Male, US, born 1901-02-20, died 1988-10-13

Associated with the firms network

Woollett and Woollett, Architects; Woollett, William, Architect

Professional History


Draftsman, James Gamble Rogers, Architect, New York, NY, 1924.

Draftsman, Alexander Trowbridge, Architect, New York, NY, 1925.

Project Architect, Woollett and Woollett, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, c. 1925-1929; he apparently worked for his father and Samuel Lunden in Los Angeles during the early 1930s.

Principal, William Woollett, Architect, Los Angeles, 1941- .

Assistant Architect, U.S. District Engineers, 1942-1943.

Professional Activities

Member, Etchers Society, 1929. During the 1930s, William Woollett produced the only construction record in lithography of many important public works structures, including the Hoover Dam, Los Angeles Transmission Line, Los Angeles Aqueduct, All-American Canal, San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridges, 1932-1937; Woollett stayed at the Boulder Dam Hotel (Boulder City, NV, built 1933) in 10/1934, while doing his lithographs of dam construction; his prints were displayed in a one-man exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, in 1935. A few months following this Washington, DC, show, he also exhibited a group of drawings and prints at the Architect's Building in Los Angeles under the title, "Anchors of the Past: Early California Exhibit." According to architectural historian David Gebhard: "These two exhibitions beautifully sum up two strong and quite opposite pulls which came to characterize the decade of the thirties: Hoover Dam as a potent symbol of faith in progress and technology; and then the antithesis of this faith in the science fiction world of the future; the recurring desire to look back to the idyllic moments of the past, in this instance, California's early nineteenth-century Hispanic world." (See David Gebhard, "Introduction," in William Woollett, California's Golden Age, [Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1989], p. 7.) He continued: "Not only was his subject matter varied, but so were his aesthetic techniques. Some of these prints and drawings closely reflect the rendering style of the then-popular graphic artist, Samuel Chamberlain; others indicate a response to the more abstract tradition of the architectural renderer Hugh Ferriss and his cities of the future." (See David Gebhard, "Introduction," in William Woollett, California's Golden Age, [Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1989], p. 8.)

He joined the Southern California Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1945; (the American Architects Directory 1962 indicated that he joined the AIA in 1945; the 1970 directory said 1941); he was a registered architect in CA and MI in 1962 and 1970; Treasurer, AIA, Southern CA Chapter, 1956;

Woollett donated his time to a number of historic preservation bodies. He was responsible, along with Carl Dentzel, for writing the City of Los Angeles's first Historic Preservation Ordinance; Member, AIA, Preservation of Historic Buildings Committee, 1961-1964; Founder and Member, Los Angeles City Cultural Heritage Board (as per the Los Angeles Preservation Ordinance) 1962-1972; Member, California County State Preservation Board, 1969; Member, San Barbara Advisory Landmark Committee. He worked on this board with architect Lutah Maria Riggs (1896-1984) and civic leader and preservationist Pearl Chase (1888-1979).

William L. Woollett served as a member of the American Institute of Architects' Preservation Committee in 09/1963.

According to the Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara, "Over the course of his career, he published two books: one book which documented the construction of the Hoover Dam through lithography and the second book entitled California’s Golden Age documented California history through architecture." (See Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara, "Finding Aid for the William Lee Woollett papers, circa 1920-circa 1980 0000198," accessed 07/01/2016.) One of the books was California's Golden Age, (Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1989). The book included pencil sketches done by Woollett of various scenes in Los Angeles, including Olvera Street, Pico House, Hollywood Bowl, Pilgrimage Play Theatre, Plaza Church, Silver Lake Reservoir, La Brea Adobe, Cerritos Adobe, Bullock's Wilshire Department Store, and Griffith Observatory. He laso published a book of his Hoover Dam lithographs and drawings in Hoover Dam: Drawings, Etchings, Lithographs, 1931-1933, (Los Angeles: Hennessey and Ingalls, 1986).

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Isntitute of Architects (FAIA), 1970.


William L. Woollett gave papers belonging to his father and himself to the Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design and Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), in 1981. The collection contained about 10 linear feet of material, and was called the William Lee Woollett papers, circa 1920-circa 1980 Collection #0000198.



B.A., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, 1924; Woollett honed his skills at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, New York, NY, 1925.

College Awards

Medalist, Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, New York, NY, 1925.



Like his father, William Lee Woollett, William was born in New York. He lived between 1906 and 1915 in the Berkeley, CA. The Woollett Family lived at at the intersection of Ridge Road and Highland Place, Berkeley, CA. (SeePolk-Husted Directory Company, Oakland, California, City Directory, 1917, p. 1410.) Woollett recalled of his childhood: "I spent much of my childhood (1906-1915) in Berkeley and have wonderful memories of the Bay Area. I loved the feel of sea breezes coming across the bay and to watch the lights of San Francisco come on at night. It was an exciting city for me and whenever my family wanted to visit we would board the orange trains of the Key Route at the Berkeley station on their way to The Mole in Oakland. Then we would come across the bay on the ferry with the smell of salt water and the excitement of seagulls swooping down to catch the scraps of food we tossed in the air. The city was a bustling place. I can still remember shopping with my mother in the large stores filled with an unbelievable array of colorful, interesting things. I enjoyed watching the people with their many different ethnic backgrounds and styles of dress.San Francisco is sitll a fascinating place, and I think of it as the New York of the west." (See William Woollett,California's Golden Age, [Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1989], p. 120.)

In 1921, as a student, he lived with his parents at 5330 Loma Linda Avenue in Los Angeles. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1921, p. 2688.)

he died in Santa Barbara County, CA, at the age of 87.


His mother's was Sarah Louise Briggs; his father was William Lee Woollett, architect, (11/30/1874 02/11/1955). William L. Woollett had two sisters, Sylvia P. (born c. 1898 in NY), and Prudence (born c. 1903 in NY).

Biographical Notes

SSN: 565-24-4967.

Associated Locations

  • Albany, NY (Architect's Birth)
    Albany, NY

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PCAD id: 2029