Taliesin Diary

Three Sundays in November explore Frank Lloyd Wright and his appreciation of film as an art form. Between the 1930s and 1950s, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio near Spring Green, WI—Taliesin—was the site of an architectural colony known as The Fellowship. Wright also sought to educate the general public through regular concerts and film programs at Taliesin. The series Wright Reels: The Taliesin Fellowship and Film includes films screened at Taliesin’s Hillside Playhouse during 1942-43. \

This selection of feature-length and short subject films reveal the unique cinematic taste of Frank Lloyd Wright and his appreciation of film as an art form. The series will run three consecutive Sunday afternoons 2-4:30 pm, Nov. 3, 10 and 17, at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street. The programs are free and open to the public.

  • Nov. 3: Palm Beach Story w/short Grasshopper and the Ants. Discussion will include the book Taliesin Diary and Wright’s apprenticeship program.
  • Nov. 10: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs w/short Pencil Mania. Discussion will be about Frank Lloyd Wright and his opinions about Hollywood.
  • Nov. 17: Alexander Nevsky w/short Tulips Shall Grow. Discussion will cover the politics and goals Frank Lloyd Wright had at the Taliesin Fellowship. Special guest, Mariamne Whatley, daughter of the writer of Taliesin Diary ,will speak about the Fellowship and her parents’ experience there.

The films will be introduced by Risé Sanders-Weir, professor of Film History, Triton College.

The film series is inspired by the book Taliesin Diary: A Year with Frank Lloyd Wright, which is the 2013 Wisconsin Historical Society Book Award of Merit winner. This is the first publication of a diary of a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice. Written by Priscilla J. Henken during 1942-43, the diary brings us into the world of the Taliesin Fellowship. Her lively description of day-to-day life on a communal working farm in south central Wisconsin provides unique insights into the world of Wright during the period. Henken vividly describes the daily program, from cooking duties to editing the great architect’s autobiography and watching films. The internecine battles of the apprentices and the contentious relationship between Wright, the apprentices, and his third wife, Olgivanna Lazovich, enliven the account.