Avery Drawings & Archives Collections
 

Paton Price papers on Frank Lloyd Wright's New Theater for Hartford CT, 1948-1958

Summary Information

Abstract

The material spans the years 1948 to 1958 and documents Paton Price's relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright through the course of planning the New Theater to be located in Hartford, CT. The collection consists of letters, telegrams, publicity material, photographs, and a perspective view of the Theater signed by Wright.

At a Glance

Bib ID 8866938 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Price, Paton, 1816-1982 ; Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959 ; Masselink, Eugene, 1910-1962
Title Paton Price papers on Frank Lloyd Wright's New Theater for Hartford CT, 1948-1958
Physical Description 1 manuscript box; 1 architectural drawing
Language(s) English .
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.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This material is arranged in four series: Correspondence, Visual Materials, Files, and Architectural Drawing.

Description

Scope and Content

Series I: Correspondence is made up of 73 letters, 12 telegrams, 1 invoice and 1 contract between Frank Lloyd Wright and The New Theater Corporation. The letters primarily document the efforts of theater director Paton Price to construct a "New Theater" designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Hartford, CT. As the project takes shape, the letters offer a window into the relationship Wright had with his clients.

Series II: Visual Materials consists of 15 gelatin silver prints of Wright and the model of the Theater, several taken at an introductory luncheon for the planned Theater, and 8 photographic negatives of Wright and others.

Series III: Files includes publicity material for the New Theater as well as some Taliesin brochures and programs, and miscellaneous receipts and notes.

Series IV: Architectural Drawing contains 1 perspective drawing of the New Theater in brown ink on trace paper dated January 2, 1949 and signed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

  • Series I: Correspondence

    is made up of 73 letters, 12 telegrams, 1 invoice and 1 contract between Frank Lloyd Wright and The New Theater Corporation. The letters primarily documents the efforts of theater director Paton Price to construct a "New Theater" designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Hartford, CT. As the project takes shape, the letters offer a window into the relationship Wright had with his clients.

  • Series II: Visual Material

    consists of 15 gelatin silver prints of Wright and the model of the Theater, several taken at an introductory luncheon for the planned Theater, and 8 photographic negatives of Wright and others.

  • Series III: Files

    includes publicity material for the New Theater as well as some Taliesin brochures and programs, and miscellaneous receipts and notes.

  • Series IV: Architectural Drawing

Publication Date

1948-1958

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.

Preferred Citation

The New Theater, Hartford, CT / Frank Lloyd Wright, architect, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

Processed; Shelley Hayreh 2011.

Revision Description

2011-07-27 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.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Architectural drawings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Architecture -- Connecticut -- Hartford Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Exhibitions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- United States -- Designs and plans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hitchcock, Henry-Russell, 1903-1987 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Price, Paton, 1816-1982 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taliesin (Spring Green, Wis.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taliesin Fellowship Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Theater architecture Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Theaters -- Designs and plans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

History

Wright had originally designed a "New Theater" for Woodstock, NY in 1931 that never came to fruition. When Paton Price (1916-1982) wrote to him in early 1948 proposing a new venue in Hartford, CT, the architect took the opportunity to revive his earlier project. Price would fund the construction through his own savings and from donations and loans, and received endorsements from members of the theater community including Kirk Douglas, Helen Hayes, and Henry Fonda. Understanding the need for publicity, Price asked whether Wright would allow the theatre to be named after him (Wright refused), and got local leaders and media interested. The two formally entered into a contract in November of 1948, and Price was soon anxiously asking Wright for drawings, a model, and designs for a brochure.

The New Theater plan was debuted at a party in Hartford on January 25, 1949, hosted by Hartford Times publisher Francis Murphy for Price and Wright. Said Wright at the time, "This theater is the one thing I simply must build before they put me in a box." Guests at the Hartford News luncheon included the Governor of Connecticut Chester Bowles, architectural scholar Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Broadway producer Oscar Serlin, and Director of the Wadsworth Atheneum Charles Cunningham.

The project received opposition from local Hartford residents, and eventually was turned down by the zoning board. Wright and Price remained on friendly terms, and the architect later realized his dream to build a theater in the Kalita Humphreys Theater in Dallas, TX, which opened in 1959.