Written by on October 23, 2018

October is California Archives Month!

Every October we celebrate California Archives Month, part of the national American Archives Month, a collaborative effort by archivists and repositories across the nation to highlight the importance of archival records. Learn more about California Archives Month here.

Special Collections and Archives are very excited to reveal that this year’s statewide California Archives Month poster features materials from Cal Poly’s collections!

2018 California Archives Month poster. Learn more about the poster and archives month here.

The theme of the 2018 California Archives Month is “Building on History’s Foundations,” which celebrates California’s architecture, including the planning and construction phases as well as completed buildings and restoration projects. At Cal Poly’s Special Collections and Archives, we collect and facilitate access to thousands of records documenting California’s built environment. Collections include the records of architects Julia Morgan, William F. Cody, and Mark Mills, landscape architects such as Arthur Barton, architectural photographers, and local records documenting Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo county’s built history.

This year, two documents from the Julia Morgan Papers at Cal Poly’s Special Collections were selected for the state-wide poster. These two items capture a moment in time in the design and construction of Casa Grade at William Randolph Hearst’s estate at San Simeon. They are part of over 30 boxes of records documenting the project at San Simeon, items that range from telegrams and letters to architectural drawings and photographs. Through the records that Julia Morgan created and kept, the two-decades-long project is documented with extraordinary detail. All together, the Morgan Papers is made up of 100 boxes of materials that document Morgan’s forty-year long career and her life, documenting over 400 projects Morgan completed.

Researchers from around the world come to Special Collections and Archives to work with the Julia Morgan Papers and other collections that document the built history of California. If you are interested in visiting and researching, you can learn more about our collections on Special Collections’ website or see more materials digitized online.

Highlights from many of Special Collections’ architecture-related collections:

YWCA building for the Chinese Young Women’s Christian Association, San Francisco, 1930. Julia Morgan worked closely with the Chinese American committee in designing the courtyard, gymnasium, classrooms, and other areas. The building is now the home of the museum of the Chinese Historical Society of America. Julia Morgan Papers, 010-7-c-ff059-01-02.

Exterior elevation of the front facade of Casa Grande, with Hearst’s comments: “I think there should be ten feet more width between the towers for the central gabled building. I think this will help rather than hurt the front elevation and it will be much better inside for the big assembly room giving that 85 ft length, and clearing the tapestries from above the doors into the refectory.” Possibly created in May 1922, see correspondence from Morgan dated May 16 1922 and from Hearst dated 22 May 1922. Julia Morgan Papers, 010-5-i-74-01-01.

Photograph of the Phillip and Mary Farrar Copper Spine House, Carmel, c. 1966. Designed by Mark Mills, the residence brought the owner as close to the water as possible. Built in 1965, it was demolished in 1996 and the archival record is all that remains of the innovative residence. Mark Mills Papers, 175-4-e-11-14-02.

Presentation drawing of the Racquet Club Cottages West, Palm Springs, designed by William F. Cody, 1960. Cody was a pioneering desert modernist architect who developed some of the first golf club complexes in the desert. William F. Cody Papers, 007-2-e-art1.

Planting plan for the Roosevelt Community Church, Lancaster, CA, June 1948. Arthur G. Barton Landscape Architecture Collection, 003_spc_000002.

Building permit application for the George McCabe Garage at 1034 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo, 1915 (demolished). San Luis Obispo Building Permits Collection, 034_spc_000031_001

The first three main buildings at Cal Poly, photographed around 1908. On the left is the household arts building, in the center is the administration building, and on the right is the boy’s dormitory (later known as Anderson Hall). They were located at the current site of the Cotchett Education building and the Architecture building. University Archives Photograph Collection, ua-pho_00001368.

Rios-Caledonia Adobe, San Miguel, photographed by Benjamin Horner in the 1920s. This is one of approximately 80 photographs Horner took documenting California adobes in the 1920s. Horner Architectural Photography Collection, 110-1-a-03-17-01.

The video above is a compilation of film and video content from the University Archives. The video provides different views of the campus, including the earliest known moving images of Cal Poly. What looks the same? What has changed?

Compiled by Special Collections student assistant Ella Worley from the University Archives Audio-Visual Collection for the 2018 “Building Cal Poly” exhibit. See more film and videos of Cal Poly here.

Read more on California Archives Month, Julia Morgan, and special collections and archives.

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