Victoria Kastner is an American author and lecturer. She has spent three decades as the official historian at Hearst Castle.
Kastner’s fascination with Hearst Castle’s enigmatic architect, Julia Morgan, began back in the 1970s, when she took a tour of the property and was told, “A woman built this, but we don’t know anything about her.” Since then, Kastner has authored the definitive trilogy on San Simeon’s history, published by Abrams Books: Hearst Castle: The Biography of a Country House, with a foreword by George Plimpton; Hearst’s San Simeon: The Gardens and the Land; and Hearst Ranch: Family, Land, and Legacy.
Kastner’s latest volume, Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect draws on interviews, letters, and newly discovered diaries to reveal Julia Morgan’s inspiring private life. Featuring more than 150 archival images and full-color photographs, this compelling biography also includes never-before-seen reflections on Morgan’s faith, art, and life experiences. Morgan’s friendship with Hearst, her passion for California’s landscape, her struggles with familial dementia, and her devotion to architecture reveal her to have been a singularly brilliant and determined artist. Hearst Castle is the most iconic work of her remarkable portfolio, and she spent thirty years constructing this opulent estate on the California coast for the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Together, they built a spectacular residence that once hosted the biggest stars of Hollywood’s golden age, and that now welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Kastner has spoken at such venues as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, as well as making many appearances on television and film. She has also published works on the Beverly Hills Hotel, Bernard Maybeck’s Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and the novels of Charles Dickens.
She has a master’s degree in Public History with a specialty in architectural history from UC Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree in museum management from George Washington University.
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