The Disappearing City, Inscribed and Signed by Frank Lloyd Wright, First Edition, 1932

Wright, Frank Lloyd. The Disappearing City. New York: William Farquhar Payson, 1932. First Edition. Signed and Inscribed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Rebound in quarter leather boards with original green cloth cover transferred to custom built slipcase.

This first edition, first issue of Frank Lloyd Wright’s book The Disappearing City is signed on the half title page by the famous architect. The book was published in New York by William Farquhar Payson in 1932 and includes six black-and-white photographic plates. The slim quarto book has been professionally rebound with green quarter leather and cloth boards and has a decorative gilt embossed spine. The original front cloth cover featuring Wright’s city design has been transplanted onto a custom matching archival slipcase.

In The Disappearing City, Wright’s presents the idea for his vision of "Broadacre City,"-  a planned urban city with a low population density and the city divided into various themed units, like farm units, factory units, roadside markets, leisure areas, schools unit, and living spaces. In Broadacre City, each family living unit would be given an acre of land to farm and nurture, and the city's shared units would be accessed by its futuristic highway and airfields. All the units were organized such that individuals would get any service or commodity they needed within a radius of one hundred and fifty miles, accessible by road or air, to make it both decentralized and sustainable.

Anthony Puttnam, a Taliesin Archi­tect who worked with Wright, believed that “Broadacre City challenges us to understand what we mean by a democracy and how it might be expressed by a city. Con­temporary urban America often by its physical makeup seems indifferent to the plight of the majority of its people and shows a similar indifference to the environ­ment, education, community, and beauty. Broadacre City proposes a physical fabric and social arrangement necessary to achieve the broader values of democracy. However we may debate the practical application of Broadacre City, we can not ignore its chal­lenge.”

Wright’s ideas of decentralized plan­ning were presented in this book The Disap­pearing City, written in 1932. Wright continued to edit and expound upon this idea for years. In 1945, the University of Chicago Press published the book When Democracy Builds, which was a revision of the first book but illus­trated by Wright's scaled Broadacre City models. In 1958, Wright extensively revised and expanded the two books into a new book entitled The Living City. 

Until his death in 1959, Wright addressed in individual projects the archi­tectural and community design concepts he envisioned as the natural expression of the new Broadacre city- moderate cost housing, commu­nity and public facilities, commercial and manufacturing building, all designed to enhance life and each to be a center of beauty and excellence. Among these are the Marin County Civic Center, The Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma (which was the modified ver­sion of the apartment towers from Broadacre City), the Johnson Wax Administration Building, and the Usonian Auto­matic house.

Frank Lloyd Wright was a highly influential American architect (1867-1959) whose mastery of space, form, and human-centered design revolutionized the field of architecture and earned him a place among the greatest thinkers and artists of the 20th century. Wright is best known for nature-harmonious edifices such as Fallingwater and the Guggenheim Museum.


Overall very good condition. The signature on the half title page is legible and dark. Inscription reads, "To an enthusiastic champion of its core ideals, one who has work hard for them. Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin, June 8, 1934." The pages are healthy and has no notable damage. The book has been rebound in quarter leather and cloth boards with a gilt embossed spine and facsimile signature. The original cloth cover has been transferred to the front of the custom built archival slipcase. 

Dimensions (with slipcase): 13 3/8" H x 10 1/4" W x 1 1/4" D. 

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