A Blueprint for Scholarly Access

Libby Motika’s inspiration to create The Elizabeth B. Motika Fellowship in Architectural History was fueled by various factors: her extensive experience as a journalist writing about architecture, her time spent residing in the architecturally rich city of Chicago, and her familiarity with The Huntington’s architectural archives.

Expand image A person poses for the camera in front of shelves of books and boxes.

Libby Motika. | Photo by Sarah M. Golonka. 

Motika’s endowed gift is nothing short of magnificent, serving as a testament to her commitment to advancing architectural scholarship. The Elizabeth B. Motika Fellowship in Architectural History offers one to two months of vital support for nontraditional scholars to conduct research in The Huntington’s architectural collections. The gift comes on the heels of The Huntington’s acquisition of the archive of notable early 20th-century Los Angeles architects John and Donald Parkinson, which dramatically added to the institution’s growing strength in Southern California architectural history.

“As a native of Los Angeles and a docent with the Los Angeles and Santa Monica conservancies, I’ve been intrigued by how Southern California living and architecture can lend themselves to some pretty remarkable ideas,” Motika says. “I’m very interested to see how the awarded fellows use the archives.”

This fellowship grants nontraditional scholars—such as writers, journalists, urban and city planners, architects, collectors, designers, curators, and librarians—the ability to delve deep into The Huntington’s collections. In addition, the fellowship aligns with the institution’s strategic goals to expand access to its valuable collections.

In 2018, Motika attended a reception for the exhibition “Architects of a Golden Age,” curated by Erin Chase, associate curator of architecture and photography at The Huntington. Motika’s conversations at that reception led her to join the Library Collectors’ Council, a group of Huntington supporters who donate funds for the purchase of new materials. That, in turn, deepened Motika’s familiarity with and commitment to the Library.

The Motika Fellow can utilize a wealth of resources at The Huntington. The Library’s collections are rich in primary materials on architecture and planning relating to some of Southern California’s most important architects, including Greene & Greene, Wallace Neff, Parkinson and Parkinson, and Florence Yoch.

The application process for the short-term fellowship begins each August, followed by a peer review in the winter, and shortly thereafter, the announcement of the awarded fellow. The inaugural recipient for The Elizabeth B. Motika Fellowship in Architectural History will be announced in early 2024.

Motika’s generosity not only honors her passion for architectural history but also plays a pivotal role in expanding the scholarly reach and impact of The Huntington’s collections. “I like the idea that this fellowship supports somebody with enthusiasm and a serious project who is not sponsored by a university,” Motika says. “They will be able to focus on their research and investigation at The Huntington and not have to worry about making a living.”

If you would like to support the Library, you can donate online, or contact Amanda Greenberger, associate director, major gifts at 626-405-2263 or agreenberger@huntington.org.