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Mary Hunter Austin

Born: September 9, 1868 in Carlinville, Illinois
Died: 1934, Sante Fe, New Mexico

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Austin was born in Carlinville and lived there until she graduated from Blackburn College in 1888. It was at that time, she moved with her family to California.

Biography: Mary Hunter Austin was a prolific novelist, poet, critic, and playwright. She was one of the early nature writers of the American Southwest, her classic The Land of Little Rain (1903) describes the fauna, flora and people as well as evoking the mysticism and spirituality of the region between the High Sierra and the Mojave Desert of southern California. In 1929, while living in New Mexico, Austin co-authored a book with photographer Ansel Adams. Published a year later, the book, Taos Pueblo, was printed in a limited edition of only 108 copies. It is now quite rare because it included actual photographs made by Adams rather than reproductions. Mount Mary Austin, in the Sierra Nevada, was named in her honor.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Non-Fiction; Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

Mary Hunter Austin on WorldCat :

Selected Titles

  A woman of genius /
ISBN: 0405100434 OCLC: 2983681

Arno Press, New York : 1977, ©1912.

  Arrow-maker :
ISBN: 0404004199 OCLC: 232237796

Ams Press, [Place of publication not identified] : 1969.

Earth horizon :
ISBN: 0826313167 OCLC: 23767266

University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque : 1991, ©1960.

ISBN: 1230248447 OCLC: 923416444

Theclassics Us, [Place of publication not identified] : 2013.

Stories from the country of Lost borders
ISBN: 0813512174 OCLC: 14413969

Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick : ©1987.

In The Land of Little Rain, Austin's attention to natural detail allows her to write prose that is geographically, biologically, and botanically accurate at the same time that it offers metaphorical insight into human emotional and spiritual experience. In Lost Borders, Austin focuses on both white and Indian women's experiences in the desert, looks for the sources of their deprivation, and finds them in the ways life betrays them, usually in the guise of men. She offers several portraits of strong women characters but ultimately identifies herself with the desert, which she personifies as a woman.

  The Arrow-Maker A Drama in Three Acts
ISBN: 3847216589 OCLC: 864118263

tredition Hamburg 2012

The flock /
ISBN: 0874173558 OCLC: 182987084

University of Nevada Press, Reno : 2001.

  Woman of genius.
ISBN: 1290277389 OCLC: 940516773

Hardpress Publishing, [Place of publication not identified] : 2012.

Writing the Western landscape
ISBN: 080708526X OCLC: 30026288

Beacon Press, Boston : ©1994.

The early twentieth-century works of Mary Austin and John Muir are nature-writing classics. Midwesterners by birth, Austin and Muir both adopted the American West as their home and wrote about its grand and wild landscapes in ways that came to define the genre of western nature writing. Here, for the first time in a single volume, are excerpts from both writers' work: Austin's Earth Horizon and The Land of Journeys' Ending and Muir's The Grand Canon of the Colorado and Travels in Alaska. An introduction by Ann Zwinger provides literary analysis and biographical context and explores the two writers' influence on a tradition of western nature writing that continues today.