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Shirley Sargent was born July 12, 1927 in Pasadena, California. Her father, jobless because of the Depression, moved to Yosemite in 1936 to work as a surveyor helping rebuild the Tioga Road. So she had the good fortune of spending her childhood as a self-described “tomboy” in Yosemite. A rare crippling disease kept her to a wheelchair from age 14, but that didn’t stop her. Sargent received a AA from Pasadena City College in 1947 and worked as a nursery school teacher in Pasadena. In 1961 she moved to Foresta, near Yosemite Valley.
After writing Wawona’s Yesterdays, Sargent went on to write several other Yosemite History books, focusing on stories about people—making them come alive. Her most authoritative book is Galen Clark: Yosemite Guardian. Shirley self-published most of her books, with printer and historian Hank Johnson, under the name Flying Spur Press, and later under her own imprint Ponderosa Press. Other popular books of hers include Pioneers in Petticoats, John Muir in Yosemite National Park, Yosemite & Its Innkeepers, and Yosemite Chapel 1879-1989.
In 1961 she bought and built on Theodore Solomon’s homesite in Foresta, which had only a fireplace surviving from a 1936 fire. She called her home Flying Spur, but it burned in the 1990 A-Rock Fire, which also destroyed her historical papers. She rebuilt her home, but before her death she had to move to her parents’ old home in Mariposa, due to her illness. She died at her home in Mariposa, California December 3, 2004.
Shirley Sargent (1927 - 2004), Wawona’s Yesterdays (Yosemite: Yosemite Natural History Association, 1961). First published as Yosemite 40(4) (November 30, 1961), pp. 64 - 105. 48 pages. Illustrated. 24 cm. Paper wrappers. Saddle stitched.
Digitized by Dan Anderson, April 2005,
from a personal copy.
These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose,
provided this notice is left intact.
—Dan Anderson, www.yosemite.ca.us
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