Julia Morgan (1872-1957), a prolific & innovative architect, belongs to a first generation of pioneering women architects. In 1894, Julia Morgan was one of the first women to graduate with a degree in civil engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.
In 1898, Morgan became the first woman ever to be admitted to the prestigious École de Beaux Arts department of architecture in Paris. During her 52-year career, she completed more than 700 buildings, many of which were designated historical landmarks. With her talent & many contacts, Morgan subsequently became the architect for YWCA buildings along the West Coast, including the San Francisco Chinatown YWCA on Clay Street in 1932.
In designing the building, Morgan integrated Chinese motifs with the framework of western architecture. Although the YWCA headquarters have since relocated, the building continues with its original function – to serve the community in San Francisco’s Chinatown, where it currently houses the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum.