On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the American West

By Barbara R. Stein | Go to book overview

Introduction

Among the many accomplished women during the last century and a half— adventurous Victorian ladies, pioneering women scientists who are finally being given the recognition they deserve, wealthy and often flamboyant patrons of the arts—few excelled in more than one category. Annie Montague Alexander did. She was an intrepid explorer, world traveler, amateur naturalist, farmer, philanthropist, and founder and patron of two natural history museums on the University of California's Berkeley campus, all at a time when women did not have the right to vote and few had any involvement in the world outside their homes. Alexander took part in many of the major endeavors that were changing the country, California in particular, as the twentieth century began—exploration, research, women's education, conservation, agriculture, business, and philanthropy. 1

Alexander is remarkable not only for the diversity of her accomplishments but also for the contradictions that accompanied them. Fiercely independent and committed to her ideals, she battled the University of California Board of Regents for more than forty years as she strove to develop research programs in vertebrate natural history and paleontology that are now nationally and internationally known. Her efforts stand out all the more in light of the tremendous intellectual insecurities she harbored and her acute disdain for publicity.

Alexander's desire to establish a museum of vertebrate zoology on the Berkeley campus stemmed, in part, from her awareness of the rapidity with which the fauna in California was disappearing, succumbing to the state's spiraling population growth, rampant agricultural development, and increasing urbanization. At the same time, Alexander shared in this environmental perturbation by reclaiming a tract of land in the Sacramento and San Joaquin delta and establishing a farm there.

-xiii-

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On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the American West
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • On Her Own Terms *
  • 1 - Samuel Alexander and Henry Baldwin 3
  • 2 - Life in Oakland 13
  • 3 - A Passion for Paleontology 22
  • 4 - Africa, 1904 35
  • 5 - Meeting C. Hart Merriam 48
  • 6 - Alaska, 1906 58
  • 7 - Meeting Joseph Grinnell 63
  • 8 - Founding a Museum of Vertebrate Zoology 76
  • 9 - An Unusual Collaboration 88
  • 10 - Louise and Prince William Sound 97
  • 11 - Support for Paleontology 107
  • 12 - Hearst, Sather, Flood 114
  • 13 - Innisfail Ranch 120
  • 14 - Vancouver Island and the Trinity Alps 138
  • 15 - The Team of Alexander and Kellogg 148
  • 16 - From “a Friend of the University” 155
  • 17 - Founding a Museum of Paleontology 165
  • 18 - A Restless Decade 181
  • 19 - Europe, 1923 190
  • 20 - The Temple Tour 203
  • 21 - The “amoeba Treatment” 214
  • 22 - Fieldwork–the Later Years 224
  • 23 - Saline Valley 244
  • 24 - The End of an Era 253
  • 25 - Hawaii–“my Only Real Home” 261
  • 26 - The Switch to Botany 274
  • 27 - Baja California–tres Mujeres Sin Miedo 290
  • 28 - Investing in the Future 299
  • 29 - An Enduring Legacy 308
  • Epilogue 315
  • Appendix 317
  • Notes 321
  • Index 359
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