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Nisbet, Earl collection
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Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Contents

  • Contributing Institution: University of California, Berkeley. College of Environmental Design. Environmental Design Archives
    Title: Earl Nisbet Collection
    Creator: Nisbet, Earl, 1926-2013
    Identifier/Call Number: 2011.-05
    Physical Description: 9 Linear Feet: 6 document boxes, 1 flat box, 1 flat file drawer
    Date (inclusive): 1931-2007
    Language of Material: English .

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in the collection should be discussed with the Curator.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], Earl Nisbet Collection, [2011-05] Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley.

    Biographical / Historical

    Earl Nisbet was born on June 17, 1926 in San Jose, California. Nisbet joined the army after high school and served in WWII. Upon returning to civilian life, he enrolled in an architecture and engineering college in San Francisco, where he was inspired by the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. After college, he worked as a carpenter's apprentice and assisted in the construction of the Midglen residence in Woodside, a home that was being built by apprentices of Frank Lloyd Wright. This experience influenced him to apply for a fellowship studying with Frank Lloyd Wright and in 1950 he was accepted as a Fellow at Taliesin in Wisconsin. Nisbet spent three years at Taliesin and Taliesin West before pursing an independent career designing homes in Northern California. In 1958, following an extended stay in Tahiti, he moved to Hawaii and established a practice in Waikiki. During this period, Nisbet built the Doo House. He returned to California in the early 1960s where he continued to design residential and commercial buildings. Nisbet's architectural drawings reflect the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright throughout his career. He passed away in Aptos, CA in 2013.
    Sources: Nisbet, Earl. Taliesin Reflections: My Years Before, During, and After Living with Frank Lloyd Wright. Petaluma, CA: Meridian Press, 2006.


    This collection is organized into four series: Personal Papers, Professional Papers, Office Records, and Project Records.

    Scope and Contents

    Personal and Professional Papers consist primarily of correspondence with friends and colleagues, as well as personal photographs. A scrapbook that Nisbet created during his life that contains numerous clippings on Frank Lloyd Wright is also included in the Personal Papers series. Office records include photographs from two exhibitions on Taliesin Fellows that Nisbet was included in, as well as publication clippings on the Doo House and Tanglewood House.
    The Project Records consist of built and unbuilt projects, mostly residential. They include construction drawings of Gene Masselink's abstraction for Frank Lloyd Wright's Frank Sander House in Stamford, Connecticut, a decorative wood screen for the current owner, Erik Gavriluk. This collection also includes a drawing that Nisbet completed for Frank Lloyd Wright of a tent while at Taliesin with Wright's own sketch in the bottom right corner.