Julia Morgan (1872 - 1957)


Architect Julia Morgan was born on January 20, 1872 in San Francisco, California.  She was raised in Oakland, California, and attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a degree in civil engineering in 1894.  Morgan became the first woman allowed to study at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and received her certificate of completion in 1902. 

After returning from Europe she worked as an architect under John Galen Howard in San Francisco.  Howard was supervising the University of California Master Plan at the time and Morgan worked on several buildings for the Berkeley campus.  Some of her most noted works include the decorative elements for the Hearst Mining Building and the designs for the Hearst Greek Theatre.  She opened her own San Francisco office in 1904 and received many commissions for work after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

In 1919, she was selected by William Randolph Hearst to construct her most well known work, the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California.  From that point forward, Morgan became Hearst’s primary architect.  Although she was retained by Hearst, she continued to create well known works for other purposes such as: the YWCAs in Oakland and San Francisco’s Chinatown, the Mills College Bell Tower, and St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley as well as several residential projects.  She died on February 2, 1957 and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.  Not only did Morgan open the field of architecture to women through her example but she also did so by hiring and training women as artists, drafters, and architects for her projects.    


Works Cited: