Julia Morgan, the architect of Hearst Castle, was a person of notable “firsts.” A graduate from UC Berkeley’s College of Civil Engineering, she was the first woman to be admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the first female licensed architect in California. She designed over 700 buildings over the course of her forty-seven-year career, many in Berkeley and San Francisco. Learn more about this extraordinary architect as historian Karen McNeil takes you on a journey of Morgan’s life and work. You will have the opportunity to examine some of Morgan’s beautifully executed drawings on display in our downstairs gallery. This lecture is part of a celebration of the 110th anniversary of Julia Morgan’s return to California from Paris.
Karen McNeill is a historian based in Oakland. She has been researching and writing about Julia Morgan since 2000 and has published multiple articles on the subject, including most recently, "'Women Who Build': Julia Morgan & Women's Institutions," in the Summer 2012 issue of California History. Her work focuses on women and gender in the architectural profession as well as how Progressive Era women used the built environment to expand their roles society as consumers, reformers, educators, and professionals. Dr. McNeill is currently completing a book manuscript on Julia Morgan. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Autry National Center, the Bancroft Library, and the University of California Humanities Research Institute. Beyond her work on Julia Morgan, Dr. McNeill teaches history and architectural history at colleges and universities in the Bay Area and has been involved in historic preservation, authoring several context statements for major surveys and successfully nominating a range of buildings to the National Register of Historic Places.