"Frank Lloyd Wright Data Base/How to Use"
Notes by John Geiger

In the course of trying to find an institution interesting in accepting his database and archival collection, John Geiger wrote a text to explain the structure of the data tables. The initial development of this presentation is dated October 30, 1999. A more extensively detailed version of the document, dated October 28, 2002, and meant to be attached to inquiry letters as "Exhibits," is presented here. In general, the format of the paper document has been retained, with occasional emphasis added for clarity. Notes of table names, column labels or other technical definititons have been inserted in brackets.


The following is an attempt to cover the use of the data contained in my Frank Lloyd Wright data base. I will start with the name and address file because that is where I started and proceed to the Drawings fille, Drawing Author file, Library file, Publication file and to the Iconographic file. After that I will go to the Taliesin Fellows files which may or may not be of interest to anyone.


Name and Address File (Exhibit A) [Table MMTFNL]


This file was started to provide a mailing list for membership solicitation for the Taliesin Fellows. The Fellows organization was established in 1989 to address the question of changes to the family quarters at Taliesin West that occurred after Mr. Wright’s death. The apprentice list has its origins in the Elizabeth Kassler’s The Taliesin Fellowship, A Directory of Members which was privately published by Kassler in the fall of 1981 with a printing of 450 copies. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation during Mr Wright’s lifetime and afterwards had no interest in maintaining an apprentice file and none was ever maintained. Elizabeth Kassler took it upon herself to accomplish this formidable task with “limited cooperation” from the Foundation. We need to thank Betty for her effort without which there would never have been an apprentice list. In 1987, two years after Mrs. Wright’s death and 18 years after Mr. Wright’s death, the Foundation decided that an apprentice reunion was in order. The Kassler list served as a starting point for soliciting apprentice participation in that very welcome event. The questions raised about changes to both Taliesins at the reunion led to the formation of the Taliesin Fellows. Dick Carney, CEO of the Foundation, was very helpful in furnishing an updated apprentice list to the Fellows for their membership solicitation and that is the beginning of my apprentice list. Kassler did not copyright her list and I consider it to be in the public domain.

Lists Contained

All lists contained within my name and address file were there for the purpose of soliciting membership in the Taliesin Fellows.

Apprentice List: Under the umbrella of “apprentice” are included anyone who ever spent any time at Taliesin, including family, children, musicians, etc as well any employee/apprentice ever associated with Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy: I traded lists with Sara Briggs of the Conservancy early on and updated the Conservancy list yearly from the name and address file handed out at the yearly meeting.

Frank Lloyd Wright buildings with Current Owners where known: Information from a variety of sources including Storrer.

Architectural Schools: Included are all architectural schools in the USA and Canada.

Architectural and Fine Art Libraries:All major institutions with an interest in Wright.

Public Libraries: Selected libraries including Boston, New York, Minneapolis, etc..

AIA Offices: All local and regional AIA offices.

Local Los Angeles Wright Interested Public: Gleaned from free PR in The Los Angeles Times and from various house tours and events sponsored by the Fellows.

PR List: Local and national public relations list from national magazines newspapers, etc., to send announcements, etc.

Layout (See Exhibit A)

Form is a typical name and address file with two addresses allowable per record for home and business addresses, telephone, cell phone, FAX and modem numbers, e-mail address etc.

ID Codes: Two six digit fields for ID codes covered in detail later.

Married Name Field: Several ladies were married several times during their stay at Taliesin and to be able to locate them under any name they are listed under all names starting with the maiden name and proceeding through all married names to the last listed name. A NP (non-print) in ID Code #1 prevents them from being listed under any name except the last listed name in print procedures.

Built Work: There are two fields are included to list all Frank Lloyd Wright built works with an address by the FLW Archive work number and the building client last name, first name, as well as the the current occupant at that address where known.

JS: Indicated if the listing is Taliesin Fellows member and the expiration issue #.

TF IN and TF OUT: There are two sets of Taliesin In and Taliesin Out fields to allow for two different stays at Taliesin. The single character field after ‘OUT’ is for attribution

Change of Address: Several fields to track change of addresses.

NX Field: Denotes date of ‘no known address’ from post office.

