Discovering The Right Wright

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During the time I might have worked on my column for this week, I was writing a book review for my Monday Club. The club is a reader’s guild that was established in Lisbon, Ohio, in 1903. We members are proud to believe that it is likely one of the oldest clubs of its type in the state. Since I was on the program committee this year, I chose the book I would do a program on, which turned out to be one of the best I’ve read in the 19 years I’ve been in the club (and there have been some winners).

The Wright Sister, by Richard Maurer is an easy-to-read book (just over 120 pages) full of excellent period photographs that presents a new perspective on the Wright brothers through the story of their younger sister, Katharine. Along with his account of Katharine’s life, Maurer works in just enough description of the diligence Wilbur and Orvllle Wright devoted to developing a successful method of early flight without too much technical detail. It is for me a wonderful blend of biography, historical fact, and even a little romance.

He portrays the Wright sister, Katharine, who on sight might appear plain or prim, as a vivacious, confident woman full of spirited beauty who gave up her plans for a teaching career to become secretary and social director for the business of her enterprising brothers. Katharine’s role in their endeavors was essential to their success. The fame and wealth they achieved seems incidental when measured against the contribution they made to the progress of our age.

My family, my father included, took a trip to Dayton, Ohio, during our girls’ spring break from school a few weeks ago. Taking Dad, a former Air Force major and reconnaissance pilot to the Air Force Museum (which he has visited several times) was our primary goal. but, since my Monday Club program would be a short time after our trip, I hoped to glean some material to help beef up my book review.

Since none of the rest of us had ever been to Dayton before, and things are always changing at the museum (which made new things even for Dad to see), we spent most of our two-day stay there – a place like no other. We didn’t go closer to downtown Dayton where so many of the Wright sites are.

Although the home on Hawthorn St. where Katharine and her brothers lived was moved and made part of Henry Ford’s glorified, commemorative attractions at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Mich., there is much more to see in Dayton. After reading Maurer’s book, the area where Katharine Wright lived and assisted her brothers beckons me. Dad and I are already talking about another trip.

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