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Walter T. Steilberg Collection, ca. 1910-1974
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Collection Title: Walter T. Steilberg Collection,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1910-1974
    Collection Number: 1973-1
    Creator: Steilberg, Walter T., 1817-1974
    Extent: 12 boxes, 5 card file boxes, 10 flat file drawers, ca. 35 tubes
    Repository: Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    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 Director.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Walter T. Steilberg Collection, (1973-1), Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California

    Access Points

    Building materials.
    Buildings--California--Earthquake effects.
    Structural engineering.
    Berkeley (Calif.)--Fire, 1923.
    Sather Tower (Berkeley, Calif.)
    University of California, Berkeley -- Buildings.
    Morgan, Julia, 1872-1957
    Dailey, Gardner, 1895-


    Walter T. Steilberg was born in 1887 in Louisville, Kentucky. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1910 with a bachelor's degree in architecture and a minor in structural engineering.
    Steilberg worked with Julia Morgan from 1910-1920 as draftsman , architect, office manager, and structural engineer. In 1920 he formed his own architecture and consulting firm, and designed the Berkeley College Women's Club, Claremont Junior High School in Oakland, the Pavilion at Lake Merritt, and numerous residential projects. In addition, he designed buildings on many University of California Campuses, and directed the preservation of Sather Tower. He also supervised the dismantling of Spanish monastery in Santa Marin de Oliva, Spain. The building was shipped piece by piece to San Francisco as a gift to the city from William Randolph Hearst, but was never reassembled. As a consultant, Steilberg collaborated with Gardner Dailey on many projects.
    Steilberg became an expert in seismic architecture and engineering issues. He researched and wrote a book entitled "Earthquakes Made Simple," presented illustrated lectures, and collected reference materials on the subject. Additionally, he did extensive experimental research in concrete.
    He was a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Seismological Institute and the Concrete Institute of America. Steilberg died in 1974 at the age of 88.

    University of California job application, 1942 (folder II.1)
    "W. T. Steilberg Dies; San Simeon Designer," San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle: 8 December 1974: 4.

    Scope and Content

    The Walter Steilberg Collection spans the years 1910-1973 and documents Steilberg's engineering and architectural careers, as well as his own research into building materials and the structural effects of earthquakes. The collection is organized into five series: Personal Papers, Professional Papers, Office Records, Project Records, and University of California.
    Steilberg's personal papers are minimal, consisting of his student drawings. His professional papers, which contain correspondence, collected articles, writings and photographs, are more thorough. These records are primarily related to earthquakes throughout California and in other states. The Berkeley fire of 1923, the structural characteristics of concrete and the effects of termites are also documented. Office records include correspondence to various trade publications and product literature.
    Steilberg's project records include correspondence, notes, reports, photographs and drawings documenting both his consulting and design work. Projects for the University of California, including the Sather Tower renovation, are well-represented. The project records also contain correspondence between Steilberg and architect Gardner Dailey, and biographical information on Julia Morgan.

    Related Collections

    Title: Interviews with Walter Steilberg and related material,
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 77/97,
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    Title: Gardner Dailey Collection,
    Identifier/Call Number: 1988-1,
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives
    Title: Julia Morgan Collection,
    Identifier/Call Number: 1959-2,
    Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Archives