Born and Deceased

Comments: Two fields for structural reasons. (I finally learned how to do a ‘long field’.)


The first field is the Record Number for this record and is a random number sequenced from 0001. The input is pretty direct except for ID CODE 1 and ID CODE 2. These are really sort fields and the entries are directed to that purpose. I have attached Exhibit ‘B’ which defines these codes. To sort by any of these entries in a ‘procedure’ precede and follow it with an asterisk.

ID CODE 1 gets pretty complicated. In general I have used TF to designate any one who was ever in residence at Taliesin or worked with/for Wright at any location at any time. Additional entries such as FA (family), PG (progeny) or MU (musician) are part of the original entry and are used to eliminate a record with that designation from any future listing. Betty Kassler reproduced the Charter Applicants hand lettered by Henry Klumb in her Directory, which list apprentices and two additional categories which I have used. They are TM for Taliesin Men which includes men in residence at Taliesin and in Wright’s ‘employ’ or were ‘apprentices’ before the beginning of the Fellowship who stayed on for a period of time. HF (honorary fellow) was also used for Glickman who was a consulting engineer and Goodall who was just a frequent visitor. I have used HF to designate anyone who was in Wright’s ‘employ’ or was an unpaid ‘apprentice’ at any time such as Neutra, Tsuchiura, Moser, and others less well known. I have included all of the Oak Park ‘employees’ in this category. TM and HF are included in ID Code 2 for lack of space in ID CODE 1. Also included in ID CODE 2 is OP for original 1932 apprentice. The married name field is an automatic look up from the Last Name field and has to be entered manually if you want to alter it.

[Tables MMTFDRAWINGS FILE ("main form") and DRAWINGS LINE ITEMS]("sub form")]


These files originated with my research for a book on the geometry in Wright’s work and were expanded to include the documentation by Jack Howe of drawings executed by him and other apprentices about which he had first hand knowledge. I requested and received similar documentation from Curtis Besinger [as well as A. Louis Wiehle].


These files list all items on the 01/04/02 Frank Lloyd Wright work list in the main form and data on 4,000 individual drawings in the sub-form. Some of the individual drawings data concerns drawings no longer in the collection of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, but now in private or institutional collections.

DRAWINGS FILE ("main form")

The drawings file has a main form which contains basic information universal to the job and several attached sub-forms, Project Coordinator through Supervising Apprentice, containing specific information about the job, plus a more complex attached sub-form, Drawings Line Items, which contains information about individual drawings. These two portions of the data base were initiated for my own personal use and contain very idiosyncratic data that may or may not be of any interest to anyone else, and needs to be viewed from that perspective, so I will describe in detail many fields that contain this information.

The first field in the Drawings [Table MMTFDRAWINGS FILE] file is the Record Number which is the same as the [Frank Lloyd Wright] Archive job number. I want to next skip down to six dates, Original Contact Date [Column "ORIGINAL DESIGN DATE"] through Construction Completed [Column "CONSRUCTION COMPLET" (sic)]. When the drawings were first archived it was done by apprentices without much knowledge but a lot of determination. The jobs were divided into years, which became the first two digits of the archive Job Number, followed by a random two digit number to sequence the job in that year. The procedure was far from fool proof but did get the job done. If they had followed museum procedures they would still be working on it. That is why I have the six date fields to better date the jobs. The field following the date is an attribution field to document the date. The first date field, Original Contact Date, is a look up date from the Job Number as doesn’t mean much unless it is followed by an attribution number. All of which gets me to the third field, the SORT DATE and its attribution. This field is an attempt to sort the jobs in a logical sequence. I have chosen the Preliminary Drawing Signed date as the sort date, because that is where the design gels and is presented to the client. That is the aspect of the work in which I am the most interested.

The next files is EVAL, or evaluation. I have assigned an evaluation from 1 to 10 (the best) to most of the work so be able to list the work by date and evaluation to determine the creative curve, if there is one.

Next is ROOF TYPE. This field is not well developed but was intended to classify the houses by roof pattern; simple cruciform (Barton), complex cruciform (Taliesin), gable, flat, combination shed and flat, etc.

