Family Tree: Edgar Jonas Kaufmann, Sr.
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Edgar Jonas Kaufmann, Sr.(November 1, 1885-April 15, 1955) was a prominent US
businessman and philanthropist who owned Kaufmann's, the best-known department store
in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the twentieth century. Kaufmann Department Stores later
merged in 1946 with May Department Stores, eventually in 2006 it became Macy's.
Mr. Kaufmann employed architect Frank Lloyd Wright(1867-1959) to design a weekend
home; the result was Fallingwater, near Mill Run (about 50 miles southeast of
Pittsburgh). Being the original owner of Fallingwater has generated more widespread
interest in Mr. Kaufmann than any other of his endeavors and accomplishments. A
special relationship developed between the famed architect and Kaufmann. He also
commissioned Richard Joseph Neutra(1892-1970) to build another landmark house for him:
Kaufmann Desert House, completed in 1946.
In Pittsburgh, Kaufmann generously financed the Light Opera Company, and donated
$1.5 million for the erection of the Civic Auditorium. Improving the infrastructure
of the city was one of his concerns. The bulk of his estate was left to his charitable
fund, which concentrated its efforts towards improving the lives of the residents of
Pittsburgh. His son Edgar Jonas Kaufmann, jr.[sic](April 9, 1910-July 31, 1989)
The Kaufmann home in Pittsburgh, "La Tourelle", a French Norman masterpiece was
designed by Pittsburgh architect Benno Janssen(1874-1964). It was built in the stylish
Fox Chapel suburb in 1923.
The Kaufmanns owned some property outside Pittsburgh with a waterfall and some cabins.
When the cabins at their camp had deteriorated to the point that something had to be
rebuilt, Kaufmann contacted Wright.
In November 1934 Wright visited Bear Run. He asked for a survey of the area around the
waterfall, which he received in March 1935. This survey was prepared by Fayette
Engineering Company of Uniontown, Pennsylvania and included all of the boulders, trees
and topography. It took 9 months for his ideas for the site to crystallize into a
design which was quickly sketched up by Wright in time for a visit by Kaufmann to
Taliesin in September 1935. It was then that Kaufmann first became aware that Wright's
design was for the house to be built above the falls, rather than below the falls as
he had expected.
The structural design for Fallingwater was undertaken by Wright in association with
Mendel Glickman(1895-1967) and William Wesley Peters(1912-1991) who had been
responsible for the design of the revolutionary columns which were a feature of
Wright's design for the Johnson Wax Headquarters.
Preliminary plans were issued to Kaufmann for approval on October 15, 1935 after which
Wright made a further visit to the site and provided a cost estimate to his client. In
December 1935 an old rock quarry was opened to the west of the water to provide the
stones needed for the house's walls. Wright only made periodic visits to the site
during construction, instead assigning Bob Mosher(1909-1992) who was one of his
apprentices as his permanent on-site representative. The final working drawings were
issued by Wright in March 1936 with work beginning on the bridge and the main house in
The construction was plagued by conflicts between Wright, Kaufmann and the
construction contractor, Hall.
Kaufmann had Wright's design reviewed by a firm of consulting engineers as he doubted
whether Wright had sufficient experience with using reinforced concrete. Upon
receiving their report Wright took offense and immediately requested Kaufmann to
return his drawings and indicated he was withdrawing from the project. Kaufmann
apologized and the engineer's report was subsequently buried within a stone wall of
After a visit to the site, Wright in June 1936 rejected the concrete work for the
bridge, which had to be rebuilt.
For the cantilevered floors Wright and his team used integral upside-down beams with
the flat slab on the bottom forming the ceiling of the space below. The contractor,
Walter John Hall(1878-1952), who was also an engineer, produced independent
computations and argued for increasing the reinforcement in the first floor's slab.
Wright rebuffed the contractor. While some sources state that it was the contractor
who quietly doubled the amount of reinforcement, according to others, it was at
Kaufmann's request that his consulting engineers redrew Wright's reinforcing drawings
and doubled the amount of steel specified by Wright. This additional steel not only
added weight to the slab but was set so close together that the concrete often could
not properly fill in between the steel, which weakened the slab. In addition the
contractor didn't build in a slight upward incline in the formwork for the cantilever
to compensate for the settling and drooping of the cantilever once the concrete had
cured and the formwork was removed. As a result the cantilever developed a noticeable
droop. Upon finding out what had been done Wright temporarily replaced Mosher with
The consulting engineers with Kaufmann's approval arranged for the contractor to
install a supporting wall under the main supporting beam for the west terrace. When
Wright discovered it on a site visit he had Mosher discreetly remove the top course of
stones. When Kaufmann later confessed to what had been done, Wright showed him what
Mosher had done and pointed out that the cantilever had held up for the past month
under test loads without the wall's support.
