As one of California’s most famous architects, Julia Morgan was at the vanguard of her profession early in her career at the turn of the 20th century because of her gender. As the first woman architect to gain licensing in California, Morgan would flourish in her craft and design over 700 buildings throughout the state, including structures that served women and girls at various institutions.
Morgan’s greatest achievement as an architect was the design of Hearst Castle on the Central Coast of California near San Simeon. Her work on the castle would eventually lead her to work on designs for the YWCA and Mills College.
Karen McNeil, a historian based in Oakland, California, has done extensive research on the life of Julia Morgan and her influence on women in not only architecture, but also in education, reform and in other professions. At a UC Berkeley Extension lecture, McNeil explains the difficulties Morgan faced at the beginning of her career as a pioneering woman candidate into the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.