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It was a simple tale of how she discovered Whitehead, but it wasn't the whole story.
In January 1935, Popular Aviation published the article "Did Whitehead Precede Wright In World's First Powered Flight?
That, it was thought, would provide evidence of "prior use" in the on-going patent war between the Wrights and Curtiss.
As things turned out, it became a mess for all involved and made for bad blood between Orville Wright and the Smithsonian, which had loaned the Langley Large Aerodrome "A" to Curtiss. "Call it woman's intuition if you wish, I knew at my first meeting with Zahm that I must never release anything to him. Whether as a result of this, or whether my visitors came from other sources, I never knew, but during the three years of the 1930's research I was constantly harrassed.
" by Stella Randolph and Harvey Phillips, plucking Whitehead from an obscure corner of forgotten history and making his name known to the general public.
In 1937, Randolph's book Lost Flights Of Gustave Whitehead presented the evidence she'd gathered, including affidavits, that Whitehead had flown in 1901.