June 8

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867)

It was on this date, June 8, 1867, that American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, the son of a preacher and a teacher. He was brought up a Unitarian. He studied civil engineering ay the University of Wisconsin and got his first architectural job at a firm in Chicago. Wright started his own firm in 1893 after being fired from another Chicago firm for moonlighting.

Between 1893 and 1909 Wright began to develop his "Prairie House" concept of design. He married several times and acquired hundreds of commissions over his long career: the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Fallingwater, the Price Tower skyscraper, the Guggenheim Museum, the Marin County Civic Center, and his own home in Wisconsin, Taliesen.

About religion, Wright said, "I believe in God, only I spell it Nature." Indeed, he stressed, "Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" You could call Wright's belief a sort of Pantheism, for Wright would say, "Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."

God is the great mysterious motivator of what we call nature and it has been said often by philosophers, that nature is the will of God. And, I prefer to say that nature is the only body of God that we shall ever see. If we wish to know the truth concerning anything, we'll find it in the nature of that thing.
He never retired. Wright died on 9 April 1959 at age 91. The epitaph at his Wisconsin grave site reads: "Love of an idea, is the love of God."

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Robert Schumann (1810)

It was also on this date, June 8, 1810, that German Romantic composer Robert Schumann was born in Zwickau, the son of a bookseller. After his father's death, his mother encouraged him to go to Leipzig to study law, but he couldn't focus on it and always was distracted by his love of music and poetry. Deciding at last on music over poetry, and determined to undertake a career as a concert pianist, he lived with and studied under the master, Friedrich Weick.

But Schumann managed to injure his right hand and soon it became impossible to play. Having had the training in all aspects of the art, Schumann fell back onto composition — of both music and music criticism. His studies had one other benefit: he fell in love with his master's daughter (1835), Clara Weick, a polished pianist and composer in her own right. But it was five years before they were able to marry (1840), over her father's strong opposition.

Although religious compositions made up a significant part of Schumann's works, he was a Pantheist like his countryman, Goethe. As a writer, Schumann was also a reader, and his next-favorite author was the German Romantic novelist and Rationalist, Jean Paul Richter. Schumann died at age 46 on 29 July 1856, almost certainly from the effects of syphilis and the toxic mercury treatments administered by his doctors.

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Ronald Bruce Meyer is a freelance writer.
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