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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Provenance
  • Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Funding
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Materials
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Sara Holmes Boutelle Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1972-1999 (bulk 1983-1995)
    Date (bulk):
    Collection number: MS 141
    Creator: Boutelle, Sara Holmes, 1909-1999
    Abstract: This collection contains the papers of architectural historian Sara Holmes Boutelle, including extensive correspondence, research notes, photographs, interview notes, book drafts, articles, book reviews, presentation notes, and newspaper clippings, primarily relating to California architect Julia Morgan, women in American architecture, and historic preservation in the Bay Area, donated by her heirs in 2000. Original Julia Morgan materials found in Boutelle's papers have been processed separately as the Julia Morgan-Sara Holmes Boutelle Collection (MS 27).
    Extent: 79 boxes, 1 flat file drawer

    Repository: Special Collections, Robert E. Kennedy Library
    California Polytechnic State University
    San Luis Obispo, CA 93407


    Donated by Sara Holmes Boutelle's heirs in 2000, the papers of Sara Holmes Boutelle are housed in and administered by Special Collections at Cal Poly.


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by appointment only. For more information on access policies and to obtain a copy of the Researcher Registration form, please visit the Special Collections Access page. Advance notice for use strongly encouraged.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    In order to reproduce, publish, broadcast, exhibit, and/or quote from this material, researchers must submit a written request and obtain formal permission from Special Collections, Cal Poly, as the owner of the physical collection. Researchers should also consult with an appropriate staff member regarding literary or other intellectual property rights pertaining to this collection.
    Photocopying of material is permitted at staff discretion and provided on a fee basis. Photocopies are not to be used for any purpose other than for private study, scholarship, or research. Special Collections reserves the right to limit photocopying and deny access or reproduction.

    Preferred Citation

    Sara Holmes Boutelle Papers, Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
    Abbreviations Used:
    AIA: American Institute of Architects
    c.: circa
    c.f.: cubic feet
    FF: flat file
    l.f.:linear feet
    ms.: manuscript
    n.d.: no date
    n.p.: no publisher
    PPIE: Panama–Pacific International Exposition
    YWCA:Young Women’s Christian Association


    The National Endowment for the Humanities has generously funded the arrangement and description of this collection, along with matching funds from California Polytechnic State University.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Architecture -- California.
    Architecture, Domestic -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area.
    Architecture, Domestic -- California -- San Simeon.
    Arts and crafts movement -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area -- History -- 20th century.
    Asilomar Conference Grounds (Pacific Grove, Calif.)
    Berkeley (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    Collectors and collecting -- United States -- History.
    École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts.
    Hearst Castle (Calif.) -- History.
    Hearst, Phoebe Apperson, 1842–1919 -- Homes and haunts.
    Hearst, William Randolph, 1863–1951 -- Correspondence.
    Hearst, William Randolph, 1863–1951 -- Homes and haunts.
    Hearst-San Simeon State Historical Monument (Calif.)
    Honolulu (Hawaii) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    Jolon (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    Morgan, Julia, 1872–1957
    Morgan, Julia, 1872–1957 -- Career in Architecture.
    Oakland (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    Pacific Grove (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    Panama-Pacific International Exposition, (1915 : San Francisco, Calif.)
    Piedmont (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    Regionalism in architecture -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area.
    San Francisco (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    San Luis Obispo (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    San Simeon Ranch (Calif.) -- History.
    San Simeon (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    Wyntoon (Calif. : Estate) -- History.
    Young Women's Christian Association of the U.S.A.
    Young Women's Christian associations -- United States -- History.

    Genre Forms of Materials

    Architectural drawings and plans.
    Research and interview notes.
    Secondary sources.

    Related Materials

    Materials Cataloged Separately
    Appearances made by Sara Holmes Boutelle in the media and in documentaries have been digitized and cataloged separately with MARC records.
    Related Collections
    Special Collections, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo:
    Julia Morgan Papers, 1835-1958 (MS 10)
    Julia Morgan-Sara Holmes Boutelle Collection, 1877-1958 (MS 27)
    Camille Solon Collection, 1900-1952 (MS 106)
    Julia Morgan-Walter T. Steilberg Collection (MS 144) ca. 1910-1974 (1973-1)
    Edward G. Trinkkeller Papers, 1896-1999 (MS 97)
    The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley:
    Julia Morgan Architectural Drawings, 1907-1929 (BANC MSS 71/156 c)
    Correspondence Concerning the Phoebe Hearst Architectural Plan for the University of California, 1896 Oct 22-23 (UARC 308gh.cor)
    George and Phoebe Apperson Hearst Papers, 1849-1926 (BANC MSS 72/204 c)
    Environmental Design Archives, UC Berkeley:
    Julia Morgan Collection, 1893-1980 (1959-2)
    Julia Morgan/Forney Collection, 1907-1931 (1983-2)
    Edward Bright Hussey Collection, 1915-1975 (1977-2)
    Julia Morgan-Walter T. Steilberg Collection, ca. 1910-1974 (1973-1)
    Special Collections, UCLA:
    Harriet Rochlin Collection of Material about Women Architects in the United States, 1887-1979 (1591)

    Biographical Note

    Sara Holmes Boutelle was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, on January 29, 1909. A graduate of Mount Holyoke, Boutelle taught art and architectural history for many years at the Brearley School in Manhattan. Her interest in Julia Morgan's architectural career began in 1972, when Boutelle first toured Hearst Castle and was dismayed to find interpretation at the state historical monument that referred to Julia Morgan as W.R. Hearst's private secretary. Boutelle then dedicated the remainder of her life to researching and collecting material by and about the architect.
    In 1988, Abbeville Press published her biography, Julia Morgan, Architect. The book was awarded the California Book Award Silver Medal the following year. Boutelle also wrote articles on Julia Morgan and Mary Colter for scholarly publications, presented at three Society of Architectural Historians meetings, and wrote book reviews for the American Institute of Architects Journal. She also lectured on the history of women in American architecture at UC Santa Cruz and worked on historic preservation issues in Santa Cruz. For her work as lecturer and preservationist, Boutelle was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, the highest award given to a non-architect. She died in Santa Cruz, California, on May 26, 1999.
    Fourteenth Census of the United States, Fifth Precinct, Worchester, Massachusetts
    Social Security Death Index
    Honan, William F. "Sara Boutelle," New York Times, May 29, 1999, Section B; Page 8; Column 1; Arts & Ideas/Cultural Desk.

    Scope and Content Note

    This collection contains the papers of architectural historian Sara Holmes Boutelle (1909-1999), Julia Morgan's biographer, who researched and collected material on Julia Morgan for twenty-seven years. Boutelle's lecturing and writing on Morgan not only preserved important documentary evidence of Morgan's practice, but also lifted the architect from obscurity, inspiring others to study Morgan and her work. Documentary evidence of previously unknown Morgan commissions is included in this collection, along with materials documenting Morgan buildings lost to fire or demolition.
    Original Julia Morgan materials found in Boutelle's papers have been processed separately as the Julia Morgan-Sara Holmes Boutelle Collection (MS 27).
    In many ways, the collection is the physical manifestation of Boutelle's efforts to establish the credentials necessary to secure a book contract and publish her biography of California architect Julia Morgan, a struggle that is recounted in her article for the Brearley alumni publication entitled, "Julia Morgan: Architecture of a Biography" (Box 1 Folder 4).
    The collection contains 34.5 linear feet of Boutelle's extensive correspondence, photographs, interview notes, book drafts, subject files, and visual media, research and interview notes on Morgan, her clients, colleagues, staff members and commissions, gathered by Boutelle in the course of preparing Julia Morgan, Architect (Abbeville Press, 1988, revised 1995). Additional materials in the collection include articles, book reviews, presentation notes, secondary sources, and newspaper clippings, primarily relating to Morgan, women in American architecture, and historic preservation in the Bay Area.
    The Boutelle Papers are housed in 79 containers and one flat file, with Series 3. Julia Morgan Building Research Files and Series 4. Julia Morgan Research Files containing the most extensive and informative portions of the collection.
    When documents with multiple purposes were encountered (e.g., correspondence on Morgan commissions together with invitations to make presentations), the highest priority was given to placing materials together that document Morgan's project list.
    This collection is also particularly rich in visual media, including hundreds of black-and-white and color prints and more than 2,000 35mm transparencies of Morgan commissions as they appeared in the 1970s and 1980s. The visual media and Boutelle's accompanying notes will greatly inform the on-going process of identifying Morgan's work.
    Little original organization of the papers was evident. Therefore, to facilitate access to the collection for researchers, materials were largely reorganized and refoldered to more accurately reflect their contents.
    Client names and construction dates may differ from Boutelle's published lists and have been updated in this guide for greater accuracy.
    The collection is divided into five series:
    1. Personal Papers, including biographical statements by Sara Holmes Boutelle, photographs of Sara Holmes Boutelle, and newspaper clippings about Sara Holmes Boutelle;
    2. Professional Papers, including Boutelle's correspondence with other writers and historians; awards and grants; extensive documentation of her professional memberships and her activities related to historical preservation in the Bay Area; articles for scholarly and popular publications; architectural book reviews by Boutelle; teaching and research files on women in American architecture for extension courses and public presentations; appearances by Boutelle in news media to publicize her book and in documentaries on Julia Morgan; and newspaper clippings on women in American architecture, historic preservation and American architecture in general;
    3. Julia Morgan Project Research Files, including Boutelle's extensive written and visual documentation of Morgan-designed projects; lists of Morgan's work arranged by client, city, job number, town and region; and research on disputed Julia Morgan projects;
    4. Julia Morgan Research Files, including Boutelle's primary and secondary research into Morgan's family, friends, education, practice, staff members, and colleagues; Boutelle's advocacy of recognition for Morgan through her commercial slide show, nomination of Morgan for various posthumous honors, and work on exhibitions and walking tours.
    5. Julia Morgan, Architect Book Files, including Boutelle's many attempts to find a publisher, book proposals, contracts with Peregrine Smith and Abbeville, research notes, book and chapter drafts, photographs, marketing efforts, book reviews, and correspondence with readers.
    All cities listed on folder headings are located in California, unless noted otherwise. Copied materials found in collection belonging to other research institutions have been returned.