Oakland/Mills College

Oakland/Mills College, Alameda County

East Bay Loop area, San Francisco Bay Area region

Margaret Carnegie Library Building
The Oval, Mills College
5000 MacArthur Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94613

opened 1906
Academic library from 1906-1989
currently a private academic building

grant amount: $20,000
architectural style: Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival
architect: Julia Morgan

The Mills College library, named in honor of Andrew Carnegie's daughter, is the only California Carnegie designed by noted Bay Area architect Julia Morgan. The Spanish Colonial Revival building is located on the Oval near El Campanil. Now housing administrative offices, the Carnegie's upstairs reading room still contains some special collections, provides space for conferences, and also offers an unchanged example of the Morgan emphasis on craftsmanship with tall square wooden columns supporting intricate braced rafters.

Carnegie funded only two academic libraries in California; the other is at Pomona College, in Claremont. Mills College received $20,000 in 1905. Two years earlier, Julia Morgan had designed the Mills oval and campanile, establishing a Mission style. Her later contributions to Mills included the gymnasium, infirmary, and a nearby Chinese Girls School that was later incorporated into the campus. Earthquakes have figured in the library's history. Its original dedication date was postponed because of the 1906 quake. When the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred, the library collection had just been moved to a large modern addition built adjacent to the Carnegie; this enabled the college's administrative functions to be temporarily relocated in the Carnegie from the damaged Mills building.

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