Times of Change

Los Angeles Times building, circa 1935. P. J. Walker Construction Company Photographs, 1923–1987. 
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

This month, Los Angeles Times employees decamp from their namesake building at the corner of First and Spring streets downtown. After 83 years of occupying the building, the Times is moving staff to a new home in El Segundo—leaving behind a monumental icon of the city’s Art Deco period.

The construction of the 1935 Los Angeles Times building is documented in depth at The Huntington. This chapter in the Times’ history is just a small part of the Los Angeles Times Records collection, which contains documents and objects related to the business life of the Los Angeles Times and its owners from its inception in 1881 through 2002.

Pictured from left to right: F. X. Pfaffinger, Times publisher Harry Chandler, Marian Otis Chandler (wife of Harry Chandler and daughter of Harrison Gray Otis, the paper’s first chief editor), Jacob Baum, and Norman Chandler (son of Harry and Marian Otis Chandler) posing at the laying of the cornerstone for the fourth Los Angeles Times building, April 10, 1934. Los Angeles Times Records, 1869–2002. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

The Huntington is home to many such collections from the city’s business titans. The Huntington also holds the photograph collection of the P.J. Walker Construction Company, which built the 1935 Times building. Photos of reporters, photographers, press operators, and other professional staff are found in the “Dick” Whittington Studio Collection of Negatives and Photographs, a popular commercial and business photography firm of the era.

The 1935 building was the fourth home of the Los Angeles Times; a prior location was dynamited in response to the union-busting politics of the paper’s first chief editor, Harrison Gray Otis. Otis’s son-in-law, Harry Chandler, was the paper’s publisher during the construction of the 1935 building. A cornerstone made of California black granite mined near Riverside contains a time capsule with copies of the paper from the days following the 1910 bombing, along with other historic editions. The Times remained in the Chandler family until 2000.

View of “Globe Lobby,” shortly after its completion, including a portion of the Hugo Ballin mural. Los Angeles Times Records, 1869–2002. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Although the Times eventually grew to occupy five buildings on the block at First and Spring streets, the 1935 building remains the most visually identified with the paper. Featuring a giant neon clock face and “THE TIMES” spelled out in huge letters along the side of the building, it was a cutting-edge example of a modern newspaper plant at the time.

Renowned Art Deco architect Gordon B. Kaufmann visited newspapers around the country as he designed the Times building. It is recognized as one of his signature works, with colossal concrete walls that housed the massive printing presses inside.

News desks, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, 1941. “Dick” Whittington Studio Collection of Negatives and Photographs, 1924–1948. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

One of the building’s most notable interior features is the Globe Lobby, designed by Kaufmann and decorated with murals by Hugo Ballin that depicted “the influence of a newspaper on humanity, and the mechanical means used to prepare a newspaper,” according to a piece entitled “A Monument to Our City,” written by Kaufmann and published in the Times in October of 1934. The centerpiece of the lobby is a massive aluminum globe that revolves slowly, depicting the worldwide reach of the paper.

In recent decades, the footprint of newspapers has decreased substantially, both due to digital technology and sharp declines in circulation. Newspapers no longer need photography studios or large tables for designing and pasting up sections by hand, and large portions of the Times complex are now unoccupied. Times staff once occupied 750,000 square feet and now will occupy 120,000 square feet in El Segundo.

Cartoonist Bruce Russell, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, 1941. “Dick” Whittington Studio Collection of Negatives and Photographs, 1924–1948. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

The Los Angeles Times became a tenant of the building in 2016, when then-owner Tribune Co. spun off its newspapers in a company separate from its real estate assets and sold the building to a Canadian developer. Local biotech entrepreneur and billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong purchased the Times in June, citing steep rent increases as the reason for the move.

In early July, a group of local preservationists filed paperwork to secure city monument status for three of the five buildings that make up the Times complex. What the redeveloped complex will look like is unclear. But just as it was in the 1930s, the building will be a highly visible part of grander plans for the Civic Center area of downtown. A master plan for the city’s many municipal buildings in the area is underway, with some being demolished and others renovated. The Times’s printing plant, which is visible from the 10 Freeway at Olympic Boulevard and Eighth Street, will remain in its current location.

Amy Miller is a Pasadena-based freelance writer and editor.

Master Gardeners at the Ranch

Master gardener volunteer Roger Gray talks with children during a recent Saturday open house at The Huntington’s Ranch Garden. Photo by Deborah Miller.

The master gardeners who volunteer each Saturday at the Huntington Ranch Garden Open House are the perfect hosts for this one-of-a-kind garden experience. They always arrive early to harvest the freshest seasonal bounty from the vegetable beds and fruit trees and set out samples for visitors to taste. When the garden’s wooden gate swings open at 10 a.m., they cheerfully give tours of the 15-acre site and offer their considerable knowledge on every gardening topic under the sun.

The Ranch Open House, held each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is an open invitation for the public to gather fresh ideas for sustainable gardening and sample seasonal fruits and vegetables culled from the garden’s edible landscapes. Participants in the UC Master Gardener Program are citizen volunteers who have completed an intensive, three-month training program facilitated by the UC Cooperative Extension and then work to promote environmentally responsible and sustainable horticultural practices in home, community, and school landscapes.

Master gardeners appear as natural in The Huntington’s experimental Ranch Garden as bees do on a sunflower.

Master gardeners arrive early on Saturdays to harvest the freshest seasonal bounty from the vegetable beds at the Ranch Garden and set out samples for visitors to taste. Photo by Deborah Miller.

