Katharine Wright Haskell (1874-1929) Papers (KC0263)
Katharine Wright was born in Dayton, Ohio, the last child and only daughter of Bishop and Mrs. Milton Wright of the United Brethren Church. Her four older brothers included Wilbur and Orville Wright, the first men to accomplish powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. Katharine graduated from Oberlin College of Ohio in 1898 and afterwards taught Latin at Steele High School in Dayton and helped her brothers raise money for their famous project. Giving speeches and writing letters on behalf of the airplane experiment, Katharine was known to have been as necessary to the success of the flight at Kitty Hawk as were her brothers.
Always maintaining close ties with her alma mater, she was elected to the Board of Trustees of Oberlin College. Katharine had met and become friends with Henry Joseph Haskell and Isabel Cummings while the three were students at Oberlin College. Henry and Isabel married in 1901. The couple were frequent guests at the Wright home in Dayton over the years, and when Isabel died in 1923, Henry resumed a correspondence with Katharine. In time, a romance developed.
Wilbur, Orville and Katharine, each unmarried, lived together in Dayton. Eventually Orville had become dependent upon his sister's management of their home, especially after Wilbur's death in 1912. Katharine was well aware that her brother depended upon her in many ways and that her romantic relationship with Henry J. Haskell would greatly distress Orville. She kept the true nature of the involvement a secret from Orville and from most of their friends for some time. However, when Henry and Katharine finally informed Orville of their plans, he was very opposed to the marriage and did not attend or acknowledge the ceremony. On November 20, 1926, at Oberlin College, Katharine Wright married Henry J. Haskell of Kansas City, Missouri, an editor for the Kansas City Star. The couple lived in Kansas City where Katharine died in March 1929 of complications of pneumonia. It has been reported that Orville, whom she had not seen from the time of her marriage, visited her at her deathbed.
The papers consist mainly of correspondence from Katharine Wright to Henry J. Haskell. In the beginning, the correspondence was infrequent, but as the friendship grew into a romance, Katharine Wright wrote daily and sometimes three and four letters per day. Consequently, the later folders will include many letters. Also included are letters to Mr. Haskell from other friends, correspondence between Henry C. Haskell and a researcher in the 1970's, articles, clippings and photographs. 1922-1928.
55 folders (MICROFORM).
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Friday, February 08, 2008
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