Dayton and the Wright Brothers

It’s exciting to read a book that really makes history come alive and, as a bonus, makes you feel proud of where you live. That happened for me with David McCullough’s book The Wright Brothers. As Bookplate Ink has deep roots in Yellow Springs, Ohio, which is just outside of Dayton, where the Wright family lived, reading about the lives and work of Wilber and Orville Wright seemed especially relevant to me. If you’re not up on this piece of history, I encourage you to read the book, as it’s interesting and very readable. Bookplate Ink has many customers who are authors, so I don’t usually write about any one book or author, but this book seemed more personal and pertinent after a recent trip into Dayton.

WrightHeadstone_fullDuring this visit, we first went to Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum, where Orville, Wilbur, their parents, and their sister Katherine are all buried. Woodland Cemetery is a beautiful, wooded expanse of rolling hills, and one of the nation’s five oldest rural garden cemeteries, according to their website. In addition to the Wright family, poet (and schoolmate of Orville and Wilber) Paul Laurence Dunbar is buried there. Including Dunbar, the list of grave Dunbarsites contains a “who’s who” list of important people, all from Dayton: inventor Charles Kettering, John Patterson of NCR, George Huffman of Huffy Bicycles, and George Mead of Mead Paper and newspaper columnist Erma Bombeck, among others.

After visiting Woodland, we explored Carillon Historic Park, a 65-acre campus dedicated to preserving the amazing history of Dayton. Just one of the many buildings located there is the John W. Berry Sr. Wright Brothers Aviation Center. The Center includes a model of the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop, formerly located in Dayton, which housed the workshop where they built their first Flyergliders and planes. Also in the Center is the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world’s first practical airplane. As you can see in the photo, a model of Wilbur Wright is shown flying the plane. One of the things that struck me while reading The Wright Brothers is that Orville Wright died in 1948, which seemed amazingly recent to me. The building where the Flyer is housed was designed by Orville, though he didn’t live to see it built. Our tour guide mentioned that his father-in-law belonged to the Engineer’s Club in Dayton and saw Orville there many times. Carillon Historical Park’s Facebook page shows a photo of Orville Wright and Charles Kettering talking at the Engineer’s Club.

I was also amazed that the Wright Brothers were building their first flying machines whileOrvilleHeadstone the automobile was still very young. McCullough’s book mentions Wilbur and Orville being picked up by carriage, not an automobile, when arriving home by train. In fact, at Carillon Historical Park I learned that the patent for the first electric ignition device for automobiles was granted to Charles Kettering of Dayton in 1915. The early 1900s were a time of great inventiveness and industrialism in Dayton. Imagine living in Dayton in 1905 and being able to visit with Paul Laurence Dunbar, Wilber and Orville Wright, and Charles Kettering, all within walking distance.

C111And finally, to tie this all in with bookplates, Bookplate Ink has a beautiful design of an airplane similar to the Wright Brother’s flyer, painted by Dayton native and artist Michael Bonilla. Design C111 is available on white, self-adhesive paper, personalized with your name or the text of your choice.



A Cornucopia of Links

Through Google Analytics, I can see which websites “referred” people to Or, in other words, it shows which websites include a link that someone clicked to access our site.  Yesterday, I decided to look at as many of these sites as I could. What an interesting and wonderful collection of websites! Here is a short description of several of them:

• Did you know there is a website devoted to getting your Ph.D. in American History online? They have a great page of “100 Tips and Tools for Managing Your Personal Library,” with helpful ideas for any book lover of any genre. And tip #100 is to check out Bookplate Ink for bookplates!

• Author Nina Sankovitch offers a signed bookplate on her site, Sankovitch spent one year reading one book a day and writing about each book on her site. She also wrote a memoir, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, focusing on her life of reading. Her website is chock full of information about reading.

• On his blog, Steven Gomez, whose pen name is C.S. Gomez, posted an entry about cultivating a personal library. Step number ten is: “Bookplates are essential.”

• The site is full of book recommendations, encouragement for teen readers, and other information. As stated on the site, “Bibliobabe is a blog dedicated to all things reading: book news, awards updates, free book giveaways, teen links and books news, reviews and book journal comments.” Included on the site is a very informative page about bookplates.

• Booksilly is a great website to visit during the holiday season. As stated on the site, “It’s a world of gifts and products for the avid reader, bibliophile, librarian, teacher, bookaholic and anyone else just silly about books!!!” Of course, I was happy to see bookplates right near the top of their offerings.

• One of the more interesting and yet obscure sites I found is The site is in Hungarian, but when translated, it seems to be comprised of lists of artists, Facebook pages, and bookplate suppliers, among other things. Included in the listing is Bookplate Ink.

• Lew Jaffe is a longtime collector of bookplates. On his blog, which is updated every Sunday, he shares information about his purchases, bookplate artists, and bookplate history.

• The Bookplate Society, based in the United Kingdom, is “an international society of collectors, bibliophiles, artists and others dedicated to promoting bookplate study.   Their “purpose is to encourage the production, use, collecting, and study of bookplates.” Their resource page has many helpful links.

• My hometown and home of the bookplate business, Yellow Springs, Ohio, is a wonderful village with an interesting history that is celebrated by its residents. The Yellow Springs Historical Society is instrumental in keeping this history alive.

• One of the sites I was not surprised to see is that of my good friend, artist and cartoonist Jennifer Berman. We have some of her beautiful animal block prints as part of our bookplate gallery, and other products with her artwork are available on her website.

• Evelia, whose artwork can be seen in products at Target, Pier 1, and other major companies, has a gallery of colorful and artistic bookplates at Her entire product line can be seen on her website.

• Likewise, artist Amy McGregor-Radin’s bold and unique woodcut art is featured in our bookplate gallery and more is shown on her site.

• And finally, I was happy to see that an article written about bookplates in the Wall Street Journal in 2007 is still available on the internet. After all these years, it is still bringing customers to Bookplate Ink.