One recent Saturday, a master gardener volunteer gleefully clutched a bunch of golden carrots that were just moments earlier pulled from the soil. He washed, chopped, and served them alongside bowls of sweet blueberries and Gold Kist apricots. Another volunteer offered fresh Swiss chard and kale to a group of young children.

Mark Swicegood, a master gardener since 2004 who has logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours, guided me through the urban agricultural oasis of fruit trees interspersed with native shrubs, crop beds, perennial herbs, and wildflowers. Around us artichokes flourished, some with leaves still closed while others displayed their fuzzy purple flowers. “Artichokes are perennial plants, so let them die down but don’t pull them out, and they will come back next year,” he advised, adding that a healthy plant can produce edible flower buds for many years.

As we walked, he pointed out winter spinach and kohlrabi and a Golden Dorsett apple tree whose branches had been espaliered against a fence to conserve space. The lizards, birds, butterflies, and dragonflies that scurried and fluttered about indicated the garden’s emphasis on nurturing habitats that support wildlife and pollinators.

Mark Swicegood, a master gardener since 2004, talks to visitors at the Ranch Garden. Photo by Deborah Miller.

Later, as I sat at a picnic table in the garden’s heart (often the spot of many engaging gardening conversations), master gardener Aaron Ostrom explained how daikon radishes can serve as natural rototillers in clayey or compacted soil. “As they grow, their roots tunnel through the soil, and when they rot, they leave behind a wonderful tube,” he said. The plant’s decaying organic matter also helps to nourish soil.

The practice of using daikon radishes for this purpose had been employed at the Ranch back when it was first being developed more than a decade ago when the land was used as a parking lot during the construction of the Chinese Garden.

“Visiting the Ranch gives people a way to see how things grow at various stages and to decide if it’s something they want at home, pointed out Ostrom. “A lot of gardening is problem solving and experimenting.”

I realized I had found botanical nirvana. If I hung around the Ranch long enough, my brown thumb might turn a shade of green, and I could picture myself at home wielding a spade.

At the Ranch garden, you can even taste some of the flowers, including this peppery nasturtium. Photo by Deborah Miller.

“The master gardeners don’t do any actual gardening at the Ranch,” said Jim Folsom, the Marge and Sherm Telleen/Marion and Earle Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens. “Rather, they are the garden’s guardian angels, tasked with interpreting the site and answering questions from the public.”

Folsom thought of bringing in master gardeners when he was searching for a way to keep the Ranch open more than just one day a month, as it had previously been. For the past 20 years, Folsom has taught the botany portion of the UC Master Gardener Program class and was well acquainted with Rachel Surls, who directs the Los Angeles County Master Gardener Program.

“We’re happy that master gardeners can help make sure the Ranch is open to the public, and at the same time fulfill our mission of teaching sustainable gardening,” said Surls. “The Ranch is full of great examples of techniques and plants that are perfect for local gardens, whether in a backyard, at a school, or on a balcony.”

The master gardeners also run a popular clinic series at The Huntington several times a year at which they will discuss such topics as composting, container gardening, and canning. On August 25 at 9 a.m., master gardener Roger Gray will lead an informational and planning workshop to help extend the life of your home food garden well into the fall.

You can read more about the Ranch garden in the online Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Huntington Frontiers.

Manuela Gomez Rhine is a freelance journalist based in Pasadena, California.

Fourth of July Fireworks

Advertising print for Excelsior fireworks by the Detwiller & Street Fireworks Manufacturing Co. Color lithograph, ca. 1885. Jay T. Last Collection of Graphic Arts and Social History. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

The offerings are explosive: “Balloon Rockets, Devil Bombs, and Barking Dog Cap Bombs, Floating Stars changing colors, making a most beautiful display in the air,” reads a fireworks catalog entry. A promotional poster announces Sanderson & Lanergan, pyrotechnists to Boston, and promises a fireworks show, “[f]urnished as usual in the highest style of the art.”

Independence Day in the United States has been marked with a show of fireworks since the country’s first such celebration in 1777. The Huntington’s Jay T. Last Collection of Graphic Arts and Social History provides a fascinating glimpse into how this Fourth of July tradition fueled a booming pyrotechnic industry that thrived through the 19th and early 20th centuries—an industry that used to its advantage the coinciding development of printing and color lithography.

Price list for Unexcelled Fireworks Company, 1877. (Click the image above to see a larger version of it.) Jay T. Last Collection of Graphic Arts and Social History. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Sifting through printed artifacts that contain trade catalogs, price lists, and advertising fliers, mainly from East Coast fireworks companies such as Excelsior and Unexcelled Fireworks, David Mihaly, The Huntington’s curator of graphic arts and social history, discusses how such day-to-day items as product posters that once hung in shop windows and promotional trade cards passed out on street corners provide insight into social and printing history and visual culture.

It’s curious that a circa 1880 lithographed trade card shows a hot-air balloon rising above a colorful sea of exploding fireworks. In fact, hot air balloons are a motif that makes appearances on a number of printed artifacts related to fireworks. But why?

Some early balloonists, says Mihaly, became pyrotechnicians as a way to bankroll their hot-air balloon endeavors. They would ignite fireworks while riding in their balloon gondolas and toss them overboard to the delight of audiences below. Such airborne displays were not just relegated to July 4—they included grand exhibitions and parties for the wealthy to celebrate special occasions.

Trade card for Unexcelled Fireworks Company. Color lithograph, ca. 1880. Jay T. Last Collection of Graphic Arts and Social History. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

What’s almost as striking as the combination of hot-air balloons and fireworks is the sheer number of combined font styles in some of the promotional literature about fireworks. One poster for celebrated pyrotechnist Isaac Edge, Jr., of New York used almost a dozen font styles, sometimes employing several different ones in a single sentence. “The posters would often bombard you with a variety of typefaces to grab your attention,” says Mihaly.

