This new biography—featuring over 150 archival images and full-color photographs printed throughout—introduces Julia Morgan as both a pioneering architect and a captivating individual.
Julia Morgan was a lifelong trailblazer. She was the first woman admitted to study architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the first licensed to practice architecture in California. Over the first half of the 20th century, she left an indelible mark on the American West. Of her remarkable 700 creations, the most iconic is Hearst Castle. Morgan spent thirty years constructing this opulent estate on the California coast for the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst—forging a lifelong friendship and creative partnership with him. Together, they built a spectacular and unequalled residence that once hosted the biggest stars of Hollywood’s golden age, and that now welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
This compelling biography draws on interviews, letters, and Morgan’s diaries, including never-before-seen reflections on faith, art, and her life experiences. Morgan’s friendship with Hearst, her passion for California’s landscape, her struggles with familial dementia, and her devotion to architecture reveal her to have been a singularly brilliant and determined artist.
PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED CONTENT: Victoria Kastner has spent years compiling photographs, interviews, letters, drawings, and diaries—including material never published before—to create the first truly comprehensive portrait of this amazing woman.
OVER 150 PHOTOGRAPHS: This book features over 150 photographs, printed throughout the text. These include both fascinating archival images and beautiful, full-color contemporary shots of Morgan’s buildings.
INSPIRING STORY: By exploring both Morgan’s work and her life, Kastner weaves a captivating tale about courage, vision, and resilience. Julia Morgan forged a path for herself against the odds, and her story will inspire contemporary women and creatives.
ARCHITECTURAL ICON: Julia Morgan created 700 buildings during her career, from hotels to churches to private homes. Born in San Francisco and trained in Paris, she developed a distinctive aesthetic that now defines certain regions of California. But only in the last twenty years has her contribution to architecture been fully recognized and celebrated. In 2014, the American Institute of Architects’ posthumously awarded her its Gold Medal; she was the first female recipient.
• History buffs • Students, enthusiasts, and professional architects • Aspiring creatives in all fields • Feminists seeking role models • Visitors to Hearst Castle and Morgan’s other buildings • Californians and visitors to California