In April 2021, 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 video 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.

Both the Avery Library and the Conservancy encourage anyone anticipating research at the archive to review the video and accompanying slide presentation 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 [email protected].

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 or email the department..

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)
  • An 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.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Other collections within the archive, such as the  correspondence and photos, have guides (called ‘finding aids’) online that can be researched to determine if the collection holds items relevant to your research project. Currently, the only part of the archive that is available to view online is the drawings collection. Other collections, such as the correspondence, photographs, and much more, are available to view in-person in the reading room at the Department of Drawings & Archives at Avery Library.

For questions about conducting research in the Wright archive at Avery, you’re welcome to email the Drawings & Archives department at at [email protected]. You can also visit their website for details about booking appointments and planning for research visits.

For questions regarding the Artstor collection or to inquire about access to high-resolution drawing images, visit the Avery Digital Imaging website or send their team an email: [email protected].

For information on determining whether a high-resolution image has already been made of a drawing, see our posting “Study Images of Wright Drawings Available on Artstor.”


Updated February 21, 2022

Posted June 18, 2021