Southern Arizona, Tucson, ... 'Out Of The World' ... Acorns to Germinate:
writes to
Letter of December 27, 1910

Avalon, CA.
December 27, 1910

Jepson Correspondence Volume 6. Page 255-256.

"As I am thinking of going in southern Arizona to study the desert & I write to ask you in regards to th Laboratory there: Is it still in existence? & should I have a letter to it - ? (at Tucson) I am so continually 'out of the world' that I do not not know what may be going on; yet I am sorry to trouble you, but will be grateful for your advice. Last year - your suggestion in regards to Coville's work on the Death Valley flora was invaluable. I entirely made my trip over - 'so to speak' & I often think how much I am indebted to you. +++I wish to thank your for writing in regard to the seeds of my .[?]... & I am anxious (now) for those acorns to germinate."

Preliminary Analysis of the Letter
Robert Roy van de Hoek
December 2000

Blanche Trask, poet-explorer-naturalist, did most of her California wild nature exploration and writing on the Channel Islands of Southern California. She was a resident of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island in Los Angeles County, California from 1895 to 1915. Her time on Catalina spanned 20 years. Her winter home was located next to the Tuna Club in Avalon, but she also had a summer home at the Isthmus where the Institute of Environmental Studies of USC is currently located.

As can be discerned from this letter, the deserts are on her mind, from Death Valley to Southern Arizona to Tucson. However, Catalina never escapes her mention, as in the "anxious (now) for those acorns to germinate." She either sent acorns to Jepson at Berkeley for him to grow, or she was trying to germinate her own oak acorns?

Blanche Trask corresponded with several professors and scientists from 1897 to 1913. Some of the institutions that she corresponded with include: UC Berkeley, Harvard University, Smithsonian Institution, and California Academy of Sciences in San Franciso. For example, Willis Linn Jepson, was Professor of Botany at the University of California (Berkeley) with a PhD and several books on botany published. About a dozen letters were written to Doctor Jepson, and one of those letters is here. The deep friendship to Willis Jepson is evident. Although Blanche Trask was aware of and appreciated all nature and her landscapes including desert scenery, it was the California Channel Islands that were her "sense of place." The Geography of Hope for Blanche Trask is undoubtedly Santa Catalina Island. And indeed, the quote by Blanche Trask of 'out of the world' simply means that she is more interested to be in wild nature than to be current on all of the current events and science of the world. The new Century was in, cars were just invented, telephones were coming in, and the silent movies were making their debut. The "modern world" was coming in fast and Blanche Trask was "'out of the world.'" California Wild Nature was now in major decline in ner beautiful state.

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