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Julia Morgan-Sara Holmes Boutelle Collection
MS 027  
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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: Julia Morgan-Sara Holmes Boutelle Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1877-1958 (bulk 1901-1940)
    Date (bulk):
    Collection number: MS 027
    Creator: Morgan, Julia, 1872-1957
    Abstract: 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.
    Extent: 21 boxes, 5 flat file drawers
    Languages: English FrenchGerman
    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 Morgan-Boutelle Collection is 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.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    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.
    For use other than private study, scholarship, or research, including permission to reproduce, publish, broadcast, exhibit, and/or quote from this collection, researchers must submit a written request and obtain permission from Special Collections as the owner of the physical collection. Researchers should also consult with an appropriate staff member regarding specific literary or other intellectual property rights pertaining to this collection. The researcher assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials. Permission to reproduce, publish, broadcast, or exhibit is granted by separate licensing agreement on a fee basis.

    Preferred Citation

    Morgan-Boutelle Collection, Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
    Abbreviations Used:
    AIA: American Institute of Architects
    ART: artifact
    c.: circa
    c.f.: cubic feet
    FF: flat file
    l.f.:linear feet
    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.
    Architects -- California -- Correspondence.
    Architecture, Domestic -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area.
    Architecture, Domestic -- California -- San Simeon.
    Asilomar Conference Grounds (Pacific Grove, Calif.)
    Berkeley (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    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.
    Morgan, Julia, 1872-1957
    Morgan, Julia, 1872-1957 -- Archives.
    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 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.

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Architectural drawings and plans.
    Family papers.
    Business records.
    Architectural elements.

    Related Materials

    Materials Cataloged Separately
    The following monograph owned by Julia Morgan have been cataloged with separate MARC records:
    San Francisco: Her Great Manufacturing, Commercial and Financial Institutions are Famed the World Over. San Francisco: Pacific Art Co., 1904. [Contains entry for W.H.H. Hart, who was Julia Morgan's sister's father-in-law]
    Related Collections
    Special Collections, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo:
    Sara Holmes Boutelle Papers, 1972-1999 (MS 141)
    Julia Morgan Papers, 1835-1958 (MS 10)
    Camille Solon Collection, 1900-1952 (MS 106)
    Julia Morgan-Walter T. Steilberg Collection (MS 144)
    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 (MS 144) 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

    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.
    Returning to California upon graduation, Morgan became the first woman licensed as an architect in California, working first for John Galen Howard on several significant University of California buildings as part of the campus master plan bankrolled by philanthropist Phoebe Apperson Hearst.
    In 1904, Morgan opened her own office in San Francisco. One of her first commissions, a campanile for the Oakland campus of Mills College, withstood the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, bringing her local acclaim and new commissions, including rebuilding the earthquake-damaged Fairmont Hotel. From this point Morgan's career was assured, and her practice thrived.
    Morgan designed her first YWCA building in Oakland in 1912. The next year, Morgan began work on the first of 13 buildings in the Arts and Crafts style for Asilomar, the seaside YWCA retreat near Monterey. Host to thousands of visitors since its founding in 1913, Asilomar is now a state historical park and conference center. Morgan eventually designed 28 unique YWCA buildings in fifteen cities in California, Utah and Hawaii.
    Publisher William Randolph Hearst first retained Morgan in 1910 for a residence in Sausalito, but it was never built. In 1915, she completed a notable Mission Revival building for the Los Angeles Examiner, Hearst's flagship newspaper. Hearst was so delighted by the structure that he commissioned Morgan to design his legendary estate at San Simeon, situated on a crest of the Santa Lucia Mountains of central California. Known today as Hearst Castle, the estate is now a state historical monument that has attracted more than 35 million visitors since it opened to the public in 1958.
    Morgan's classical Beaux-Arts training, joined with her engineering degree and expertise with reinforced concrete, made her the ideal architect for this commission, which absorbed both architect and client from 1919 to 1947. Morgan designed the main building (Casa Grande), and guesthouses ("A" "B" and "C" Houses), workers' housing, grounds and terraces, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, zoo and aviary, poultry ranch, greenhouses, warehouses, animal shelters, a five-mile pergola, and a seaside village for the estate's supervisors.
    Historian Elinor Richey wrote, "Morgan's work was outstanding not only for its thoroughness, diversity, and volume … but also for its stylistic innovation and influence. Her early redwood shingle houses contributed to the emergence of the Bay Area shingle style. She was also a decade ahead of most of her contemporaries in using structure as a means of architectural expression. Unlike the work of most San Francisco architects of her time, Morgan's was reflective of that being done outside the Bay area." (Richey, Eminent Women of the West, p. 501)
    Despite shortages of building materials and skilled labor, Morgan remained active professionally through World War II. In 1951, she closed her San Francisco office and retired. After several years of poor health, Julia Morgan died in San Francisco in 1957 at the age of 85.

    Scope and Content Note

    The Julia Morgan-Sara Holmes Boutelle Collection contains architectural drawings and plans, office records, photographs, correspondence, project files, student work, personal papers, and artifacts belonging to Julia Morgan, which were collected by her biographer, Sara Holmes Boutelle, over a 27-year period.
    There are 5.75 linear feet of original Morgan documents, including Morgan's holographic journal of her travels in Europe in 1938; correspondence with painter, muralist, and landscape designer Bruce Porter (1865-1953); and rare vintage prints of Morgan residential commissions under construction. In addition, there are more than 100 original architectural drawings. Documentary evidence of Morgan buildings both finished and under construction is contained in the collection.
    The Morgan-Boutelle Collection is divided into five series:
    1. Personal Papers, including family correspondence and photographs; newspaper clippings, student work, Morgan's address book, and ephemera from the Beaux-Arts years; and a travel diary from 1938;
    2. Professional Papers, including reference files and photographs;
    3. Office Records, including Morgan's holographic lists of her clients by year, correspondence and photographs of clients and colleagues and staff, and contemporaneous published works on Morgan commissions;
    4. Project Records, including project files, photographs, and drawings for Morgan commissions throughout California, including Morgan's masterworks at Asilomar, San Simeon, and Wyntoon; and
    5. Art and Artifacts, including Morgan-designed vintage food service china for the Berkeley Women's City Club and architectural elements.
    Client names and construction dates may differ from Sara Holmes Boutelle's published lists and have been updated in this guide for greater accuracy. All cities listed on folder headings are located in California, unless noted otherwise.
    Some items in the collection are photocopies or copy prints and have been retained by processing staff out of caution, in the belief they are not represented in other research collections.