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Tech Tip, July 2021: Accessing the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive at the Avery Library at Columbia University

In April, staff from the Avery Library at Columbia University in New York City presented to a Conservancy audience a highly informative webinar on the use of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archive. The presentation included an overview of the main collections in the immense archive. The collections of particular use to building researchers include:

  • Architectural Drawings
  • Letters
  • Project Photographs

Of particular utility was a demonstration of the use of the archive website to identify materials that may be in the collection that are pertinent to a particular research effort.

Here is a video of the presentation:

And here is a downloadable PDF of the slide presentation with links to the sites described in the video.

Both the Avery Library and the Conservancy encourage anyone anticipating research at the archive to review these links to gain an understanding of what material is available. This will help make your visit to the Avery as productive as possible. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email the Department of Drawings & Archives at avery-drawings@columbia.edu.

The archive’s online resources are constantly being updated, so it’s worth visiting the website regularly to learn about new information.

The archive’s accessibility has been directly affected by the COVID pandemic. As of July 2021, the facility is closed to non-Columbia University-affiliated researchers. Visit the website for updates on accessibility.

Highlights of the video include:

  • A welcome by Hannah Bennett, Director of the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
  • An introduction to the Avery Library by Jenny Davis, Public Services Librarian (at minute 1:03)
  • In overview of the Wright-related collections by Pamela Casey, Architecture Archivist at Drawings & Archives (at minute 9:10)
  • A history of the Wright collections by Shelley Hayreh, Avery Archivist at Drawings & Archives (at minute 13:15)
  • In-depth description of the Wright collections (at minute 16:45)
  • Homeowner resources and where to start (at minute 21:04)
  • A demonstration of using the Avery’s online resources (at minute 28:17).
  • Discussion with Avery staff and Conservancy Preservation Programs manager John Waters (at minute 53:15)

As described in the demonstration noted above, study images of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archive’s extensive trove of architectural drawings have been made available through Artstor. See also the Conservancy’s March Tech Tip. Artstor’s site is an invaluable resource for Wright researchers and enthusiasts.

Other collections, including correspondence and photos, can be researched online to determine if the collection holds items relevant to a research project. Currently there are no online images for collections other than the drawings collection. Viewing of these collections must be done at the Avery Library in the Department of Drawings & Archives.

For questions about research in the Wright archive at Avery, please send email to Drawings & Archives at avery-drawings@columbia.edu.

For questions regarding the Artstor collection or to inquire about access to high-resolution drawing images, visit the Avery Digital Imaging website or contact the team via email at averyimaging@columbia.edu.

Posted on June 18, 2021

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