Wikipedia and Wright

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Stephen Cowdery
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Wikipedia and Wright

Post by Stephen Cowdery »

In light of the 20th anniversary of Wikipedia, I’m curious about what the forum members think about its entry on Frank Lloyd Wright, re: completeness, accuracy, specific problems, and its overall quality.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: Wikipedia and Wright

Post by SDR »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Lloyd_Wright

The length of the entry seems commensurate with the size of Wright's life and output. I find no egregious errors within the first ten paragraphs, though there are some minor omissions or inappropriate emphases:

* Fallingwater is hardly the best exemplar of organic architecture as defined by the author in the previous sentence.

* It remains to be shown that he "wrote" twenty books; his name is certainly attached to many collections of his writings and speeches.

* The 1989 date for "development of" the Oak Park home and studio is a bit late ?

* I was not aware of the circumstances of the meeting of Wright's parents.

* To the phrase "[Froebel blocks] could be assembled in various combinations to form three-dimensional compositions" I would have added "two- and" [three-dimensional].

* I find it odd that Bach's name should be the only one mentioned in association with William's musical influence on his children.

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

Roderick Grant
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Re: Wikipedia and Wright

Post by Roderick Grant »

* SDR, I have never heard there was any doubt that FLW wrote his own books. Are you suggesting he had a ghost writer?

* In her autobiography, Elizabeth Wright Heller, FLW's older half-sister, wrote that Anna Lloyd-Jones was a housekeeper in the Wright household while William's first wife was alive, and that William married Anna after wife #1 died.

* The meet-cute version of Frank and Olga at the ballet is largely accepted as described in "An Autobiography," but John Lloyd Wright told H. Allen Brooks that Olga was a scrub maid at Taliesin when they met. John was not an Olga fan, so he probably made it up, but I bet Papa also made up the ballet melodrama. The Feds did, however, issue a warrant for violating the Mann Act. It was Alexander Woollcott who traveled to DC to get the charges against his friend dropped.

* The "Lincoln" fable was accepted by Wikipedia for years as a matter of settled fact. Only recently did they correct the error, due to, I believe, DNR setting them straight.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: Wikipedia and Wright

Post by SDR »

I put "wrote" in quotes only to question how many of the "twenty books" were from his hand, as opposed to transcriptions of speeches or collections of writings. My question is with the number of books published by him in his lifetime, not whether he wrote them himself, of which I have no doubt. A perusal of the bibliographies would answer the question; I haven't bothered to do that, yet.

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Wikipedia and Wright

Post by Roderick Grant »

A quick perusal of "The Collected Writings" suggests that a large percentage of his work appeared in periodicals, and at least 11 early writings went unpublished. Then there is the one article published in a far leftist periodical concerning his 1930s trip with Olga to Russia. That one seems to have slipped through the cracks. The periodical (cannot recall its name) was published for only a few years in Minneapolis, and probably didn't get far beyond the suburbs thereof.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Wikipedia and Wright

Post by SDR »

I don't know who is responsible for this bibliography, readily found online, but it names five published full-length books by Wright.

http://mercury.lcs.mit.edu/~jnc/nontech/fllw_bks.html

Would Robert Sweeney's Wright bibliography be definitive, at least to its 1978 date of publication ?

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

Stephen Cowdery
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Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2019 11:28 am
Location: Minnesota
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Re: Wikipedia and Wright

Post by Stephen Cowdery »

Lots of good observations here.

Most of the questionable information on the page doesn't have any references, much less substantial ones.

The Brendan Gill "Lincoln/Franklin" nonsense is obvious from reading his book—he posits both the "Frank Lincoln Wright" and "Franklin Lincoln Wright" name theories on the same page, without any proof for either.

Everyone here knows that FLW liked to embellish his stories, a casual reader of Wikipedia may not.

I'll do some "pruning" of the article.

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