between Special Collections and Archives in the Wright State University Libraries and the Dayton Metro Library.
The Wright Brothers Newspapers Digital Archive Project provides high-quality, searchable scans of more than 150 volumes and nearly 800 pages of articles from Wilbur’s and Orville’s neighborhood publications, according to an article on Wright State’s website.
Wilbur and Orville Wright operated a printing business from 1889 to 1899 — before they started their bicycle business and tackled the challenge of flight.
They worked on several publications and local newspapers, including the weekly West Side News; The daily Evening Item; The Midget, a small school newspaper; church pamphlets; parts catalogs for bicycles, and the Dayton Tattler, which they printed for Paul Laurence Dunbar, a neighborhood friend who would become a noted poet and novelist.
The newspapers provide a glimpse into the Wrights’ neighborhood and “open a window into their lives before flight, fame and fortune,” said Dawne Dewey, head of Special Collections and Archives.
The Midget, which was published in April 1886, the West Side News, published from March 1889 to May 1890, and The Evening Item, published from April 30 to June 14, 1890, are now available on CORE Scholar.
Additional issues will go live over the next several months. The Dayton Metro Library will add the newspapers to its website later this year.
The digitization project was made possible through a donation to the Wright State Department of Communication from the Greenwood Family.