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Hillside Home School books

A number of books that are currently at Taliesin and Taliesin West were originally in the Hillside Home School library.  They came into the possession of Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1910s and can be considered a part of his library.

Two of Wright's aunts, his mother's sisters Jane (Jennie) and Elinor (Nell) Lloyd Jones, created the Hillside Home School in 1887, on part of the property of the Lloyd Jones clan near Spring Green, Wisconsin.  A progressive day-school and boarding-school for children, it was housed mainly in a structure Wright designed for his aunts.  The faculty and student enrollment grew in size and the school had a widespread reputation, but it later experienced financial difficulties and closed in 1915.  In the meantime, Wright had built the first Taliesin, in 1911, on the Lloyd Jones property less than a mile from the school, and when the school closed Wright acquired it and gradually incorporated it into the Taliesin operations—especially after the creation of the Taliesin Fellowship in 1931 and the erection of a new ensemble of Hillside structures.   According to Kyle Dockery, Collections Coordinator at Taliesin, Wright may not have paid much attention to the school's books; but they did belong to him, and at various times some of them were moved into the main Taliesin buildings and others were taken to Taliesin West.

These books, which can be identified mainly by the "Hillside Home School" bookplates and stamps in them, are primarily on literary and historical subjects (as well as song books and other miscellaneous categories).  There are few books on religious subjects—although the Lloyd Jones sisters were Unitarian, like the rest of their extended family, and many of the books represent the tradition of New England Unitarian or Transcendentalist thought.  The books' dates range mostly from the 1880s to about 1910, and inscriptions in some of them indicate that they were gifts to the school from various members of the Lloyd Jones family or other admirers of the school.

Many of the "Hillside Home School" stamps in these books have numbers written on them, evidently the library's identification numbers of the individual books.  They include numbers as high as 3,600, which suggests the large size of the school's library—only a portion of which survives today.

In the database here, the current location of these Hillside Home School books is indicated, in the Notes section, as “Archive: Taliesin” or “Archive: Taliesin West."  The bibliographic data for the books currently at Taliesin West are based on my examination of them in 2018.  For the books at Taliesin, the data are mainly from the "Taliesin Historic Book Inventory."

View a list of books in this collection