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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 State University.
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
The materials from this collection are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. 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.
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.