Bridgman, Lilian, 1866-1948

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1866
Death 1948

Biographical notes:

Architect, writer, and teacher. Born in Kansas in 1866; graduated from Kansas State Agricultural College in 1888. In 1891, enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied under Joseph Le Conte, earning a masters degree in science in 1893. From 1893 to 1912, Bridgman taught physics and chemistry at various high schools and junior colleges in California, and wrote short stories and poetry. Began studying drawing and architecture in 1912 at the University of California, Berkeley, and was licensed as an architect by the State of California in 1915. She designed several houses built in the north Berkeley area after the fire of 1923. Bridgman died at her Berkeley home in 1948 at the age of eighty-two.

From the description of Lilian Bridgman papers, 1881-1977. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 82778435

Architect; San Francisco Bay Area, Calif.

Born in eastern Kansas, Bridgman attended Kansas State Agricultural College in 1888 and in 1893 received her Master's Degree in Science from Berkeley. In 1899, without formal training, she designed and built a home in Berkeley. In 1912 she studied architecture and drawing at Berkeley. In 1923, she was one the architects given the task of rebuilding North Berkeley after a disastorous fire. As an architect, she followed the Bay Area architects who designed simple houses emphasizing horizontal lines and materials that blend with the landscape.

From the description of Lilian Bridgman papers, 1899-1983. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83534264

Biography

Lilian Bridgman was born in eastern Kansas in 1866 to Israel Noble Bridgman and Sarah Ezilda. She attended the Kansas State Agricultural College, graduating in 1888 with a degree in science. Her transcripts also reveal an interest in drawing, literature and music. In 1891, she came to the University of California, Berkeley where she studied with Professor Joseph LeConte. Her thesis, titled The Origin of Sex in Fresh-Water Algae, earned her a master's degree in science in 1893.

From 1893 to 1912, Bridgman taught physics and chemistry at various high schools and junior colleges in California, including the California School of Mechanical Arts in San Francisco. During this time she also wrote short stories and poetry which were published in magazines such as Overland Monthly, Harper's and Century Magazine . In 1899, drawing upon her natural artistic abilities and advice from friend Bernard Maybeck, she designed her first Berkeley residence near Blackberry Canyon.

In 1912, Bridgman again enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, this time to study drawing and architecture. In 1915, she was licensed as an architect by the State of California. While not as well-known as architects like Julia Morgan, Bridgman worked steadily, designing more than fifteen homes during her career. After the Berkeley fire of 1923, which devastated much of North Berkeley, Bridgman, along with other local architects, was instrumental in rebuilding the area. Her work was influenced by her mentor Bernard Maybeck and other creative architects in the Bay Area who embraced the writings of the English philosophers John Ruskin and William Morris. Ruskin and Morris believed that the simple, vital features of the medieval cottage design represented a return to life before the Industrial Revolution. These ideas became the foundation for the Arts and Crafts style, which was embraced by artists, architects and designers throughout the Bay Area. In a departure from the vertical, ornate styles of the day, architects began to design simple houses emphasizing horizontal lines. They also used natural materials, fitting the houses into the landscape, harmonizing with the contours of the hills. Structural elements stood forth as ornament and the redwood houses took on a rustic quality. The architects built around trees rather than remove them, and instead of allowing city engineers to impose a rigid grid-iron pattern to the streets, they laid out new streets to wind through the hills.

It was during the peak of the Arts and Crafts movement that Lilian Bridgman launched her career as an architect and designer. She may not have been as well-known as her colleagues, but her beautiful houses are still standing today as monuments to Berkeley's architectural heritage. In 1939, at the age of 73, Lilian designed her last structure--a small duplex just north of the U.C. campus. Lilian Bridgman died at her Berkeley home in 1948 at the age of 82.

From the guide to the Lilian Bridgman Photograph Collection, ca. 1881-1940, (The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley.)

Biography

Lilian Bridgman was born in eastern Kansas in 1866 to Israel Noble Bridgman and Sarah Ezilda. She attended the Kansas State Agricultural College, graduating in 1888 with a degree in science, although her transcripts also reveal an interest in drawing, literature, and music. In 1891, she came to the University of California, Berkeley where she studied under Professor Joseph Le Conte. Her thesis, titled The Origin of Sex in Fresh-water Algae, earned her a master's degree in science in 1893.

From 1893 to 1912, Bridgman taught physics and chemistry at various high schools and junior colleges in California, including the California School of Mechanical Arts in San Francisco. During this time she also wrote short stories and poetry which were published in magazines such as Overland Monthly, Harper's, and Century Magazine. In 1899, drawing upon her natural artistic abilities, she designed her first home, her own, near Blackberry Canyon in Berkeley.

In 1912 Bridgman again enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, this time to study drawing and architecture. In 1915 she was licensed as an architect by the State of California. While not as well-known as architects like Julia Morgan, Bridgman worked steadily, designing more than fifteen homes during her career. After the Berkeley fire of 1923, which devastated much of North Berkeley, she, along with other local architects, was instrumental in rebuilding the area. Her work was influenced by the writings of the English philosophers John Ruskin and William Morris, embracing a simplicity which they felt had been interrupted by the Industrial Revolution.

Lilian Bridgman died at her Berkeley home in 1948 at the age of eighty-two.

From the guide to the Lilian Bridgman Papers, 1881-1977, (The Bancroft Library)

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Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6737fj7
Ark ID:
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SNAC ID:
8196626

Subjects:

  • Architects
  • Women architects
  • Architecture, Domestic

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • California (as recorded)
  • California--Berkeley (as recorded)
  • California--San Francisco Bay Area (as recorded)