James T. Martin, Sr.. “Learning the ‘Wright’ Way,” 1998

Collection Overview

Title: James T. Martin, Sr.. “Learning the ‘Wright’ Way,” 1998

Record Series: MsC-19

Record Group:


Creator: James T. Martin

Date: 1998

Extent: 1 box (0.209 linear feet)

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language: Materials entirely in English.

Information for Users

Accessing the Collection:

No restrictions. Materials are open for research.

Sensitive Materials Statement: Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code § 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: "Learning the 'Wright' Way," in the James T. Martin, Sr., collection, 1998, University Archives, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

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Historical Note

James Theodor Martin, Sr. (1916-2006) attended Iowa State Teachers College (now UNI) in the mid-1930s.  On June 3, 1936, he married Caroline Strauss. The couple had three children, Carol, James, Jr., and David.

During his lifetime Mr. Martin was a teacher, farmer, auto repairmen, electrician, plumber, and contractor. He founded Elm Park Plumbing, Heating and Electric. He was also interested in education his entire life, having served on the Buchanan County Iowa Board of Supervisors and been a founding member of Hawkeye Institute of Technology (now Hawkeye Community College).

In 1950 he was hired by Frank Lloyd Wright as plumbing, heating, and electrical contractor for the construction of the Lowell Walter residence in Quasqueton, Iowa.  The house is now better known as Cedar Rock, and is the centerpiece in the Cedar Rock State Park.

In the mid-1990s UNI art professor Roy Behrens became acquainted with Mr. Martin. After learning of his association with Frank Lloyd Wright, Dr. Behrens persuaded him to write a memoir about his experiences working with Wright, which he did in 1998. He then gave the manuscript to Dr. Behrens, who donated it to Special Collections.

Mr. Martin died on November 22, 2006, and is buried in Wilson Cemetery in Independence, Iowa.

Scope and Content

This collection contains a paper written by Mr. Martin discussing his work with architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1950. Also included is correspondence between Dr. Roy Behrens (Art Department) and then UNI Archivist Gerald Peterson regarding the manuscript, and a letter from Mr. Peterson to Mr. Martin, thanking him for his donation.


Folder 1: Paper, "Learning the 'Wright' Way"

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Library Associate Dave Hoing, February 2017.; updated October 2017 (dh).  Linear feet count updated on August 9, 2017.