Judith Munk Papers, 1917-2008 (SMC 157)

Extent: 3.5 Linear feet (9 archives boxes, 4 oversize folders)

Papers of architect and artist Judith Horton Munk (1925-2006), who was known for her architectural design of private residences and structures on the University of California, San Diego campus. The collection contains writings, correspondence, architectural plans and drawings, and photographs.

Judith Kendall Horton Munk was born April 10, 1925 in San Gabriel, California to Winter Davis Horton and Edith Kendall Horton. She started working as a draftsman and cartographer for the Pentagon and then two private firms in 1941. After enrolling at Bennington College in 1942, she studied with architect Richard Neutra, earning a B.A. in arts and architecture in 1946. Munk was admitted to the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1946, but contracted polio and was unable to attend. She relocated to San Diego to recover, staying at the home of her grandmother, Lena Kendall, who would later donate the lands to the University of California as part of the Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve. Munk, who used mobility aids for much of her life, attended the University of Southern California School of Architecture, but found her access to classes limited by lack of wheelchair access.

Munk began studying sculpture under San Diego artist Donal Hord, and later helped to bring his sculpture Spring Stirring to Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She designed and built several houses in Southern California, including Villa Surf, the famed Sunset Cliffs home of Dan Dixon. She also illustrated Acoustical Designing in Architecture for Vern O. Knudsen and Cyril O. Harris in 1950. From 1951 to 1953 she worked as a museum display artist at the Scripps Aquarium under Sam Hinton, and was featured in the December 1952 edition of National Geographic, creating models for the Aquarium. She met oceanographer Walter Heinrich Munk (1917-2019) while working at SIO and they married in 1953. The couple lived briefly in the Red Rest cottage overlooking La Jolla Cove. They raised three daughters together, Lucian, Edie and Kendall; Lucian died in childhood of a congenital heart condition.

In 1952 Judith purchased lot number six of the Scripps Estates Associates subdivision in La Jolla, land that would later become the Munks' home, Seiche. She designed the guest house (1953) and the main house (1954) in the Modern post-and-beam architectural style and landscaped the grounds. Seiche was named by Judith's mother for "a standing wave oscillating in a body of water." Walter Munk kept his home office at Seiche, overlooking Sumner Canyon and the submarine Scripps Canyon. Judith Munk added an outdoor theater called The Folly in 1982. Many of her own artworks, often featuring women and children, filled the grounds. The estate served as the site of scientific meetings, faculty recruitment, dramatic and musical performances, and community events throughout the Munks' lifetimes. Seiche was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2021.

Judith Munk continued her architectural work, contributing to the design of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics laboratories (1963 and 1993), the UC San Diego International Center (1970), the Scripps Crossing pedestrian bridge (1993), and the Robert Paine Scripps Forum (2008). She participated in the renovations of the Old Director's House and the George H. Scripps Memorial Marine Biological Laboratory at SIO, and the Mandeville Center and the International Center at UC San Diego. Some of her unbuilt projects include plans for two additional colleges at UC San Diego, a pedestrian crossing over Pepper Canyon, and two public performance spaces in La Jolla: the Amphiplaza on Girard Avenue, and Palm Circle at Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Her artwork includes a bronze sculpture of Roger Revelle, and the medal for the Oceanography Society's Walter Munk Award, whose inaugural recipient was Walter Munk in 1993.

The Munks traveled extensively, and Judith wrote detailed travel narratives in the form of diaries and letters to her family. She also coauthored "Venice Hologram" with Walter Munk (Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 1972) on the conservation of artwork and architecture in Venice. Judith was a member of the La Jolla Town Council and served on numerous planning committees for La Jolla and UC San Diego. The first IGPP laboratory was renamed the Walter and Judith Munk Laboratory for Geophysics in honor of the Munks in 1993. She was named an honorary member of the San Diego chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 2004, and inducted into the San Diego Women's Hall of Fame in 2008. Judith Munk died on May 19, 2006 in La Jolla, California.

Papers of architect and artist Judith Horton Munk (1925-2006), who was known for her architectural design of private residences and structures on the University of California, San Diego campus. The collection contains writings, correspondence, architectural plans and drawings, and photographs.


Walter Munk Papers. SMC 17. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library.

