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 semi-annually by The Huntington’s Office of Communications and Marketing.

Kevin Durkin, Huntington Frontiers Editor

This Issue

2020 FALL/WINTER

Cover of Frontiers Fall/Winter 2020

Frontiers Articles

Examining Blue Boy
Apr. 1, 2018
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
Apr. 1, 2018
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...

welcome to the ranch
Oct. 1, 2017
Issue: 2017 Fall/Winter

The Huntington's experimental demonstration garden educates and enchants

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

floriform
Oct. 1, 2017
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
Oct. 1, 2017
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
Oct. 1, 2017
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...

Man inspecting cycad
Apr. 1, 2017
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.

Catherine Hess
Apr. 1, 2017
Issue: 2017 Spring/Summer

Two 15th-century panels from an Italian wedding chest tell a tale of passionate love

Newly married couples in 15th- and 16th-century Italy—like newlyweds today—could expect to receive a pile of wedding gifts. One of the most common gifts was a cassone, or big box...

Robert Frost
Apr. 1, 2017
Issue: 2017 Spring/Summer

The famous poet paid an unheralded visit to the Library in 1932 to view his manuscripts

On Oct. 8, 1923, P. K. Foley, a well-known Boston bookseller and bibliographer, wrote a letter to Robert O. Schad, Henry E. Huntington’s assistant curator of rare books.

Photograph of Maj. Thomas T. Eckert and his team at the War's Department's military telegraph office
Apr. 1, 2017
Issue: 2017 Spring/Summer

A massive crowdsourcing project is digitizing thousands of coded Union telegrams

To gain insights into the U.S. Civil War, The Huntington launched an innovative crowdsourcing project last year to transcribe and decipher a collection of telegrams

Passengers riding the Thompson Switchback Gravity Railroad from the Arcadia Hotel into Santa Monica, ca. 1887. Photograph by E. G. Morrison.
Nov. 15, 2016
Issue: 2016 Fall/Winter

For Ernest Marquez, a lifelong obsession ends up documenting the evolution of L.A.

Even as a novice collector, Ernest Marquez found that he had a discerning eye for early images of Southern California

Illustration of a fetus in the womb from Samuel Thomas von Soemmerring’s Icones embryonum humanorum, 1799
Nov. 15, 2016
Issue: 2016 Fall/Winter

The Longo Collection traces seismic shifts in obstetrics and gynecology over six centuries

The images are haunting glimpses into the most primal and private of human moments—the experience of birth

Selection of vintage cookbooks
Nov. 14, 2016
Issue: 2016 Fall/Winter

The Huntington's rare cookbooks reveal changes in American cooking that eventually sparked a food movement

We hear the word “artisanal” all the time—attached to cheese, chocolate, coffee, even fast-food chain sandwiches—but what does it really mean?

Eunice Hooper’s Sampler, ca. 1790. Silk on linen, 21 x 21 ¼ in. Collection of Jonathan and Karin Fielding.
Nov. 13, 2016
Issue: 2016 Fall/Winter

A needlework treasure from the collection of Jonathan and Karin Fielding

The colorfully embroidered samplers produced in early America by girls between the ages of eight and 18 were typically the result of a creative partnership

Portrait of William Mulholland
May. 14, 2016
Issue: 2016 Spring/Summer

Two historians assess Mulholland's responsibility for one of the nation's worst civil engineering disasters

In the critically acclaimed book Heavy Ground: William Mulholland and the St. Francis Dam Disaster, historians Norris Hundley, Jr. and Donald C. Jackson provide a detailed account and analysis of the collapse of the St. Francis Dam

gathering of faries
May. 13, 2016
Issue: 2016 Spring/Summer

Reverence for the Bard permeates The Huntington

Marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Stephen Tabor, The Huntington's curator of early printed books, relates how the institution's founder built one of the world's great collections of the playwright's works.

Ink portrait of a man with exaggerated features
May. 12, 2016
Issue: 2016 Spring/Summer

The painter's computer-generated drawings were groundbreaking and playful

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Frederick Hammersley (1919–2009) studied at Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts)

Plant on Microscope
May. 12, 2016
Issue: 2016 Spring/Summer

The Huntington's cryopreservation program strives to conserve endangered plants

The caretakers of the tender succulents in the Desert Garden may cringe at news of a prolonged cold snap, but Raquel Folgado

3 panel landscape of desert in watercolor
Apr. 24, 2016
Issue: 2015 Spring/Summer

The Huntington is the new home of a residential mural by Millard Sheets

For many of us who grew up in Southern California, Millard Sheets' mid-20th century public murals are among the indelible images of our childhoods. 

Steve Koblik
Apr. 21, 2016
Issue: 2015 Spring/Summer

Life, Learning, Leadership, and Legacy according to Steve Koblik

"OK, give me a number. And then once you do that, I'll figure out the bogey." This is Steve Koblik. He's asking for an estimate of how much a certain project will cost...

Nihoa millerbird sitting on tree branch
Mar. 24, 2016
Issue: 2015 Spring/Summer

The Huntington acquires the papers of an award-winning Hawaiian naturalist

When it comes to the study of Hawaiian birds, few scientists can rival Sheila Conant, professor emerita and former chair of the zoology department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa