Joseph Worcester Collection, 1899-1906

Processed by the Archives Staff; machine-readable finding aid created by Archives Staff and the Electronic Text Unit Staff
Environmental Design Archives
College of Environmental Design
230 Wurster Hall #1820
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-1820
Phone: (510) 642-5124
Fax: (510) 642-2824
Email: archives@socrates.berkeley.edu
http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/cedarchives/
© 2000
The Regents of California. All rights reserved.

Note

Arts and Humanities--Architecture

Joseph Worcester Collection, 1899-1906

Collection Number: 1920-1

Environmental Design Archives



University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

  • Environmental Design Archives
  • College of Environmental Design
  • 230 Wurster Hall #1820
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Berkeley, California, 94720-1820
  • Phone: (510) 642-5124
  • Fax: (510) 642-2824
  • Email: archives@socrates.berkeley.edu
  • URL: http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/cedarchives/
Processed by:
Archives Staff
Date Completed:
March 1999
Encoded by:
Archives Staff
Funding:
Arrangement and description of this collection was funded by a grant from the Getty Foundation.
© 1999 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Collection Title: Joseph Worcester Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1899-1906
Collection Number: 1920-1
Creator: Worcester, Joseph, 1836-1913
Extent: 5 flat boxes
Repository: Environmental Design Archives.
University of California, Berkeley.
Berkeley, California.
Abstract: The collection consists of 14 scrapbooks containing architectural clippings, primarily relating to New England architecture.
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in the collection should be discussed with the Curator.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Joseph Worcester Collection, (1920-1), Environmental Design Archives. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated in 1920.

Access Points

Architecture--New England.

Biography

Joseph Worcester (1836-1913)
The Reverend Joseph Worcester was a Swedenborgian minister who arrived in San Francisco from Boston in 1869. He had considered becoming an architect, and maintained a strong interest in architecture for the rest of his life. Worcester believed in an architectural style that incorporated a harmonious relationship between nature and design. His ideas included the expression of raw materials in simple, hand-crafted design. After the 1890s, he became spiritual leader to many young artists and professionals. He was a strong influence on architects of the late 19th century, including Earnest Coxhead, Willis Polk, A. Page Brown, Bernard Maybeck, and Albert Schweinfurth.
Worcester designed his own house (1876) in Piedmont, California with strong rustic qualities that embodied his architectural ideas. He influenced the design of houses on San Francisco's Russian Hill by encouraging a member of his congregation to build a house that enhanced the natural environment of the hill. Worcester is also credited for initiating the use of unstained redwood in interior paneling, although architects Coxhead and Polk were already utilizing abundant and inexpensive redwood for interiors before they came to San Francisco.
While his design skills were strictly amateur, the ideas behind the designs influenced prominent architects of the day. Worcester relied on architects for assistance with his designs, and commissioned A. Page Brown to design the Church of the New Jerusalem at 2102 Lyon Street in San Francisco (1894-1895). Worcester was called "a catalyst who offered a conceptual promise" for rustic simplicity. He was committed to the correspondence between nature and extremely simple expression, and his ideas influenced the evolution of architectural design in Northern California.
Sources:

Longstreth, Richard, "On the Edge of the World." New York: The Architectural History Foundation, 1989.

Scope and Contents Note

The Joseph Worcester collection consists of 14 bound volumes of scrapbooks that contain purchased photographs, clippings, the "Architectural Review," and other magazines. Three volumes consist of 1901-1906 issues of the "Architectural Review Boston," while one small volume is an 1899 special supplement to the "Architectural Review" from London. Other volumes contain photographs of Italian artwork, including one volume from Venice alone. Two of the volumes are architectural monographs of the Ames Memorial Buildings in North Easton, Massachusetts and Trinity Church in Boston.