As he sorts through the collection, it’s interesting to see how much a late 19th-century Independence Day celebration resembles a modern one. An Excelsior Fireworks poster produced around 1885 depicts all the familiar components: an eagle, flags, crowds of revelers holding sparklers—all beneath a burst of fireworks.

Manuela Gomez Rhine is a freelance journalist based in Pasadena, California.

The New Fellows

There will be 141 long-term and short-term fellows pursuing research at The Huntington during the 2018–19 academic year. Photo by Deborah Miller.

As one of the world’s leading institutions for collections-based research, The Huntington has for almost a century provided essential support and a congenial environment for the conduct of scholarship in the humanities. We are committed not only to giving faculty and graduate students access to our extraordinary collections, but also to facilitating a sense of community among them.

This year, grants totaling nearly $1.7 million will support 20 long-term research fellows (in residence for the full academic year) and 121 short-term fellowships (for between one and five months) as well as 12 travel grants for study in the United Kingdom. (The full list of 2018–19 fellows is available on The Huntington’s website.) Notably, eight of the 11 long-term fellows who applied for awards through a highly competitive process are women. In total, approximately 54 percent of all our grantees this year are women (a ratio consistent with representation in the humanities in general).

One of these long-term fellows is Danielle Terrazas Williams, assistant professor of history at Oberlin College and a Barbara Thom Postdoctoral Fellow for 2018–19. Terrazas Williams focuses on the social and legal histories of African-descended people in 16th- and 17th-century Mexico. Her research interests include women’s history, governance, slavery, family, and notions of class and status.

Danielle Terrazas Williams, assistant professor of history at Oberlin College, is working on a book about the history of free African-descended women who accumulated capital in 17th-century Mexico. Photo by Tanya Rosen-Jones.

Terrazas Williams’s project challenges traditional narratives of racial hierarchies and gendered mobility by focusing on African-descended women’s experiences in Mexico during the little-studied period between 1580 and 1730. At The Huntington, she will be working with rare books and manuscripts to study the regional influence of various Catholic institutions and to examine the impact of Caribbean piracy on both quotidian experiences and colonial governance.

“My book project, The Capital of Free Women: Race, Status, and Economic Networks in Colonial Veracruz, illuminates the as-yet unknown history of how free African-descended women accumulated capital in 17th-century Mexico,” she explained in her project proposal. “In the 1600s, while African-descended people in Mexico still labored as slaves in sugar fields and urban centers, a new demographic began to emerge: free Black women of means. These women, sometimes only one generation removed from slavery, had slaves, owned significant parcels of land, and managed their own businesses. My project explores the lives of Black women across the economic spectrum, evaluates their sensibilities, and challenges our notions of race and caste in the colonial period.”

Among the 11 long-term fellows who went through the competitive peer-review process, two are Molina Fellows in the History of Medicine and Allied Science. One of the Molina Fellows is Seth LeJacq, a lecturing fellow in Duke University’s Thompson Writing Program. He is currently completing work on his first book project, Run Afoul: Sodomy, Masculinity, and the Body in the Sailing Royal Navy.

Seth LeJacq, a lecturing fellow in Duke University’s Thompson Writing Program, is writing a book that explores masculinity and sexuality among British sailors in the age of sail and focuses on the history of criminal trials for same-sex contact in the fleet from the late 17th century into the Victorian era. Photo courtesy of Duke University.

LeJacq’s work explores masculinity and sexuality among British sailors in the age of sail and focuses on the history of criminal trials for same-sex contact in the fleet from the late 17th century into the Victorian era. At The Huntington, LeJacq will investigate forensic medicine and sex-related crime in the premodern West, asking how knowledge of proscribed sexual activities was generated, how it circulated, and how it was used.

“I applied for this fellowship to work with the underexplored materials bearing on sexual crime and violence at The Huntington,” says LeJacq. “I will devote roughly half of my time to medical and related works bearing on medical knowledge and practice around sex, sexual crime, and legal medicine. These include the large group of pre-modern surgical texts in the collection, such as treatises by William Clowes, John Woodall, and Richard Wiseman. Wiseman’s popular Restoration surgical treatises, for example, discuss the physical symptoms of sexual crimes. I will also work closely with The Huntington’s considerable holdings of works on venereal diseases by such authors as Daniel Sennert, Jean Astruc, and John Hunter.”

Terrazas Williams and LeJacq were among 453 applicants who competed for fellowships this year. The success rate for long-term fellowship applicants was 13 percent; for short-term applicants, 39 percent. Of the short-term grantees, a large proportion (46 percent) are graduate students, for many of whom this visit to The Huntington will be the first fellowship of their career.

We welcome all the new fellows into the research program and look forward to learning more about our remarkable collections from their diverse perspectives.

Dr. Steve Hindle is Interim President and W. M. Keck Foundation Director of Research at The Huntington.

Artists Research and Reflect

Artist Carolina Caycedo looks through Flora de la Real Expedición Botánica del Nuevo Reyno de Granada, an account of an expedition led by José Mutis and sponsored by Charles III, Charles IV, and Ferdinand VII, kings of Spain. The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Photo by Kate Lain.

