Smithsonian conspiracy to deny Whitehead flew first now provable

Smithsonian conspiracy to deny Whitehead flew first now provable

Who flew first? Order the new book “Gustave Whitehead: First in Flight” to find out!

Smithsonian conspiracy to deny Whitehead flew first

(from www.gustavewhitehead.info)

March 21, 2014

A Smithsonian conspiracy to deny Whitehead flew first – ahead of the Wrights – is now provable. A never-before-known, direct connection between denying Whitehead flew first and the designing of the “Contract” (1) (2) with Smithsonian, including the label on the Wright Flyer has been “unearthed”. This is a game-changer that establishes exactly how Whitehead’s claim was deliberately, secretly, and effectively denied, all these years. It involves plotting behind the scenes, by Smithsonian curators and influential friends of Orville Wright, to provide Orville permanent credit that he did not deserve, without regard for historical facts. It worked for 70 years.

From 1935 through 1937, Stella Randolph, Whitehead’s first researcher and original biographer, wrote a series of articles and a book about Gustave Whitehead’s flights, which predated those of the Wright brothers. Her writings received national attention, to the dismay of Orville Wright and his supporters.

Following the death of Wilbur Wright in 1912, Orville, previously considered “the lesser brother”, worked unceasingly to establish his role in first flight. Until the date of Wilbur’s death, it was Wilbur who’d been credited with being first, established in the publication of the World Almanac of 1911. Orville’s flights of December 17, 1903 had been openly admitted as failures, by both brothers. Whitehead had been ignored, as the data and article had been put together by a secret, subrosa employee of the Wrights, Thomas Edison’s former right-hand engineer, William J. Hammer. Hammer was hired by Wilbur Wright to promote the brothers as first in flight, amongst other duties. Hammer would go on to perjure himself as an independent expert during the Wright patent trials, where the World Almanac article was entered as evidence that the Wright brothers deserved “pioneer inventors” status. In the popular mind and the media, following Hammer’s PR campaigns that began in 1906, and with the support of the New York aero clubs, the Wrights were seen as “first in flight”.

Once Randolph began to publicize the earlier flights of Whitehead, friends of the Wrights organized to stamp out the claims wherever they appeared. They began to use their considerable influence to attempt to stop the Whitehead information from getting out the public, as if it was heresy. News of Whitehead’s credit was spreading like wildfire in Hollywood, in syndicated magazine articles nationwide, on a very popular coast-to-coast radio show, in ads on NYC subway cars, an article in the Reader’s Digest, and with a Harvard professor of transportation who called for a Congressional hearing on the topic. Friends of Orville felt these had to be controlled.

Major Lester D. Gardner and Earl Nelson Findley, two of the most influential Wright supporters, openly discussed their mutual campaign to credit Orville and wipe out Whitehead’s claim in letters that they wrote, back and forth, from 1939-1946. Both Gardner and Findley were widely recognized in aeronautical circles of the era, particularly for their close relationships with Orville Wright. Major Lester D. Gardner was the former publisher of the journal Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering in 1916, and founder of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences (IAS), located in New York City, in 1932. Its first honorary fellow was Orville Wright. Earl Findley was the first editor of US Air Services magazine. Findley formerly was a reporter and editor for the New York Times who became very close to the Wright brothers and the Wright family, for the rest of his life.

In 1939, Major Lester D. Gardner and Earl Findley orchestrated and co-produced the so-called “Stanley Yale Beach Whitehead Statement“, which denounced Whitehead could ever have flown (mentioned in the book “History by Contract” by O’Dwyer and Randolph).

Stanley Yale Beach, former Aviation Editor and supporter of Whitehead flights through 1908, is influenced to write a negative statement on GW in 1939, and he writes Major Lester Gardner to ask him to "cut out anything he doesn't like" in the Beach statement that Gardner and Findley solicited. The draft is heavily edited by three individuals, one is Gardner, the other, Findley. Letters back and forth clearly show this.

Stanley Yale Beach, former Aviation Editor and supporter of Whitehead flights through 1908, is influenced to write a negative statement on GW in 1939, and he writes Major Lester Gardner to ask him to “cut out anything he doesn’t like” in the Beach statement that Gardner and Findley solicited. The draft is heavily edited by three individuals, one is Gardner, the other, Findley. Letters back and forth clearly show this.

The heavily edited Beach statement drafts looked like this (pages 1 & 2 of 6):

Beach Whitehead Statement Draft 1 (p. 1 of 6) with heavy edits including Gardner's.

Beach Whitehead Statement Draft 1 (p. 1 of 6) with heavy edits including Gardner’s.

