Betty Geiger-Darst

Historical, Educational

A Living Biography of the Wright Brothers

Betty Geiger-Darst, as Katharine Wright, presents a living biography. She provides her audiences with a rich historical cameo of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s sister. Betty’s interest in the Wright family was a natural extension of her exploration of the history of flight. Her research led to a relationship with the surviving Wright family and the unique opportunity to study Katharine, Orville and Wilbur through the generational tapestry of letters, diaries and family records. The depth of this research is immediately evident in Darst’s portrayal when she greets her audience in a copy of a 1909 Homecoming suit worn by Katharine as she greeted her brothers’ return from Europe. Darst not only meets her audience in the persona of Katharine, she proceeds to share a remarkably personal account of the First Family of Aviation through a multi-media slide presentation and short vignettes based on Katharine’s personal letters. Her insights of “Orv” and Wilbur are fascinating, inspiring and touching. Betty is a student pilot and has flown a great deal of “copilot” time with her husband.

 

What others are saying about Betty Geiger-Darst's Program

 

From the (EAA) Sport Aviation Magazine: “Featured speaker, Betty Darst, a recognized authority on the Wright Brothers, brings history alive by portraying Katharine Wright, the sister of Wilbur and Orville. Dressed in period apparel, she spoke of her “brothers” in personal terms that brought them out of the history books and old black and white pictures and made them seem as immediate and human as one’s neighbors next door. Paul [Poberezny] was quite impressed with her performance and says he gained a new appreciation for the Wrights.”

 

Comments in a letter from Marci Gauder: the Director of Celebration Dayton 1996, “Thank you for your wonderful portrayal of Katharine Wright. Many commented that it was the highlight of the day! You obviously have a special understanding of the Wright’s family history. Your gift of recreating history truly shines through!”

 

Comments from Emily Mummey, librarian at the Wright Memorial Library, which Orville built as a memorial to Katharine: “The students and others attending were engrossed by your portrayal of the Wright Brothers’ sister. You have such a knowledge of the family, that it is almost like having Katharine herself there! Much information was gained by all in an entertaining manner.”

 

Comments in a letter from Lieutenant General Kenneth E. Eickmann, USAF Commander, Wright-Patterson AFB: “Your role play of Katharine Wright was absolutely delightful and added a unique historic touch to the occasion. I’ve had nothing but the highest compliments from all whom attended on how much they enjoyed your presentation. It was perfect! Thank you for making our general officers dinner a very memorable occasion.”

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