Campus: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo -- May 4, 2005
Cal Poly Kennedy Library Awarded University's First NEH
Grant to Catalog 'National Treasure' of Julia Morgan Materials
The country's largest archives by and about renowned architect Julia Morgan,
housed in the Special Collections Department of Cal Poly's Kennedy Library, will
be cataloged for easy access by scholars and students worldwide, thanks to a
recent National Endowment for the Humanities grant and matching funds from the
The $249,000 NEH grant - the university's first - provides two years of funding to
preserve, arrange and describe its extensive Morgan collections and to create
digital guides to the collections according to national standards. Included in the
project are thousands of original architectural plans, drawings, photographs,
sketchbooks, journals, correspondence and other documents chronicling her education
in Paris at the turn of the century and her prolific and trailblazing career that
helped open the field of architecture for women.
Contrary to popular legend that Morgan destroyed the records of her practice, she
actually preserved thousands of personal and professional documents, which were
given to California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) by her heirs. Additional
donations of original materials from other benefactors have created the country's
largest repository of Morgan materials, which have been used by researchers from
six countries and 32 states for scholarly research, lectures, biographies,
children's books, exhibitions, historic house interpretation and building
restoration, as well as for documentaries on PBS, the BBC and other cable channels.
Cal Poly's award comes from the NEH division that supports projects to preserve and
create intellectual access to collections considered highly important for research,
education and public programming in the humanities. "The NEH grant recognizes the
Morgan collections at Cal Poly as a national treasure. Interest in Morgan to this
point has been fueled primarily by her masterwork, Hearst Castle, at San Simeon.
This project will enable Cal Poly to assist researchers interested not only in
Hearst Castle, but also in her numerous other commissions and her influence on
architectural movements in California in the early 20th century, said the grant's
author and project director Nancy Loe, assistant dean for collections management
and special collections at Cal Poly's Kennedy Library.
The award comes less than a year after the university celebrated the centennial
of Julia Morgan's licensing as the first female architect in California. Morgan
was also the first woman to earn certification in architecture from the École
des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Contact: Nancy Loe, Cal Poly Kennedy Library,(805) 756-2305;