The papers of Athena Tacha primarily document her teaching as a member of the Oberlin College Department of Art, and her role as Consultant Curator of the Weltzheimer/Johnson House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Oberlin, Ohio. Tacha used these materials in writing the manuscript Frank Lloyd Wright at Oberlin: the story of the Weltzheimer/Johnson House.
The collection is organized into two Subgroups, I. Materials Relating to Athena Tacha and II. Materials relating to the Weltzheimer/Johnson House and Frank Lloyd Wright. Subgroup I is further subdivided into five series: 1. Biographical Files, 2. The Ellen Johnson Estate, 3. Instructional Files, 4. Files Relating to Service to Oberlin College, and 5. Audio Tapes. Subgroup II. also contains five series, 1. Correspondence, 2. Materials relating to the manuscript Frank Lloyd Wright at Oberlin: the story of the Weltzheimer/Johnson House 3. Property Records, 4.Clippings & Printed Matter, and 5. Photographs & Negatives.
The bulk of the materials relating to Athena Tacha, concern her teaching of art courses in the Department of Art at Oberlin College. The instructional files provide documentation relating to thirteen classes taught by Tacha and many of the winter term projects that she sponsored. Handwritten notes, class project descriptions and syllabi comprise most of the material within these files, and include classes such as Introductory Sculpture (1975-96) and New Approaches and Techniques in Sculpture (1969-82). Biographical materials include a curriculum vitae, a list of her art commissions, and a biographical sketch.
Materials relating to the Weltzheimer/Johnson House and Frank Lloyd Wright contain an extensive amount of information on the house. Deeply involved in the life of Ellen Hulda Johnson, Tacha served as Executrix of Johnsons estate (see Subgroup I). Having made a previous agreement with Oberlin College, the Weltzheimer/Johnson house was donated to the college upon the death of Ellen Johnson. Aside from helping to make that transition, Tacha also served as the first Consultant Curator of the house. Tacha assumed responsibility for Johnsons papers concerning the house, and in her involvement with the structure, she added to the files, which she donated to the Oberlin College Archives.
The Property Records consist of reports, maintenance information, and policies and procedures regarding the care and operation of the Weltzheimer/Johnson house. Of special interest are the files that contain historic structure reports and folders containing correspondence regarding the discussions between Tacha and Oberlin College President Fred Starr over the interpretation of Johnsons agreement with the College regarding the use of the house.
Materials relating to the manuscript Frank Lloyd Wright at Oberlin: the story of the Weltzheimer/Johnson House are primarily comprised of Tachas drafts. The manuscript appeared in the Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin in 1995 and can be found in the Art Library collection. Tachas research notes for this bulletin are limited, however they do include Ellen Johnsons interviews with several former owners of the residence.
Clippings concerning Frank Lloyd Wright and the structures that he designed compose the bulk of the Clippings/Printed Matter series. Several files contain notes and clippings on topics such as the Tokyo Hotel dinnerware designed by Wright and the Weltzheimer/Johnson house. The dinnerware is of special significance as Johnson purchased several pieces for the residence, where they remain on display.