"Lost Flights of Gustave Whitehead", Stella Randolph

This was the first book to document the life and achievements of Gustave Whitehead. The author documents her efforts to secure evidence of Whitehead's flights. It contains eyewitness statements, photos and other illustrations. It was published in 1937 by Places Inc. and is no longer in print. ASIN: B0000B5P1G


This book was published at a time when the Smithsonian no longer labelled its former Director's airplane as having been the first to achieve powered, manned, contoled, sustained flight but before that Institute entered into a contractual agreement to declare that the Wrights had been frst. This book led to widespread calls to have Whitehead recognized as having been the first to fly. Indeed, it may have indirectly been the motivation  for the rapproachment between the Wrights' heirs and the Smithsonian.  

"Before the Wrights Flew", Stella Randolph

In a follow-up to her first book, here the author presents Whitehead's achievements within the overall context of the development of aviation. In it, she also describes discoveries made since her first book was published. These include additional witness statements, photos and other evidence to further document Whitehead's case. The book was published in 1966 by Putnam Books. ASIN: B000N28GRO.


This book is, in some ways, a "re-cross examination" of the Whitehead case. Randolph was a lawyer by training. That may be why all her witnesses testified under oath. She was responding to the moves made by the Wright heirs to secure the legacy of Orville and Wilbur. This may explain the wider focus of her book.

"History by Contract", Maj. William J. O'Dwyer (USAF ret.) & Stella Randolph

For this book, Stella Randolph, aged now, joined forces with USAF Res. officer, William O'Dwyer. It's the most comprehensive book on Whitehead to date. Its title alludes to the discovery of a secret contract entered into by the Wrights' heirs and the Smithsonian Institute to 'declare' that the Wrights had been the first to fly. It documents how the Smithsonian was forced to make the contract public and tells how a US Senator citing the Freedom of Information Act was repeatedly give the run-around (sent incomplete drafts, etc.) until he finally demanded a certification under oath that he had been given the true document. Aside from these exposures, the book includes new evidence in the form of witness statements, documents and photos. It was published in 1978 by Fritz Majer & Sohn, ISBN-10: 3922175007, ISBN-13:   978-3922175001, ASIN: B0006E636K.

"Ich Flog vor den Wrights", Albert Wüst (in German)

This book summarizes the current research on Whitehead, as gathered by researchers associated with the Gustav Weißkopf Museum in Leutershausen, Germany. First published in 1999 after the successful flight of replicas of Whitehead's aircraft in the USA (1986) and in Germany (1998), it's now in its third edition (published 2009). Fritz Majer & Sohn KG, ISBN-10: 3922175392, ISBN-13: 978-3922175391

"Gustave Whitehead and the Wright Brothers"

The author of this website has continuously updated his research in this book. Originally, it comprised a series of articles for the Aircraft Examiners'Association. It has since served as the basis for a film about Whitehead's life ("Challenging the Wright Brothers"). The book is available on Amazon ISBN-13: 978-1532899393, ISBN-10: 1532899394.