University of Pittsburgh
May 3, 2004

Pitt Art History Professor Honored for Book on Fallingwater


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—Pittsburgh Art History Professor Franklin Toker is a finalist in the prestigious 2004 J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards, distributed today at Harvard University.

Toker, finalist for the book prize, is being honored for Fallingwater Rising

(Knopf, 2003), which explores the unlikely collaboration of merchant E. J. Kaufmann and aging architect Frank Lloyd Wright on Fallingwater. The project helped elevate Wright to his place as one of the greatest architects of the 20th century. Toker worked for 18 years on the book, weaving in key figures of 1930s America, including Henry Luce, William Randolph Hearst, Ayn Rand, as well as the Carnegie, Mellon, and Frick families of Pittsburgh.

The judges, who included Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind (Touchstone, 2001), said Toker "brings imaginative research, fascinating detail, a broad social perspective, and gritty prose to the story of one of America's most famous 20th-century buildings, the country house that Frank Lloyd Wright suspended over a Pennsylvania waterfall in 1937 for E. J. Kaufmann, the merchant prince of Pittsburgh."

The J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards, which also include a history prize and a work-in-progress award, are coadministered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University. Established in 1998, the awards honor and perpetuate the work that distinguished the career of Pulitzer Prize winning-journalist and author J. Anthony Lukas, who published five epic books, including Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families (Knopf, 1986). Each, according to Columbia University, "examined a critical fault line in America's social and political landscape by examining individual lives caught up in the havoc of change."

In addition to Nasar, this year's judges included Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, author of Me and DiMaggio (Lyons Press, 1997) and A Crooked Man (Simon & Schuster, 1995), and James Fallows, author of Breaking the News (Pantheon, 1996). Toker's Fallingwater Rising was chosen from 286 submissions, the largest ever in the history of the Lukas Prize Project Awards.