In October 1937 the main house was completed.
At the time of its construction, the house cost a total of $155,000, broken down as
follows: house $75,000, finishing and furnishing $22,000, guest house, garage and
servants quarters $50,000, architect's fee $8,000. Accounting for inflation, this
translates to about $2.3 million in 2007 dollars.
Fallingwater was the family's weekend home from 1937 to 1963. In 1963, Kaufmann, jr.
donated the property to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. In 1964 it was opened to
the public as a museum and nearly five million people have visited the house since(as
of January 2008). It currently hosts more than 120,000 visitors each year.
Fallingwater stands as one of Wright's greatest masterpieces both for its dynamism and
for its integration with the striking natural surroundings. The extent of Wright's
genius in integrating every detail of this design can only be hinted at in
photographs. This organically designed private residence was intended to be a nature
retreat for its owners. The house is well-known for its connection to the site: it is
built on top of an active waterfall which flows beneath the house. The fireplace
hearth in the living room is composed of boulders found on the site and upon which the
house was built. One set of boulders which was left in place protrudes slightly
through the living room floor. Wright had initially intended that these boulders would
be cut flush with the floor, but this had been one of the Kaufmann family's favorite
sunning spots, so Kaufmann insisted that it be left as it was. The stone floors are
waxed, while the hearth is left plain, giving the impression of dry rocks protruding
from a stream.
Integration with the setting extends even to small details. For example, where glass
meets stone walls, there is no metal frame; rather, the glass is caulked directly to
the stone. There are stairways directly down to the water. And in the "bridge" that
connects the main house to the guest and servant building, a natural boulder drips
water inside, which is then directed back out. Bedrooms are small, some even with low
ceilings, perhaps to encourage people outward toward the open social areas, decks, and
The active stream(which can be heard constantly throughout the house), immediate
surroundings, and locally quarried stone walls and cantilevered terraces(resembling
the nearby rock formations) are meant to be in harmony, in line with Wright's interest
in making buildings that were more "organic" and which thus seemed to be more engaged
with their surroundings. Although the waterfall can be heard throughout the house, it
can't be seen without going outside. The design incorporates broad expanses of windows
and the balconies are off main rooms giving a sense of the closeness of the
surroundings. The experiential climax of visiting the house is an interior staircase
leading down from the living room allowing direct access to the rushing stream beneath
Wright's views of what would be the entry have been argued about; still, the door
Wright considered the main door is tucked away in a corner and is rather small.
Wright's idea of the grand facade for this house is from the perspective of all the
famous pictures of the house, looking up from downstream, viewing the opposite corner
from the main door.
On the hillside above the main house is a four-car carport(though the Kaufmanns had
requested a garage), servants' quarters, and a guest bedroom. This attached
outbuilding was built one year later using the same quality of materials and attention
to detail as the main house. Just uphill from it is a small swimming pool, continually
fed by a natural water, which then overflows to the river below.
Fallingwater's structural system includes a series of bold reinforced concrete
cantilevered balconies. However, the house had problems from the beginning. Pronounced
sags were noticed immediately with both of the prominent balconies - the living room
and the second floor.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy conducted an intensive program to preserve and
restore Fallingwater. The structural work was completed in 2002. This involved a
detailed study of the original design documents, observing and modeling the
structure's behavior, then developing and implementing a repair plan.
The study indicated that the original structural design and plan preparation had been
rushed and the cantilevers had significantly inadequate reinforcement. As originally
designed by Wright, the cantilevers would not have held their own weight.
The 2002 repair scheme involved temporarily supporting the structure; careful,
selective, removal of the floor; post-tensioning the cantilevers underneath the floor;
then restoring the finished floor.
Given the humid environment directly over running water, the house also had mold
problems. The senior Mr. Kaufmann called Fallingwater "a seven-bucket building" for
its leaks, and nicknamed it "Rising Mildew".
At the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan, New York, Edgar married on June 22, 1909 his
first wife/first cousin, Lillian(Liliane) Sarah Kaufmann(March 6, 1889-September 7,
1952). She died after a rushed trip to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh of a seconal
overdose taken at Fallingwater. Edgar did not trust the local doctors. A coroner
ruled the death accidental. What happened, in fact, is not entirely clear. Both
Kaufmanns were drinkers, and Kaufmann, suffering from severe back pain caused by
several bad falls from his horse, had a large stock of painkillers. Edgar jr. told
friends that his mother had killed herself because she struggled with Edgar Sr's
womanizing her whole life.
