Julia Morgan practiced architecture in California during the first half of the twentieth century.
The architectural drawings and plans, office records, photographs, correspondence, project files, student work, and personal
papers created by
or belonging to Julia Morgan in this collection were gathered by Morgan's biographer, Sara Holmes Boutelle, in the course
of her research on
the architect over a period of more than 25 years. At Boutelle's death in 1999, her collection was given to California Polytechnic
Born in San Francisco, Julia Morgan (1872-1957) grew up in Oakland in a spacious Victorian house. Gifted in mathematics and
encouraged in her studies by her mother, Morgan was influenced to become an architect by her mother's cousin, Pierre Le Brun,
who designed an early skyscraper, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower in Manhattan. In 1890, she enrolled in the undergraduate
civil engineering program at the University of California at Berkeley, in part because there were no architectural schools
on the West coast at that time. After graduation, Berkeley instructor and architect Bernard Maybeck recommended further study
at his alma mater, L'École des Beaux-Arts, where the curriculum was renowned for the scope and majesty of its assignments:
apartment suites in palaces, art galleries, opera houses, and other opulent environments fit for lavish, if imaginary, clients.
Once in Paris, Morgan failed the entrance exam twice. Morgan then learned that the faculty had failed her deliberately to
discourage her admission. Eventually the faculty relented and Morgan went on to win medals for her work in mathematics, architecture,
and design. She traveled throughout Europe in her free time, filling sketchbook after sketchbook with accomplished watercolors,
pastels, and line drawings. In 1902, Morgan was certified by the Beaux-Arts in architecture.
21 boxes, 5 flat file drawers
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