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Frank Lloyd Wright collection, reference files

 Collection — Box: 1-6
Identifier: MS-0022-0002

Scope and Contents

I to V contain looseleaf reference books with narratives, photographs and clippings. With the exception of the file of clippings on the Darwin D. Martin House, Graycliff, and other Frank Lloyd Wright articles, which is maintained by the University Archives, these volumes have not been updated. They are primarily useful for documenting the furnishing of the Darwin D. Martin House during the period it was used as the residence of President and Mrs. Martin M. Meyerson. Series VI contains miscellaneous items including among other things: a transcript of a diary kept by Darwin D. Martin [copy also in MS 22.6]; copies of architectural drawings held at the Getty Museum on the Darwin D. Martin House; color slides of the Darwin D. Martin House, Graycliff, Larkin Administration Building; a historic registry application for the Darwin D. Martin House; a 1938 engineering report on Graycliff, memorabilia, and essays.


  • 1904-1997


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Darwin D. Martin-Frank Lloyd Wright collection, reference files, 1904-2010, are open for research.


Copyright of papers 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 quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.


Martin Family - Frank Lloyd Wright, 1865-1959

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


Graycliff, 1926-1997

April 5 - Darwin D. Martin writes to Frank Lloyd Wright requesting 1910 Bay Beach Cottage design; Darwin D. Martin is considering building on shores of Lake Erie
April 18 - Darwin D. Martin looks at site in Derby, NY
April 19 - Darwin D. Martin purchases 250-foot front on Lake Erie, with 60-foot cliff
April 21 - Darwin D. Martin informs Frank Lloyd Wright 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 - Frank Lloyd Wright sends Darwin D. Martin preliminary drawings
May 5 - Darwin D. Martin informs Frank Lloyd Wright that Isabelle R. Martin is Frank Lloyd Wright's client
August 19-20 - Frank Lloyd Wright 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, Frank Lloyd Wright asks his son John Lloyd Wright to take over the project; the Martins did not approve the change
November - Frank Lloyd Wright resumes his service to the Martins; construction continues on the site
April 5-6 - Frank Lloyd Wright visits site
June 4 - Darwin D. Martin writes to Frank Lloyd Wright of the completion of the foundation of the main house
June 15-16 - Frank Lloyd Wright visits site
August 31-September 2 - Chimney and masonry of main house completed
September - Frank Lloyd Wright finalizes designs for landscape, tennis court, circle, and guest house; the guest house was not executed
September - Furniture designs by Frank Lloyd Wright 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 Frank Lloyd Wright to design a screened walk to cross the esplanade behind the stone bench for servants
June 15 - Frank Lloyd Wright visits site
July - Martins request Frank Lloyd Wright to design a "concrete tent house" for the Foster family (unexecuted)
July - Martins request Frank Lloyd Wright to design a third-floor to main house (unexecuted)
July 29 - Construction on evergreen garden, stone seat begun; Frank Lloyd Wright selects and ships furnishings for the main house from Marshall Fields in Chicago; Frank Lloyd Wright suggests wicker and overstuffed chairs fo the main house
Darwin D. Martin 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 Darwin D. Martin
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 - Frank Lloyd Wright 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


6.67 Linear Feet (17 looseleaf notebooks in 5 cartons, 1 manuscript box)


Reference files created by Mrs. Martin Meyerson and University Archives staff useful for documenting the furnishing of the Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo, New York.


The collection is arranged in six series: I. General; II. Photographs; III. Martin Family photographs; IV. Clippings; V. Furniture/artifacts catalog; and VI. Other records.

Acquisition Information

The looseleaf reference books in Series I to V were compiled by Mrs. Martin M. Meyerson, who occupied the Darwin D. Martin House circa 1968-1970, when it was the official residence of the President of the State University of New York at Buffalo, Martin M. Meyerson. University Archives staff compiled remaining items and maintains the clippings collection.

Accruals and Additions

Occasional accruals are expected to this collection.

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

Processed by University Archives staff.
Finding aid revised May 2000.
Reprocessed and finding aid revised in February 2010 by Karen Spencer.
Finding aid encoded by Danielle White, February 2015.

Finding Aid for the Darwin D. Martin-Frank Lloyd Wright collection, reference files
Finding aid prepared by University Archives staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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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)