Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Harry Crosby and Baja California's Magnificent Cave Paintings

Some years ago, as part of my research for my book on Baja California, Miraculous Air, I had the honor of interviewing the great photographer, and cave art and Jesuit mission historian Harry W. Crosby. I have more respect than I can say for his work: his deep research, painstaking documentation, and splendid photographs, have fundamentally changed and vastly enriched our understanding of the peninsula. Among his many works are: Tijuana 1964; Antigua California; and The Cave Paintings of California. Crosby has kept a low profile in recent years, but tomorrow, Thursday, February 24, he will be speaking in San Diego about the cave art. If you are in the area, or anywhere near the area, be sure to go.

Here is the announcement that came to me from his publisher, Sunbelt:

As a writer and as a historian, Harry W. Crosby’s extensive explorations and archival research have established him as one of the foremost authorities on the colorful past of the Californias. On February 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm, he will make a rare appearance at Adventure 16 to share the lifetime of knowledge he possesses on the pre-historic cave murals of the Baja California Peninsula. His presentation will be based on his highly acclaimed book The Cave Paintings of Baja California.

A celebrated octogenarian, Harry Crosby rarely schedules public events to promote his many publications. For this occasion, he has partnered with good friend John D. Mead, President of Adventure 16, in hopes that they might remind travelers of the lately overlooked beauty that can be found south of the border. Discover Baja travel agency will also be in attendance to educate on safe travel practices through Mexico.

The evening will begin with a wine and cheese reception, followed by Crosby’s presentation, and concluding with book-signing. Several specialty books on Baja California will also be available at Adventure 16 exclusively during the event including classics like Backroad Baja, which contains several maps that are one-of-a kind, and The Camino Real and the Missions of Baja California, which is partially authored by Harry Crosby.

Crosby’s presentation will include a slide show with pictures from the dramatic cave murals of the Baja California peninsula. His research on the topic began in 1967 when he was commissioned to provide the photographs for The Call to California, requiring him to ride over 600 miles on mule back on Baja’s El Camino Real. The trip piqued his curiosity and led to another decade of interviewing ranchers of the remote mountains. Exploring with local guides he found over 200 previously undiscovered murals and rock art sites, which he documented in The Cave Paintings of Baja California.

1997 saw the publication of a completely revised and expanded edition of Crosby’s The Cave Paintings of Baja California, which garnered praise from readers, critics, and book clubs. The books popularity led to subsequent reprints in 2001 and 2010. His years of field and archival research into Early California history also yielded such works as Antigua California, the now standard history of Spanish California’s first 70 years, and Last of the Californios. Released in 2001 were his first novel, Portrait of Paloma, and a book of his early photography, Tijuana: 1964.

WHO: Harry W. Crosby
WHAT: Presenting on the Cave Paintings of Baja California
WHEN: Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 6:00 pm
WHERE: Adventure 16 4620 Alvarado Canyon Road San Diego, CA 92120-4390

---> No guest-blog post this Wednesday, but be sure to check the archive which includes posts on Baja California and/ or Mexico by Stephanie Elizondo-Greist, Michael Hogan, David Lida, Graham Mackintosh, Greg Niemann, Isabella Tree, and many more.