 

Beach Whitehead Statement Draft 1 (p. 2 of 6) with heavy edits including Gardner's.

Beach Whitehead Statement Draft 1 (p. 2 of 6) with heavy edits including Gardner’s.

Major Lester Gardner (LDF) wrote Earl Findley on April 11, 1939, after he’d received the final draft. He said, “I have just received the statement from Stanley Beach…If you knew him you would know what a job it was to pry this out of him. I could not edit it as I would have wished, but you could do so by omissions in any article you write.” Then Gardner proceeds to express concern that Stella Randolph, in her book “Lost Flights of Gustave Whitehead” (1937) talked about an early visit to Whitehead’s shop from the Wright brothers. He wants Findley to look into it. Also, Gardner mentions Randolph used a Wright quote in her 1935 Popular Aviation article, without a citation, “Man will never fly in a thousand years” and asks Findley to read it. Gardner and Findley have become a “tag-team” to defend Orville’s desired position as first in flight and attack Whitehead researcher Randolph and supporters. They will continue this through 1948 culminating in the legal contract requiring Orville to receive that credit, to the exclusion of Whitehead, their nemesis, and all others.

Gardner writes Findley about the final Beach statement, revealing how to best use it and that he couldn't edit it fully as he wished, but Findley can.

Gardner writes Findley about the final Beach statement, revealing how to best use it and that he couldn’t edit it fully as he wished, but Findley can.

Both Gardner and Findley became recipients of a piece of cloth from the Wright Flyer as a token of esteem afterward(perhaps, thanks for their dogged support) from Orville.

The unpublished and unsigned Beach statement was then deliberately provided to Orville Wright, influencing him to use it as the basis for his “The Mythical Whitehead Flight” article of 1945 (below), published in Findley’s US Air Services magazine. Orville’s negative Whitehead article, denying Whitehead or his plane could ever have flown is still the “playbook” for denying Whitehead, used by Smithsonian curators through the present date.

Just a few years later, Gardner and Findley, who vowed to salvage Orville’s title and to destroy Whitehead’s claims, have now been revealed as key consultants, invited by the Smithsonian curator, Paul Garber (3), to design the final details of the “Smithsonian-Wright Agreement of 1948″ (aka “the Contract”), following Orville’s death in January, 1948. This direct connection to the creators of the denouncement of Whitehead and their subsequent influence on “the Contract” was never before known, outside of the inner circles in Smithsonian, where the documents are kept. Others who worked on the label included Wright family members, Orville’s longtime secretary, Mabel Beck (with whom he is said to have had a longterm affair), and the Smithsonian curator, Paul Garber, described as “very loyal to Orville”. The Wright Flyer label was designed by highly biased individuals based on what they felt Orville would have wanted, and what would secure credit for the first flight. No historical investigation was conducted to make the label accurate. This is clear from the correspondence and transcripts included in the Smithsonian archives concerning the planning of the Contract.

This is the required wording for the Wright Flyer* exhibit that resulted from the biased group’s efforts, which attempts to “cement” the credit for first flight for Orville, who had just died earlier that year.

“The Original Wright Brothers’ Aeroplane

The World’s First Power-Driven Heavier-than-Air Machine

In Which Man Made Free, Controlled, and

Sustained Flight

Invented and Built by Wilbur and Orville Wright

Flown by Them at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

December 17, 1903

By Original Scientific Research the Wright Brothers Discovered The Principles of Human Flight”

[and]

“The first flight lasted only twelve seconds, a flight very modest compared with that of birds, but it was nevertheless the first in the history of the world in which a machine carrying a man had raised itself by its own power into the air in free flight, had sailed forward on a level course without reduction of speed, and had finally landed without being wrecked. The second and third flights were a little longer, and the fourth lasted 59 seconds covering a distance of 852 feet over the ground against a 20 mile wind.

Wilbur and Orville Wright
(From Century Magazine**, Vol. 76 September 1908, p. 649)”
Author’s Notes:
* A link to the Wright Flyer Wikipedia page is cited
**Orville and his sister Katherine wrote the Century Magazine article without Wilbur, crediting Orville, when Wilbur was out of the country for an extended period. By the time Wilbur returned, it had been published. Orville credited himself, rather than Wilbur, then, and later, as first in flight. This is a matter of record, per the correspondences concerning this article, located at the LOC in the Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright.

