Paula Panich's Talk: Lines of Bright Scarlet: Mary Austin's California Mountains - The Arboretum
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Saturday, October 20; 2:00PM - 4:00PM

Paula Panich’s Talk: Lines of Bright Scarlet: Mary Austin’s California Mountains

Located in Arboretum Library

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“Lines of Bright Scarlet: Mary Austin’s California Mountains”

Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 2pm

$15 Members/$20 Non-members

Questions? Please call the Education Department at 626.821.4623

Join writer Paula Panich who will speak about Mary Austin’s 1914 book, California, and the glory of the San Gabriel Valley.

In October, 1888, Mary Hunter, who would become Mary Austin soon enough, started out from Pasadena on horseback.  Her mother and brother were along too, tucked under the bonnet of a Prairie schooner, headed for the San Joaquin Valley. She was barely twenty.

She wrote about the trip for her college magazine. She then knew she had found her work, her voice, and her passion — the landscape of the West.

Fifteen hard years later, she published her first book, The Land of Little Rain, about the Owens River Valley, that would define her as we see her now: environmentalist, advocate for Native people, water rights activist, feminist, lyrical writer of the landscape.

Her voice on the page is steady, sure, rhythmic, almost oracular. It ripened into an incantation-like tone praising the beauty of her adopted state.

In the autumn of 1914, her book, California: The Land of the Sun, was published by Macmillan Company, “Painted by Sutton Palmer, Described by Mary Austin.”

It is her tribute to the mountains of California, with tipped-in reproductions of the paintings of Sutton Palmer. Her writing is luminous, matched by Palmer’s rich paintings of the mountainous California landscape.


Paula Panich’s talk at the Arboretum Library of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens , on October 20, 2018 commemorates the Library’s acquisition of  a pristine copy of the 1914 book, once owned by the Hearst Memorial Library.

Paula Panich is an Albuquerque-based landscape, food and garden writer who has contributed to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Foundation for Landscape Studies and other publications. She is author of The Desert Southwest, and other books.

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