Edgar Tafel architectural records and papers, 1919-2005

Edgar Tafel architectural records and papers, 1919-2005
30 linear feet, 156 rolls, and 5 oversize boxes.
7048 drawings.
5298 slides.
2659 photographs.
The collection consists of nine series: Personal Papers, Correspondence, Writings, Professional Papers, Office Records, Project Records, Photographs and Slides, Audio-Visual Material, and Printed Material.
Finding Aid
Finding aid available online. See Online Link.
This collection documents the life and career of Edgar Allen Tafel: New York architect, Frank Lloyd Wright historian, and one of the original apprentices of the Taliesin Fellowship from 1932. The collection primarily documents Tafel's professional activities and his later independent architectural career which was most prominent from 1965-1985. Series I: Personal Papers contains biographies, certificates, interviews, resumes, general personal files, medical records, property records, and family papers. Series II: Correspondence is comprised of personal and professional correspondence including letters, drafts, and postcards. Series III: Writings is comprised of book reviews, essays, drafts, correspondence, administrative files, and photographic reproductions related to Tafel's two published books. Series IV: Professional Papers contains correspondence, notes, transcripts, press clippings, travel information, reports, and proposals related to Tafel's activities as architectural preservationist and Frank Lloyd Wright historian. Series V: Office Records consists of administrative files, legal files, project publicity files, and general office correspondence. Series VI: Project Records contains mostly reproductions of project drawings, original drawings, project-related material including correspondence, project proposals, reports, studies, specifications, notes, publicity materials, and press clippings, and photographic documentation of projects. Series VII: Photographs and Slides contains original photographic material and reproductions related to Frank Lloyd Wright, Edgar Tafel, Tafel's friends and family, Tafel's world travels, and general architecture. Series VIII: Audio-Visual Material contains video cassettes, audio cassettes, video reels, and audio reels. Series IX: Printed Material consists of mostly press clippings, magazines, journals, and essays, including excerpts, research files, blank postcards, booklets, and pamphlets.
Biographical / Historical Note
Edgar Allen Tafel (1912-2011) was a New York architect and Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice from 1932-1941. During Tafel's time at Taliesin, he worked on the drawings and supervised construction of Fallingwater and the Johnson Wax Building. Tafel also worked on the Lloyd Lewis House, the Bernard Schwartz House, and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. Tafel left Taliesin to begin his own practice in the summer of 1941. He worked briefly in architectural firms in Chicago before enlisting in the army in August 1943.
During the course of Tafel's career from 1941 to the 1990s, he designed over 80 residences, including religious buildings, colleges, offices, and community buildings. Tafel's design for the First Presbyterian Church House addition on Fifth Avenue and 12th Street in Greenwich Village won an award from the Fifth Avenue Association in 1960 for its modern adaptation of the Gothic style of the Church.
In addition to practicing architecture, Tafel was at the forefront in preserving the memory of Frank Lloyd Wright as well as his architecture. He authored two books on Wright and toured internationally from the 1970s to the 2000s giving talks and slide lectures on Frank Lloyd Wright. He died at the age of 98 on January 18, 2011.
This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please call (212) 854-4110 or email
Permission to publish must be obtained in writing from the Director, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, 1172 Amsterdam Ave., MC 0301, New York, NY 10027.
Manuscript/Archive Manuscript/Archive
Acquired On
April 9, 2013
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