Container List


Scope and Content of Series

Series 1) BIOGRAPHICAL: Biographical materials regarding Judith Munk including correspondence, photographs, ephemera, personal narratives, and a diary of her community involvement.

Box 1 Folder 1
Biographical information, 1923-2000
Box 1 Folder 2
Certificates, 1942-2004

Includes Judith Munk's honorary membership in the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 2004.

Box 1 Folder 3
Poems about Judith Munk by Ruth Hammond and Maryruth Cox, 1978, undated
Box 1 Folder 4
Diary, 1987

Notes regarding community planning activities.

Box 1 Folder 5
Walter and Judith Munk 50th wedding anniversary - Correspondence, writings, and photographs, 2003 June 15

Includes narratives by Kendall Munk and Walter Munk.

Box 1 Folder 6
The Book of Judy, 2004-2005

Correspondence between Judith Munk's brother Winter Davis Horton, Jr. and Bennington College regarding a scrapbook for her 80th birthday.

Box 1 Folder 7
Guest book - Judith Munk memorial service, 2006


Scope and Content of Series

Series 2) CORRESPONDENCE: Correspondence between Judith Munk and artists and architects including Donal Hord, Daniel Dixon, Richard P. Dober, O'Neil Ford, Cyril M. Harris, and W. H. Plommer. Munk also wrote frequently to family members, describing her travels in Europe, American Samoa, China, and the USSR. Additional travel correspondence can be found in the WRITINGS series.

Box 1 Folder 8
Dixon, Daniel P., 1985-1990
Box 1 Folder 9
Dober, Richard P. (Dick), 1969-1970
Box 1 Folder 10
Ford, O'Neil and Wanda, 1979
Box 1 Folder 11
Gray, James A., 1983
Box 1 Folder 12
Harris, Cyril M., 1982-1992
Box 1 Folder 13
Hord, Donal and Florence, 1966-1976

Includes a letter of recommendation for Judith Munk from Donal Hord, and a notice from the estate of Donal Hord.

Box 1 Folder 14
Horton family, 1917 - ca. 2000
Box 1 Folder 15
Jenkins, Ruth, 1985-1987
Box 1 Folder 16
Munk family, 1969-2003
Box 1 Folder 17
Patten, Dorothy and Dave, 1963-1968

Includes correspondence from Lena Kendall.

Box 1 Folder 18
Plommer, W. H. (Hugh), 1981-1983
Box 1 Folder 19
Rausing, Lisbet, 1999
Box 1 Folder 20
Revelle, Ellen and Roger, 2000, undated
Box 1 Folder 21
Miscellaneous correspondence
Box 1 Folder 22
Munk, Judith - Outgoing correspondence
Box 1 Folder 23
Unidentified correspondents


Scope and Content of Series

Series 3) WRITINGS: Drafts of writings by Judith Munk. Arranged in two groupings, Articles and Notes, and Travel Writings. Munk's articles and notes includes biographies of Donald Hord and Ursula Bullard, architectural notes, an article on Seiche, local coastal planning, and the Kendall-Frost Marsh Laboratory. Travel writings include travel narratives, notes, and correspondence written by Judith Munk to her family. In particular, she describes her travel with Walter Munk to the former USSR (Russia) and American Samoa in the 1960s, detailing visits with oceanographers, oceanographic institutions, and Walter Munk's research, as well as cultural life in the locations they visited. Also includes narratives by Judith Munk and Ellen Revelle of a joint sailing trip in Greece.

Articles and Notes

Box 2 Folder 1
Biographical sketch of Donal Hord
Box 2 Folder 2
The Brant Decoy - Kendall/Frost Marsh Laboratory, 1980
Box 2 Folder 3
Commentary on Local Coastal Plan, 1980 May 15
Box 2 Folder 4
Classical architecture notes, Dr. Plommer, Churchill College, Cambridge, 1981
Box 2 Folder 5
Seiche, ca. 1986

Talk on the history of Seiche by Judith Munk.

