The Wright family collection consists primarily of correspondence related to the Morfit family and to Wilbur and Orville Wright's uncle, John Wright.
Language: The material is in English Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave. The University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190 Phone: 734-764-2347 Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
Wright Family Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
The collection is arranged chronologically.
Henry Mason Morfit was born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1793. After his capture at sea in 1810, Morfit escaped from his French captors and returned to the United States, where he became a lawyer and Andrew Jackson's commissioner to Texas in 1836. In 1857, he moved to Maryland, where he remained until his death. He and his wife, Catherine Campbell, had 15 children.
Campbell Morfit (1820-1897), the son of Henry M. Morfit, was a chemist and worked for a time as a professor of chemistry at the University of Maryland before moving to England during the Civil War. Morfit authored several notable works on the science throughout his life.
John Wright, the uncle of Wilbur and Orville Wright, lived in Chicago, Illinois, in the mid-1850s, and attempted to secure a patent for improvements in reaping knives and mining machines.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Wright family collection consists primarily of correspondence related to the Morfit family and to Wilbur and Orville Wright's uncle, John Wright. Several of the items in the collection relate to Henry Mason Morfit, John Wright's attorney, and to his son Campbell, including a series of letters from mid-1853 chronicling Wright's attempt to secure a patent for improvements to reapers and mining machines. Also included is a document dated May 26, 1852, in which Wright formally gave Morfit power of attorney in the matter. Other Wright items include a letter from Danforth P. Wright to Henry Wright, dated October 24, 1842, asking for genealogical information to be added to a history of the family. In addition to the John Wright letters, the collection also holds several items written to Campbell Morfit, Henry's son, mentioning his academic work at the University of Maryland. Later material in the collection includes a 1919 letter detailing the provenance of the John Wright papers, written on stationary from the Aero Club of America, and a 1940 letter composed by Orville Wright's secretary, confirming the Wright brothers' appreciation for the work of Lilienthal and Chanute.