The Smithsonian-Wright Agreement of 1948, allowed Smithsonian to obtain the Wright Flyer for $1 from the Orville Wright estate. It also allowed Orville Wright heirs significant estate tax benefits. The agreement, often referred to as “the Contract”, essentially requires Smithsonian and all its affiliates, to recognize the Wright Flyer as the first airplane that flew with power, and Orville Wright as the first successful aviator. Required labels on the exhibit and required placement in the Smithsonian are included. If the Contract is broken, the Wright Flyer, the most popular exhibit at the Smithsonian, returns to the heirs. The Contract, originally kept secret from the public, was learned of and obtained by Major William J. O’Dwyer (USAF, ret.), with the help of then-Senator Lowell Weicker, Jr., in 1976. [More on “the Contract” here. Photocopy (pdf) of the “Smithsonian-Wright Agreement of 1948″ on Fox News’ site (Fox News, Apr.1, 2013)]

The communications between Gardner and Findley concerning Whitehead’s claim as first in flight were very clear – they wanted to stamp out that claim and worked on this for 11 years following the publication of Stella Randolph’s book. They were in a position to do so, behind the scenes. Letters received and sent between Gardner, Findley, Beach, and Orville Wright, amongst others, are located at the Library of Congress, in their Gustave Whitehead collection, and the Earl Findley and Lester Gardner sections of the Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright archives. Interestingly, and obviously by design, none of these appear on the public listing online, but they are there. Who at the LOC decided that these should be hidden from the public?

Their efforts worked, too, quite effectively, for the past (nearly) seven decades. Exposing the Gardner – Findley involvement in the development of Smithsonian-Wright Agreement of 1948 “the Contract” exposes “the agreement” with Smithsonian for what it was – a means to deny Whitehead a claim on first flight. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM) curators and Wright supporters cannot continue to maintain that it was developed solely to fend off old Smithsonian claims that its former Secretary, Samuel P. Langley, built “the first plane capable of flight”, which had so angered Orville in 1928.

Below is a letter sent in August from Smithsonian’s Assistant Secretary, naming Gardner and Findley as parties to the ongoing process to determine the wording of the Wright Flyer exhibit labels, which continued through Sept. and Oct. of 1948. Additional documents obtained include transcripts of conversations and letters between the principal parties.

S.Conspiracy.letter1

 

 

Letter confirming Lester Gardner's involvement with development of Wright Flyer labels.

Letter confirming Lester Gardner’s involvement with development of Wright Flyer labels (part a).

….. (letter continues to end):

Letter confirming Gardner participation (part b).

Letter confirming Gardner participation (part b).

 

Lester Gardner replies to Graff that he will see Mr. Miller (co-executor of OW estate) on Tues. and if the changes [to the labels] are satisfactory to him and Ms. Beck [OW secretary] he will be glad to agree with them.

Lester Gardner replies to a letter from Smithsonian Asst. Secretary Graf that he will see Mr. Miller (co-executor of OW estate) on Tues. and if the changes [to the labels] are satisfactory to him and Ms. Beck [OW secretary] he will be glad to agree with them.

Earl N. Findley describes some of his meetings re: the label, below, in a transcribed discussion with Paul Garber of the Smithsonian. Findley tries to downplay his importance within the group in determining the Wright Flyer label.

Transcript of talk between Findley and Paul Garber, heading.

Transcript of talk between Findley and Paul Garber, heading.

 

Paul Garber reminds Findley he is participating in the label process to represent Orville Wright.

Paul Garber reminds Findley he is participating in the label process to represent Orville Wright.

Paul Garber, key founder and a first curator of the Smithsonian National Air Museum (1946) reminds Findley he is there to represent Orville Wright, due to his close relationship. It is very important to note that Findley had sent Orville a telegram on July 14, 1945, three years before, where he asks Orville to help him “dynamite” the Whitehead claim that appeared in the Reader’s Digest of July, 1945.

This is the “offending” Reader’s Digest article:

This Reader's Digest column entitled "Firsts" mentions Gustave Whitehead claims recently covered in a coast-to-coast radio show featuring Whitehead's son, Charles. Findley became upset and worked with Orville to correct this "problem". Later, Findley ridiculed the Readers Digest editors and even mentioned trying to get them to retract the statements.

Originally published in “Liberty Magazine”, this Reader’s Digest column entitled “Firsts” mentions Gustave Whitehead claims recently covered in a coast-to-coast radio show featuring Whitehead’s son, Charles. Findley became upset and worked with Orville to correct this “problem”. Later, Findley ridiculed the Readers Digest editors and even mentioned trying to get them to retract the statements.

Earl Findley writes his good friend Orville Wright about the July 1945 Reader's Digest article giving credit to Whitehead for first flight. Findley wishes to "dynamite" it. Asks OW to help use "facts" which Findley and Gardner had supplied him with in the so-called Stanley Yale Beach Whitehead Statement that Findley and Gardner had edited heavily.