Next is PROTOTYPE. This field was designed to group houses by the origination job such as Jacobs #1, Jacobs #2, Laurent, Sundt, Loeb, Pence, etc. Wright had a penchant for pulling thing out of the file and giving to another client with mixed results.

Next is ANOMALIES. Certain features start showing up that work to the detrement of aparticular work. Not a very well developed field.

Next is YR/MO SORT#. These fields were intended as a sort field by was superceded by SORT DATE.

The next fields down to OCCUPANCY TYPE are obvious. This field breaks three main groups of occupancy, civic, commercial and residential, down into sub groups so you can sort by any main group or sub-group. There is a group of jobs that are not buildings so, therefore, do not have an occupancy type. For that group I have entered DECORATIVE ACCESSORIES in this field which is available in the sub-form DRAWINGS LINE ITEMS. (Although it is unnoted at the moment).

Next is BUILDING TYPE. This field breaks construction types such as concrete, masonry, wood, and combinations of these types down into east to sort groups.

Next is COMMENTS. This field is obvious except that it is not covered by a word processing format and may contain spelling errors. I used this field to describe the geometry of various jobs, and being under the constraints of space to say as much as I could, in as few words as possible. I=will move this so called GEO information to a word processing file one of these days.

PROJECT COORDINATOR through SUPERVISING APPRENTICE are each separate files “Attached“ to the Drawings File.


Drawings Line Items is a separate file attached to the Drawings File. It contains individual drawings of any one job. Here again there are some fields that may be superfluous, but were added in the beginning to cover every possibility.

The first field (really three fields), Drawing Number, is the Job Number of the Drawings File, a dot, and the drawing number from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive, another dot, and a one character field called Suffix. This field is used to add, +, or remove, -, entries from this record. There are many errors in the identification of drawings in the FLLW Archives and I use this field to indicate the addition or removal of a particular drawing from this record. The next three fields are part of this process. They now seem unnecessarily complicated and I don’t know why I did what I did. But the purpose of these fields is to transfer one particular drawing from one job number to another so that when these fields are used to sort drawings, a particular drawing will be moved from incorrectly designated Job # to the correct Job#. The + or - in the Suffix field indicates weather a drawing has ben added or removee from a particular Job#. When a drawing is moved from one Job# to another Job#, I the Job# obviously changes. For drawing number I keep the whole numbers and substitute a question mark for the leading zeros, so you may get a number that looks like .??6 for the drawing number preceded by the Job#. Where the drawing in owned by a private party or an institution there is usually no FLLW archive #. In that case I assign a whole number, sequencing from 001 to the last digit and fill the leading zeros with an asterisk. This distinguishes it from an archived drawing with ? in the leading zeros. For drawing in the FLLW Archives that do not have archive numbers I do the same thing.

Next is RD#. This is a record number for this particular record and is sequenced from 001. Next is DRAWING OWNER. This is the Name and Address record number for the drawing owner followed by the name of the owner if it not the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

Next is Scheme #.

Next are Client, Sobriquet, Job Title, Corrected Job (Title). Obvious.

Next is Drawing Title. Where a title is clearly shown on a published drawing, I show it here
in capital letters.

Next is Description. A description to identify the content of a drawing.

Next is an unidentified field. This field look uoo the first 6 characters of the following field for sort purposes.

Next is Drawing Type. This field gives you 12 choices for type of drawing, conceptual through working drawings.

Next is DA. DA is short for Decorative Accessories. This location does not follow any logic. I stuck it here because I didn’t know what else to do with it, and it is still there. Maybe this is where it belongs.

Next is Drawing Media. There are six choice fields to define the medium used in executtinds the drawing.

Next is Description. A field to add additional informationas to execution.

Next are Drawing Size, Sheet # and Signed.FLLW?. Obvious

Next is c/Drawing Date. Single fiiels for C (circa) and a field for a date.

Next is OR. A fixed date with a separate field for attribution.

Next is Signed/FLLW ?. A Yes/No field

Next is Revision Dates. 5 revision dates [are possible].

Next is Drawing Author, Last Name, First Name. The first field is the Record Number from the Name and Address file [Table MMTFNL] for the following last and fist names. These are lookups from the Drawing Author File.

