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This was an important period in women's studies and Ellen Key's feminism was fascinating reading for me awhile back. I had not heard of the new material discovered in the Swedish Archives and the article by Alice Friedman. I'm off to locate it.
The fact that Wright knew Mamah and, through her, Ellen Key, should raise FLW's stock in people's eyes.
I am sad that I buckled to the tone of the "conversation" and wrote my equivocating sentences about Taliesin, Wright and Mamah Cheney. It was a kind of betrayal to what was and what I felt and knew to be true.
The day Frank Lloyd Wright died, several apprentices left with a roar of screeching tires and desert dust, the ink not even dry on the death
certificate. I believe that they felt there was nothing there for them anymore.
But I stayed for awhile, and a month later we began the leisurely meander across the country to Spring Green, Wisconsin.
I drove with two others north to the Grand Canyon, around it into Utah and Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, then up to Salt Lake and into
the Tetons and Yellowstone, where we turned east and visited all the Wright buildings from there to Spring Green, Wisconsin, the site of Taliesin
North. I was there about three weeks before Mrs Wright showed up.
A week later my best friend there, Harold Long, was called up to the main house to see Gene Masselink. I went with him.
This was the first time I had seen Gene since Mr. Wright's death. He looked like he'd aged ten years, at least. (Gene was to die two years
later) Possibly it was because he had spent thirty years with Mr Wright and was left with, what? nothing? Or possibly it was his love for Mr Wright
and his loss? Or maybe it was because others had all the power and the wealth and they were forcing this nice man to do things he hated, because
he had no other place to go. He had spent his life with Frank Lloyd Wright.
"I'm glad you came with him, Bob. Mrs Wright wanted me to ask the two of you were you were yesterday, her first Sunday home. She said that
you should have been here for the Sunday meal, her first Sunday back in Wisconsin."
I thought, were we to be prisoners now?
"We were in Madison. Looking at the houses of Mr Wright," I said with anger.
Wesley Peters, who had been Mr. and Mrs Wright's son in law and, I was to learn later, a good architect (and, it seemed to me, angry that Gene
had been required to ask the question) then said, "Well, that should explain that to anybody's satisfaction!"
Gene then asked Harold if his wife was going to be coming to Wisconsin. Harold told Gene that his wife, Rene, was going to stay in Phoenix,
teaching school there. They could not afford for the two of them to pay Taliesin as they had the previous year.
"Well, in that case, Mrs Wright said that you would have to leave the Fellowship. She didn't want to take a chance of breaking up your
marriage, she said."
"It won't be breaking up the marriage. Rene will simply stay in Phoenix working until we move back there six months from now."
"I'm sorry, but Mrs Wright was adamant. Either you pay for both of you, or you'll both have to go."
"I can't afford to pay for both."
"Well, I'm sorry..."
With me getting more angry by the second. It was obvious that Mrs Wright was kicking Harold and Rene out, two of the nicest people I'd ever
met, not to mention that Harold loved architecture and had talent. And everybody loved Rene.
"Well, Gene," Harold said, "will you write me up an official letter saying how long I had studied here? I'll need it later when I go to get my
"Be glad to Harold. And I am sorry..." And I could tell that Gene was, for he was a nice person and did this only on orders.
"Hey, Gene," I said, "make me out one of those letters, too, if you will. I think I'll leave with Harold." Now that there was no longer a Frank Lloyd
Wright there, it did seem as though there was no reason to remain longer.
Wesley Peters looked sad when I said I would be leaving, but he said nothing. I think he already knew some of what was coming.
(Mrs Wright made many changes to the architecture at Taliesin West, most of which, after she died, Wesley Peters intended to change back to
the original construction of Frank Lloyd Wright. No, Mrs Wright was not an architect! Even though once she told me that she had "given Mr Wright
many of his best ideas.")
See "Robert Green Biography," bottom of page.
But this is my query to others:
My mother, a generation after Mrs. Wright and ingrained with the WWII women's independent spirit, used her maiden name with pride in place of her middle name and before her adopted married name (husband's last) for all her work, writings and business communications. Public etiquette often used Mrs. David C. Davis and she grudgedly accepted that sometimes when people didn't know better! (We discussed this before my marriage in the thick of the seventies woman's movement.) She would never have considered using her husband's middle name, as in Olgivanna Lloyd Wright. My mother scoffed at it. Mrs. Wright used that name as the writer of her 5 (are there others?) books. Is this an American or Russian custom we were unfamiliar with, did she call her husband Lloyd, or was it a convention because Frank was pedestrian sounding or another reason? Was this her formal name? I should look into how it was listed in different Who's Who's in America editions. Another library to do item. Hard to get to the library in this beautiful summer weather.
and the throne. Did she do so immediately upon marriage, or a bit later ? Admittedly, the light was dim and the throne not much recognized, at the beginning.
You might be right, that he simply preferred his mother's family to his father's. My original point, though, was intended to be more about Wright possibly persuading Olgivanna to use the Lloyd name since he always used Lloyd Wright, almost as a single surname ...
As long as we are doing feminist history here: FLW knew Charlotte Perkins Gilman too. Wright was very well connected but then, of course, Taliesin was sited in the nationâ€™s hot bed of Progressive politics of the time.
peterm, the 'Frank Lincoln Wright' story has been around since Brendan Gill (he even suggested that 'Frank' must have been short for 'Franklin' as in Benjamin, because who would name a kid 'Frank'?) published "Many Masks," but as far as I know, proof of it has never been published. Thomas Hines of UCLA did the research to verify FLW's birthyear as 1867 rather than 1869, but his paper on that does not refer to this middle name business. Maginel Wright Barney wrote "The Valley of the God-Almighty Joneses" without reference to it. Elizabeth Wright, FLW's older half-sister, wrote an unpublished autobiography, including many references to her brother, for whom there was not much love lost, with no mention. There is no known birth certificate, no family bible, no mention of it in his parents' divorce papers. So where is the documentation? Gill, Secrest and Zellman mentioning it without proof doesn't do it. Even Bill Storer is silent on the source. Could it be in the William Marlin papers which I believe are archived at Taliesin? I have yet to encounter anyone with adequate documentation. A nettlesome bit of arcana.