Minding the Store's First Manuscript: Or, Wright Feels Wronged by Marcus

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The Marcus House, as it looked during construction in 1938

On this slow news day, more blasts from the past -- only, this is history heretofore unwritten. Two weeks ago, Unfair Park broke the news that Marc and Patty Lovvorn were going to tear down the house Stanley Marcus built 70 years ago -- until preservationists and a higher authority stepped in the wrecking ball's path.

Frank Lloyd Wright

We were planning a larger piece about the house and the fight over Marcus' manse, which the Lovvorns had tagged as a state historic landmark in 1999 before deciding a decade later it was, in fact, not "energy efficient" enough for their liking. Which is why, two weeks ago, I found myself in DeGolyer Library on the SMU campus sifting through thousands of Marcus' documents -- including extensive renovation plans from the 1960s, an impressive and highly detailed inventory of the artwork kept in the house and the very first manuscript for his 1974 autobiography Minding the Store.

Since the story's no longer a story, for now, I did want to share two significant items of interest I uncovered during one afternoon spent in the Stanley Marcus Reading Room: some original pages from Minding the Store, which contain two letters from original architect Frank Lloyd Wright sent to Marcus once the retailer brought in local Roscoe DeWitt. Marcus would choose instead only to hint at the letters, as Wright, needless to say, was not impressed with DeWitt's plans for the house and slammed it as "a lousy bastard." You'll also find in the .PDF the original October 1, 1935, missive DeWitt sent to Wright concerning his criticisms of his plans, most of which DeWitt did not find "just." Thus endeth the history lesson. --Robert Wilonsky

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