Columbia University Libraries Acquires Frank Lloyd Wright Archive
NEW YORK, September 29, 2010 –

The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University has acquired a unique archive relating to efforts of theater director Paton Price to construct a "New Theater" designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Hartford, CT.


avery_3525_flw_at_01

The archive spans the years 1948 to 1951 and documents Price's relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright through the course of planning the New Theater. The collection consists of letters, telegrams, publicity material, photographs, and a large perspective view of the Theater signed by Wright.

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.

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."

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.

The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library is one of the most comprehensive architecture and the fine arts library collections in the world. Avery collects a full range of primary and secondary sources for the advanced study of architecture, historic preservation, art history, decorative arts, city planning, real estate, and archaeology. The Library contains more than 550,000 volumes including more than 40,000 rare books. Avery‚Äôs Drawings and Archives collection includes 1.5 million architectural drawings and records. The Avery Library is home to the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, the only comprehensive American guide to the current literature of architecture and design.  For more information, please visit: /content/libraryweb/indiv/avery.html.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.  

-END-
9/29/10 LMK