Julia Morgan Architectural Archives
Cal Poly awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant
The Special Collections Department of the Robert E. Kennedy Library, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, has been awarded $249,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to arrange, describe, and create electronic finding aids for their architectural archives on California architect Julia Morgan (1872 – 1957). Original architectural plans, drawings, sketches, photographs, transparencies, personal papers, journals, project files, and correspondence from Morgan's life and career are part of the project. A principal goal of the project is to catalog the collections at Cal Poly to make them fully accessible to researchers.
The archival profession is increasingly recognizing the research value of architectural records. As stated in Philadelphia at the 2000 Architectural Records Conference at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts:
Architectural records are significant not only for their data, but also as documents of an artistic process. Indeed, many of the architectural drawings in our holdings have great intrinsic beauty and are works of art in their own right. They are also important as records of a society, as tools for the maintenance and renovation of existing buildings, as historical records of buildings that no longer exist, as documentation of unbuilt designs, and as legal evidence. Architecture distinguishes itself from other art forms in that it is a product of society as a whole rather than the vision of a single artist. Especially in America, architecture embodies the values and ideals of the people and documents the character of the time and place in which it was created. ("Architectural Records Conference Report," (Philadelphia: Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, 2000)
The Morgan collections at Cal Poly have been used for scholarly research, lectures, monographs, biographies, children's books, local and traveling exhibitions, historic house interpretation, building restoration, documentaries on public and cable channels, and other scholarship that advances public and scholarly understanding of architecture, the built environment in California, and the humanities disciplines.
Cal Poly's award comes from the NEH division that supports projects to preserve and create intellectual access to collections that are considered highly important for research, education, and public programming in the humanities.
NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. This is the first NEH award made to Cal Poly and the Kennedy Library.