On September 4, 1954, at the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, two years
after Liliane's death, Kaufmann married his nurse, Grace Arlene Stoops(January 18,
1921-January 25, 1962), who at 34 was half his age. Seven months later, Kaufmann died.
Edgar Jonas Kaufmann, Sr, died April 15, 1955 in Palm Springs, California in his
sleep, of apparently bone cancer. He was buried in a tomb which he had started a year
after Liliane's death in 1953. It was finished, except for the doors, in 1954. It was
built on a hillside up-stream from Fallingwater. His first wife, Liliane, was moved
there from her first resting place of Homewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The stone and earth-colored stucco mausoleum tomb is reached by its own bridge over
Bear Run. It was the design of Alfred Vitaro(1908-1994), the Kaufmann store architect,
but followed an earlier concept by Edgar jr.
The Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti(1901-1966) was commissioned to create the tomb's
immense bronze doors. They depict two solitary sticklike figures in bas-relief, a
woman sitting against a tree on the right and a man standing far away on the left,
facing each other across a barren valley, its dark, stormy background branches evoking
William Blake's(1757-1827) "Marriage of Heaven and Hell". They were delivered in 1957
and attached to the tomb, replacing temporary wood doors.
On April 2, 1956, Grace Stoops filed suit seeking to break the will and sought half of
her late husband's $10 million estate, most of which he had left to the Edgar J.
Kaufmann Charitable Foundation. Her lawyers said she needed to maintain her way of
life, which included running the Palm Springs Neutra Desert House, which she had
inherited. But she had signed a prenuptial agreement waiving any claim on the Kaufmann
estate. She battled for years, but lost. She received an immediate gift of 2,500
shares of May Department Stores stock and a trust fund of 20,000 shares of May stock,
from which she was to receive an annual income of about $23,000 until her death with
any remainder to revert to the Edgar J. Kaufmann Charitable Foundation.
In 1962, Grace was living alone in her fifth floor Shadyside apartment in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. She suffered from multiple sclerosis and was confined to a wheelchair.
A fire which may have been caused by a heating pad, caused her to suffocate from
carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of the smoke inhalation. Apparently she was
unable to reach a nearby wheelchair as she was found in an overstuffed chair which she
used as a bed in the den of the four-room apartment. She was buried in Jefferson
Memorial Park, Pleasant Hills, Pennsylvania.
When Edgar Sr's son, Edgar Jonas Kaufmann, jr. died July 31, 1989 in New York City,
New York of Leukemia, he was cremated and his ashes were scattered on Fallingwater
grounds as was his long time companion Paul Mayen(May 31, 1916-November 3, 2000).
Partially from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
81 Deceased Ancestors- BRENGEL -
Brengel, Dexter, Born Jun 26 1908 in New York, New York, NY, Died Apr 30 2004 in Las Vegas, Clark, NV
- CHANCE -
Chance, Evelyn Natalie, Born Apr 04 1931 in Jackson, Hinds, MS, Died Nov 06 1982 in New Orleans, Orleans, LA
- DART -
Dart, Meda Marianne, Born Apr 09 1930 in Dallas, Dallas, TX, Died Feb 20 2012 in Dallas, Dallas, TX
- DAVIS -
Davis, Elizabeth Jane, Born Feb 28 1836 in ,Armstrong, PA, Died Dec 27 1898 in ,Washington, PA
- DEMOVILLE -
DeMoville, Clinton Charles, Born May 26 1970 in Pecos, Reeves, TX, Died Apr 17 2011 in Pasadena, Los Angeles, CA
DeMoville, Pecos Alvin, Born Oct 13 1945 in Live Oak, Bexar, TX, Died May 21 1985 in ,Pecos,TX
- DIXON -
Dixon, Mary Lorene, Born May 13 1893 in Macon, Macon, MO, Died Jan 22 1982 in Dallas, Dallas, TX
- DOMINGUEZ -
Dominguez, Carmen, Born 1880 in ,,Spain, Died AFT 1940 in ,,NY
- HARRIS -
Harris, Betty Jo, Born Dec 17 1927 in ,,TX, Died Dec 18 1989 in Dayton, Liberty, TX
Harris, Lois, Born , Died in Dallas, Dallas, TX
- HERRON -
Herron, Flonie Belle, Born Feb 16 1934 in Bryson City, Swain, NC, Died in ,,CA
- HURD -
