"Designer of simple dwellings and stately homes"
Architecture consumed Julia Morgan's life. One of her biographers, Virginia Wadsworth, remarked on her close relationships with family members and how she looked forward to attending holiday gatherings, but "before they knew it, she would be thumbing through a book on architecture—or drawing ideas on a scrap of paper."
Morgan ran her office in the atelier style she had learned at the Beaux-Arts, providing mentoring and training to young men and women who were intent on careers in architecture. Known as a demanding but fair employer, Morgan instituted a profit-sharing plan for every member of her firm, an unusual practice at the time.
Bjarne Dahl, who worked for Morgan early in his career, remembered, "All her life was work — morning, day and night. I went down [to San Simeon] one time with Miss Morgan and spent the day looking over things. She kept busy all day long. We took a train from San Francisco down there, and she worked all day long. Then, when we came back the next morning, I was tired and had to stay home. She went right to work again!"
Dorothy Wormser Coblentz also began her career in Morgan’s office. "Her office was a real apprenticeship. To work with her was to learn it from the ground up, and it had certain drawbacks because you learned to be so thorough that you couldn't put your pencil down [on paper] unless it meant something. So, I think anybody that had been trained at Julia Morgan's office was welcome at any other office because probably nobody else would have taken the time or trouble to give such a thorough training."
n 1929, Morgan was awarded an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley. One of the few honors she accepted, the degree states:
Distinguished alumna of the University of California; Artist and Engineer;
Designer of simple dwellings and stately homes, of great buildings nobly
planned to further the centralized activities of her fellow citizens;
Architect in whose works harmony and admirable proportions
Bring pleasure to the eye and peace to the mind