Lot #178
Alexander Graham Bell

The inventor of the telephone pays tribute to the inventor of flight, Wilbur Wright: “Few things in history are more remarkable than the resolution and self restraint with which he worked year after year perfecting his machine”
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Estimate: $6000+

Description

The inventor of the telephone pays tribute to the inventor of flight, Wilbur Wright: “Few things in history are more remarkable than the resolution and self restraint with which he worked year after year perfecting his machine”

Typed manuscript, signed "Alexander Graham Bell," two pages, 8.5 x 11, personal letterhead, no date but circa June 1912. In full: "In the untimely death of Wilbur Wright the world loses a very remarkable man. While I have met him a number of times, our acquaintance was of the most superficial character; and my knowledge of his work is only such as could be gleaned from the public press. He, however, impressed me as a man of great force and indomitable will-silent, purposeful and valuing achievement more than fame.

He set before himself a certain goal; and he went towards it utterly unmoved by the adulation lavished upon him. Few things in history are more remarkable than the resolution and self restraint with which he worked year after year perfecting his machine, knowing that he could fly and that he had but to start his machine to concentrate the eyes of the world upon himself-and yet holding his peace until assured in his own mind beyond any question of doubt that he could not only fly, but fly for long distances and great lengths of time.

Nothing is more characteristic of him than his steady refusal to cross the British Channel. Again and again he had proved his ability to do so, and yet refrained from making the attempt from the feeling that it would be only a sensational feat to be applauded by the unthinking, but adding nothing to what he had already accomplished. And when he had demonstrated the capabilities of his machine he retired to Dayton to push on in silence towards other achievements.

Very beautiful was the bond that united the two brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright; and to the one who has been left behind the sincere sympathy of all the world goes forth." In fine condition, with minor paper loss to the corners.

When Wilbur Wright died from typhoid in May of 1912, the world collectively mourned the loss of the aviation legend. Published in the July, 1912, Aero Club of America Bulletin, this tribute from Alexander Graham Bell appeared alongside words of praise from at home and abroad, including Theodore Roosevelt and President Taft. Touting both his accomplishments and his character—highlighting Wright's refusal to cross the British Channel though certainly capable, putting the integrity of his work before the applause of the public—Bell, founder of the Aerial Experiment Association, captured Wilbur's magnitude with great finesse. A powerful manuscript connecting two of America's most important inventors.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #604 - Ended March 10, 2021





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