Hurd, Allen Victor, Born Jun 30 1913 in Honolulu, Honolulu, HI, Died Dec 05 1997 in Saint Petersburg, Pinellas, FL
- JAMES -
James, Earl Stephenson, Born Apr 15 1927 in ,,TX, Died Dec 14 2005 in Winnsboro, Wood, TX
- KAUFMANN -
Kaufmann, Abraham, Born 1819 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany, Died Aug 11 1896 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany
Kaufmann, Dina, Born 1855 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany, Died 1882
Kaufmann, Edgar Jonas, jr, Born Apr 09 1910 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA, Died Jul 31 1989 in New York, New York, NY
Kaufmann, Edgar Jonas, Sr, Born Nov 01 1885 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA, Died Apr 15 1955 in Palm Springs, Riverside, CA
Kaufmann, Elise, Born Apr 15 1853 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany, Died Jan 29 1895
Kaufmann, Emma, Born Jun 24 1851, Died 1894 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
Kaufmann, Henry, Born Mar 11 1860 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany, Died Mar 1955
Kaufmann, Isaac, Born May 30 1851, Died 1921 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
Kaufmann, Jacob, Born Jun 21 1849 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany, Died Nov 01 1905 in Philadelphia,Philadelphia,PA
Kaufmann, Lenchen, Born Sep 12 1844 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany, Died Mar 24 1847 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany
Kaufmann, Lillian Sarah, Born Mar 06 1889 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA, Died Sep 07 1952 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
Kaufmann, Martha M, Born May 23 1894 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA, Died Mar 18 1962 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
Kaufmann, Moses Morris, Born Nov 18 1858 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany, Died 1917 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
Kaufmann, Nathan, Born Nov 14 1845 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany, Died Jan 19 1920
Kaufmann, Oliver Morris, Born May 25 1898 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA, Died Aug 16 1980 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
Kaufmann, Stella W, Born 1884 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA, Died Mar 24 1952 in ,Los Angeles, CA
Kaufmann, Wolf, Born Jun 23 1847 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany, Died Aug 09 1862 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany
- MACKEY -
MacKey, Mary Martha, Born Jan 14 1928 in San Benito, Cameron, TX, Died May 09 2002 in Dallas, Dallas, TX
- MAYEN -
Mayen, Joseph A, Born Jun 03 1914 in ,,Spain, Died Apr 16 1992 in Danbury, Fairfield, CT
Mayen, Paul, Born 1878 in ,,Spain, Died BEF 1940 in ,,NY
Mayen, Paul A, Born May 31 1916 in La Linea de la Concepcion, Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain, Died Nov 03 2000 in Cortlandt Manor, Westchester, NY
- MCQUAY -
McQuay, Jeffery Donald, Born Mar 06 1957 in Dallas, Dallas, TX, Died Aug 19 2003 in Dallas, Dallas, TX
McQuay, Oscar LeRoy, Jr, Born Sep 20 1926 in Dallas, Dallas, TX, Died Aug 01 2003 in Dallas, Dallas, TX
- MCWHORTER -
McWhorter, Margaret Lynd, Born Jul 11 1916 in Hayneville, Lowndes, AL, Died Feb 05 1987 in Saint Petersburg, Pinellas, FL
- MEYERS -
Meyers, Belle C, Born 1872, Died 1929 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
- NORTHRUP -
Northrup, Anita Joyce, Born Jun 18 1935 in Duluth City, St. Louis, MN, Died Jul 20 1994 in ,Rockwall, TX
- ROOT -
Root, Walter Harold, Jr, Born Oct 05 1921 in Fort Lewis, Pierce, WA, Died Apr 21 2007 in San Antonio, Bexar, TX
- SIMPSON -
Simpson, Elizabeth Jane, Born 1816 in Donegal, Ireland, Died Feb 12 1899 in Edgerton, Williams, OH
- STALBIRD -
Stalbird, Winifred Helen, Born Oct 27 1920 in San Antonio, Bexar, TX, Died Dec 11 1986 in San Antonio, Bexar, TX
- STANFORD -
Stanford, Leland Harold, Jr, Born Apr 19 1919 in Fort Sam Houston, Bexar, TX, Died Dec 28 1980 in San Antonio, Bexar, TX
Stanford, Leland Harold, Sr, Born Jun 07 1891 in ,,WI, Died Feb 29 1960 in ,,VA
