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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Just What I Always Wanted: 1901

Just What I Always Wanted: 1901

January 1901. Dayton, Ohio. "Bertha Wright, age five, niece of the Wright brothers, daughter of Lorin Wright," with some of her many Christmas presents. Dry-plate glass negative by the Wright Brothers. View full size.

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Tea sets and tomboys

From her expression and other body language, and the scuffing of her shoes, I get the impression that Bertha was a little tomboy! Now, I would have been happy with miniature china and doll furniture, but I was about as far away from a tomboy as you could get. I doubt that Bertha was too thrilled. I think she would have been much happier with a ball of some kind, an electric train, or some other things that little boys like.


My Grandmother - born in an earth-floored cottage in Ireland in 1901 - would have regarded carpet on the floor as luxury.

Infinite Sadness...

which can only come when one passes yet another Christmas without receiving the much-anticipated Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle BB gun with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time.

Indeed, Very Sad

There does seem to be a kind of infinite sadness in her expression, very surprising in a child her age. I hope she went on to have a happy life.

I'm with her...

There's no way that tea set will fit into that toy oven. What was Santa thinking?


There is something heartbreaking about this picture.

Bertha's Uncles

Orville and Wilbur weren't particularly well known when this picture was taken - just a couple of tinkerers who owned a bicycle shop. Her grandfather Bishop Wright was the family star. He had broken with the liberal leadership of his church to found the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Old Constitution, and had been one of the founders of Huntington University in Indiana.

Bertha's father, Lorin, was the second of the Bishop's seven children and was about five years older than Wilbur and nine years older than Orville. He died in 1939.

I'll sit still but....

I'm NOT smiling!! I waited a whole month to visit my awesome uncles and open these gifts. Now you want me to sit still and smile?


How long would she have had to sit still for this photo to be so clear?
Amazing detail, you can see the individual needlepoint stitching in the carpet.


And who says childhood obesity is a new thing???

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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