Next is Attribution/Author. Three choice fields for attribution and one open field for miscellaneous entries.

Next Drawing Author2. This field was intended to list a second author to a drawing, which was not common, but did happen. It doesn’t work. I need help here.

And finally we have Comments. This gives an opportunity to comment on the subject drawing. I am fond of abusing this privilege.



The Drawing Author File was established to record the information derived from Jack Howe’s entries in a variety of books as to who authored what drawings in the Taliesin drafting room. I asked for and received from Curtis Besinger a similar list [as well as A. Louis Wiehle]. Over a period of time I have also entered information from a variety of publications, such as the MOMA 1994 catalog and the Phoenix Art Museum catalog, where authorship is attributed. I have made provisions for more than one attibution per drawing but carrying that information forward to the Drawings Line Items file doesn’t work [repaired in website version]


The layout is pretty simple. It consists of a main form containing the basic information about the drawing, and a sub-form repeating the Archive job and drawing numbers and the drawing author, which is a look up from the Name and Address File by entering the 4 digit apprentice record number. If you don’t know the number, you can look it up.



The library file had its origins in the need to find a book I thought I had and to keep records on books not in my possession but which I wanted to keep track of such as the Key books translated by Mama Cheney. If a book is not in my possession the On Hand field is blank.


The layout is typical for any library file.

The first field is the Record Number, a random number sequenced from 0001.

Next is P. 1 is book, 3 is periodical, 4 is Taliesin publication, etc.

Next is CODE. This is the Dewey Decimal code

Next is LOCATION. An attempt to be able to find something

Next OH through Comments are obvious

Next Subject1/5. These are sort classification fields.

Next Sort I/IV. These I use for miscellaneous information. For Sort I, I use for Editor where the editor is not the Author.

Next is ISBN/ISSN. Obvious/



These files have their origins in my frustration with trying to find a drawing that I knew I had seen somewhere and the absence of an index in any of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation publications. Trying to find something in the Monograph series is particularly frustrating. I have entered information from all recent publications where drawing numbers are provided. This file solved the “Where did see that drawing?” questions.


The layout is again very simple. There is a main form containing all the subject drawing information and a sub-form containing publication data. All you have to do to enter a record in the main form, press F2 and all the information is entered. In the sub-form you enter the Library Book Record Number from the Library file, Pages, Plate/Figure, and Color and all other information is entered.

There can be comment on any irregularities in this particular publication. If you don’t know the Library Record Number you can look it up.



These files have their origins in the need to find, in his case, that photograph I had seen but don’t remember where.


The main form has the basic job #, client name, etc. information. The sub form provides a listing of any number of photographs of the subject.

ICONOGRAPHICS/IconoLineItems FILES (Exhibit H) [Table Inconographics2]


Pretty much the same as Published/Drawings except for photographs. It no longer works [repaired in website version]. It is probably only the relationship name.



The Quotations File has obvious origns, just ask Bartlett. The Cowles An Index to An Autobiography is an excellent source for that publication and I have created this file to keep track of material of interest to me.


The layout is again a typical main form and sub-form where you can several references under one subject. This file relates only to the Library File.

SECONDARY FILES [found in database version JGDBFULL]

Included as part of the data base are another group of files relating specifically to the Taliesin Fellows. I will just list these separately for information purposes only at this time.

MMTFNLSF (Subscription or membership file)

A complete income file by member with a distribution code to catagorize various sources of income.

MMTF/JOURNAL/COST (The cost of producing the Journal of the Taliesin Fellows)

Individual categories of cost are accumulated in a series of forms and sub-forms and finally
accumulated in one for as a total cost.

MMTFPUBLICATIONREC (A complex file keeping a distribution record for the Journal)

It records a complete distribution renord as well as a profit and loss statement for each issue of the Journal.

MMTFMAILCOST (A record of the cost of individual mailings)

To track the cost of membership solicitation to compare costs with generated income, and to record costs involved in mailing of the Journal.

MMTFMEETING LIST (Tracks income and attendance at house tours, events, etc.)

This is a whole series of files that allows us to keep track of attendance at events. A code was assigned in the distribution column of the income file to track individual sources of income, which in turn allowed us to keep a permanent record attendance at events.