Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Mary Hunter Austin  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Fiction Non-Fiction Poetry

Born: September 9, 1868 in Carlinville, Illinois


Illinois Connection

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.

Biographical and Professional Information

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.

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