Washington, D.C. Places, Inc., . First edition of the book that elevated the theory that Gustave Whitehead (1874 – 1927) achieved powered flight two years before the Wright brothers. With twelve photo plates (including frontispiece) and two maps. With an eight-page appendix that compiles affidavits and periodical articles on Whitehead’s inventions. A fine copy in the near-fine pictorial dust jacket. Publisher’s black cloth titled in gilt. Octavo. 95 pp. Item #17540
In the present work, Stella Randolph (1895 – 1983) argues that Whitehead achieved powered flight two years before the Wright brothers and that the Wright brothers were directly influenced by his engineering. Randolph investigated Whitehead’s workers, his family (including his wife Louise Tuba Whitehead), and his inventions to state her case, which she presents here along with a collection of supporting affidavits, articles, and diagrams. While Whitehead’s claim to the title of “First in Flight” has been debunked by the Royal Aeronautical Society and Scientific American, the controversy over the timeline of the invention of powered flight persisted for over a century. Randolph was an Illinois-born freelance writer and clerk who worked primarily for welfare organizations and schools. In the late 1920s, she worked as the head of the Commercial Department of the American Women’s College in Istanbul before returning to the United States to work as Assistant Director of the Cleveland Child Health Association. She established and directed children’s health clinics and care centers, wrote publications for the Association, and wrote freelance while working on her Ph.D. in Cleveland. Randolph wrote the present book while working in public health in Washington, D.C. She went on to serve as the Director of Health Education for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society; then wrapped up her working life with ten years for the Department of the Army, doing research and writing for the Office of the Surgeon General. In 1966, she published a second book on Whitehead, titled Before the Wrights Flew.
Masal, Mary. “Guide to the Stella Randolph Collection on Gustave Whitehead.” University of Texas at Dallas Special Collections and Archives Division, History of Aviation Collection. Schlenoff, Daniel C. “Scientific American Debunks Claim Gustave Whitehead Was ‘First in Flight.’” Scientific American (July 8, 2014).