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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Col. Frank Wilbur Wright Collection

Identifier: 1986-01-02
The Col. Frank Wilbur Wright Collection contains commissions, photographs, identification cards, and other materials relating to the military career of Frank W. Wright. Wright began his service prior to World War I, serving as an aviator during the war and remaining in the Army throughout the interwar and World War II periods. The commissions document his changing roles and ranks during World War I, and photos and ephemera illustrate his later service at numerous U.S. bases as a military engineer and then commanding officer.


  • 1911-1945


Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


1.2 Cubic Feet (1 half width letter size document box and 1 flat oversize box)


Frank Wilbur Wright (1886-1950) of Portland, Oregon spent most of his adult life in the military, with service spanning the Oregon Naval Militia, Oregon National Guard, U.S. Army Air Service, Air Corps, and Air Force, and both World Wars. The collection contains commissions, photographs, identification cards, and other materials relating to Wright's long military career.

Biographical Note

Frank Wilbur Wright was born in Portland, Oregon on August 26, 1886. His military career began with service as an apprentice seaman in the Oregon Naval Militia in 1903. He was commissioned in the Oregon National Guard in 1911, promoted to captain in 1915, and assigned to the Coast Artillery Corps. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Wright was assigned to Taliaferro Field (Texas) as an assistant engineering officer. He became the commanding officer of the 183rd Aero Squadron at Taliaferro in 1918. National Guard air units were not used in the war, but Wright instead saw combat as part of the Royal Air Force No. 209 Squadron in April 1918.

After the war he was stationed at Coronado (California), Luke Field (Hawaii), and Crissley Field (California). In 1923, he became chief of buildings and grounds for the Air Corps in Washington, D.C. In 1929, he was sent to Wright Field as chief of Maintenance Branch, Materiel Division. He was there until 1938, then served as commanding officer at McChord Field (Washington), Pendleton Field (Oregon), Salt Lake City Army Air Base (Utah), and Lincoln Army Air Field (Nebraska), before returning to Wright Field as commanding officer in 1944. He officially retired in 1946 at the rank of colonel. He died in 1950 in Washington state.


Wright Take-Off, vol. 3, no. 6, September 23, 1944.

Air National Guard. "ANG Heritage: Missions, Wars and Operations."


No further accruals are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available at The Museum of Flight Digital Collections.

Separated Materials

The following items have been separated from the archival component of this collection and are kept in Objects storage:
  • Oregon National Guard uniform with tunic and gold uniform belt

  • Oregon National Guard bronze military pin

  • Two (2) Oregon National Guard bronze military medals

  • Two (2) Oregon National Guard military pins

  • Two (2) Oregon National Guard Coast Artillery Lt. silver bars

  • Oregon National Guard bronze military pin

  • Three (3) Oregon National Guard brass military pins

  • Two (2) Coast Artillery Cannon military pins

  • United States Army Air Force (USAAF) uniform with black tunic, blue pants, black hat, suspenders, and black belt

  • USAAF silver wings military pin

  • Two (2) USAAF wings military pin, gold and silver

  • USAAF blue and orange military patch

  • Three (3) USAAF gold military pins

  • USAAF military pin

  • USAAF Col. hat insignia military pin, gold

  • Brass Sharpshooter military medal, possibly USAAF

  • Gold and silver winged propeller military pin

  • Unidentified bronze military medal

  • American Military Engineers bronze military medal and pin

  • Four (4) brass military medals

  • Two (2) gold military epaulets

  • Two (2) black military epaulets

  • Black epaulet box

  • Black uniform cape

  • Gold picture frame with winged U.S. (Army?) insignia
Guide to the Col. Frank Wilbur Wright Collection
Completed - Level 4
A. Demeter
Description rules
Language of description
Processing, cataloging and digitization of this collection was made possible by a Council on Libraries and Information Resources (CLIR) "Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives" grant.
Edition statement
1st Edition

Revision Statements

  • November 2018: Finding aid migrated to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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