In March 2018, The Huntington announced that it was partnering with East Los Angeles College’s Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM) for the third year of The Huntington’s /five initiative, inviting noted Los Angeles artists Carolina Caycedo and Mario Ybarra Jr. to create new work inspired by The Huntington’s collections around the theme of Identity. The project will culminate in an exhibition that will be on view at The Huntington from Nov. 10, 2018 to Feb. 25, 2019. Carribean Fragoza, a freelance journalist who writes about art in Southern California, focuses in this post on the artists as they begin to reflect on their research at The Huntington.

Carolina Caycedo and Mario Ybarra Jr. begin their residencies at The Huntington by bringing distinct approaches to making new work inspired by the institution’s library, art, and garden collections. Whether instinctive or methodical, intellectual or personal, both artists find ways to enter The Huntington and connect with larger historical narratives.

The gorgeously manicured gardens at The Huntington tend to have an inspiring effect on visitors and, on a smog-free day, perform the breathtaking task of extending its scope to the San Gabriel Mountains. And yet, natural landscapes, whether they are national parks or botanical gardens, can be as curated as any built environment, such as an amusement park or a shopping center. More specifically, they construct an experience for their visitors—one that, at its core, is partly spectacle and illusion.

Carolina Caycedo looks at a photograph detail in an autochrome collection from the 1920s to 1930s. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo by Kate Lain.

The spell of illusion is bound to be broken. Or at least interrupted, if you have an artist like Carolina Caycedo on the premises. In a dance performance she recently video recorded, Caycedo interrupted the seamless beauty of The Huntington’s gardens by haunting them with the dancing bodies of brown and black women. Choreographed with Marina Magalhães, the dancers make a ghostly presence that seems possessed, not by the wonders of Western Civilization that surround them, but by the spirit of the Afro-Caribbean water deity Oshun. The video will be part of a multimedia installation that Caycedo is developing and will also include drawings, as well as selected items from The Huntington’s collections.

The presence of these black and brown dancers immediately evokes what is purposefully omitted from such a landscape—labor, for it is the labor of immigrants, slaves, and their descendants that have built the backbone of this nation and its institutions. Caycedo does not turn away from these complicated histories. In fact, she digs into them deeply, with vigor. She is no stranger to the oftentimes tedious task of sifting through the minutia of archival documents. Early in her residency, she was fascinated by a collection of planning documents for the construction of dams along the Colorado River. “What I found interesting,” Caycedo says, “was the rhetoric that was being used to talk about the river as a menace, as something that needed to be controlled. It was like an early shock doctrine.”

Artist Mario Ybarra Jr. looks through a collection of 15th- and 16th-century Italian illuminated manuscripts. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo by Kate Lain.

Caycedo’s excavation of the relationship between restrained and commodified bodies of water and the bodies of marginalized people of color throughout the Americas is rooted deeply in much of her work. Whether it’s the Magdalena or Xingu rivers in South America or the Los Angeles and Colorado rivers in the western U.S., Caycedo approaches her projects with careful, pointed questions. For her /five residency, Caycedo applies both method and instinct, as she uncovers the internal designs of power that have come to shape the Southern California landscape and the lives of its inhabitants.

For Ybarra, the /five residency is an opportunity to find intersections between seemingly disparate worlds, using his own experiences as points of reference. His residency picks up the thread that he’s been following lately in his artistic practice—an earnest return to the daily practice of drawing.

So when, with the assistance of Huntington curators, Ybarra recently browsed through a volume of Renaissance illuminated documents, he was inspired by illustrations of recurring symbols, such as lions and columns that respectively represent justice and power. For Mario, this iconography resonated with images that can be found in contemporary “cholo” culture in Los Angeles. Like the Renaissance monks that performed the painstaking, years-long task of lettering and illustrating hand-made manuscripts, cholos pay comparably close attention to the details of their distinct Old English-inspired calligraphy and images of “firme” (attractive) feather-haired “hainas” (women), smile-now-cry-later comedy/tragedy masks, rosary beads, and tear drops, as well as an array of Aztec-inspired images.

Mario Ybarra Jr. looks at an illustration detail from a collection of 15th- and 16th-century Italian illuminated manuscripts. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo by Kate Lain.

“I’m just letting it all resonate with my own experiences,” says Ybarra. He adds that the Renaissance manuscripts, though many centuries old, seemed familiar. “They made me think a lot about my own life,” he says, and he began visualizing Renaissance symbology in his daily life. For example, he says, when he thinks of his wife and cofounder of Slanguage Studio, Karla Diaz, he pictures her flanked by their two German Shepard dogs as if they were lions. “Karla is like a symbol of justice in my life,” he shares.

Ybarra is also excited about the possibility of bringing The Huntington together more closely with underserved communities. “I would like to see more overlap between The Huntington and East Los Angeles,” says Ybarra. In many of his past projects, Ybarra has often found ways to connect young people of color to the cultural institutions with which he works.

This year’s partnership with the Vincent Price Art Museum, based at East Los Angeles Community College, promises to open new opportunities to bridge these communities. “The Vincent Price Art Museum is committed to presenting groundbreaking exhibitions and connecting with the community in creative ways to make a maximum impact,” says Pilar Tompkins Rivas, VPAM director. “This partnership does just that, expanding our fall programming in terms of concept, theme, and reach.”

Carribean Fragoza is a freelance journalist who writes about art in Southern California.

Henry Moore on Paper

Henry Moore, Five Reclining Figures, 1979, lithograph, 19 x 25 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Gift of Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation. © The Henry Moore Foundation. All rights reserved, DACS 2017 / henry-moore.org.

Can a piece of sculpture and a print on paper have the same effect? The differences between them seem clear. One is plastic; the other, graphic. One exists in three dimensions; the other, in only two. However, with an artist like Henry Moore (1898–1986), it is sometimes difficult to draw the line between the two mediums.