Earl Findley writes his good friend Orville Wright about the July 1945 Reader’s Digest article giving credit to Whitehead for first flight. Findley wishes to “dynamite” it. Asks OW to help use “facts” which Findley and Gardner had supplied him with in the so-called Stanley Yale Beach Whitehead Statement that Findley and Gardner had edited heavily.

 

What evolved out of that suggestion was Orville’s inaccurate attack on Whitehead, “The Mythical Whitehead Flight” article published in Findley’s magazine in August, 1945:

Orville Wright's heavily biased, misleading article, "Mythical Whitehead Flight", part of scheme to discredit Whitehead, orchestrated by Findley and Gardner 1939-1945.

Orville Wright’s heavily biased, misleading article, “Mythical Whitehead Flight”, part of scheme to discredit Whitehead, orchestrated by Findley and Gardner 1939-1945.

Earl Findley, in a letter to Orville on November 30, 1945, describes Whitehead supporters including Dr. Albert Zahm, very unpleasantly, as follows: “Zahm is still not the only ——- in the woodpile, but several snakes in the bull-rushes as well” [see below]. Findley further lambasts Zahm, who has been improperly blamed for the Wbitehead claims, by telling him that the new Librarian of Congress wishes to find a younger man to take the place of Zahm…, then stating, “They couldn’t get a worse man than Zahm, even if they offered a reward of a million dollars for him. There isn’t any.”

Findley writes Orville crudely criticizing Dr. Albert Zahm of the LOC, who has been unfairly blamed for the Whitehead claims. Censored for 2014 audience.

Findley writes Orville crudely criticizing Dr. Albert Zahm of the LOC, who has been unfairly blamed for the Whitehead claims. Censored for 2014 audience.

Dr. Albert Zahm, professor of physics, was a highly esteemed national authority on early aviation, a chief of the Aeronautical Division of the U.S. Library of Congress, and a longtime critic of the Wrights, who’d published a treatise called “Early Powerplane Fathers” in 1945 that came close to crediting Whitehead for pre-Wright flights. Dr. Zahm wrote in May, 1944, ” It is technically possible, humanly very credible, that in 1902, Whitehead flew with petrol power.” Earl N. Findley was not only very angry at all the Whitehead supporters, including Dr. Zahm, but spent a decade trying to destroy the Whitehead claim to first flight and exact retractions. When he got his chance to develop a label that would forevermore credit Orville for first flight, it was the culmination of those efforts.

These are the missing links that shows “the Contract”, with the required Wright Flyer’s misleading label was directly aimed at denying Whitehead a chance for recognition as “first in flight”, having been developed by his foremost attackers within a small, heavily biased group. The above is only a small part of what is available at the Library of Congress and Smithsonian showing decades of collusion resulting in false credit for Orville Wright and the reasons why Whitehead never received credit nor even a fair evaluation from the Smithsonian.

1. More on “the Contract” here. Photocopy (pdf) of the “Smithsonian-Wright Agreement of 1948″ on Fox News’ site (Fox News, Apr.1, 2013)]

2. Visit www.historybycontract.org for more information on the Smithsonian-Wright Agreement of 1948.

3. Transcript of Conversation between Mr. Findley and Mr. Garber, September 15, 1948 (NASM, Smithsonian)

4. Wrong With Wright: Smithsonian Under Fire For Wright Brothers Contract (Jonathan Turley, April 2, 2013)

This full article may be freely shared and posted under “fair use”, as long as it is complete and credited to Susan O’Dwyer Brinchman.

For media inquiries, contact gwfirstinflight (at) gmail (dot) com

© Susan Brinchman 2014

FOIA Submitted for Smithsonian-Wright Contract Documents

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Who flew first? Order the new book “Gustave Whitehead: First in Flight” to find out!

On October 31, 2013, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was sent to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM)‘s Head Curator Tom Crouch, to obtain documents pertaining to the Smithsonian Wright Agreement of 1948, whereby Smithsonian obtained the Wright Flyer for $1 and the Orville Wright heirs were allowed a significant estate tax benefit.

Head curator Tom Crouch who is from the Wrights' hometown of Dayton OH is one reason Whitehead can't get a fair evaluation.

Head Curator Tom Crouch , native of the Wrights’ hometown of Dayton OH, received the FOIA request. The Wright Flyer, obtained with the Contract in 1948, is pictured behind him.

 

The agreement, often referred to as “the Contract”, essentially requires Smithsonian and all its affiliates, to recognize the Wright Flyer as the first airplane that flew with power, and Orville Wright as the first successful aviator. If the Contract is broken, the Wright Flyer, the most popular exhibit at the Smithsonian, returns to the heirs. The Contract, originally kept secret from the public, was learned of and obtained by Major William J. O’Dwyer (USAF, ret.), with the help of then-Senator Lowell Weiker, Jr., in 1976.

