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I first read of the Lincoln middle name in Brendon Gill's "Many Masks" biography of Wright from the early 1990's....I believe Gill also postulated that Wright's birth name was "Franklin Lincoln Wright", owing supposedly to William Wright's admiration of Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln. William Allin Storrer uses the Lincoln middle name in his brief bios of Wright in his recent books.
Wright signed his early drawings "Frank L. Wright".
Has there ever been a birth certificate produced for Wright? (no birther jokes please) A marriage license to Catherine Tobin? A census record? Family corroboration of the Lincoln or Franklin names?
For those of us with GA or Taschen Monographs at their fingertips, at what point in Wright's drawings does "Lloyd" appear in titles?
Probably a stretch, but might the University of Wisconsin have in their records Wright's application information from 1885-1886?
Lloyd may be a silent marker in all of this about the name....Lloyd was named Frank Lloyd Wright Jr., but called Lloyd. Wright's first born was NOT named Frank(lin) Lincoln Wright Jr. As his birth year was 1890, it would indicate Wright himself went Frank Lloyd Wright by that time...a time when Wright was an employee of Adler and Sullivan, not a locally "known" practitioner or affected, socially climbing artist.
1. In 1928, at age 68, FLW's older half sister, Elizabeth Wright Heller, wrote a 300-page unpublished autobiography (available from The State Historical Society of Iowa). She was lucid, to-the-point, writing in a sort of journalistic, fact-based style, and without any sort of constraint that might have kept her from mentioning her brother's name-change, if such a thing had ever happened. Not a mention.
2. In 1965, FLW's younger sister, Maginel, wrote "The Valley of the God-Almighty Joneses" (Appleton-Century) which also lacks any mention of Lincoln. And again, she was without constraint about the subject.
3. But the best source of the non-Lincoln argument is from Thomas Hines, Jr. (not to be confused with Thomas Heinz) in his essay "Frank Lloyd Wright, The Madison Years, Records vs. Recollections" (Wisconsin Magazine of History, 196?). It was Hines' purpose to finally set the birth year debate to rest, so he researched every record available, census, divorce (William v Anna), school and fraternity. No birth certificate nor family bible have ever been found. If any record of Lincoln had been found, he would naturally have jumped all over it.
What is disturbing is that the Lincoln business has been accepted as fact without any backup at all to prove it, and disproving something, as we all know, is impossible.
There is one source that might have evidence: A writer by the last name Marlin (I think his first name may have been William) was in the process of writing the ultimate 2-volume tome on FLW's life when he died, leaving his papers gone with the wind. If he had it, so be it. But that's the only loophole I am willing to allow.
Frank Lloyd Wright Was Born Here - (pg 3 references William Marlin).
The Architects: Frank Lloyd Wright - by William Marlin
In some book, there was published a photograph that was supposedly the home of William and Anna in Richland Center at the time of FLW's birth. I thought it was the Twombly bio, but it isn't. From what I remember of the old photo, it might have been the house at Church and 2nd, but not sure.