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Guide to the Maybeck Family Papers, 1895-1955 (bulk 1910-1940)
BANC MSS C-B 782  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Contents Note

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Maybeck Family Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1895-1955 (bulk 1910-1940)
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 782
    Creator: Maybeck, Bernard, 1862-1957
    Extent: 2 boxes, oversize folder (1.3 linear ft.)
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Maybeck Family Papers, BANC MSS C-B 782, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.


    Microfilm duplicating selected manuscript pages from the collection is available at the following repositories:
    • Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library:
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC FILM 2586
    • Contributing Institution: Environmental Design Library:
      Identifier/Call Number: MICROFILM 78410

    Related Material

    Title: Photographs from the Maybeck family papers
    (BANC 1960.020-PIC) The Bancroft Library Pictorial Collection, University of California, Berkeley.
    Title: Maybeck, Bernard R., architectural drawings, 1939-1940
    (BANC MSS 79/87 c). The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA
    Title: Panama-Pacific International Exposition architectural drawings: Maybeck, Bernard R.
    (BANC MSS 91/99 c) The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
    Title: Drawings for Rose Walk: Berkeley
    (BANC MSS 72/75 c) The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
    Title: First Church of Christ, Scientist : working drawings
    (MICROFILM 18926 NA) (NA737.M435 F5 1909a Noncirculating) The Environmental Design Library, University of California, Berkeley.
    Title: Architectural Drawings of University of California Buildings,
    (CU-402). The Bancroft Library, University Archives, University of California, Berkeley, CA
    Title: Architectural drawings for the First Church of Christ Scientist in Berkeley, California,
    (BANC MSS 78/93 c) The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Administrative Information


    Arrangement and description of this collection was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    Biographical Note

    Bernard Ralph Maybeck was born February 7, 1862 in New York City. At the age of nineteen, Maybeck moved to Paris to apprentice in a furniture-maker's shop, following in the footsteps of his father, but instead became intrigued by the architectural profession. He enrolled in the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and studied in the atelier of Monsieur Jules-Louis André. After finishing his coursework, Maybeck returned to New York City and worked for Carrère & Hastings. Impatient with the firm, Maybeck moved west to seek his fortune. In Kansas City, he met Mark White, an engineer, who introduced him to his sister, Annie. Maybeck continued on to San Francisco where he found work as a draftsman in various architectural offices, including with his Ecole classmate, A. Page Brown. He briefly returned to Kansas City to marry Annie White in 1890, and the couple moved to Oakland.
    After 1890, Maybeck held many short-term drafting jobs. Steady employment came when he was appointed an instructor of descriptive geometry at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1894. He also held informal architectural courses at his house where he taught students such as Julia Morgan, John Bakewell, and Arthur Brown Jr.
    From 1896 to 1899 Maybeck orchestrated the two stage Phoebe Hearst International Competition for the Plan of the University of California. Maybeck designed the Phoebe Hearst Reception Hall, which held the final rounds of the competition, and was later moved to the University grounds. In 1899 he founded the Department of Architecture at the University of California.
    While at the University, Maybeck began to receive commissions for modest homes in the Berkeley hills. In 1902 he opened an architectural office in San Francisco with his brother-in-law, engineer Mark White. Annie White Maybeck also played an integral role in their practice as secretary, office manager and liaison between Maybeck and the office. Maybeck often designed small dwellings for friends and neighbors. Maybeck's buildings were eclectic, sometimes combining elements of Mediterranean buildings, Swiss chalets, Arts and Crafts, and Gothic styles. These styles and combinations are evident in residences for Charles Keeler, Leon Roos, Guy Chick, S.H. Erlanger, and Earle Anthony. Maybeck also designed several club houses, including the Faculty Club at the University of California, the Hillside Club, and the Bohemian Grove Club House.
    Maybeck designed several buildings for the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Lumbermen's "House of Hoo Hoo," and the livestock pavilion. The Palace of Fine Arts, one of his most famous works, was also a favorite building at the fair.
    In the 1920's Maybeck designed the Phoebe Hearst Memorial Complex at the University of California, Berkeley. The complex was to include an auditorium, a museum, and a gymnasium. Julia Morgan worked with Maybeck to complete the designs of the complex, and supervised the construction of the Women's Gymnasium, the only portion of the complex built.
    Maybeck often chose materials that were unusual for the time. He experimented with materials such as the cement, industrial steel sashing and cement-asbestos insulation panels in non-traditional settings, as seen in the First Church Christ Scientist, Berkeley. Maybeck designed a reinforced concrete residence built to withstand earthquakes for Andrew Lawson. After the 1923 Berkeley fire destroyed about twenty of the houses he had designed, Maybeck increasingly tried untested "fireproof" materials such as bubblestone (a type of aerated cement) and burlap covered in cement gunite (concrete applied with a sprayer). These materials were used for a Maybeck cottage and the Maybeck studio, also known as the "Sack House."
    Maybeck designed all types of structures, and often gave his opinion to others in architectural planning. Maybeck designed town plans for the company town of Brookings, Oregon, and entered the competition to plan the capital of Australia, Canberra. Maybeck designed a campus plan for Principia College, which was to be in St. Louis, Missouri (1923-1930). Before construction began, the college was moved to Elsah, Illinois necessitating a redesign of the campus plan (1930-1938). Maybeck became the design consultant on the project, with Julia Morgan as the supervising architect and Edward Hussey as the supervisor on site.
    The American Institute of Architects recognized Maybeck's work when they awarded him the prestigious Gold Medal in 1951. Maybeck continued to help others design and build residences in the Berkeley area until his death in 1957.