This FOIA was submitted by a resident of Connecticut.

FOIA Smithsonian Wright Contract p. 1

FOIA Smithsonian Wright Contract p. 2

FOIA Smithsonian page 1

FOIA Smithsonian page 1

Smithsonian FOIA page 2

FOIA Smithsonian page 2

Letter of Demand to Nullify Smithsonian-Wright Contractual Agreement

Who flew first? Order the new book “Gustave Whitehead: First in Flight” to find out!

A link to this letter with contract attached is available here for download as a Word or PDF document. I encourage everyone to sign and send in to those who oversee the Smithsonian, according to the laws of the United States.

These are:

Smithsonian Chancellor and Chief Justice of the United States Roberts, Vice President Joe Biden, and the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian, CC: Washington Post Editor and your local media.

On August 31, 2013, the CT Post ran this op-ed concerning the Smithsonian Contract becoming a potential subject of an audit by the US GAO. Contact your members of Congress to request this GAO audit.

“First in flight” still up in the air

“First in flight” still up in the air The former head of the federal General Accounting Office said he would like to see the GAO take a look at the so-called “agreement” between the Wright family and the Smithsonian, seen by many as a linchpin… (read article here)

News article about this Letter of Demand: Smithsonian asked to nullify Wright Brothers first in flight …

—————————————————————————–

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

TO THE SMITHSONIAN CHANCELLOR JUSTICE JOHN G. ROBERTS, JR.

TO THE SMITHSONIAN BOARD OF REGENTS,

TO ALL MEMBERS OF CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

On behalf of world educators, students and those who love history, taxpayers of the United States of America, the general public, and all those who seek accuracy in history and desire integrity in our government funded agencies …

  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian Institution (heretofore referred to as “Smithsonian”) is administrated by the United States of America
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian is comprised of 19 museums, 9 research centers, multiple research programs, 13 facilities conducting museum research including the National Air and Space Museum, and 177 Smithsonian affiliate museums in 41 states, Puerto Rico and Panama[1]  [2]  [3]
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian’s mission is “the increase and diffusion of knowledge”
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian’s vision is to preserve our heritage, “discovering NEW knowledge, and sharing [its] resources with the world”
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian declares that it shall carry out ALL [its] work with integrity
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian declares that it shall carry out ALL [its] work with the greatest responsibility
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian declares that it shall carry out ALL [its] work with accountability
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian sets down values in its Strategic Plan that include discovery of new knowledge
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian sets down values in its Strategic Plan that include creativity, instilling its work with imagination and innovation
  1.  WHEREAS the Smithsonian sets down values in its Strategic Plan that include excellence in [its] endeavors
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian sets down values in its Strategic Plan that include respect for diversity and richness in differences
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian sets down values in its Strategic Plan that include striving for organizational excellence
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian sets down values in its Strategic Plan that include service to the public and stakeholders
  1.  WHEREAS the Smithsonian sets down Priorities in its Strategic Plan that include broadening access
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian sets down Priorities in its Strategic Plan that include strengthening collections
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian sets down Priorities in its Strategic Plan that include organizational excellence
  1. WHEREAS Smithsonian has stated in its Strategic Plan that “A Smithsonian that can effectively respond to challenges and grasp opportunities will thrive in the 21st century as a source of pride to Americans and a fount of knowledge and inspiration to the world. “[4]
  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian is governed by a Board of Regents with 17 members that include the Chief Justice of the United States and the Vice President of the United States; six Congressional members; and nine members of the general public[5]

The members of the Board of Regents are:

  1. WHEREAS the Smithsonian has, as its Chancellor, the Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr.
  1. INSOFAR as the Smithsonian has signed an Agreement with the co-executors of the Orville Wright Estate in November 23, 1948, [heretofore to be referred to as “the Contract”] in order to acquire and retain “the Wright Aeroplane of 1903” [popularly known as “the Wright Flyer”], that sells the “the Wright Aeroplane of 1903” to the United States of America for $1 subject to the terms of a “Contract”[6]
  1. INSOFAR as the Smithsonian has signed “the Contract” requiring special placement of the “the Wright Aeroplane of 1903”
  1. INSOFAR as the Smithsonian has signed “the Contract” which provides for restrictive recognition of the Wright Brothers as inventors and builders of “the World’s First Power-Driven Heavier-than-Air Machine in Which Man Made Free, Controlled and Sustained Flight”
  1. INSOFAR as the Smithsonian has signed “the Contract” which requires a statement to that effect be placed on the label for “the Wright Aeroplane of 1903”; which statement provides credit to Orville Wright as the first man “in the history of the world to fly in free flight, sailing forth without reduction of speed, landing without wreckage”;
  1. INSOFAR as the Smithsonian has signed “the Contract” which forbids the Smithsonian Institution or its successors nor any museum or other agency, bureau or facilities administered for the United States of America by the Smithsonian Institution or its successors, [to] publish or permit to be displayed a statement or label in connection with or in respect of any aircraft model or design of earlier date than the Wright Aeroplane of 1903, claiming in effect that such aircraft was capable of carrying a man under its own power in controlled flight”.[7]
  1. INSOFAR as the executive heads of all federal government departments and agencies have received a memorandum, under the “the Open Government Initiative”[8], signed by President Obama on January 21, 2009,  that includes the following:

