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To download a list of projects for this collection in an Excel spreadsheet, see the Project Index. For instructions on interpreting the Project Index, see The Guide to the Project Index.
(1898-1992 & 1902-1987)
Ernest Born graduated from University of California, Berkeley’s School of Architecture in 1922, earning his master’s degree the following year. An accomplished artist as well as architect, Born’s designs include exhibits, murals, and building design for the 1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco, residences, warehouses, offices, and showrooms. Later in his career, Born participated in the design of the Glen Park BART station and drafted the signs for 33 BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) stations. Born also did editorial and design work for the Architectural Record and Architectural Forum magazines, as well as rendering designs for other firms, designing furniture, painting in oils and watercolor, and creating illustrations and art prints. Born was a professor in the UC Berkeley School of Architecture, a member of the A.I.A. He devoted a decade to the design and illustrations of the book the Plan of St. Gall with author Walter Horn.
Esther Baum was a graduate of the UCB Architecture School (1926) where she studied under John Galen Howard. She married Ernest Born in the same year she graduated. During the Great Depression she studied photography, which she practiced successfully throughout her life. She spent 10 months in Mexico, photographing and drawing the country’s architecture and design. The compilation of this work was first published in an issue of Architectural Record in April 1937. The article was expanded into a book, The New Architecture in Mexico published by Wm. Morrow & Co. (New York, 1937) This monograph has been credited with directing the attention of the world to the rise of modern architecture in Mexico. From 1938 through 1940, she photographed the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in San Francisco. Her subjects included the many different aspects of the Exposition: buildings, construction, fresco painting, opening events, exhibit halls, exhibits, and the general environment. Her photographs were published in several architectural journals throughout her career, and of note are her architectural photographs highlighted in an article featuring Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Honeycomb House” (Architectural Record, July 1938). From 1945 through 1973 she shared an architecture practice with Ernest Born. She continued to take many outstanding photographs of architecture designed by him and others.
The Ernest and Esther Born collection contains six series, and
is comprised of two primary parts: Ernest Born’s personal and
professional papers and the records of his practice including design, exhibit,
and building projects; and the architectural photographs of Esther Born.
The Personal Papers are comprised of personal drawings of mosque details and designs from Tunisia (1924) and travel slides (1965 – 1971) from Europe. The Professional Papers include negatives of Anderson Ranch, designed by a fellow architect, Carl F. Gromme. This series also includes a negative of a 1938 San Francisco residence designed by John Eken Dinwiddie.
The Project Records are mostly comprised of drawings and photographs, but also contain project specifications, proposals, and correspondence. They include large-scale presentation renderings for developments on San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Embarcadero Crescent, as well as drawings and photographs for other city improvements including San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza Fountain. Born’s commission to design numerous private residences and a public housing facility, the North Beach Place Housing Project (1942-ca. 2002) are also a part of the Project Records as are a number of his design projects for plaques, exhibits, and publications. The BART series consists of research for signage, files, construction photographs, and drawings for the Balboa, Glen Park, and Lake Merritt stations. The Golden Gate International Exposition was held on Treasure Island, San Francisco in 1939 and 1940. Ernest Born was the collaborating architect and designer on many of the buildings and exhibits. The Golden Gate International Exposition series contains many photographs by Esther Born of the design, construction, and opening events of the Exposition. The UC Greek Theater Reconstruction files are quite extensive and include historical material about the theater and its performances; correspondence with the Hearst Corporation and building contractors; and many photographs and drawings.
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