Moore is Britain’s best-known modernist sculptor. His monumental, biomorphic forms and figures that decorate public spaces and museum collections worldwide are easily recognized by most. But, as the exhibition Spirit and Essence, Line and Form: The Graphic Work of Henry Moore makes clear, Moore was also a master printmaker. The exhibition presents a small selection of works drawn from the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation’s recent gift of more than 330 prints by Moore—works that reveal how the artist often blurred the boundaries between his sculpted and printed work.

Henry Moore, Mother and Child, 1973, lithograph, 20 x 15 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Gift of Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation. © The Henry Moore Foundation. All rights reserved, DACS 2017 / henry-moore.org.

Moore’s graphic art presents many of the same themes and subjects found in his sculptures. One of these is the reclining figure, a motif repeated in the lithograph Five Reclining Figures (1979). Though these forms, often female, may recall universal themes, such as fertility or the roots of creation, the reclining figure also provided Moore with a way to experiment with form and shape, and to try out ideas. In Five Reclining Figures, the sculpture-like forms twist and bend around themselves. Some appear almost as hard and solid as boulders. Others are soft, living shapes. Has one opened her belly to reveal a baby inside?

Another recurring theme found in Moore’s work is the mother and child. He called it “one of my two or three obsessions.” As with his reclining figures, the mother and child offer the artist seemingly endless possibilities for variation. One example on view in the exhibition is a lithograph from 1973. Mother and Child, with its frontal, half-length format recalls the sober image of a Renaissance painting of the Virgin and Child or the stillness of a Byzantine icon. As if sculpted, the figures sit solid before us while the print’s writhing lines and flattened planes play with the possibilities of two dimensions.

Henry Moore, Mexican Mask, 1974, lithograph, 26 x 19 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Gift of Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation. © The Henry Moore Foundation. All rights reserved, DACS 2017 / henry-moore.org.

Moore often took actual sculptural works as inspiration for his prints. His image of a Mexican Mask (1974) recalls the kind of Mesoamerican sculpture that inspired him early in his career. With its solid, textured curves and receding voids, the image appears three-dimensional, as if we could reach out and touch a surface of carved stone rather than paper. In another print, a lithograph of one of Stonehenge’s great monoliths lends the prehistoric structure a sense of mystery. The composition, a close-up and only partial view, appears unable to capture the whole monument, enhancing the feeling of awe that Moore felt when, as a young man, he first visited the ancient site.

These prints and more will be on view in the Chandler Gallery of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art from June 16 through October 1.

Melinda McCurdy is associate curator of British art at The Huntington.

Henry Moore, Stonehenge I, 1973, lithograph, 23 x 18 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Gift of Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation. © The Henry Moore Foundation. All rights reserved, DACS 2017 / henry-moore.org.

In Wonderland

“An Evening Among the Roses in Wonderland” is The Huntington’s fifth annual garden party celebrating the contributions of LGBTQ artists, scholars, donors, and staff to the institution and the community. Photo by Jamie Pham.

The Huntington kicks off Pride Month on Friday, June 8, from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. with “An Evening Among the Roses” the fifth annual garden party celebrating the vital contributions of LGBTQ artists, scholars, donors, and staff to the institution—and to the community. The theme of this year’s event is “In Wonderland.”

Lewis Carroll’s “Wonderland” is a place where different is normal, and where wondrous, remarkable, and fabulous things happen every day. The event will celebrate differences and highlight the recent 150th anniversary of Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The Huntington is one of the few libraries that owns both the suppressed 1865 version and the official publication of 1866. The Huntington’s copy bears the autograph of George Dalziel, the engraver of the illustrations that will be represented throughout the Rose Garden during the event.

We have invited Natalie Russell, assistant curator of literary collections at The Huntington, to share with us her take on Lewis Carroll and items in our collections related to him and his work.

The Wonderland Postage Stamp Case features Alice holding a baby and a piglet respectively, alluding to a well-known Wonderland episode in which a baby changes into a pig. Carroll, Lewis, 1832–1898. The “Wonderland” postage-stamp-case. Oxford, Emberlin and son, [1908?]. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings— . . .”

—Lewis Carroll, from “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” in Through the Looking-glass, and What Alice Found There

Lewis Carroll’s works are some of the most quoted in the English language, trailing only the works of Shakespeare and the Bible. From his beloved story of a little girl who falls down a rabbit hole, to the poetic saga of the search for the mysterious Snark, his words and wisdom are part of our lexicon. The man behind the wonder is not as well known.

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”
—Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The splendid collector’s binding of this 1866 edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland designed by Sangorski & Sutcliffe features hearts of mother-of-pearl in the corners. Lewis Carroll, 1832–1898. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. London: Macmillan and Co., 1866. First edition published in England. This is a 20th-century collector’s binding by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832–1898) was a mathematician, a talented photographer, an Oxford don, and a cleric. He was about six feet tall, slim, deaf in one ear, and spoke with a stammer. He never married and never had children. Fond of puzzles, he adroitly transmuted his names, Charles Lutwidge, into Latin (Carolus Ludovicus) and back again to English (Carroll Lewis) to create his famous pen name: Lewis Carroll.

“Curiouser and curiouser!”
—Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The Huntington’s holdings of verse, photographs, letters, and first editions by Dodgson provide a window into the world of this curious man. They touch on his many interests, especially in mathematics and literature, but also in science, politics, and sports. One notable item is a rare copy of the infamously recalled first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as correspondence about the debacle. Printed in 1865, the edition was condemned by the author and illustrator for the “disgraceful” quality of the printing.