“My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

Government should be transparent.  Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.  Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.” (Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, Jan. 21, 2009)

  1. INSOFAR as the executive heads of all federal government departments and agencies have received a directive, under the “the Open Government Directive”, issued December 8, 2009, to take specific actions to “publish government information online, improve the quality of government information, create and institutionalize a culture of open government” [9]
  1. I HEREBY REQUEST that the Smithsonian Institution immediately and permanently prominently post on its website a certified, true and complete scanned copy of the aforementioned signed “Contract” between the United States Government (Smithsonian Institution) and the co-executors of the Estate of Orville Wright of November 23, 1948, concerning the acquisition of the Wright Aeroplane of 1903
  1. I HEREBY SUBMIT that “the Contract” signed by the Smithsonian and the co-executors of the Wright Estate, with it specific terms and requirements pertaining to the purchased acquisition and retention of the ” Wright Aeroplane of  1903″ for Smithsonian, signed November 23, 1948, creates bias and stifles inquiry, interferes with the Mission, Values and Strategic Plan of the Smithsonian Institution, the work of its employees, and all its affiliates.
  1.  I HEREBY SUBMIT that “the Contract” signed by the Smithsonian and the co-executors of the Wright Estate, with it specific terms and requirements pertaining to the purchased acquisition and retention of the  Wright Aeroplane of  1903 for Smithsonian, signed November 23, 1948 be immediately stricken down and nullified, and that ownership of the Wright Aeroplane of 1903 be renegotiated with appropriate legal remedies, in accordance with the Mission, Values and Strategic Plan of the Smithsonian Institution, or returned to the heirs of Orville Wright.
  1. I HEREBY REQUEST a Congressional investigation of the implications and results of Smithsonian’s Secretary having signed such a “Contract”, as well as the conduct and biases of the employees of Smithsonian Institution, including but not limited to those pertaining to crediting early aviation history and pioneers, particularly those who may have been first-to-fly, or made significant contributions to developing flight..
  1. I HEREBY REQUEST appropriate direction from Congress, the Board of Regents and Chancellor of the Smithsonian for Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM) and its related affiliates to apply and put into practice Mission, Values and Strategic Plan of the Smithsonian Institution.
  1. I HEREBY REQUEST for additional independent monitoring and feedback regarding NASM and the Smithsonian in these areas by independent stakeholder members of the public who will report publicly at least yearly, to Congress and the American people.
  1. I HEREBY REQUEST appropriate directives from Congress, the Board of Regents and Chancellor of the Smithsonian, to prevent any future or current Contractual Agreements, terms of purchases, loans, or donations from limiting inquiry and dissemination of knowledge, or any additional portions of the Mission, Values and Strategic Plan or bylaws of the Smithsonian Institution.

 

Sign this Letter of Demand (LOD) too and send it to those Governing the Smithsonian http://www.si.edu/Governance/Members with a cover letter if possible, addressed to Chancellor Chief Justice John G Roberts, Jr., and the Board of Regents, including Vice President Joseph Biden, contact info located at http://www.si.edu/Governance/Contact

 

PLEASE POST ON YOUR FB PAGE, TO YOUR EMAIL LIST, AND SHARE WIDELY

(Signatories below and attached)

 

1. Signatory: Date: _____________

____________________________________

(printed name)

____________________________________

(signature)

____________________________________

(address)

____________________________________

(city, state, zip)

____________________________________

(country)

____________________________________

(email address)

 

2. Signatory: Date: _____________

____________________________________

(printed name)

____________________________________

(signature)

____________________________________

(address)

____________________________________

(city, state, zip)

____________________________________

(country)

____________________________________

(email address)


