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The collection consists of the literary and personal papers of American novelist, essayist and political activist Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934), best known for her portrayals of life in California and New Mexico. It includes correspondence and literary manuscripts by both Austin and numerous other authors, editors and friends, as well as ephemera and photographs. Literary manuscripts include Austin's personal journals, short stories, poems, essays, and numerous drafts of novels. The correspondence deals with Austin's personal life and business dealings as well as her activities with Indian rights and the water right controversies in California's Owens Valley and in the Southwest. There are also materials related to Austin's interests in folklore and religion in New Mexico and the Southwest. The more than 1,200 photographs in the collection date from 1869 to the 1920s and include personal and family photographs of Mary Austin, her friends, relatives, homes, and various topics related to her interests.
Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934) was a well-known and prolific writer best known for her portrayals of life in California and New Mexico. She published 33 books, including Land of Little Rain, 3 plays and well over 125 short stories, articles, and poems before her death on August 13, 1934. During her lifetime, Austin befriended many important figures including Jimmy Hopper, Herbert Hoover, Jack London, Charles Fletcher Lummis, George Bernard Shaw, George Sterling, and H.G. Wells, among many others represented in the collection. There is little correspondence with her immediate family, though she was close to her brother Jim's daughter, Mary Hunter Sullivan Wolf, and numerous correspondence between the two exist. Austin lived in Carmel, California, New York, London, and Rome. Santa Fe, New Mexico, became her final residence and she erected a house there, which she named "Casa Querida." Once in Santa Fe, her lifelong interest in American Indians became more pronounced, and she lobbied vigorously and frequently on their behalf. Much of her later writing dealt with Indians as well as mysticism and religions. With the help of Arthur Leon Campa of the University of New Mexico, Austin collected Spanish folklore, which had existed as oral tradition until they transcribed it. Austin's writings also focused on the financial, intellectual, and social independence of women.
200.2 Linear Feet (136 boxes, 14 folders, 1 oversize folder)
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher. For more information about the copyright ownership of unpublished materials in the Mary Hunter Austin Collection, researchers are encouraged to contact the Huntington's Curator of Literary Manuscripts.