Avery Drawings & Archives Collections

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives : project photographs, circa 1887-2008, bulk 1900-1959

Summary Information


This collection contains over 32,500 photographs, negatives, slides and other image materials documenting nearly 500 architectural projects by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. This collection documents Wright's built work, unbuilt projects, architectural exhibitions, and the architecture of Wright's home and studios such as Taliesin East in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona.

At a Glance

Bib ID 12471345 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959 ; Wright, Olgivanna Lloyd ; Taliesin Fellowship ; Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Title Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives : project photographs, circa 1887-2008, bulk 1900-1959
Physical Description 32,500 photographic items (approximate)
Language(s) English .

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 avery-drawings@columbia.edu.



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 32,500 photographic items documenting Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural projects. The photographic materials include prints, negatives, contact sheets, transparencies, slides, and photocopies, many of which are duplicates. 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 photographs are arranged by project number (with each series representing a decade of Wright's career), starting in 1887 with the Hillside Home School (#8703) and ending in 1959 with the Frank Lloyd Wright Grave Marker (#5920). The finding aid lists each project with its associated photographic item count. Some projects may only contain one photograph, like the George Spencer summer cottage on Lake Delavan in Wisconsin (#0207); while other projects are represented by thousands of photographic materials, such as Taliesin West (#3803) which has 5,100 items.

Location information and extents have been provided for photographic materials for each project. This breakdown appears as a series of coded letters followed by a number, for example: PH01 (27); S01 (4), M01 (4); B10 (12), B25 (13); T (11). The letters refer to the container type, and the number refers to the extent per container. For example, PH01 (27) means there are 27 photographic items in manuscript box PH01. Codes S01, M01, and L01 refer to different sized oversize boxes. B codes refer to the slide binders, which the Foundation referred to as the Taliesin Slide Library. These binders have been kept intact. T refers to transparencies. These are most often, though not always, duplicates of existing images.

This finding aid does not yet provide item level descriptive information, although Avery archivists are working to convert the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's original database and make this publicly available in 2020. Item-level description found within this database typically includes a photograph identification number, the project, additional descriptive information about the photograph, dates, and image source (which often refers to the photographer). For example: #4305.0002, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Interior looking up to dome, 11/23/1959, source: Julius Shulman. If you would like to request descriptive information about the photographs for an individual project, please email the department.

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, and 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.

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, is closed for processing and will be open for research later in 2020. In this Project photoraphs 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.

Publication Date

circa 1887-2008 (bulk 1900-1959)

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 avery-drawings@columbia.edu.

Restrictions on Use

For additional guidance on restrictions and permissions see Columbia University Libraries Publication and Digital Reproduction Policy and Procedures

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

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.

Revision Description

2018-01-06 File created.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

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:"
Architects -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architectural models -- Exhibitions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- United States -- History -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture, American -- Exhibitions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture, Domestic -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dana House (Springfield, Ill.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Decoration and ornament Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fallingwater (Pa.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Frank Lloyd Wright House (Oak Park, Ill.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Frank Lloyd Wright Studio (Oak Park, Ill.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Johnson Wax. Administration Building Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Robie House (Chicago, Ill.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taliesin (Spring Green, Wis.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taliesin West (Scottsdale, Ariz.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Teikoku Hoteru. Imperial Hotel Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Unity Temple (Oak Park, Ill.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

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."