[1] https://affiliations.si.edu/DetailPage.Asp?MenuID=32

[2] http://www.si.edu/ResearchCenters

[3] http://www.si.edu/ResearchCenters/Museum-Research

[4] http://www.si.edu/About/Mission

Our Mission: The increase and diffusion of knowledge; Our Vision: Shaping the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world ; Our Values: Discovery: Explore and bring to light new knowledge and ideas, and better ways of doing business; Creativity: Instill our work with imagination and innovation;Excellence: Deliver the highest-quality products and services in all endeavors; Diversity: Capitalize on the richness inherent in differences

Integrity: Carry out all our work with the greatest responsibility and accountability

Service: Be of benefit to the public and our stakeholders; Our Priorities: Four Grand Challenges: Focus on the four grand challenges outlined in the Smithsonian Strategic Plan; Broadening Access: Digitizing our collections, exploring next-generation technologies and improving the visitor experience, Revitalizing Education: Serve as a laboratory to create models and methods of innovative informal education and link them to formal education system, Crossing Boundaries: Establish interdisciplinary consortia around each of the four grand challenges, Strengthening Collections: Develop collections plan to support Institution-wide initiatives, Organizational Excellence: Strengthen organizational services that allow us to deliver on our mission, Measuring Performance: Establish performance indicators that will specifically and annually measure progress toward our goals.

 

[5] http://www.si.edu/Governance/Members

[6] http://www.gustave-whitehead.com/history-of-whitehead-critics/contract-signed-1948-11-23-by-smithsonian-and-wright-heirs/

[7] Agreement signed November 23, 1948 between the Wright Estate (signed by co-executors Harold S. Miller and Harold W. Steeper) and United States of America, (signed by the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Alexander Wetmore) in order to acquire the Wright Aeroplane of 1903. http://newsdesk.si.edu/sites/default/files/Wright-Contract.pdf

[8] http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment/

[9] http://www.whitehouse.gov/open/documents/open-government-directive

History by Contract: Early Aviation History for Sale at Smithsonian

NC.2ndIn 1948, The Smithsonian allowed Orville Wright’s estate to purchase a place in history, crediting the Wright Brothers as inventing and flying the first powered airplane – something we have been taught ever since. How did this occur? A behind-the-scenes “agreement” between the heirs of Orville Wright and the Smithsonian (United States Government) was signed, allowing the Smithsonian to obtain the coveted “Wright Flyer” as an exhibit, for $1. The Orville Wright heirs were allowed a tax credit. Everyone was happy. Except, of course, those taxpayers, educators, and history lovers who feel history should not be compromised for profit by the government’s “experts”. This is truly an embarrassment for the United States, whose name is on that document.

The “agreement”, which we shall refer to as “the Contract”, requires the Smithsonian to imply that Orville Wright was the first man in powered flight, and the Wright Flyer as “World’s First Power-Driven Heavier-Than-Air Machine in Which Man Made Free, Controlled, and Sustained Flight”, invented and Built by Wilbur and Orville Wright, Flown by Them at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, December 17, 1903…”

Oh, and one more detail (the devil is in the details, you see): if Smithsonian (or any of its nearly 200 affiliated museums or research facilities) breaks the Contract and recognizes that any other person or plane flew first … the Wright Flyer reverts to the heirs. Under certain conditions, Smithsonian may buy it back – and for far more than a dollar.

The Wright Flyer is one of their prime exhibits, a major money-maker. The Smithsonian prides itself on its expertise regarding the history of early aviation, including how the Wrights invented the airplane. Books are published by curators, the public streams in to Smithsonian, Kitty Hawk, and Dayton, OH to view the hallowed grounds and artifacts. It is an industry estimated to be in the many hundreds of millions, at least.

The Smithsonian-Wright Contract Revealed

The American public and the rest of the world knew nothing about the Contract which was denied and kept a secret for decades. Only a few Smithsonian insiders knew about it. However, Major William J. O’Dwyer, (US AF, ret.), an early aviation researcher who noticed something was very wrong at Smithsonian, obtained the help of Connecticut Senator Lowell Weicker. With Senator Weicker’s office assisting, the signed Contract was pried out of Smithsonian’s archives in 1976, using the Freedom of Information Act. The Contract was first published in 1978 in the book “History by Contract” by O’Dwyer and Randolph.

History by Contract by O'Dwyer and Randolph (1978)

History by Contract by O’Dwyer and Randolph (1978)

Recently, Fox News obtained the Contract, covered it in a story, and placed it on their website. Not surprisingly, Smithsonian has never published the Contract on any of its website pages or in any books.  There is even a very critical Fox News Blog on the Smithsonian-Wright Contract, by Jonathan Turley.

Smithsonian Defends the Contract

What is wrong with this picture? Since it was signed, Smithsonian curators have doggedly defended the Contract and its terms. This interferes with neutral historical inquiry. There is another strong contender – Gustave Whitehead, of Connecticut has been recognized as the first in powered flight, by Jane’s All The World Aircraft, a highly respected publisher, considered to be the world authority on aviation (in fact, called “the bible of aviation history”).