Letter from Charles Lutwidge Dodgson to Frances Power Cobbe (1822–1904), requesting assistance with the publication of an anti-vivisection essay, May 4, 1875. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832–1898) letter to Frances Power Cobbe (1822–1904), May 4, 1875. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

The Huntington also has an “official” first edition, published in 1866. This copy was rebound in an exquisite collector’s binding by the firm Sangorksi & Sutcliffe. Established in 1901, Sangorski & Sutcliffe were known for their elaborate, jeweled bindings. The custom cover features dozens of tiny flowers, hearts of mother-of-pearl at the corners, and a crowned red heart, quartered like a heraldic shield, in the center. The back sports an elaborate monogram of the letters spelling “Alice.” The four suits of cards—hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs—decorate the spine.

“Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
—Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Dodgson was a prolific correspondent, sending and receiving nearly 100,000 letters in the last 37 years of his life. His private letters were usually written in purple ink. He was also a fierce anti-vivisection advocate. In one letter from the collections, Dodgson requests assistance from feminist author and reformer Frances Power Cobbe (1822–1904) on the publication of an anti-vivisection essay. Cobbe was a frequent contributor to numerous periodicals, fighting for women’s rights and the rights of animals.

The back cover of The Hunting of the Snark reads “It was a Boojum” referring to the fateful last line of the epic poem. Lewis Carroll, 1832–1898. The Hunting of the Snark: an agony, in eight fits. London: Macmillan and Co., 1876. First edition. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Another gem is Dodgson’s clever case for sorting and storing postage stamps of varying denominations. Dodgson invented many trifles and gadgets, as well as games involving logic and word play. The Wonderland Postage Stamp Case was designed to be stored with one’s letter- writing materials, and it came with a small pamphlet titled “Eight or Nine Wise Words about Letter-writing.” It was both practical and marketable. The case and slipcover show Alice holding a baby and a piglet respectively, alluding to a well-known Wonderland episode in which a baby changes into a pig.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
—Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-glass, and What Alice Found There

The literary Dodgson was known for his whimsy and his invented words. The back cover of the famously nonsensical The Hunting of the Snark references the fateful last line of the poem: “For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.” Neither creature is depicted in the book, leaving their conjuring to the reader’s imagination. Both have found new identities, however, in the real world. The Snark became the name of Jack London’s round-the-world sailboat. The fanciful Boojum tree (Fouquieria columnaris) is a member of the ocotillo family from the Baja California peninsula. A specimen of it can be found in the The Huntington’s Desert Garden.

A specimen of the Boojum tree (Fouquieria columnaris) in the Desert Garden. Photo by Deborah Miller.

Wonderland is indeed a place where remarkable things happen every day. Even a Boojum tree would not seem out of place there.

Natalie Russell is assistant curator of literary collections at The Huntington

Medicine by Moonlight

This late 15th-century manuscript, an astrological and medical compilation, starts off with a detailed and complete calendar of the year, with saints’ feast days (“red letter days”) highlighted in red. Shown here is the month of January. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

In The Huntington’s collections, there is a late 15th-century manuscript whose title in the Library catalog is “Astrological and Medical Compilation.” Many medieval manuscripts are “compiled” in the sense that they frequently collect heterogeneous materials—from different genres of writing, on different topics, and even in several different languages—within a single volume. Sometimes, we can detect a reason that these materials were brought together (a collection of devotional materials, for instance), but frequently we can’t.

At first glance, it might seem that this manuscript collects unrelated materials. It starts with a detailed and complete calendar of the year, with saints’ feast days (“red letter days”) highlighted in red. The calendar is followed by information on the moveable feasts, and then an astrological table. Elsewhere in the manuscript there is a world map, information on the occurrence of eclipses, and other astrological material on the movements of the planets and the prediction of astronomical events.

Different parts of the manuscript’s “zodiac man” (found on folio 12 verso) are labeled with the signs of the zodiac to which that part corresponds: Taurus for the neck, for example, and Virgo for the belly. This information was important in making decisions about medical treatment. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

On the other hand, this manuscript also features diagrams of the human body for therapeutic bloodletting, hundreds of medical recipes, drawings to help doctors diagnose disease from the appearance of urine, and excerpts from treatises that cite the great physicians Hippocrates and Galen. One set of texts clearly conforms to what we think of today as medicine, and the other set to astronomical and astrological knowledge: a different science.

However, from a medieval point of view, these materials are not as unrelated as they might seem. When I took my students to view this manuscript on a class visit, I asked them: why would you need a calendar in a medical manuscript? Prompted by our discussions in class on the nature of medieval medical knowledge, they answered correctly: to treat people in the Middle Ages, you had to understand the whole universe.

On this page (folio 17 recto), you find a world map, celestial and planetary diagrams, and diagrams of eclipses. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

This is a bit of an exaggeration, but only a bit. The reason that the material on ways of keeping track of time, and celestial movements, appears alongside medical advice in this manuscript is that these celestial movements affected how medieval physicians treated their patients. The human body was seen as a reflection of the universe, and changes in the celestial bodies were thought to bring about corresponding changes within the human body.

Furthermore, just as the regions of the earth could be divided along the 12 signs of the zodiac, with different signs affecting the characteristics of different regions, the body of a man could be divided in the same way. You can see this idea represented in the manuscript’s “zodiac man.” Different parts of his body are labeled with the signs of the zodiac to which that part corresponds: Leo to the heart, for example, and Virgo for the belly. This information was important in making decisions about treatment. When bloodletting, for instance, depending on the “sign” that was dominant, the physician would remove blood from a different site on the body.

