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Finding Aid for the Lutah Maria Riggs papers, circa 1920-circa 1984 0000169
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Custodial History note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Scope and Content note
  • Related Archival Collections

  • Title: Lutah Maria Riggs papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 0000169
    Contributing Institution: Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 253.0 Linear feet (126 record storage boxes, 39 flat file drawers, 1 oversize drawing, and 2 models)
    Date (inclusive): circa 1920-circa 1984
    creator: Riggs, Lutah Maria, 1896-1984 -- Archives


    Partially processed collection, open for use by qualified researchers.

    Custodial History note

    Gift of Lutah Maria Riggs, 1979.

    Preferred Citation note

    Lutah Maria Riggs papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Lutah Maria Riggs was born on October 31, 1896 in Toledo, Ohio. She came to Santa Barbara in 1914 and attended Santa Barbara City Junior College until 1917 when she went on to study at the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated from Berkeley in 1919 with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. Just out of school, Riggs found employment as a draftswomen and designer for Ralph D. Taylor in Susanville. One year later in 1921, Riggs began to work for architect George Washington Smith, until his unexpected death in 1930. Smith, before his death, treated Riggs as a surrogate daughter, taking her on architectural study trips to Mexico and Europe. Riggs became extremely influential in the firm’s design work, contributing significantly to the Lobero Theatre, El Paso historical complex, and Casa del Herrero. After Smith’s death she established a partnership with William Horning called Horning and Riggs, a partnership that dissolved in 1931. In 1931, Riggs became the principal of her own firm, until 1946 when she formed a partnership with Arvin Shaw, which lasted until 1950, when Riggs once again practiced independently. The numerous residential and public buildings designed by Riggs include homes for Wright Luddington, a home for Alice Erving, a home for E. Palmer Black, the Vedanta Temple, the library and herbarium of the botanical Garden in Santa Barbara. In 1966 she was named women of year by the Los Angeles Times; she served on the state Board of Architectural Examiners and the Santa Barbara city and county Landmarks Advisory Committees. She was a charter member of the Montecito Foundation for the History Committee and active in the preservation of Santa Barbara’s historic architecture. In 1981, she closed her architecture office in Santa Barbara because of declining health. Lutah Maria Riggs died in 1984 in Montecito, California at the age of 87.

    Scope and Content note

    The Lutah Maria Riggs papers span 253 linear feet and date from circa 1920 to circa 1984. The collection is composed of letters, diaries, student work and research, clippings, scrapbooks, ephemera, photographs, sketches, architectural drawings and reprographic copies.

    Related Archival Collections

    George Washington Smith papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.
    David Gebhard papers, Architecture and Design Collection. Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Riggs, Lutah Maria, 1896-1984
    Riggs, Lutah Maria, 1896-1984
    Smith, George Washington, 1876-1930, American Architect
    Architects -- California
    Architectural drawings
    Architecture -- California -- 20th century
    Architecture -- California -- Santa Barbara -- 20th century
    Architecture -- United States -- 20th century -- Sources
    Landscape architecture drawings
    Photographic prints
    Presentation drawings (proposals)
    Reprographic copies
    Women architects