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

By Barbara R. Stein | Go to book overview

27
Baja California–Tres mujeres sin miedo

Stretching south from Tijuana, Baja (Lower) California extends like a long, contorted finger into the Pacific. For many species of California and Arizona desert plants, the peninsula encompasses their southernmost distribution. For many Latin American species, Baja California represents the northernmost extent of their range, and a great many desert plants are found nowhere else in the world. Having spent forty years collecting almost exclusively in California and western Nevada, Alexander would have been the first to admit that a great deal of unfinished fieldwork remained in those states. However, at the age of seventy-nine, she decided that the time had come to make a foray of her own into this southern region. Lincoln Constance's expedition with Carl Sauer of the UC geography department and Edward W. Nelson's published account of his travels through the peninsula had inspired her. Her primary purpose in making the trip was to collect plants, to contribute something to the knowledge of the flora of Baja California. Secondarily, it was simply to fulfill her perpetual longing for adventure. Alexander had also read Enchanted Vagabonds by Dana Lamb, an account of how the author and his wife traveled by canoe from San Diego to Panama, living off the land. 1 The book described in detail the game birds, deer, and other wildlife that the couple encountered en route and Alexander lamented the Lambs's lost opportunity to collect specimens as well.

The proposed expedition would not be Alexander's first excursion across the border into Mexico, simply her first visit to the state of Baja California. From December 1934 through January 1935 she and Kellogg had visited Mexico City and its environs with one of Louise's relatives. The women had flown south from Los Angeles to the Mexican capital, a distance that required them to stop five times either to change planes or refuel. International flights were still in their infancy at the time and, in a postcard to a

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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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