A medical recipe for toothache appears on this page (folio 24 verso). The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

As the recipes in this book demonstrate, to be a physician in the Middle Ages, you also needed to be proficient in other areas of specialized knowledge. You not only had to understand the movements of the heavens to know when and how to treat, how to perform phlebotomy, and when to do it. You also needed a good knowledge of botanical materials, which had to be not only accurately identified and located, but also sometimes needed to be harvested under specific astrological conditions to have the right effect in medical recipes. You had to know the specific properties of different stones, which were thought to have protective or healing properties; how to recognize and assess small variations in color and quality in urine samples, a noninvasive diagnostic method (which, in a different version, is still in use today); and you also needed to have a reserve of prayers, protective charms, and incantations. Finally, as this manuscript also demonstrates, you might need to be pretty good with languages, too. This particular manuscript is written in English, Latin, and French—and the languages sometimes switch on the same page.

Among the medical practices found in this medieval manuscript are such charms as the ones found on this page (folio 34 recto). These specific charms state that the person who wears or carries them will have victory in battle (the top one) and will not be afraid of fire (the bottom one). The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Today many of the medical practices that we find in medieval texts would fall into the category of occult beliefs, and we might even call the charms and incantations “magic.” On the other hand, this textual collection, and other manuscripts like it, also demonstrate the vast amount of knowledge and care that went into these practices. Although we might not believe in their efficacy today, these methods required a high degree of expertise in a number of heterogeneous fields of scientific inquiry. Some of these fields—botany, especially—have continued to be essential to modern medical innovation. In planetary sciences, the detailed collection of observational data for astrological tables, like the ones in this manuscript, would soon be taken up by such early modern scientists as Brahe, Copernicus, and Kepler to revolutionize our understanding of our place among the stars. And indeed, sometimes even medieval prescriptions can still surprise us. Recently, researchers looking for novel approaches to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections found that a medieval recipe for wound salve was surprisingly effective.

On this page (folio 43 recto) is an illustration of a urine bottle. Medieval doctors would recognize and assess small variations in color and quality in urine samples—a noninvasive diagnostic method which, in a different version, is still in use today. However, in this particular manuscript, the bottles were never colored in to depict the urine samples. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

This specific manuscript was certainly the possession of a learned individual. Medieval medical practitioners, of course, ranged in educational level and in skill, and the text shouldn’t be understood as a blueprint for all medieval medical practice. But it’s an excellent demonstration of the depth and breadth of what constituted medical knowledge in the Middle Ages, a compendium of scientific mastery not only of the human body but of celestial bodies, natural philosophy, and the measurement of time.

If you’d like some medieval advice on when you might want to schedule your next doctor’s appointment, then you’ll be happy to learn that this manuscript has been completely digitized. You can see it in its entirety at the Huntington Digital Library.

Leah Klement is a Caltech-Huntington Humanities Collaborations postdoctoral instructor and 2016–18 long-term fellow at The Huntington.

Puyas in Bloom

Puya venusta. Photo by Deborah Miller.

A recent tour of Puya in the Desert Garden with The Huntington’s curator of the desert collections, John Trager, turned me from a Puya Ignoramus to a Puya Enthusiast.

Puya are drought-resistant, mainly South American terrestrial bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) that love arid sun. The Huntington has the best collection of these enigmatic plants anywhere in the country. So, unless you’re trekking through the Andes in Chile, Bolivia, Peru, or Ecuador, you won’t have a chance to see rare and arresting bromeliads—such as Puya alpestris and Puya chilensis—shoot spectacular, long-arching inflorescence blooms of blue-green, chartreuse, violet, red, and yellow three to five feet into the sky during their annual springtime bloom.

As an added bonus, Puya are well adapted to bird pollination because the flowers are full of nectar. During the bloom, birds perch happily on the plants’ lateral floral branches, which provide easy access to the nectar they love. Beware, however, as battalions of bees may be buzzing about.

Puya alpestris. Photo by Deborah Miller.

“The bees obviously are also attracted by the copious nectar, as are squirrels and other nectar thieves,” said Trager. “The birds actually achieve pollination, the others may not.”

As we toured the Desert Garden and Trager pointed out the many thriving Puya species, it was clear why these aren’t found in residential gardens (and why many of us are unfamiliar with them). The plant’s thick, gangly foliage spreads into densely packed, impenetrable colonies that take up a lot of space. Some have become enormous thickets the size of built-in swimming pools and have swallowed up their identifying species placard a long time ago.

“The placards, which were placed many decades ago, are buried somewhere in the middle; to find them, someone would have to push through the thicket completely covered in some kind of safety suit,” said Trager.

Puya coerulea var. violacea. Photo by Deborah Miller.

That only adds to the allure of these elusive plants. Puya often have virtually indistinguishable leaves, which makes it difficult for a novice to tell the difference between one variety and another and can even leave experts scratching their heads. Because The Huntington is the best place for Puya research in the country, experts and specialists come here to study plants in cultivation before going into the wild. (The Huntington’s excellent collection of mature Puya specimens were mainly collected decades ago when restrictions on botanical collecting were much more lenient.)

Earlier this decade, then graduate student and current Colorado College assistant professor Rachel Jabaily spent time studying Puya at The Huntington and identified many of the unknown specimens.

