The Frank Lloyd Wright archives include some 23,000 architectural drawings, 44,000 historical photographs, large-scale presentation models, manuscripts, extensive correspondence and other documents. Joint stewardship and preservation of the archives will provide new impetus for publications, exhibitions, and public programs on Wright’s work, allowing it to be displayed in the context of other great 20th century modernists. It will also maximize the visibility and research value of the collection for generations of scholars, students and the public.
"This joint acquisition of the Frank Lloyd Wright archives is extraordinary, but the true beneficiaries of this creative and historic partnership will be the students and scholars from around the world who will be able to access and use these rich Wright resources in new disciplinary contexts and through innovative technologies," Jim Neal, University Librarian and Vice President for Information Services, said.
The complete physical archives will be permanently transferred to the collections of Columbia and MoMA under a joint acquisition and stewardship agreement. Avery Library will be the repository for all paper-based archival contents. The Museum of Modern Art will house all three-dimensional works. The Archives add to Avery and MoMA's existing collections of materials by Frank Lloyd Wright.
"At Avery, Wright’s rich legacy of archival materials joins the great historic architects whose works are preserved here — from Sebastiano Serlio to Piranesi, and other key 19th and 20th century American figures," said Carole Ann Fabian, director of Columbia’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. "Wright's archives will receive the fullest exposure for curricular uses and research-intensive interrogation by students, scholars and the interested public."
Renowned worldwide for its extensive research and special collections, the Avery collections include the world’s masterworks of architectural history from the Renaissance to the present, including ongoing acquisition of virtually every research volume issued on Wright. Students and researchers have unfettered access to our unparalleled collection of rare books and unique materials comprising more than 1.5 million drawings and archival documents.
The Avery Classics (rare book collection) includes more than 50 rare Frank Lloyd Wright editions such as Wright's personal copy of The House Beautiful, several copies of the Wasmuth Portfolio, a comprehensive collection of Wright biographies, and his autobiography signed for his son, John Lloyd Wright. Avery Drawings & Archives holds Fallingwater blueprints and archival materials from the Kaufmann family; manuscripts and drawings from John Lloyd Wright including the great Dana House rendering and the magnificent plan for the Lake Tahoe Summer Colony project, drawings of the Oak Park Studio, photographs of the home and studio; as well as a variety of Wright projects. These projects include a preliminary set of blueprints for the Guggenheim Museum, the Joseph Brewer house, the rendering of the Vosburgh house, the project for St. Mark's-in-the-Bouwerie, the Usonian house for the Auerbach family; the rendering, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera relating to the New Theater in Hartford, CT. These materials are further supported by contextual collections such as Wright’s drawings from the time he worked in Louis Sullivan’s practice; recently acquired Edgar Tafel archive (Wright's historian and hagiographer); Douglas Haskell/Architectural Forum papers on FLW; Hugh Ferriss' renderings of FLW projects done for Ferriss publications; Aaron Resnick collection containing house plans and topographical plans for Usonia to be built in Pleasantville, New York. The addition of the Wright archives deepens these existing collections of Wright materials and continues Avery's commitment to collecting the works of the world’s greatest architects as represented in the published literature, drawings, architectural photography and archival documentation.
This joint acquisition signals a ground-breaking collaboration between the two institutions to ensure long term access and preservation of the materials, at the same time providing opportunities to celebrate the collections through public programs, exhibitions and publications.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation will help guide development of the archives and provide interpretive insights on Wright’s work and life. It will continue to preserve and share Wright's National Historic Landmarks at Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona, including the historic furnishings, memorabilia and artifacts used to interpret both sites, along with large and important collections of art, furniture and artifacts that Wright created and collected over his lifetime.