Gustave Whitehead First in Powered Flight 1901

Gustave Whitehead
First in Powered Flight 1901

Whitehead, reported to have flown on August 14, 1901 for the past hundred twelve years by journalists, witnesses, and researchers, cannot be recognized by Smithsonian – or the Flyer is lost to them. Naturally, the Smithsonian curators, defenders of the Contract, are, shall we say, not pleased by these recognitions, and have issued a statement providing excuses for why the Contract was signed, including this telling comment:

Critics have also charged that no Smithsonian staff member would ever be willing to entertain such a possibility and risk losing a national treasure. I can only hope that, should persuasive evidence for a prior flight be presented, my colleagues and I would have the courage and the honesty to admit the new evidence and risk the loss of the Wright Flyer.” (Tom Crouch, Head Curator)

We hope so too, Mr. Crouch, but we aren’t holding our breath! Courage and honesty have seemed to be in short demand at the Smithsonian, for a great deal of the past century.

Request for Nullification of the Contract

On March 25, 2013 Susan O’Dwyer Brinchman, research assistant to and daughter of William J. O’Dwyer, issued a “Letter of Demand to all 17 members of the Smithsonian Board of Regents to have the contract nullified, “as it creates bias and stifles inquiry, interfering with the Mission, Values, and Strategic Plan of the Smithsonian and its 200 affiliated museums and research facilities.[13][14] (Wikipedia)

To date, the answer of the Smithsonian Board of Regents has been silence. Complete silence. This tells us they approve of the Contract and think that the furor over its existence will disappear.

History has been compromised, by Contract, to obtain and keep a prized exhibit. Its very existence is a slap in the face to all Americans. This is plain corruption of the system that is supposed to provide truth about history. Shall this continue? To protest the Smithsonian-Wrights Contract and request its immediate revocation and nullification, click here for more info.

More about the Smithsonian-Wright Contract:

  1. Contract – Gustave Whitehead
  2. Photocopy (pdf) of the “Smithsonian-Wright Agreement of 1948″ on Fox News(Fox News, Apr.1, 2013)
  3. Smithsonian Releases Wright Brothers Contract detailing ‘first in flight’ claims (Fox News, J. Kaplan, Apr.1, 2013)
  4. To view the Contract as searchable text: http://www.historybycontract.com
  5. Smithsonian Affiliates covered by the Contract (forbidden to acknowledge any others who flew before the Wrights in 1903)
  6.  National Geographic Article on topic:   Wright Brothers Flight Legacy Hits New Turbulence (3 May 2013)
  7. Smithsonian asked to nullify Wright Brothers first in flight
  8. Letter demands Smithsonian bury flyer contract
  9. A letter of request that you can send with signatures to have Smithsonian-Wright Contract nullified
  10. Could Wright brothers, N.C. lose ‘first in flight’ stature? – USA Today
  11. Sources for purchasing used copies of “History by Contract” (the book, which is out of print): eBay, Alibris.com, abebooks.com, amazon.com
  12. Tom Crouch, Smithsonian, Senior Curator (contact him to request copy of contract and for nullification)
  13. Members of the Smithsonian Board of Regents who administrate Smithsonian and thus, are allowing the Contract to continue:

The members of the Board of Regents are:

More About Gustave Whitehead:

  1. Megan Adam’s website (Whitehead descendant) : http://www.gustavewhitehead.org/
  2. John Brown’s website: http://www.gustave-whitehead.org
  3. Open letter to Tom Crouch (Smithsonian Senior Curator) by John Brown (March, 2013)
  4. Gustave Whitehead and the First-Flight Controversy – History Net
  5. Could Wright brothers, N.C. lose ‘first in flight’ stature? – USA Today
  6. “The Who Flew First Debate”, archived article from Flight Journal by William J. O’Dwyer
  7. Wright brothers flew 2 years after Gustav Whitehead, researcher claims
  8. Historian Propels Connecticut To Claim ‘First In Flight’ : NPR
  9. For the Whitehead believers, a long road to recognition
  10. First in flight
  11. Museums:
    1. Gustav Weisskopf Museum, Leutershausen, Germany
    2. Fairfield Museum, Fairfield, CT (call ahead to find out when Whitehead exhibit will be shown)
    3. CT Air and Space Center, Stratford, CT (has replica of #21 Whitehead plane that flies)
  12. Archives:

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. (John F. Kennedy)

 

We have been fed a myth about who was first in flight!

Copyright S. Brinchman 2013