An extraordinary group of glass plates and other negatives documenting the early work of Frank Lloyd Wright has been acquired by OA+D Archives.

The collection is comprised of one-hundred and seventy glass plate negatives and fifty-two film negatives (222 images total) with interior and exterior views of seminally important Wright buildings, exhibition installations, and several portraits of the architect. The majority of the images were photographed by the early 20th century photography studio of Henry Fuermann and Sons.

In describing the significance of these photographs, noted Wright historian Kathryn Smith said:

"It is almost certain that Wright commissioned the Fuermanns and directed the photography at the site with them. The negatives represent Wright’s intentions of how he wanted his architecture to be portrayed. These rare views are like Wright talking to us."

Smith added:

"These unique surviving glass negatives include the evolution of the Prairie House from Willits house to the Robie House with the Hickox, Thomas, and Coonley houses as well as Unity Temple in between. All three Taliesins, the Coonley Playhouse, and Midway Gardens are well represented. When Wright made a visual record of his first 20 years of practice in the Wasmuth photobook almost all images were by Fuermann and Sons. Wright was recognized in Europe as the first modern architect by Mies, Gropius, and Rietveld only through these photographs."

Among the Frank Lloyd Wright projects represented in the collection are:

  • ADAMS : : House for Mr. and Mrs. Harry S. Adams [Oak Park, Illinois] (1911); 1 image
  • BAKER : : House for Frank J. Baker, scheme 2 [Wilmette, Illinois] (1909); 3 images
  • BALDWIN : : House for Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Baldwin, scheme 2 [Kenilworth, Illinois] (1906); 2 images
  • COONLEY : : House for Avery Coonley [Riverside, Illinois] (1908); 23 images
  • COONLEY : : Playhouse for Avery Coonley [Riverside, Illinois] (1912); 4 images
  • EVANS : : House for Raymond W. Evans [Longwood, Illinois] (1908); 7 images
  • FRICKE : : House for William G. Fricke [Oak Park, Illinois] (1901); 2 images
  • HARDY : : House for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas P. Hardy [Racine, Wisconsin] (1905); 1 image
  • HEATH : : House for Mr. and Mrs. William R. Heath [Buffalo, New York] (1904); 1 image
  • HEURTLEY : : House for Arthur Heurtley [Oak Parl, Illinois] (1902); 2 images
  • HICKOX : : House for Mr. and Mrs. Warren Hickox [Kankakee, Illinois] (1900); 1 image
  • HORNER : : House for Mrs. L. K. Horner [Chicago, Illinois] (1908); 2 images
  • IMPERIAL : : Imperial Hotel for Aisaku Hayashi [Tokyo, Japan] (1916); 17 images
  • MIDWAY : : Midway Gardens [Chicago, Illinois] (1913); 36 images
  • MILLARD : : House for George Madison Millard [Highland Park, Illinois] (1906); 1 image
  • MOORE : : House for Mr. and Mrs. Nathan G. Moore [Oak Park, Illinois] (1895); 3 images
  • ROBERTS : : House for Isabel Roberts [River Forest, Illinois] (1908); 6 images
  • ROBIE : : House for Mr. and Mrs. Frederick C. Robie [Chicago, Illinois] (1906); 9 images
  • STEFFENS : : House for Mr. and Mrs. Oscar M. Steffens [Chicago, Illinois] (1909); 4 images
  • TALIESIN I-III : : Country Home of Frank Lloyd Wright [Spring Green, Wisconsin] (1911); 46 images
  • THOMAS : : House for Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wright Thomas [Oak Park, Illinois] (1901); 2 images
  • UNITY : : Unity Temple [Oak Park, Illinois] (1905); 5 images
  • WILLITTS : : House and Stables for Mr. and Mrs. Ward Winfield Willits [Highland Park, Illinois] (1902); 2 images
  • WRIGHT : : Home and Studio for Frank Lloyd Wright [Oak Park, Illinois] (1889); 8 images

In addition to the above noted buildings, photographs in the collection document other Wright projects, the Chicago Art Institute exhibitions of 1912 and 1914 (7 images), and the 1917 Arts Club exhibit (4 images). Additionally there are photographs of drawings and models of unrealized designs, and some portraits of Frank Lloyd Wright.

OA+D Archives wants to make these important historical images available to researchers on the internet for the first time. Because OA+D Archives has acquired the original media for these early Wright photographs, the plates and film negatives can be scanned at high resolution. Enlargements can be made to permit inspection of significant details not readily visible in existing prints.


We’re asking generous donors to contribute $150 towards digitizing each negative. Please consider "adopting" one or more of the photographs to support their online presentation on the OA+D Archives website. For each image whose processing you sponsor, your name will be added to the permanent online catalog display in honor of your contribution.

The OA+D Archives is a federally recognized 501c3 non-profit. Your donation is 100% tax deductible.