Skip to main content

Archives at The Museum of Flight

"La Conquête de l'Air" postcard book

 Collection — Box: Assorted rare collections, Box 1, Folder: 1988-03-22
Identifier: 1988-03-22
"La Conquête de l'Air" postcard book is a collection consisting of one book of 24 postcards documenting Wilbur Wright's demonstration flights in Le Mans, France in 1908.

The booklet includes two pages of text about Le Mans, France and Léon Bollée, Civil Engineer of the City of Le Mans. The 24 photomechanical postcards in the booklet include images of Wilbur and Orville Wright; Léon Bollée; the motor for the Wright flyer; the aircraft under construction in Bollée's factory; the aircraft on a truck and being transported to the airfield; the aircraft and its launching apparatus; the aircraft in flight; and the crowd of onlookers. The photographs are credited to Garczinski, Tarpent, and Amiet. The final page of the booklet shows a facsimile copy of a telegram sent to Bollée from Orville Wright notifying him of Wilbur's death. The front cover of the booklet includes an inscription written in 1945.


  • circa 1912-1915

Language of Materials

The materials are printed in French with English translations.

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.


.01 Cubic Feet (1 letter-size folder)

Historical Note: The Wright Brothers in Europe

In 1908, Wilbur Wright traveled to France to conduct demonstration flights of the Wright Brothers' aircraft. The aircraft that he had brought with him, a Wright Model A, had been damaged during shipping and customs inspections, so Wilbur had to spend two months repairing it before he could fly it. He chose Hunaudières racecourse at Le Mans, southwest of Paris, as the demonstration site, making his first flight there on August 8, 1908. This was the first public flight the Wright brothers had made. This public demonstration quashed any skepticism about their invention. Crowds were particularly impressed with the control that Wilbur had over the flight.

In January 1909 Wilbur moved his demonstrations to Pau, in the south of France, where the weather was warmer. Between 1908 and 1909 Wilbur made more than 100 flights and crowds of 100,000 were coming to watch the demonstrations. Orville and their sister Katharine joined Wilbur in Pau. After the series of exhibitions in France, Wilbur continued on to Italy where he trained Italian military pilots. In June 1909, the Wrights returned to Dayton where a 2-day event celebrated their accomplishments. Orville conducted flight trials for a U.S. Army contract in July 1909 and then he and Katharine traveled to Germany for more flight demonstrations and sales negotiations.

Related Materials

The Museum of Flight Archives also holds: the Manny Gorin Wright Brothers Collection (accession #2006-11-21-and-2007-05-30-B); a set of glass plate negatives of the Wright brothers, also acquired from Manny Gorin (accession #2004-09-07); the Curtiss-Wright Company Records (accession #2002-01-15); the William Preston Mayfield Wright Brothers Photograph Album (accession #2018-10-01C); Marianne Miller Hudec Wright Brothers Memorabilia Collection (accession #2005-11-13); and The Orville Wright Letter (accession 2018-10-01-D).
Guide to the "La Conquête de l'Air" postcard book
Completed - Level 2
N. Davis
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st edition

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
Contact us with a research request