Box 2 Folder 6
Ursula Bullard, 1989 September

Travel Writings

Box 2 Folder 7-8
USSR travel diaries, 1962

Travel diary by Judith Munk and a travel narrative by Walter and Judith Munk. The Munks visited the Soviet Union from October 8 to November 11, 1962, traveling by Land Rover, and visited Vyborg, Leningrad, Novgorod, Moscow, Vagorsky, Rostov-on-Don and Odessa. The narrative includes descriptions of the Arctic Institute, Pulkovo Observatory, the Arctic and Antarctic Museum of Leningrad, the Institute of Oceanology, Moscow University, and the Oceanographic Station in Odessa.

Box 2 Folder 9
American Samoa letters, 1963

Letters from Judith Munk to her parents, Winter Davis Horton and Edith Kendall Horton, written in 1963 while the Munks and their children lived in the village of Vailoa Tai in American Samoa. Walter Munk was manning one of six wave stations monitoring the southern storm belt. Judith's letters describe both the progress of Walter Munk's research and the family's life in American Samoa.

Box 2 Folder 10
The Lazy Captain/A Brief Greek Odyssey, 1990, 2003

Narratives of a stormy sailing trip in Greece in 1964 by Judith Munk and Ellen Revelle.

Box 2 Folder 11
USSR notes and narrative drafts, 1968

Notes and typescript drafts by Judith Munk describing her trip with Walter Munk to the USSR in March 1968. The Munks traveled to East Berlin, Moscow, Yerevan, and Tbilisi. They visited the Oceanographic Institute in Moscow and met with Alexander Felsenbaum, V. G. Kort, Andrei Monin, Vladimir Kamentovich and Rostislav Osmidov.

Box 2 Folder 12
Venice correspondence and notes, 1971-1972
Box 2 Folder 13
A "Yau" for Now/Where Art Yau, ca. 1985

Articles and diagrams about earth-sheltered houses, or yaodongs, in China.

Box 2 Folder 14
Tasmania correspondence and notes, 1989


Scope and Content of Series

Series 4) PROJECTS: Plans, drawings, correspondence, photographs, proposals, and reports for architectural projects on which Judith Munk acted as designer or consultant. Her projects at UC San Diego include the Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP), the International Center, the Mandeville Center, the Scripps Crossing pedestrian bridge, and the Robert Paine Scripps Forum. She also created plans for two new colleges at UC San Diego, Barranca College and Olmsted College, as well as plans for public performance spaces in La Jolla. The series includes plans and photographs for the Munks' own home, Seiche, and its outdoor theater, The Folly, as well as other private residences.

Box 2 Folder 15
Barranca College - Radcliffe Institute for Independent Study project, 1965-1970

A proposal for an alternative to high-rising housing on the UC San Diego campus. Includes correspondence regarding Judith Munk's application to the Radcliffe Institute and negatives of the proposed site.

Box 2 Folder 16
International Center, UC San Diego - Correspondence and negatives, 1965-2006
Oversize MC-137-03
International Center, UC San Diego - Architectural drawings for ramp/bridge; Winter Horton residence dining room addition drawing, Greenwich, CT, 1966, 1993
Box 2 Folder 17
W. D. Horton building, Hollywood - Floor plan
Oversize FB-425 Folder 11
Donal Hord residence addition, Pacific Beach - Construction plans
Box 2 Folder 18-20
Olmsted College, 1967-1986

Plans, correspondence, and photographs by Judith Munk to develop a new UC San Diego college on the northeast area of the campus, to be named after Frederick Law Olmsted.

Box 3 Folder 1-9
Amphiplaza project - A Performance Park in La Jolla, 1973-1978

Proposals, reports, correspondence, notes, plans, drawings, and photographs for a stepped performance plaza on Girard Avenue in La Jolla. The proposal by Judith Munk and Jeffery Rogers was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Box 4 Folder 1-8
Amphiplaza project - A Performance Park in La Jolla, 1973-1978
Oversize FB-425 Folder 12
Amphiplaza project - A Performance Park in La Jolla, 1973-1975

Drawings, architectural plans, transparency, and the layout for the Bear Facts special edition regarding the Amphiplaza, June 1975.

Oversize MC-137-03
Amphiplaza project - A Performance Park in La Jolla, 1975

Architectural plans and drawings.