    • Cardwell, Kenneth H. Bernard Maybeck: Artisan, Architect, Artist. Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith, Inc., 1977.
    • Woodbridge, Sally B. Bernard Maybeck: Visionary Architect. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1999.
    • Reinhardt, Richard. Bernard Maybeck. American Heritage Magazine (Aug./Sept. 1981), 36-47.
    • Burt, Cecily. Bernard Maybeck Crafted Romantic Buildings for the East Bay. The Oakland Tribune, (May 18, 1999).

    Scope and Contents Note

    The Maybeck Family Papers span the years 1895-1955 (bulk 1910-1940). The materials relate primarily to the property owned by the family in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Mendocino Counties, and the architectural firm of Maybeck and White.
    Maybeck's personal papers contain a great deal of information about the family's property and real estate transactions, overseen by Annie White Maybeck. The Maybecks bought, sold, and leased properties often designing homes for the properties. Of particular interest are papers relating to the legal dispute over property boundaries between the Maybeck Family and the Boynton Family, for whom Maybeck designed the Temple of the Wings, which was built by another contractor due to the dispute.
    The collection contains small amounts of Bernard Maybeck's professional and architectural office correspondence. His office records include information about Bubblestone, a fireproof aerated cement that Maybeck preferred to use late in his career.
    Project records consist of limited amounts of correspondence from several of Maybeck's larger projects including the Earl C. Anthony residence, the First Church of Christ Scientist in Berkeley, Mills College, Principia College and the Phoebe Hearst Memorial Complex at the University of California, Berkeley.
    Guide to the Project Index:
    The Project Index is a way to organize the various formats of architectural records from the same project. Each horizontal row holds information about a project and the location of the project records.
    Client Name/Project Name:
    The first column lists the Client or Project name. The client name is always listed first. If the project has a name, this may be listed with a see reference to the client. This is the most likely way that researchers will wish to find a project.
    Collaborator / Role:
    Often architects worked with other architects, engineers, or landscape architects. The name of the collaborator is listed, Last name, and first initial. The role of the collaborator follows in the same column in parenthesis.

    e.g. Maybeck, B. (architect) = Maybeck as a collaborating architect
    The date of the project. May be a single year, a range of years, or a circa date.
    Physical Location of Materials:

    Manuscript Records, Drawings, Detail Drawings, Photographs

    • The next set of fields are used to designate the physical location of any materials related to the project. Materials may include records, files, correspondence, and papers, drawings, detail drawings, or photographs.
    • The location of the materials is formatted to have the box number, then folder number.

      e.g. Box # | Folder # - one box, one folder: 5 | 2
    • Folders in consecutive order, but the same box will be hyphenated. e.g. additional folders - same box, consecutive: 5 | 6-9
    • Folders not in consecutive order, but in the same box will be separated by a comma.

      e.g. additional folders - same box, not consecutive: 5 | 6, 11
    • Materials that reside in more than one box are separated in the cell with a comma.

      e.g. additional folders - different box: 4 | 3, 5 | 2
    • If the material is not a box, but actually a Tube, a T will be entered before the tube number.
    • If an oversize folder contains the material, the size of the folder will be entered after the folder number.

      e.g. number, oversize folder - 10 B
    Location and State:
    The geographical location of the project.
    Project Type:
    The general term for the category of building.

    e.g. a commercial building or a residence.
    This column will appear if the collection has been microfilmed. The column tracks the amount of material microfilmed for each project: all, selected or none.