Stanford, Lorene, Born Nov 19 1916 in Fort Baker, Sausalito, Marin, CA, Died Jun 04 1943 in San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Stanford, Mary Helen, Born May 12 1915 in Fort Monroe, Hampton, VA, Died 1999 in Dallas, Dallas, TX
Stanford, Robert DeWitt, Born Mar 29 1927 in Fort Totten, Long Island, Queens, NY, Died Sep 12 2001 in Dallas, Dallas, TX
Stanford, Theodore Alvin, Sr, Born Feb 18 1926 in Camp Vail, Eatonville, Monmouth, NJ, Died May 30 2005 in Dallas, Dallas, TX
Stanford, Vactor Halbert, Born Apr 08 1921 in Fort Sam Houston, Bexar, TX, Died May 04 2002 in Dallas, Dallas, TX
- STOOPS -
Stoops, Amanda, Born 1844 in ,Armstrong, PA, Died 1905 in Edgerton, Williams, OH
Stoops, Cathrine Amanda, Born Mar 02 1861 in ,Armstrong, PA, Died Aug 30 1863 in Indiana, Indiana, PA
Stoops, Chauncey Billick, Born Apr 03 1912 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA, Died Nov 01 1996 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
Stoops, Chauncey Noteware, Born Jan 11 1865 in Young, Indiana, PA, Died Sep 15 1937 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA
Stoops, Cina Dora, Born Oct 15 1870 in ,,PA, Died Nov 28 1964 in ,Outagamie, WI
Stoops, David Alexander, Born May 14 1859 in Rural Valley, Armstrong, PA, Died Aug 10 1941 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA
Stoops, Della Musetta, Born Feb 22 1875, Died Feb 28 1972
Stoops, Edgar, Born Jan 31 1905 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA, Died Apr 1972 in West Mifflin, Allegheny. PA
Stoops, Elmer Clarence, Born Apr 07 1900 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA, Died Nov 08 1932 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA
Stoops, George Washington, Born 1839 in ,Armstrong, PA, Died AFT 1920 in ,Boone, IN
Stoops, Grace Arlene, Born Jan 18 1921 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA, Died Jan 25 1962 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
Stoops, Harvey Billick, Born Feb 13 1835 in ,Armstrong, PA, Died Jul 03 1902 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA
Stoops, Harvey Billick, Born Oct 27 1887 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA, Died Dec 09 1966 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
Stoops, Harvey Rufus, Born Oct 07 1878, Died 1962
Stoops, Huey Duff, Born Feb 27 1872 in Indiana, Indiana, PA, Died Aug 12 1872 in Indiana, Indiana, PA
Stoops, James, Born 1837 in ,Armstrong, PA, Died AFT 1900
Stoops, Laura M, Born Jun 03 1893 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA, Died AFT 1900
Stoops, Martha Jane, Born Sep 05 1849 in ,Armstrong, PA, Died Oct 20 1890 in Lebanon, Boone, IN
Stoops, Millie Mae, Born Apr 01 1867 in ,Armstrong, PA, Died Jan 16 1947 in ,Alleghany, PA
Stoops, Nannie Blanche, Born Nov 17 1873 in ,,PA, Died Jun 16 1910 in ,Greene, PA
Stoops, Robert Sylvester, Born May 07 1812 in Wayne, Armstrong, PA, Died May 27 1900 in Edgerton, Williams, OH
Stoops, Roy Sylvester, Born Dec 13 1896 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA, Died Dec 1973 in Steubenville, Jefferson, OH
Stoops, Thomas Alvin, Born Feb 23 1890 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA, Died Oct 02 1959 in Murrysville, Westmoreland, PA
Stoops, Thomas Jefferson, Born Jun 18 1881, Died Mar 28 1884
Stoops, Thomas Jefferson, Born 1842 in ,Armstrong, PA, Died 1901 in Edgerton, Williams, OH
Stoops, Walton Watson, Born Nov 19 1914 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA, Died Dec 08 1994 in West Mifflin, Allegheny. PA
Stoops, William Hastings, Born May 06 1869 in Indiana, Indiana, PA, Died Jan 09 1964 in Mckeesport, Alleghaney, PA
Stoops, William Robert, Born Aug 05 1886 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA, Died May 27 1935 in ,Los Angeles, CA
- SWEENEY -
Sweeney, Ellen, Born Oct 1864 in Armstrong, Indiana, PA, Died Sep 21 1954 in Dravosburg, Allegheny, PA
- WATSON -
Watson, Eva Mae, Born Jun 15 1886 in Coal Valley, Allegheny, PA, Died Nov 28 1954 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
- WOLF -
Wolf, Betty B, Born Sep 02 1861 in Pfungstadt, Hessen, Germany, Died Sep 22 1942 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA
Wolf, Sarah, Born Jun 12 1820 in Rohrbach, Baden, Germany, Died Jul 17 1879 in Viernheim, Baden, Germany
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