Exceptional Woman Disses? You Decide.

Marion Mahony Griffin, the first women licensed architect worked as an employee to Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright would later disparage Mahony’s contribution. She tells of Wright ordering a series of sketches from her resulting in “a revolutionary design…” which she later saw Wright claim as

Walther Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony

his own as he resold it to a later client.

Mahony created over half of the renderings in Wasmuth Portfolio, a book that was meant, and did, showcase Wright’s groundbreaking American architectural style. According to his son, John Lloyd Wright, his father often understated the contributions of others considered part of the Prairie School movement, marked by the use of horizontal lines, flat roofs, broad in dimension.

When Wright toured Europe with his Wasmuth Portfolio, it was Mahony he offered his work for completion. She declined. Hermann V. von Holst did not, but he hired Mahony stipulating she would have full control. Some commissions that she designed include Henry Ford’s Dearborn mansion, Fair Lane and the Amberg House in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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