In The Solar House I call George Fred Keck "The First Solar Architect," and I argue that his work is "generally overlooked; his place in history does not seem to match his true importance." He might have built a more secure legacy if he had written more.
In a footnote to Chapter 2, I mentioned that Keck wrote a book manuscript in 1944, which was never published. This is news, I think. I don't recall Keck's book having been mentioned in anything that has been written about him, including the monograph Keck & Keck by Robert Boyce. (Too little has been written about him!)
So I was surprised when I found that Keck planned a book, and produced an incomplete draft. Several chapters are in his papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society. He thought it would be a "high class how to book." Here is the list of chapters he outlined in a 1944 letter to Ken Reid, the editor of Pencil Points magazine:
1. General Information and Introduction
2. Fitting the House to the Climate
3. Orientation and Solar Principles Applications
4. The Use of Glass and Its Possibilities
5. Heating of the House
6. Structural Changes and Inventions
7. A Discussion in the Use of Materials, Both Old and New
8. Artificial Lighting
9. Possibilities of Manufactured Housing or Prefabrication
10. A Discussion about Obsolete Ideas and Tendencies in Planning which might be broken down into a discussion of Basements, Attics, and Multiple Story Houses.
11. A Discussion of Physical Safety and Well-being in the Contemporary House broken down into such items as Accidents, Eye Sight and such problems.
12. Furniture and Its Possibilities
13. Discussion of Aesthetics
14. Sociological, Psychological or Human Relationship Problems in Planning
15. A Discussion on Planning - Neighborhood Planning and Regional Planning - and How an Individual Family Unit Fits Into Such a Scheme
Keck completed drafts of most of these, although it is not clear the full work was ever finished because the archive is a bit disorganized. He never followed through or found a publisher.
The topic list is immensely interesting, of course. It reflects both Keck's own creative agenda and the general priorities of modern architecture in the 40s. (For instance, I'm certain that if Gregory Ain had made such a list it would have been quite similar, except for the emphasis on heating and solar heating.)
The overall character of the manuscript was straightforward, but a bit timid or meek in tone. I'm afraid it might have been a somewhat dull book; it was certainly not a 'manifesto' in the modernist tradition. A good editor might have helped immensely. Had it been finished and published, it would have clearly broadcast Keck's specific insights, which were significant, and he surely would have secured greater level of historical importance for himself.