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At a Glance
The projects photographs are arranged chronologically by decade and by project number into eight series: Series I: 1880s; Series II: 1890s; Series III: 1900s; Series IV: 1910s; Series V: 1920s; Series VI: 1930s; Series VII: 1940s; Series VIII: 1950s.
Scope and Content
This collection contains over 40,000 photographic items documenting Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural projects. The photographic materials include prints, negatives, contact sheets, transparencies, slides, and photocopies. The collection includes many duplicate images, sometimes with different photo identification numbers. Images of Wright's built work feature exteriors and interiors, landscape views, architectural details, furniture and furnishings, and buildings under construction. Photographic items for unbuilt projects include images of models and project sites. Wright's numerous architectural exhibitions are also represented. People featured in these photographs include Frank Lloyd Wright, his family members and associates, members of the Taliesin Fellowship, clients, contractors, and builders. Some photographs include sketches and annotations by Frank Lloyd Wright, sometimes directly on the print itself.
This photographic collection was created and maintained by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation over many decades before it was transferred to Avery Library. In the 1980s, the Foundation assigned each architectural project a project number, which we continue to use for the archive. The original arrangement of this collection was by location number (locnum), which typically represented a donor or source. During processing at Avery, the photographs were arranged into series by decade and then by project number. As with the drawings in the collection, each photograph has a photo ID number, which is an 8-digit number: the first four digits reflect the project number, and the subsequent 4 digits reflect the item number within the project series. Where a photograph was not catalogued and had no photo ID number, archivists at Avery arranged these photos by project number, and numbered them all .0000. These uncatalogued images have been grouped together and typically appear at the start of each project series.
Photographic prints have been rehoused into manuscript Photo Boxes and Oversize Boxes. These boxes also occasionally contain 35mm slides and negatives, postcards and photocopies. Slide Binders contain what the Foundation referred to as the Taliesin Slide Library, with slides remaining in the original order in which they were kept by the Foundation, which is by locnum, meaning donor, and not by project or date. Transparencies were likely created by the Foundation and are most often, though not always, duplicates of existing print images. The final series contains glass plate negatives or lantern slides of drawings and images depicting buildings and projects by Wright.
The finding aid lists each project with its associated photographic item count. An item-level Excel inventory has been adapted from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's original database and can be shared upon request (email the department with your request: firstname.lastname@example.org). Information in this spreadsheet typically includes a photo ID number, additional descriptive information about the photograph such as names, dates, types of image (interior or exterior), and a source field, which refers to the photographer or donor of the photograph.
Photographers in this collection are only sometimes identified on the photographs themselves and/or in the original Foundation database. These photographers include Wright, his associates, commercial or contract photographers, all of whom may retain copyright. Some identified photographers include: John Amarantides, Peter Berndston, Hedrich Blessing, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, Robert Carroll May, George Cronin, George Cserna, Lawrence Cuneo, Raku Endo, Yukio Futagawa, Pedro Guerrero, Jack Loftus, Eugene Masselink, Hans Namuth, Edgar L. Obma, Joseph Rorke, William Short, Julius Shulman, Ezra Stoller, Edmund Teske, and William Wesley Peters.
Dates provided in this finding aid are all approximate. These were transcribed from the original Foundation database and have not been verified. Some photographs physically feature dates that are inconsistent with the original database.
In this Project photographs collection, photographs related to the Taliesin Fellowship can be found within projects #3301 Taliesin Fellowship Complex, #3803 Taliesin West, and #2702 Frank Lloyd Wright desert compound and studio (near Chandler, Arizona), also called Ocatilla. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Personal and Taliesin Fellowship photographs collection, featuring formal and informal portraits of Wright, his family, and life of the Taliesin Fellowship, will be open for research later in 2023.
circa 1887-2008 (bulk 1900-1959)
Part of The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural and 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 and Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please email email@example.com.
Restrictions on Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
This collection was processed in 2017-2019 by Pamela Casey, Architecture Archivist, with vast contributions and assistance from previous and current Avery staff members Paul Guidos, Cyre Johnson, Sarah McGillivray, Nicole Richards, and Christine Sala, and library school interns David Mezick, Maya Naunton, and Daniela Trapani.
2018-01-06 File created.
2023-08-15 Extents and locations were revised and updated.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was an American architect internationally recognized for his innovative building design, the Taliesin architecture school and fellowship, and his philosophy of "organic architecture."
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was an American Architect internationally recognized for his innovative building design, Taliesin school and fellowship, and philosophy of "organic architecture."