Box 4 Folder 9
Notes - Miscellaneous, 1975, undated
Box 4 Folder 10
Garden theaters, 1983-1992

Correspondence, photographs, notes, drawings, and ephemera regarding garden theatres at Bowdoin College, Dartington Hall, Dunbarton Oaks, Fair Oak, Santa Barbara, Mary Fisher's Theatre in the Meadow, Minack Theatre, Vineyard Haven, Warburg Garden Theatre, and Weld Estate. This study contributed to the design of Seiche's outdoor theater, The Folly.

Box 5 Folder 1-10
Garden theaters, 1983-1986
Box 5 Folder 11
Mandeville Center Auditorium renovation - Correspondence and drawings, 1986
Oversize FB-425 Folder 11
Mandeville Center Auditorium renovation - Architectural drawings, 1986
Box 5 Folder 12
Martin Stern residence, La Jolla - Correspondence and drawings, 1986
Box 5 Folder 13-17
Seiche - The Folly, 1979-2008

Correspondence, ephemera, photographs, notebooks, and drawings of the Munks' home, Seiche, and The Folly outdoor theater. Includes photographs of events and performances held there, and of artwork and models by Judith Munk. Also includes photographs of Jean Pierre Bernard and his chiseled art metal gates for The Folly.

Box 6 Folder 1-9
Seiche - The Folly, 1979-2008
Oversize FB-425 Folder 09-10
Seiche - The Folly - Photo album, drawings, and architectural plans, 1982-2002
Box 7 Folder 1
Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP) extension, 1990-2000

Correspondence, drawings, and photographs.

Box 7 Folder 2
Scripps Park Palm Circle, 1992-1996

Plans and photographs for a shaded performance space at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla.

Oversize MC-137-03
Scripps Park Palm Circle - Architectural drawings, 1995
Box 7 Folder 3
Scripps Crossing pedestrian bridge - Correspondence and photographs, ca. 1993-2004
Oversize FB-425 Folder 11
Scripps Crossing pedestrian bridge - Drawing, ca. 1993
Box 7 Folder 4
Pepper Canyon pedestrian bridge - Preliminary design final report, 1994
Box 7 Folder 5
Exhibition Walk, San Diego Convention Center - Correspondence and drawings, 1994-1995
Box 7 Folder 6
Balboa Park - Mingei International Museum and Japanese Friendship Garden - Correspondence and notes, 1994-2001
Box 7 Folder 7
Robert Paine Scripps Center (Scripps Institution of Oceanography Commons) - Correspondence and report, 2000-2003
Box 7 Folder 8
Revelle Plaza and Roger Revelle bas-relief, 2005

Plans, correspondence, and photographs for a bas-relief sculpture of Roger Revelle to be placed at Revelle Plaza.


Scope and Content of Series

Series 5) PHOTOGRAPHS: Photographic prints, slides, and negatives of Judith and Walter Munk and their family, at home and during travel to Europe, American Samoa, and China. Includes photographs of Roger and Ellen Revelle, and of Donal Hord and his sculpture Spring Stirring. Additional photographs of Walter and Judith Munk can be found in the Walter Munk Papers, SMC 17.

Box 7 Folder 9
American Samoa and Munk family, 1963-1964
Box 7 Folder 10
Architectural photographs - Pedestrian bridges and buildings, 2000, undated
Box 7 Folder 11-12
China and Chinese oceanographers, 1978-1982
Box 7 Folder 13
Dan Dixon house, 1951 March 21

Group photograph of the cornerstone laying for the Dan Dixon house, Villa Surf, in San Diego. Dan Dixon, Homer Dana, Donal and Florence Hord, Judith Horton, and Martha Munk are included in the photograph.

Box 8 Folder 1
Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP), ca. 1965
Box 8 Folder 2-3
Judith Munk, 1956-2006
Box 8 Folder 4-8
Judith and Walter Munk, 1960-2006

Includes photographs of portraits of the Munks by John Asaro and Karen Riffel.

Box 8 Folder 9-11
Munk family, 1957-1990
Box 9 Folder 1
Munk family, 1990-2002
Box 9 Folder 2
Judith Munk and the Walter Munk Award sculpture, 1995
Box 9 Folder 3
Roger and Ellen Revelle, 1964-2005
Box 9 Folder 4
Spring Stirring and Donal Hord, 1960-1981