Avery Drawings & Archives Collections

Olgivanna Lloyd Wright papers, ca. 1925-1985

Summary Information


Olgivanna Lloyd Wright (Olga Lazović, Olga Lazović Hinzenburg) b. Montenegro, December 27, 1898- March 1, 1985, married Frank Lloyd Wright in 1928. She was a dancer, author, and composer and helped found and operate the Taliesin Fellowship. She was vital to the preservation of Frank Lloyd Wright's legacy through the Taliesin Fellowship, preservation and fundraising campaigns, and publications on her late husband and his work, including her books Our House, The Shining Brow, the Roots of Life, and Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life, His Work, His Words. The collection contains extensive correspondence as well as Olgivanna Lloyd Wright's notes, drafts and typed manuscripts of her books and unpublished writing, autobiographical material, transcriptions of taped audio material including weekly talks to the Taliesin Fellowship as well as public talks, and newspaper clippings of published articles.

At a Glance

Bib ID 11526526 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Wright, Olgivanna Lloyd
Title Olgivanna Lloyd Wright papers, ca. 1925-1985
Physical Description 55 linear feet
Language(s) English .

This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please email avery-drawings@library.columbia.edu.



Scope and Contents

This collection provides details about the founding of the Taliesin Fellowship and daily life at Taliesin, particularly after the death of Frank Lloyd Wright in 1959. It provides information on the personal relationships of Frank Lloyd Wright in his later years and his and Olgivanna Lloyd Wright's social circle. Moreover, the collection gives insight into this unique architectural organization and community centered on the architectural theory and lifestyle philosophies of its founders. It demonstrates the central role Olgivanna Lloyd Wright had as the dominant figure running the Taliesin Fellowship from 1959 to 1984.

  • Series I: Correspondence

    The Correspondence contains almost 40,000 letters, with the earliest letter dated from 1904. The bulk of the correspondence dates from the 1930s until Olgivanna Lloyd Wright's death in 1985. The correspondence is physically arranged alphabetcially by correspondent. For every letter, the inventory includes a brief note describing the contents of that letter. Olgivanna Lloyd Wright is the writer of about 7,000+ letters in the collection (marked as "Sender" in the inventory); the remainder of the correspondence was sent to her by (marked as "Receiver" in the inventory).

  • Series II: Talks and Lectures

    The Series is divided into two sub-series. Subseries 1: Fellowship talks (transcripts) includes transcriptions of recorded audio material delivered by Olgivanna Lloyd Wright to members of the Taliesin Fellowship nearly each week, usually on Sundays organized chronologically from 1952-1984. These talks continued a tradition begun by Frank Lloyd Wright; they similarly cover a range of topics from Frank Lloyd Wright's Organic Architecture (often read from transcriptions of his Fellowship talks) to the daily activities of the Fellows including admonishing their behavior. Many include her reading from poetry and philosophy and her own theories on moral character and the ethics of hard work. Subseries 2: Public lectures (transcriptions) consists of public lectures delivered by Wright from 1958-1982 are organized chronologically. These include dedications of buildings like the Marin County Administrative Building and the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium, as well as lectures delivered to civic and arts organizations.

  • Series III: Manuscripts

    Manuscripts for publications include multiple working drafts, handwritten and typed notes, as well as printer's proofs. The subseries are overall organized chronologically from 1931-1966 with the known published dates. Within the subseries, each is organized according to their published chapter order when possible. Our House, The Shining Brow, The Roots of Life and Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life, His Work, His Words use material previously published in the "Our House" newspaper column and reedited for these volumes. Miscellaneous Manuscripts are organized chronologically when possible or when dates are known. Many of these essays were never published or remain unidentified.

  • Series IV: Interviews

    Transcriptions and edited interviews conducted with Olgivanna Lloyd Wright are organized chronologically from 1960-1984. These interviews appeared in many formats including, print, radio, and television.

  • Series V: Newspaper Column - Clippings

    The column (initially called "My House" then retitled "Our House") was published in both the Capital Times (Wisconsin) and the Arizona Republic from March 26, 1958- October 15, 1962. Series includes the published articles in the newspaper.

  • Series VI: Newspaper Column - Drafts

    Includes chronologically organized drafts (by publication date) for articles published in OLLW's Newspaper column entitled "Our House" published in The Capital Times (WI) from 1958-1962 and The Arizona Republic (ca. 1960-62?). Most files include the draft sent to the newspaper as well as earlier edited drafts, and later photocopies of drafts. These articles formed the basis for books, many subjects and articles are repeated in books (Our House, Shining Brow, Roots of Life). OLLW often used material from the articles in her Fellowship Talks, topics and stories are repeated.


This collection forms part of the larger The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York).

Using the Collection

Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please email avery-drawings@library.columbia.edu.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Permission to publish must be obtained in writing from the Director, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, 1172 Amsterdam Ave., MC 0301, New York, NY 10027.

Related Materials

Olgivanna Lloyd Wright audio recordings, 1952-1980.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

The correspondence was catalogued prior to the collection arriving at Avery Library by Indira Berndtson of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The non-correspondence papers were re-processed by Rachel Hutcheson (Graduate Internship in Primary Sources) in 2019 under the supervision of Shelley Hayreh, Avery Archivist.

The collection in its current state reflects intervention by those that sought to impose a chronological order on the materials, probably in order to better understand the activities of Olgivanna Lloyd Wright and the fellowship together. Dates are generally uncertain because of the working methods of the creator. She would first audio record her statements, have the audio transcribed and then edit multiple drafts. The content is often repeated across series.

Additionally, a long term autobiography project starting in the late 1960s until 1985 resulted in much duplication of previous texts. There is a considerable amount of drafting and redrafting, collating and copying of various recollections, stories, and talks and lectures. However, in order for the greatest benefit to future researchers, the reorganization seeks to make the activities of Olgivanna Lloyd Wright and the Fellowship distinct from the individual writings of OLLW that are autobiographical, and thereby make the material more searchable by subject and material type.

Because the collection features many duplications of material in manuscripts, newspapers, and duplications of them spread out in multiple containers, the processing archivist sought to reduce the number of redundancies scattered throughout the collection and to make clear, when possible, when manuscripts were used in multiple publications.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Autobiographies (literary works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Drafts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Newspaper Columns Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Architects' spouses -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Authors, Montenegrin -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gurdjieff, Georges Ivanovitch, 1872-1949 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taliesin (Spring Green, Wis.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taliesin Associated Architects Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taliesin Fellowship Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taliesin West (Scottsdale, Ariz.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Women authors -- United States -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959 -- : Family Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wright, Olgivanna Lloyd Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID