Frank Lloyd Wright (b. 1867–d. 1959) was perhaps the most well-known American architect, and one of the most important figures in modern architecture of the 20th century. After apprenticing in Chicago, importantly with Louis Sullivan in the firm of Adler and Sullivan, Wright began his independent practice in 1893 in the suburb of Oak Park. There, to 1909, Wright developed the spatially expansive and stylistically innovative type of the Prairie House. In this period Wright also designed his first major larger works, the Larkin Co. Administration Building, Buffalo, New York (1902–1906), and Unity Temple, Oak Park (1905–1909). Wright created a home and studio, Taliesin (1911–1913), amid the farmlands of his maternal family in southern Wisconsin. He also designed the Midway Gardens (1913–1914) in Chicago. Wright spent much of the next eight years in Tokyo working on the Imperial Hotel there, which survived the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. He also designed Hollyhock House (1919–1921) in Los Angeles for Aline Barnsdall, and in 1923–1925, living in Los Angeles, Wright built four “textile block houses.” Based at Taliesin, rebuilt after a second fire in 1925, and in winters from 1937 at Taliesin West near Scottsdale, Arizona, Wright worked with apprentices who formed the Taliesin Fellowship, to create such key works as Fallingwater (1934–1937), at Bear Run in southwestern Pennsylvania, and the S. C. Johnson Company Administration Building (1936–1939) in Racine, Wisconsin. Wright also wrote on new ideas for urbanism, especially his Broadacre City, first exhibited in New York City in 1935. The following year Wright built the first of many Usonian houses designed for clients with modest incomes and featuring many dimensional and material economies while maintaining a sense of spaciousness. In the last phase of his career following World War II, Wright and his apprentices continued to build houses for a national clientele, and such larger works as the S. C. Johnson Company Research Tower (1943–1950) in Racine, the H. C. Price Company Tower (1952–1956) in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the Marin County Civic Center (1957–1970) in California, and his most influential late work, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1943–1959) in New York City. Wright’s later public buildings also included a series of religious structures, perhaps most notably Beth Sholom Synagogue, Elkins Park, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1954–1959), and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Wauwatosa, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1956–1963). Oxford University Press online bibliographies usually have 50–150 citations. This bibliography of scholarly literature on Frank Lloyd Wright is limited to about four hundred citations, which is a small percentage of the thousands of publications on Wright from his earliest years through his death in 1959 and continuing through 2020. For publications on Wright through 2002, see Donald Langmead, Frank Lloyd Wright: A Bio-Bibliography (Langmead 2003, cited under Research and Reference Guides), with its over 3,500 entries. For a complete list of references on Wright since 2002, the reader may profitably consult several relevant online scholarly databases such as the Avery Index to Architecture Periodicals, Bibliography of the History of Art, America: History and Life, and Applied Science and Engineering. In this Oxford Bibliography article, publications contemporaneous with the completion of Wright’s works have largely been omitted in favor of later historical accounts of them. For scholarly writing, if an author’s article or book chapter was substantially incorporated into a later book by that same author, references to such earlier articles or chapters have been omitted. Also, the large literature on Wright which is almost exclusively photographic or popular has been mostly omitted, with the exception of local and comprehensive guidebooks to Wright’s architecture. Photographic volumes with substantive essays have been included. Unpublished dissertations and theses have not been included. These can be searched through such databases as Dissertations & Theses Global.
Research and Reference Guides
The foundation of contemporary scholarship on Wright is the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives, which since 2013 has been at Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, and the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City. Prior to then the archives were maintained by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. Alofsin 1988 is an index to the archives’ more than 300,000 letters and documents on Wright’s career. Meehan 1983 covers materials in other American archives. Langmead 2003 is an annotated bibliography of commentary and scholarship arranged chronologically, following Sweeney 1978 as the first such effort. Turner 2020 is an online resource developed since 2017 that uniquely surveys the scope of Wright’s library broadly defined.
Alofsin, Anthony, ed. Frank Lloyd Wright: An Index to the Taliesin Correspondence. 5 vols. New York: Garland, 1988.
Each letter or appended document is indexed by sender, recipient, date, and the building or unbuilt project to which it is related, or by another subject category. Letters or documents are recorded on microfilm with an archival number for each sheet. Wright’s library, art collections, speeches and writings, and project drawings, photographs, models, and specifications are not included in this index, which is nevertheless an indispensable reference work for primary research on all aspects of Wright. Vol. 1, Chronological Index, 1885–1946. Vol. 2, Chronological Index, 1947–1955. Vol. 3, Author Index. Vol. 4, Addressee Index. Vol. 5, Affiliation Index, General Subject Index, Proper Name Index, Project Number Index.
Langmead, Donald. Frank Lloyd Wright: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003.
This indispensable reference volume summarizes Wright’s career decade by decade from the 1880s to the 1950s, with an annotated bibliography of all publications by and about him, including complete listings of publications in the decades after his death through 2002.
Meehan, Patrick J. Frank Lloyd Wright: A Research Guide to Archival Sources. New York: Garland, 1983.
Working guide to Frank Lloyd Wright archival material at fifty-five institutions in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, including descriptions of their holdings of original manuscripts, drawings, letters, documents, recordings, furniture, building fragments, and other artifacts that are in publicly accessible collections. Part 1 describes the scope of each repository’s holdings, and Part 2 describes specific documents in chronological order through Wright’s life, with an appended chronology of buildings and unexecuted projects or designs.
Sweeney, Robert L. Frank Lloyd Wright: An Annotated Bibliography. Los Angeles: Hennessey & Ingalls, 1978.
The first attempt to create a comprehensive, authoritative bibliography. The introduction is a helpful overview of Wright’s career-long activity as a publicist. Over two thousand entries of publications by and about him, organized chronologically from 1886 to 1977. Annotations to entries cite not only original publications, but also reprintings or other republications in later venues. Appendix A lists Wright’s Taliesin publications (1931–1965). Appendix B documents the twenty-two Wright buildings then recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
This online site, developed by the author in collaboration with Stanford University’s library, is an attempt to compile all the surviving books that Wright owned, which are scattered in various places, as well as the lost books that can be identified—and books Wright read, even if he didn’t own them. His “library” is defined here as the totality of these works. Also included are groups of books that Wright probably had access to, during some period of his life, such as books belonging to Louis Sullivan.
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