Friday, April 8, 2022

Apr. 8: J. Smeaton Chase, English-American travel writer


J. Smeaton Chase (1864-1923) was an English-born American author, traveler, and photographer. Born in London, he moved to Southern California in 1890, where among other jobs he worked as a tutor to the children of a wealthy rancher in the San Gabriel Valley. He traveled on horseback from Los Angeles to San Diego in 1910; in 1911 he rode from Mexico to Oregon, a journey chronicled in his California Coast Trails. Later came the publication of California Desert Trails, based on two years riding alone in that harsh environment. Another of his books--The Penance of Magdalena, of which I own a first edition--is a charming collection of five tales, each set in one of the southern California missions.


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