Many rare Puya species are located in the Desert Garden’s Heritage Walk section, which was closed after World War II due to staff cuts and largely lay dormant for several decades until it was renovated and reopened in 2013. During the renovation, Trager said, botanical staff discovered happily thriving early Puya collections. These included species born from seeds brought back from the South American Andes in the 1930s by T. Harper Goodspeed of the University of California (collected near Concepción, Chile, at the altitude of 100 meters, where it was found growing on dry slopes among shrubs and grasses), as well as Puya acquired later during explorations of Bolivia and Peru by Myron Kimnach, The Huntington’s director of botanical gardens from 1962 to 1986.

Puya coerulea var. violacea. Photo by Deborah Miller.

This formerly off-limits garden area was largely redesigned to accommodate these fantastic specimens, including the huge mass of Puya alpestris that dates to the 1940s and is situated right at the Heritage Walk entrance. This Puya’s towering flower spike displays brilliant aqua-blue flowers (and also goes by the name Sapphire Tower).

After my tour with John Trager, I realized Puya had been hiding in plain sight right before my eyes all along, waiting for me to relish their rarity and beauty.

Manuela Gomez Rhine is a freelance journalist based in Pasadena, California.

Out of the Woods

Asuka Hishiki, Black Pine Half-Cascade-Style Bonsai (2015-2017), Pinus nigra, Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama, Japan. Oil on paper, 28 ¼ x 36 ½ inches. © Asuka Hishiki. Courtesy of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the New York Botanical Garden.

Visitors to public gardens tend to view trees as background. Exotic blooms, shimmering ponds, and sweeping vistas of color draw the eye more readily. “Out of the Woods: Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens”—an exhibition of botanical illustrations opening May 19 in the Flora-Legium gallery located in The Huntington’s Brody Botanical Center—focuses on trees in all their glorious detail.

The subjects of the 43 illustrations, selected from more than 200 submissions, were cultivated in public gardens located on five continents. And one of the trees is at The Huntington.

“Like everything else in the garden, trees are part of our collections and objects of study,” notes Robert Hori, The Huntington’s Gardens Cultural Curator and Program Director.

Deborah Friedman, California Sycamore (2016), Platanus racemosa, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. Watercolor and ink on paper, 24 x 19 inches. © Deborah Friedman. Courtesy of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the New York Botanical Garden.

Trees clean the air, moderate temperatures, provide habitat and food for animals, absorb storm water, and help prevent erosion. Threats to this vital resource—invasive pests, development, deforestation, climate change—led the New York Botanical Garden and the American Society of Botanical Artists to focus on trees for this third in a series of triennial exhibitions to tour the country.

Beyond environmental considerations, trees resonate with us on a spiritual level—as many “Out of the Woods” artists attest.

As a child riding her bicycle through a canyon, Deborah Friedman recalls watching red-tailed hawks soar above their nests in massive sycamore treetops. This cherished memory is one reason she chose to depict the California Sycamore—based on multiple specimens, including one located by the terrace of The Huntington’s Café 1919—for her entry in the juried show.

The ‘Fibonacci spirals’ of the Screw-Pine’s unusual fruits fascinated Margaret Best on her first view of them. She finalized her selection from the Bermuda Arboretum in Devonshire, Bermuda, when one of the fully ripe fruits, part of a mantelpiece decoration in a home where she was staying, exploded, disseminating its seeds and emitting a tropical aroma.

Margaret Best, Screw-Pine (2017), Pandanus utilis, Bermuda Arboretum, Devonshire, Bermuda. Watercolor on paper, 18 ½ x 14 ¼ inches. © Margaret Best. Courtesy of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the New York Botanical Garden.

Asuka Hishiki’s oil painting of a Black Pine Half-cascade Style Bonsai from the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum in Saitama, Japan, won the juried show’s Gold Medal. The pine’s aging dignity left her awestruck. “The thick layered trunk is bold and strong, and it tells you the long but calm life the tree has had.”

Botanical illustration demands scientific as well as artistic skills. Friedman rendered the California Sycamore not only for “Out of the Woods,” but also for a project toward her diploma from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Distance Learning Course.

Following exacting standards, she studied the tree in all seasons, rendered a full silhouette, bark and leaf details, branching architecture, and flower and fruit development. She made flower dissections, pressed and preserved plant parts, kept a sketchbook, and took hundreds of photographs to record her observations. (You can watch a video of Friedman discussing her process on YouTube.)

Two more entries represent Southern California as well: Mitsuko Schultz’ Sweet Gum from the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, and Olga Ryabtsova’s Roxburgh Fig from the San Diego Botanic Garden.

Esmée Winkel, Leiden’s 300-Year-Old Tulip Tree in Autumn (2016), Liriodendron tulipifera. Hortus Botanicus Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands. Watercolor on paper. © Esmée Winkel. Courtesy of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the New York Botanical Garden.

Our region is but one stop on the exhibition’s global journey. Arresting images abound, from the orchid-like flowers of the Noz-moscada Africana in the Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; to the slim cones of the 300-year-old Tulip Tree of Hortus Botanicus Leiden, The Netherlands; to the intricate tangle of roots and fibers of the Invasive Chinese Banyan Tree of Kowloon Park, Hong Kong, China. The artworks of “Out of the Woods”in watercolor, ink, oil, color pencil, and graphitetrace the cycle of life.

An adjunct exhibition, “Amazing Trees,” featuring works by the Botanical Artists’ Guild of Southern California (BAGSC)—a chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists—will be on view adjacent to “Out of the Woods.”

Drop-in family activities centered around botanical art and facilitated by BAGSC will be offered in the Brody Botanical Center every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. through the run of the exhibition, May 19–Aug. 27, 2018.

Linda Chiavaroli is a volunteer in the office of communications and marketing at The Huntington.