Harbach And The Housebook
Part II of a Series: To learn more about the Lummis Housebook Digitization Project, read the introductory post So Lummis Pretty Much Knew Everybody, Didn’t He? For the other posts in the series, click here.
There is an old proverb that goes, “A man is known by the company he keeps.” When that proverb is applied to Charles Lummis, one might think he was known for just about everything, based on the people who signed his house book when they visited him at his home, El Alisal. Among them were educators, explorers, adventurers, scientists, politicians, painters, authors, celebrities, captains of industry, movie people, composers, and musicians. Let’s meet some more of them in this installment of “Harbach and the Housebook”:
- Will Rogers—cowboy, vaudeville performer, humorist, political commentator, and motion picture actor. He was one of the world’s best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s.
- John Steven McGroarty—poet, Los Angeles Times columnist, and author who also served two terms as a democratic Congressman from California. In 1933, he was designated poet laureate of California by the State Legislature.
- Isidore B. Dockweiler—prominent lawyer and politician who was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to the United States Board of Indian Commissioners. A portion of then Venice-Hyperion Beach State Park in Playa del Rey, California, was renamed the Isidore B. Dockweiler Beach State Park.
- Bliss Carman—Canadian poet who lived most of his life in the United States, where he achieved international fame. In his later years, he was acclaimed as Canada’s poet laureate.
- Manuel Bauche Alcalde—associate of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. Villa dictated his final memoirs to Alcalde.
- Mary E. Foy—the first woman to serve as the head of the Los Angeles City Public Library. She was appointed to the job in 1880, when she was 18 years old.
- Galen Clark—the first European American to discover the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia trees in the area that would later become part of Yosemite National Park. For twenty-four years, he was considered the “guardian” of the park. Mt. Clark and the Clark Range, located east of Yosemite Valley, are named after him.
- Charles Augustus Keeler—author, poet, naturalist, and advocate for the arts who was a lifelong adventurer. In 1893 he took a trip around Cape Horn on a clipper ship, and in 1899 he joined a group of elite scientists and naturalists (including John Muir) to study and document the coast of Alaska.
- Charles Wakefield Cadman—composer who helped found and frequently performed as a soloist with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. He was considered one of Hollywood’s top film composers, and a number of his songs and piano works were based on American Indian melodies.
- Edward Bok—editor of the Ladies Home Journal for thirty years. His 1920 autobiography, The Americanization of Edward Bok, won the Pulitzer Prize for biography or autobiography.
- Solon Borglum—American sculptor best known for his depictions of cowboys and Native Americans. His older brother, Gutzon, was the sculptor of Mount Rushmore.
- Mickey Free (aka Felix Ward)—one of the principal U.S. Army scouts employed during the Apache Wars in the Arizona territory. His skills as a scout were legendary. The Apache had kidnapped him when he was twelve years old and raised him.
As you can see, if the proverb that “a man is known by the company he keeps” is applied to Lummis, it clearly shows that he had a remarkably diverse set of interests and acquaintances. Would you like to have been a fly on the wall so that you could listen in on his conversations with these visitors? I know I would!
In the next part of “Harbach and the Housebook,” I’ll introduce you to, among others, a man who was a world traveling adventurer known for his service to the British army in colonial Africa and who later became the president of the Southwest Museum. At one time, author Ernest Hemingway acquired the rights to produce a film version of this person’s life and actor Gary Cooper expressed an interest in playing the role. I hope you’ll join me.