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May 9th, 2019


Taliesin Preservation’s historian Keiran Murphy’s weekly round-up of noteworthy FLLW resources.

This photograph shows the Hillside structure on the Taliesin estate in the summer of 1933. It shows the early work by the Taliesin Fellowship to groom the area. By 1950, Wright will have directed his apprentices in the Taliesin Fellowship to remove the buildings on the left and the one under the trees on the right. Image owned by The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York).

Hillside was never abandoned by Wright. To see “abandoned” FLLW sites around the world, scroll through

Wright Biographies:

“An Autobiography,” by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1943. 

Often simply called “the autobiography,” and first printed in 1932—a significant year since Wright’s professional career was close to its absolute nadir. What this memoir presents is a humbled Frank Lloyd Wright. It also allows a deep insight into how Wright viewed himself as an architect, a man, and a father. “An Autobiography” is available through libraries and is also contained in the books, Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings, Vol. 2 & Vol. 4.

“Frank Lloyd Wright, by Ada Louise Huxtable, 2004. (Penguin Lives series)

Huxtable was a Pulitzer-Prize winning architectural writer, so she lends much expertise on the subject. A useful read if wanting more facts and philosophy  surrounding Wright’s life, but do not want to wade through tons of research.

“Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography,” by Meryle Secrest, 1992.

Secrest was the first biographer to have extensive use of Wright’s archives and was able to provide brand new information, resulting in a well-rounded portrait of the architect. If the research is daunting, start reading at the third chapter, “Aladdin”, when the architect was 18 and getting ready to head to Chicago. The earlier chapters deal a lot with his Lloyd Jones relatives in Wisconsin, sure to be an interesting book for those whom have visited Taliesin. 

“Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life and His Architecture,” by Robert Twombly, 1973.

Twombly approached Wright’s life through his architecture; that is, the architecture is at the forefront, while the personal details of Wright’s life come second. Good if curious foremost about Wright’s work and not the intimate details of his life. 

“Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright,” by Brendan Gill, 1987.

A fun bio! However, it could be noted that Gill took many opportunities to insult Wright throughout the book. Read for the information, but reserve a cautious eye on his interpretation of Wright’s actions and accomplishments.

Keiran Murphy, HISTORIAN’S CORNER: May 2019, Pt.II