Suggested Reading List
Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography
Author: Meryle Secrest
Description: Paperback: 652 pages
Meryle Secrest's Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography focuses on Wright's family history, personal adventures and colorful friends and family. Secrest had unprecedented access to an archive of over one hundred thousand of Wright's letters, photographs, drawings and books. She also interviewed surviving devotees, students and relatives. The result is an explicit portrait of both the genius architect and the provocative con-man.
My Father, Frank Lloyd Wright
Author: John Lloyd Wright
Description: Paperback: 189 pages
In this charming memoir, Wright the architect and father comes to life through the vivid recollections and firsthand knowledge of his son. John Lloyd Wright characterizes his father as "a rebel, a jolt to civilization, whose romantic theme - purposive planning, and organic unity in inventing and combining forms - is an epoch in the architecture of the world." His unique view of that epoch will intrigue architects, students and all who admire the work of this visionary and uncompromising spirit. Frank Lloyd Wright is widely regarded as the twentieth century's greatest architect - an unconventional genius who transformed both residential and commercial building design with his concept of "organic" architecture. During a long and productive life, Wright designed some 800 buildings, received scores of honors and awards, and left an indelible imprint on modern architectural theory and practice. This book description is from LearnOutLoud.com.
Frank Lloyd Wright: A Life
Author: Ada Louise Huxtable
Description: Paperback: 272 pages
Renowned architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable’s biography Frank Lloyd Wright looks at the architect and the man, from his tumultuous personal life to his long career as a master builder. Along the way she introduces Wright’s masterpieces. From the tranquil Fallingwater to Taliesin, rebuilt after tragedy and murder, not only exploring the mind of the man who drew the blueprints but also delving into the very heart of the medium, which he changed forever.
Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life and His Architecture
Author: Robert Twombly
Description: Paperback: 464 pages
A complete biography based on a wide range of previously untapped primary sources, covering Wright's private life, architecture and role in American society, culture, and politics. Views Wright's buildings as biographical as well as social statements, analyzing his work by type, category and individual structure. Examines Wright's struggle to develop a new artistic statement, his dramatic personal life, and his political and economic ideas, including those on cities, energy conservation, cooperative home building and environmental preservation. Includes over 150 illustrations (photographs, floor plans, and drawings--many never before published), extensive footnotes and the most exhaustive bibliography of Wright's published work available.
Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright
Author: Brendan Gill
Description: Paperback: 544 pages
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) is often described as the greatest of American architects. His works, among them Taliesin North, Taliesin West, Fallingwater, the Johnson Wax buildings, the Guggenheim Museum, earned him a good measure of his fame, but his flamboyant personal life earned him the rest. Here Brendan Gill, a personal friend of Wright and his family, gives us not only the fullest, fairest, and most entertaining account of Wright to date, but also strips away the many masks the architect tirelessly constructed to fascinate his admirers and mislead his detractors. Enriched by hitherto unpublished letters and 300 photographs and drawings, this definitive biography makes Wright, in all his creativity, crankiness, and zest, fairly leap from its pages.
The Prairie School: Frank Lloyd Wright and His Midwest Contemporaries
Author: H. Allen Brooks
Description: Paperback: 400 pages
One of the most original and dynamic developments in American architecture, the Prairie School was a regional manifestation of the international revolt and reform that occurred in the visual arts during the early years of the twentieth century.
Inspired by Louis Sullivan and given guidance and prominence by Frank Lloyd Wright, the members of the movement sought to achieve a fresh architectural expression. Their designs were characterized by precise, angular forms and highly sophisticated interior arrangements-an approach that proved immensely significant in residential architecture. H. Allen Brooks discusses the entire phenomenon of the Prairie School-not just the masters but also the work of their contemporaries. Drawing on unpublished material and original documentation as well as on interviews, he assesses each architect’s contribution and traces the course of the movement itself-how and why it came into existence, what it achieved and what caused its abrupt end.
Up Close: Frank Lloyd Wright
Author: Jan Adkins
Description: 208 pages
Frank Lloyd Wright was the most influential architect of the twentieth century and a rogue genius whose life was a wild ride. Wright routinely ignored unpaid bills, clients’ wishes and budget constraints. Only his creative vision mattered to him. That vision transformed the way we live, sweeping aside the Victorian home and creating a uniquely American architecture exemplified by his Prairie Style houses. Wright built hotels, churches and offices, incorporating endless innovations in techniques and materials. Ideas poured out of him throughout his long career; he called it “shaking the design out of my sleeve.” Jan Adkins’s fascinating biography of this compelling, infuriating, larger than- life figure will change the way every reader looks at architecture.
Jens Jensen: Maker of Natural Parks and Gardens (Creating the North American Landscape)
Author: Robert E. Grese
Description: Paperback: 328 pages
Jens Jensen was one of America's greatest landscape designers and conservationists. Using native plants and "fitting" designs, he advocated that our gardens, parks, roads, playgrounds and cities should be harmonious with nature and its ecological processes-a belief that was to become a major theme of modern American landscape design. In Jens Jensen: Maker of Natural Parks and Gardens, Robert E. Grese draws on Jensen's writings and plans, interviews with people who knew him and analyses of his projects to present a clear picture of Jensen's efforts to enhance and preserve "native" landscapes.
