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John W. Geiger collection

 Collection
Identifier: N258

Scope and Content Note

This collection is intended for the study and understanding of organic architecture as emerged in the late 19th century. Included are the personal library, preliminary and working drawings, and extensive records of the Taliesin Fellowship, as well as Wright-related research, publications, and memorabilia as collected and evaluated by John Geiger.

Dates

  • 1911-2011

Language of Materials

English

Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Archives and Special Collections reading room. Advance notice is requested.

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on the use of materials in this collection. Copies can be requested if the condition of the originals warrants it

Biography

John William Geiger was born August 9, 1921 in Faribault, Minnesota. He graduated from West High School in 1939 and entered the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota that same year. It was there, during a class lecture, he first encountered the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright that began his lifelong devotion to organic architecture.

After completing four years of the university’s five-year architecture program, Geiger enlisted into military service in 1943, during the Second World War. Geiger was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant aircraft maintenance officer before being promoted to Captain and air transportation regulating officer in the United States Air Force. He served in the Pacific Theater, specifically in Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Biak Island.

Returning from the war, Geiger began his apprenticeship at Taliesin West in June of 1947 on the GI Bill. In 1951, Mr. Wright sent him to New Hampshire to supervise construction of the Zimmerman House, where he remained on site for nearly eighteen months. Returned to Taliesin, Geiger joined the many apprentices sent to New York to work on the exhibit pavilion and Usonian house built for the 60 Years of Living Architecture show at the Guggenheim Museum. Left in charge of the exhibition, Geiger went to Los Angeles in the spring of 1954 where he supervised temporary alterations to Hollyhock House to accommodate the installation of the exposition. Finally, after a brief stint supervising construction on a project for Arch Oboler, Geiger left the Fellowship in the fall of 1954.

“I have never regretted a day I spent at the Fellowship and never regretted the timing and manner in which I left the Fellowship. That phase of my life had run its course and come to the finish, simple as that. It was just over… The Fellowship was a glorious spiritual, intellectual and romantic adventure in the cause of architecture: a love affair in search of the truth, an affair of the spirit. But as we all know, there is nothing quite so final as a love affair that is over. The love endures; the affair is history.”

After returning to Minneapolis, Geiger took to remodeling his mother’s house and later worked for a short time in the office of Victor Gruen. He collaborated with John DeKoven Hill on the House Beautiful Pace Setter project in New York, before opening his own practice in Los Angeles. After retiring from business, which included his novelty shop “Propinquity,” in the late 1980s, Geiger revived his Taliesin connections at the 1987 Reunion. Together, a group of Taliesin friends and colleagues established the Taliesin Fellows in 1989. Acting as President, Geiger worked to strengthen regular communication among the Taliesin fellowship by producing the Journal of the Taliesin Fellows, a formal quarterly publication, beginning in the spring of 1990.

As ever, Geiger was dedicated to the study and evaluation of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin community, resulting in an extensive reference library and autobiographical website named Frank Lloyd Wright: Commentaries in Memoriam. As a legacy to continue scholarship in the field, he established the John W. Geiger Endowment for the Study of Organic Architecture at the University of Minnesota. The Geiger Endowment provides an annual fellowship to further understanding of organic design, a yearly award to support publication projects directly related to the life and work of Frank Lloyd Wright, and travel scholarships for students to encounter directly significant organic buildings. John Geiger passed away at his home in Los Angeles, California, on February 27, 2011.

Source:

[Hammons, Mark. "In Memoriam: John Geiger (1921-2011)." Journal of the Taliesin Fellows 37 (2011): 34-35. Print.]

Extent

53 boxes

Overview

This collection is intended for the study and understanding of organic architecture as emerged in the late 19th century. Included are the personal library, preliminary and working drawings, and extensive records of the Taliesin Fellowship, as well as Wright-related research, publications, and memorabilia as collected and evaluated by John Geiger.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into the following series:
  1. Architectural Projects
  2. Audio/Visual Materials
  3. Correspondence
  4. Drawings
  5. Frank Lloyd Wright Research
  6. John Geiger Biographical Material
  7. Library
  8. Organizations and Associations

Physical Location

MLAC

Acquisition

The collection was donated to the Archives by John W. Geiger, with the assistance of Mark Hammons, in 2010.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Mark Hammons and Alli Mertins, respectively.
Title
John W. Geiger Collection
Author
John W. Geiger
Date
2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Northwest Architectural Archives Collecting Area

Contact:

612-625-3550