Yosemite National Park

Our Review of the Week explores the history of Yosemite National Park, established on this day in 1890.


Ogden, Kate Nearpass. Reaktion Books, 2015
200p bibl index, 9781780235271 $27.00

Yosemite book cover

Ogden (art history, Stockton Univ.) presents an engaging introduction to the natural history, discovery, and evolution of Yosemite in this concise, handsomely illustrated, octavo-sized volume. Indeed, Yosemite is now part of the nation’s scientific, historical, ethnographic, environmental, and cultural memory. Yosemite Valley drew the nation’s geologists, artists, naturalists, photographers, and curious Americans to this great area in California’s Sierra Nevadas. America became aware of Yosemite in the mid-19th century as more Anglo-American settlers, miners, and travelers visited California. Such beauty, unusual geological features, and magnificent valleys were the subject of frequent reports, publications, engravings, and photographs. With the growth of photography in the 1870s, the wonders of Yosemite became even more widely distributed. Increased visits to Yosemite stimulated the development of early, but primitive, hotels to accommodate these travelers. The completion of the transcontinental railroad enabled eastern travelers to see western wonders. Californians themselves began visiting in even greater numbers to see the giant sequoias, great granite valleys, flower-strewn meadows, clear rivers, and waterfalls. With its crisp prose, 100-plus illustrations (most in color), notes, and bibliography, the book helps readers to understand why the area was first protected in 1864 and why it became a national park in the fall of 1890, and remains among the country’s most popular national parks.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All library collections.
Reviewer: P. D. Thomas, Wichita State University
Subject: Science & Technology – History of Science & Technology
Choice Issue: Aug 2016