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Darwin D. Martin Digitization project

 Collection — Box: 1-2
Identifier: MS-0022-0091

Scope and Contents

Includes papers on the Western New York Library Resources Council grant process and report, spreadsheets and papers produced during the digitization process.

Digital images of photographs, primarily 1904-1937, kept by the Martin Family, depicting the Darwin D. Martin house in Buffalo, New York, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. These photographs illustrate the exterior, interior and grounds of the Martin House and the related structures, including the George Barton House. Included is an album showing the construction of the Martin House, July 23, 1904 to May 9, 1905; several views of the Martin House by Chicago photographer Henry Fuermann, some of which were used in an article about the house in the May 1908 Architectural Record; a series of portraits of Martin family members taken by Louise Mueller in 1912, which also show the interior of the house; and numerous family photographs. Also included are photographs of members of the Martin family and a few photographs showing the Martin family summer home "Graycliff" at Derby, New York. Later photographs show the house during the period of occupancy by Buffalo architect Sebastian Tauriello, circa 1954-1965, and during the occupancy of the house by State University of New York at Buffalo President Martin M. Meyerson, circa 1967-1970.


  • 2006-2008

Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

Darwin D. Martin Digitization, 2006-2008 are open for research.


Copyright of papers and photographs in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing from materials in the collection. Please see Archives staff for information on obtaining copies of photographs.

Biographical Note

Darwin D. Martin born - Boucville, Madison Co., NY
Frank Lloyd Wright born - Richland Center, Wisconsin
Isabelle Reidpath, the future Mrs. Martin, born - Buffalo, NY
Brothers DDM and Louis Frank Martin selling soap for Larkin Company in NYC
DDM, aged thirteen, begins work at Larkin Company in Buffalo
DDM invents cardex
FLW begins studies at the University of Wisconsin
DDM begins building house on Summit Avenue in Buffalo
DDM marries Isabelle Reidpath
FLW builds Home and Studio in Oak Park
FLW joins Alder and Sullivan
DDM replaces Elbert Hubbard as Secretary of Larkin Soap Company
FLW starts his own practice
October 29 -- DDM meets FLW
DDM purchases site for Martin House Complex, Jewett Parkway
October 11 - Construction begins on Barton House
July 20 - Construction begins on Martin House
October - Barton House occupied
Martin House Complex completed
FLW designs Bar Beach Cottage (Bay Beach, Ontario, Canada) for DDM (unexecuted)
DDM commissions FLW to design a home for James and Dorothy Martin Foster, daughter of DDM (unexecuted)
Martin retires from the Larkin Company
Construction begins on Graycliff
June 20 - Graycliff occupied
FLW designs the Blue Sky Mausoleum for DDM's ploy in Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery (unexecuted)
DDM dies in Buffalo
Fallingwater (Bear Run, PA), designed by FLW for the Kaufmanns
Isabelle R. Martin dies in Buffalo
FLW dies

Chronology: Graycliff, 1926-1997

April 5 - DDM writes to FLW requesting 1910 Bay Beach Cottage design; DDM is considering building on shores of Lake Erie
April 18 - DDM looks at site in Derby, NY
April 19 - DDM purchases 250-foot front on Lake Erie, with 60-foot cliff
April 21 - DDM informs FLW that he's not interested in 1910 cottage design, but a two-story stone house designed by Frank E. Newman for E.W. Russell of Greenwich, Connecticut
May 3 - FLW sends DDM preliminary drawings
May 5 - DDM informs FLW that Isabelle R. Martin is FLW's client
August 19-20 - FLW in Buffalo to see site
August 27 - Isabelle R. Martin sees the site for first time
September - Construction on garage begun.
September - Due to marital problems, FLW asks his son John Lloyd Wright to take over the project; the Martins did not approve the change
November - FLW resumes his service to the Martins; construction continues on the site
April 5-6 - FLW visits site
June 4 - DDM writes to FLW of the completion of the foundation of the main house
June 15-16 - FLW visits site
August 31-September 2 - Chimney and masonry of main house completed
September - FLW finalizes designs for landscape, tennis court, circle, and guest house; the guest house was not executed
September - Furniture designs by FLW are executed
March 10, 12 - Furniture bought for main house
June 20 - Martins "open" house
September 20 - Paul A. Harsh, a house guest at Graycliff, suggests the name "Graycliff"
April - Isabelle R. martin asks FLW to design a screened walk to cross the esplanade behind the stone bench for servants
June 15 - FLW visits site
July - Martins request FLW to design a "concrete tent house" for the Foster family (unexecuted)
July - Martins request FLW to design a third-floor to main house (unexecuted)
July 29 - Construction on evergreen garden, stone seat begun; FLW selects and ships furnishings for the main house from Marshall Fields in Chicago; FLW suggests wicker and overstuffed chairs fo the main house
DDM passes away
Isabelle R. Martin continues to summer at the site, and winters with the Foster family
November - Engineering report on site compiled by G.E. Seitzmiller for insurance purposes
Isabelle R. Martin continues to summer at the site, but moves into garage apartment
Isabelle R. Martin spends her last summer at the site; she moves permanently to Buffalo to live with the Foster family
IRM passes away
Stewardship of the site falls to a holding company belonging to Darwin R. Martin, son of DDM
Piarist Fathers, a Hungarian order, purchases site from Darwin R. Martin
Chapel addition constructed over south terrace of main house
Garage addition and a storage building constructed
Circa 1956
School building/dormitory constructed to house Hungarian refugees
August - FLW visits the site
Piarist Father's place property for sale
Graycliff Conservancy is formed to acquire and restore the site
October - Graycliff Conservancy signs a contract to purchase the site


.75 Linear Feet (1 half manuscript box, 63 CD-ROMS)


Documentation for the project sponsored by the Western New York Library Resources Council to digitize the photographs kept by the Darwin D. Martin family depicting the Darwin D. Martin house in Buffalo, New York, and their summer house, "Graycliff", in Derby, New York, both designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and photographs of the Martin family.


Collection is arranged in four series:

  1. I. Project Documentation
  2. II. Photographs: Graycliff Construction
  3. III. Photographs: Darwin D. Martin Family
  4. IV. Photographs: Architectural Drawings

Acquisition Information

Original photographs were received at various times from members of the Darwin D. Martin family and others.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Location of Originals

Original photographs are stored in the University Archives in various parts of the Darwin D. Martin-Frank Lloyd Wright Collection, MS 22.

Alternate Form

Digital images are available in MS 22.92, Darwin D. Martin Digital Images, circa 1860s-1970s. Digital images are searchable by keyword in UBdigit.

Another online digital version of the Darwin D. Martin Photographs is available here:

Darwin D. Martin Photograph Collection, WNY Legacy, Western New York Library Resources Council (incomplete).

Related Materials

For a list of collections related to Darwin D. Martin and Frank Lloyd Wright see the University Archives' research guide at

Processing Information

Images were scanned in 2008 from several parts of the Darwin D. Martin-Frank Lloyd Wright Collection, MS 22. Collection was processed in March 2010.

Finding Aid for the Darwin D. Martin Digitization project
Finding aid prepared by Karen Spencer.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)