Frontiers Spring/Summer 2019

Huntington Frontiers

Huntington Frontiers connects readers with the rich intellectual life of The Huntington, capturing in news and features the work of researchers, educators, curators, and others across a range of disciplines. It is produced biannually by the Office of Communications.

Kevin Durkin, Huntington Frontiers Editor


Frontiers Articles

Man inspecting a cycad
Issue: 2019 Spring/Summer

A Huntington Researcher's Surprising Findings About the Evolution of Dioon Cycads

The cycad is often regarded as a living fossil —a favorite food of dinosaurs that hasn’t changed much in hundreds of millions of years...

Golden tassels
Issue: 2018 Fall/Winter

Kathleen Quinn's elegant drapes accent the renovation of a grand staircase

In advance of The Huntington’s Centennial celebration, which gets under way in the fall of 2019, Catherine Hess, chief curator of European art, decided that it was time to reimagine the décor...

Entrance to Chinese Garden
Issue: 2018 Fall/Winter

The garden's curator contemplates its poetry

With the start of the final phase of the Chinese Garden’s construction, we asked the garden’s curator, Phillip E. Bloom, who joined The Huntington in September 2017, to reflect on two of the initial features installed in 2008...

Portrait of young man migrating to US
Issue: 2018 Fall/Winter

The distance between Mexico and the U.S. can't always be measured in miles

For generations, Mexican migrants hoping to expand their possibilities have had to bridge the emotional gap between home and the unknown...

Illustration of Oswego, on Lake Ontario
Issue: 2018 Fall/Winter

A collection of correspondence yields insight into the Seven Years' War

On November 13, 1756, James Grahame hastily scribbled a letter at his London residence. The note, addressed to William Mercer in Perth, Scotland, confirmed that Grahame’s friend and William’s brother, Colonel James F. Mercer, was dead.

Social Scene
Issue: 2018 Spring/Summer

A peek at what we're up to online

Feathered cactus
Issue: 2018 Spring/Summer

Cactus's soft touch provides key to its survival

As The Huntington’s curator of desert collections, I, along with my staff, care for 2,000 species of succulents, including a vast range of cacti, in the 10-acre Desert Garden...

A book full of seaweed
Issue: 2018 Spring/Summer

Algology preserves a passionate engagement with the underwater world

The documentary Chasing Coral (2017) brings coral close. Using underwater time-lapse photography, the film chronicles the catastrophic effects of global warming on coral reefs.

Examining Blue Boy
Issue: 2018 Spring/Summer

A paintings conservator and an ear surgeon talk shop

Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy (ca. 1770) may well be an icon of Western art and one of the most beloved attractions at The Huntington, but now that it is nearly 250 years old, this epic portrait is in need of some tender loving care.

Drawing of a bird
Issue: 2018 Spring/Summer

The last observations of a small Hawaiian bird

In Belonging on an Island: Birds, Extinction, and Evolution in Hawai‘i (Yale University Press, 2018), Daniel Lewis takes readers on a 1,000-year journey as he explores the Hawaiian Islands’ beautiful birds and a variety of topics...

Final Cut
Issue: 2018 Spring/Summer

You Learned in Kindergarten, Right? Let's test that.

welcome to the ranch
Issue: 2017 Fall/Winter

The Huntington's experimental demonstration garden educates and enchants
By Usha Lee McFarling

If ever there were a secret garden, it's the Ranch Garden at The Huntington...

social scene
Issue: 2017 Fall/Winter

A peek at what we're up to online

Issue: 2017 Fall/Winter

Don't expect a garden variety flower from a modernist painter

A rose is a rose is a rose, but what a rose can mean in different contexts is staggeringly varied. Take the red rose. A token of romantic affection, it is also the flower of the City of Pasadena and its world-famous Rose Parade.

scholar's insight - a riveting hypothesis
Issue: 2017 Fall/Winter

The recess in a book's cover may have contained more than meets the eye
By Racha Kirakosian

One of the most pleasurable experiences one can have as a medievalist...

In the Woods With a Canoe
Issue: 2017 Fall/Winter

A historian of camping scrutinizes Frederick Jackson Turner's Encounter with Wilderness
By Terence Young

Camping is one of the country's most popular pastimes...

Now You See Him, Now You Don't
Issue: 2017 Fall/Winter

Reach for the Scissors—It's Time to Weave a Masterpiece
By Kate Lain

Man inspecting cycad
Issue: 2017 Spring/Summer

Survivors from the dinosaur age, cycads continue to captivate collectors and researchers

Cycads are squat, woody, and branchless. They have no flowers, just spiky leaves that shred clothes and tear skin. They grow slowly, poison livestock and sometimes people.