Siftings (American Land Classics)
Author: Jens Jensen
Description: Paperback: 144 pages
One of America’s greatest landscape designers and conservationists, Jensen used native plants to introduce the influential Prairie style of landscape architecture. In Siftings, Jensen shares his memories of "wandering in many lands" and his life in the heart of Middle America. His recollections—like his designs—express a love of natural landscapes and regional cultures. As he sifts through a lifetime of ideas about gardens, cities, towns and parks, Jensen makes an eloquent case for a natural style of American landscape.
Lincoln’s New Salem
Author: Benjamin P. Thomas
Description: 166 pages
Thomas tells the story of the village where Abraham Lincoln lived from 1831 to 1837. His three-part examination of the village often referred to as Lincolns "Alma Mater" features the founding and early history of New Salem, Lincolns impact on the village and its effect on him, and the story of the Lincoln legend and the reconstruction of the town.
Thomas argues convincingly that New Salem was the town where Lincoln acquired faith in himself, faith in people. At 22 the future president drifted into town seeking to become a blacksmith. Thomas introduces us to the people who created New Salem and who knew, influenced, and befriended Lincoln. Thomas highlights Lincolns arrival, his relationships with his neighbors, his important wrestling match with Jack Armstrong, his self-education, his quiet career as an Indian fighter, his experience as a postmaster largely indifferent to postal regulations, his financial woes as a businessman, his loyal friends who often came to his aid, and his election to the legislature.
This colorful history closes with a discussion of the Lincoln legend. The truth of the stories is unimportant. What matters is that the growing Lincoln legend prompted the gradual realization that New Salem was not a dismal mire from which President Lincoln had had to extricate himself but was, in fact, an energizing force. This realization led to research and finally to the restoration of New Salem, which began in 1932.
Sugar Creek, Life on the Illinois Prairie
Author: John Mack Faragher
Description: "Sugar Creek, Life on the Illinois Prairie" (The Lamar Series in Western History), follows the development of a rural Illinois community from its origins near the beginning of the nineteenth century, looks at community activity, and tells the stories of ordinary pioneers. Paperback 285 pages. Amazon.com
Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian Houses (Wright at a Glance Series)
Author: Carla Lind
Description: Hardcover: 60 pages
One of the architectural problems that challenged Frank Lloyd Wright throughout his career was how to provide moderate-cost houses that were every bit as good as more expensive ones. His solution was the Usonian house. This book presents a dozen of these innovative structures that became models for so many American houses. The Wright-at-a-Glance series showcases the work of one of the world's best-known architects. Comprising twelve books in all, this series offers an overview of Wright's life, buildings, and designs.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian Houses: Designs for Moderate Cost One-Family Homes
Author: John Sergeant
Description: Paperback: 208 pages
Looks at the last period in Wright's career, reassessing his Usonian houses, his Taliesin working communities and his plan for Broadacre City. Wright's designs include a strong focus on energy conservation and the need for personalized lifestyle.
Loving Frank: A Novel
Author: Nancy Horan
Description: Paperback: 400 pages
“I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current.” So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and forever change their lives.
In this ambitious debut novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America’s greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheney’s profound influence on Wright. Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover and intellectual. Horan’s Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative calling in the world. Mamah’s is an unforgettable journey marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leading inexorably ultimately lead to this novel’s stunning conclusion. Elegantly written and remarkably rich in detail, Loving Frank is a fitting tribute to a courageous woman, a national icon and their timeless love story.
The Prairie Spirit of Landscape Gardening
Author: Wilhelm Miller
Description: Hardcover: 56 pages
In 1915, Wilhelm Miller (1869-1938), an influential author and editor, published "The Prairie Spirit of Landscape Gardening," a profusely illustrated book that championed the "prairie style" of landscape gardening. It was the first book to address the question of a truly American style of landscape design and remains one of the most significant early treatises on that topic. This handsome volume features several projects by Jens Jensen, a Danish immigrant who’s ecologically based conservation-oriented approach to park and residential design had a strong impact in Chicago and formed the foundation of the stylistic school Miller was promoting. The book also features photographs of O. C. Simonds's designs for Chicago's Graceland Cemetery and Midwestern landscapes by Walter Burley Griffin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Warren H. Manning, among others. Before and after images vividly demonstrate Miller's taste for abundant use of hardy native plants in landscape design. His emphatic captions--"Away with Gaudy Foreigners and Artificial Varieties!" "Restore the Native Vegetation!"--leave little doubt about his aesthetic position. Christopher Vernon's new introduction links the prairie style to Wright and other architects of the Progressive Era, arguing that Wright's use of prairie landscape elements actually preceded that by Jensen, Simonds and their peers. Vernon shows how prairie imagery provided design ideas for some and also provided a label--prairie style--that helped promote naturalistic work generally. Architects, landscape architects and garden enthusiasts will be intrigued by Vernon's insights and inspired by Miller's impassioned call to celebrate, replicate and conserve the Midwestern landscape.