Pfeiffer, Bruce Brooks 1930-
PFEIFFER, Bruce Brooks 1930-
PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced "Fife-er"; born August 4, 1930, in South Natick, MA; son of Arthur Edison (a shoe manufacturer) and Freida (a homemaker; maiden name, Diehl) Pfeiffer; divorced. Education: Attended Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, 1949-56, and École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, 1956. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Unitarian-Universalist. Hobbies and other interests: Travel (Western Europe, South Africa, Japan), computers, reading Chinese murder mysteries, training his Doberman pinscher.
ADDRESSES: Office—The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ 85261.
CAREER: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ, director of archives, 1959—, vice president and trustee; Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Scottsdale, AZ, teacher of architectural history and director of Taliesin Choir, 1960—; Arizona State University, faculty member, 1968-70, and member of advisory board of Frank Lloyd Wright Collection.
MEMBER: International Confederation of Architectural Museums, Society of Architectural Historians.
Frank Lloyd Wright: Three Quarters of a Century of Drawings, Horizon Press (New York, NY), 1976.
(Editor and author of commentary) Frank Lloyd Wright, Letters to Apprentices, The Press at California State University (Fresno, CA), 1982.
(Editor and author of commentary) Frank Lloyd Wright, Letters to Architects, The Press at California State University (Fresno, CA), 1984.
Frank Lloyd Wright, twelve volumes, edited by Yukio Futagawa, A. D. A. Edita (Tokyo, Japan), 1984-88.
Treasures of Taliesin: Seventy-six Unbuilt Designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 1985, 2nd edition published as Treasures of Taliesin: Seventy-Seven Un-built Designs, Pomegranate (San Francisco, CA), 1999.
(Editor and author of commentary) Frank Lloyd Wright, Letters to Clients, The Press at California State University (Fresno, CA), 1986.
(Editor and author of commentary) Frank Lloyd Wright, The Guggenheim Correspondence, The Press at California State University (Fresno, CA), 1986.
(Editor and author of commentary) Frank Lloyd Wright: His Living Voice (includes two audio cassettes), The Press at California State University (Fresno, CA), 1987.
(Editor, with Gerald Nordland) Frank Lloyd Wright in the Realm of Ideas, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 1988.
(Editor and author of commentary) Frank Lloyd Wright: The Crowning Decade, 1949-1959, The Press at California State University (Fresno, CA), 1989.
Frank Lloyd Wright: Selected Houses, eight volumes, edited by Yukio Futagawa, A. D. A. Edita (Tokyo, Japan), 1989-1991.
Frank Lloyd Wright Drawings: Masterworks from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives, Abrams (New York, NY), 1990.
Frank Lloyd Wright, edited by Peter Gössel and Gabriele Leuthäser, Benedikt Taschen Verlag (Cologne, Germany), 1994.
(Editor) Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings, Volumes 1-5, introduction by Kenneth Frampton, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1992-1995.
(And editor, with David Larkin) Frank Lloyd Wright: The Masterworks, Rizzoli/Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (New York, NY), 1993.
(And editor, with David Larkin) Frank Lloyd Wright: Master Builder, Universe (New York, NY), 1997.
(Editor, with Robert Wojtowicz) Frank Lloyd Wright and Lewis Mumford: Thirty Years of Correspondence, Princeton Architectural Press (New York, NY), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: In connection with his work at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer was the project architect for a residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and he designed the renovation of a historic residence in Yugoslavia. Pfeiffer also arranges and scores music composed by Wright's wife, Olgivanna, including works for Taliesin Festivals of Music and Dance and compositions for solo and ensemble performance. He is best known, however, as an archivist, a prolific writer on Frank Lloyd Wright, and a well-respected editor of Wright's correspondence, writings, drawings, and architectural plans. Among his significant contributions to Wright scholarship is his Treasures of Taliesin: Seventy-six Unbuilt Projects, later updated to include the architectural plans for seventy-seven Wright projects that were never built. For David Soltesz, writing in Library Journal, these drawings "arguably reveal Wright's visionary imagination to a greater degree than do the buildings actually realized." For People contributor Ralph Novak, on the other hand, Pfeiffer's text adds illuminating and amusing anecdotes that shed new light on the master architect's personality. Pfeiffer's "pithy tales about the unrealized designs … are often as fascinating as the plans themselves," Novak contended.
Pfeiffer recently teamed up with Robert Wojtowicz, a scholar specializing in the work of architectural critic Lewis Mumford, to edit Frank Lloyd Wright and Lewis Mumford: Thirty Years of Correspondence. Wright first wrote to Mumford in 1926, inviting the younger man to meet him, an invitation that was gently rejected by the cautious Mumford in a go-round that is repeated numerous times throughout the correspondence. Wright is depicted as needing Mumford's approval, expressed both publicly and privately at various times, and Mumford equally needed to keep his critical distance, both to maintain a level of objectivity about his subject, and to maintain a sense of self in the face of Wright's overbearing personality. But it was their similarities upon which their lasting friendship was based. "The two men shared a number of qualities," observed Tom Vanderbilt in the New York Times. "Both were fiercely independent thinkers, without degrees and with contempt for the academy; both were devotees of Emerson and Transcendentalism; both disliked the congestion of the modern city; both of them retreated to pastoral enclaves … with the goal of changing the American landscape." The two had a ten-year falling out over the American entrance into World War II—Wright was a committed pacifist, Mumford lost a son in the war—but they eventually made their way back to common ground. "In this well-edited collection of letters, a moving record of the generative and fractious power of ideas, a cautionary tale of apprenticeship and the anxiety of influence, we are intrigued by what this epochal encounter produced, and haunted by what more might have been," Vanderbilt concluded.
Pfeiffer once told CA: "At the age of sixteen I was attracted to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright because of its beauty and simplicity and the appropriateness and freshness of the philosophy of organic architecture. I came to study with him when I was eighteen and found that not only is Wright's architecture timeless, but he lived an exemplary and inspiring life. I have never tired of learning new facets of his life and work through the study of his drawings, correspondence, manuscripts, and tapes of talks he gave, as well as from reading or hearing the personal reminiscences of the many people whose lives he affected. To have had the privilege of knowing both him and his inspiring wife, Olgivanna, for many years has been for me the fulfillment of something written in the stars. It was Mrs. Wright herself who assured me that this was the case.
"My work as director of archives entails the constant maintenance and preservation of Frank Lloyd Wright's drawings, correspondence, papers, works of art, historic photographs, and so forth. Specifically, I am engaged in cataloging and filming Wright's drawing collection; encapsulating his drawings in acid-free Mylar … ; cataloging manuscript and document collections of the archives, including a correspondence file totaling more than 180,000 documents from 1887 to 1959; and organizing all of this on a database that will make it readily available to scholars and students for their own research. My work with researchers is also an important part of my function as archivist, a process which mutually expands our knowledge and understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright's life and work. My conviction is that this great man and his work will both continue to be an inspiration to the world for generations to come."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Heritage, December, 1993, review of Frank Lloyd Wright: The Masterworks, p. 98.
Christian Century, April 26, 1995, review of Frank Lloyd Wright: The Masterworks, p. 466.
Library Journal, February 15, 200, David Soltesz, review of Treasures of Taliesin, p. 156.
New York Times, December 2, 2001, Tom Vanderbilt, "Edifice Complex," Section 7, p. 76.
People, April 14, 1986, Ralph Novak, review of Treasures of Taliesin, p. 26.
Publishers Weekly, October 25, 1993, review of Frank Lloyd Wright: The Masterworks, p. 51; November 28, 1994, review of Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings, Volume 4, 1939-1949, p. 49; November 5, 2001, "Interiors and Exteriors," p. 60.
Times Literary Supplement, July 10, 1998, review of Frank Lloyd Wright: Master Builder, p. 18.*