Happy Sesquicentennial, Julia!

Julia Morgan was born 150 years ago, on January 20, 1872. At that time, her future seemed certain: marriage, then motherhood, then the genteel pursuits. . .

A Walled Medieval City

In the summer of 1898, Julia and Sara Whitney (a friend from Oakland who was Julia’s roommate that year), traveled by train to Provins, sixty miles. . .

The Convent of Cordelières

When Julia and her roommate, Sara Whitney, visited Provins in 1898, they had trouble finding accommodations. They decided to try the city’s convent. . .

A Booming Market Town

Provins was one of six towns where the ruling Counts of Champagne held their annual cycle of trade markets in the 12th and 13th centuries.  Known. . .

Exploring the Crypt

On her trip to Provins in the summer of 1898, Julia admired the crypt of the 13th-century Grange aux Dîmes, which she described to her cousins. . .

Exploring Paris by Double-Decker Omnibus

A few childhood friends visited Julia in Paris, providing her with a welcome opportunity to explore the city. On one. . .

A Visit to Père LaChaise

To prepare for the École’s arduous entrance exams, Julia joined the atelier of architect Marcel de Monclos soon after arriving in Paris. Though two. . .

Parisian Summer of 1896

During Julia’s first summer in Paris, she visited its Salon of 1896. This annual art exhibition—held from 1855-1897 at the Palais de l’Industrie, a large pavilion. . .

Catalogue for the Paris Salon

The Paris Salon of 1896 included thousands of paintings, which filled every inch of the exhibition rooms’ walls from floor to ceiling. Julia wrote. . .

Touring a Medieval Castle

While traveling through Switzerland by train in 1896, Julia and her three companions visited the Château de Chillon, a medieval castle on the eastern end. . .

The Architecture of a Prison

When Julia toured the Château de Chillon in 1896, she doubtless walked through Bonivard’s Prison on its lower level. Here François Bonivard. . .

A Trip to Switzerland

In the summer of 1896, soon after her arrival in Paris, Julia embarked on her first sightseeing tour: a railway trip through Switzerland. She traveled with three other young women. . .

Geneva’s Jet d’Eau

From their hotel, Julia and her three traveling companions could see the Jet d’Eau on the opposite bank of Lake Geneva. This enormous fountain was built in 1886 for an industrial purpose. . .

A Medieval Museum

Julia arrived in Paris in June of 1896, and soon decided that the Musée de Cluny was one of her favorite places. This elaborate compound was constructed in the 15th century to serve as the town house. . .

Sketching at Cluny

Julia was always particularly fond of children. In Paris she enjoyed observing them when she visited various picturesque sites around the city, including the 5th arrondissement’s Musée de Cluny. . .

A World’s Fair in Paris

Julia and her younger brother Avery were in Paris during the Exposition Universelle of 1900, the spectacular world’s fair located on both sides of the Seine. Covering more than 530 acres. . .

The Most Ornate Bridge in Paris

The bridge known as the Pont Alexandre III was one of the 1900 Exposition’s technological wonders. Constructed of steel and more than 350 feet in length. . .

Behind the Gates

Nearly every day, Julia Morgan walked to the École des Beaux-Arts, located slightly over a mile from the American Girls’ Club. Beginning in the autumn of 1896. . .

Behind the Door

When Julia Morgan arrived in Paris in 1896, she lived behind this door at 4 rue de Chevreuse. It marks the entrance to the American Girls’ Club, founded in 1893. . .

A Paris Vespers Service

Julia had played the violin throughout her childhood, and she delighted in the music she heard in the churches of Paris. On Easter Sunday in 1897. . .

Easter in Paris

In 1897, Julia spent Easter Sunday showing an unnamed visiting friend around Paris. On April 29, 1897, Julia wrote to her relatives, Lucy and Pierre LeBrun. . .

After the Ball

Eliza Morgan wrote Julia, “There is a dancing platform outside . . . with seats around [it], and [now] they are all out there singing After the Ball.”…

Sweet Marie

In June 1895, Julia’s sister Emma and several friends stayed in the Santa Cruz mountains, with Eliza Morgan as their chaperone.Julia remained in Oakland…

A Seaside Holiday

The Morgan family had visited Santa Cruz before 1895. This time, Julia remained in Oakland, continuing her work for Bernard Maybeck…

Summertime in Santa Cruz

In the summer of 1895, Julia’s mother Eliza urged her to join the group of girls Eliza was chaperoning on their rustic vacation in Felton…

About UC Berkeley’s South Hall

South Hall was constructed in 1873, five years after the University of California was established…

Civil Engineering at UC Berkeley

Julia Morgan attended Berkeley’s University of California from 1890-1894, majoring in Civil Engineering…

Classes at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art

Before she left for Paris to study architecture in 1896, Julia took classes at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art…

Attending Oakland High School

Julia attended Oakland High School, which was only a short walk from her home on 14th Street…

Turning in Projects at the École

Julia Morgan had to wheel her finished designs from the studio to the École des Beaux-Arts…

The Sculpture Court of the École des Beaux-Arts

When she attended lectures and used the library at the École des Beaux-Arts…

Strolling through the Luxembourg Gardens

Julia Morgan lived very near the Palais du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Palace)…

A Trip to Paris

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Paris, where my dear friend Muna Cristal and I followed Julia Morgan’s footsteps, tracing…