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Remembering Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Jan 24, 2018

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archivist Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer Dies at age 87

The Taliesin community is deeply saddened to announce the passing of the founding director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer passed away in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Dec. 31, 2017 at the age of 87.

Pfeiffer was born in South Natick, Massachusetts on August 4, 1930, and was adopted by parents Freda Diehl and Arthur Pfeiffer. Bruce spent his childhood in Worcester, Massachusetts. Following his studies at Tabor Academy, Bruce came across an August 1946 issue of Fortune magazine detailing the life of America’s greatest architect in his two homes, Taliesin and Taliesin West. Bruce’s interest was sparked.

Pfeiffer joined the Taliesin Fellowship in 1949, where he worked as an apprentice of Wright, leaving for a year to study at the École Nationale Superiéure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Upon his arrival at Taliesin West, Bruce became a vital component to Fellowship life due to the nearly immediate bond he formed with the Wrights. From organizing the formal evenings, to playing the piano in performances, to cooking for the Fellowship, to working in the Studio, Bruce was trusted as a social facilitator and significant part of the community.

After Wright’s death, Pfeiffer established the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives, where he catalogued the collections of Wright’s drawings, manuscripts, letters, and other documents. Pfeiffer became the consummate resource for information on Wright’s body of work. His invaluable assistance in providing archival materials aided the work of many in the fields of historic preservation and architecture scholarship.

As a scholar himself, Pfeiffer drew on this material for numerous publications and for the creation of such critical works as the five-volume series Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected Writings (1992); the massive three volume Frank Lloyd Wright: The Complete Works (2009); and his most recent book, The Life of Olgivanna Lloyd Wright (2017).

“Bruce’s legacy is his devotion to the Wrights personally, to what each of them created, and to the wisdom they left us in their own words,” said Oskar Munoz, a member of Bruce Pfeiffer’s staff at Taliesin West and a devoted friend for thirty-two years. “Through Bruce’s own works and in his words, spanning sixty-eight years, we explore the meaning and relevance of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesins today.”

Through his work with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives, and as an author and editor of more than 50 works about Wright and his architecture, Pfeiffer was a sustaining force in ensuring that the legacy of Wright’s work and words are available to all of us, and to future generations.

“Bruce’s loss is deeply felt by our Taliesin community. Along with Wright admirers across the globe, we will be forever grateful for his contributions to architecture, scholarship, and the preservation of Wright’s legacy,” said Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation President and CEO Stuart Graff.

Of Taliesin West, Pfeiffer said “I have never lost the feeling I first had coming up that curved driveway in 1949. I wasn’t going somewhere, I was returning somewhere.”

Taliesin West became, and remained, Pfeiffer’s home, and his construction of Wright’s Jester House design on the campus is a highlight of many tours at Taliesin West. It is and shall remain known as the Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer House at Taliesin West.

Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer House at Taliesin West

Courtesy of John Amarantides

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