Charles Fletcher Lummis

by • November 17, 2010 • Biographies, HomeComments Off3416

Charles Fletcher Lummis (1859-1928) was born in Lynn , Massachusetts . He attended Harvard College and began a career as a newspaper editor in Chillicothe , Ohio . In 1884, Lummis decided to walk across the continent to Los Angeles . During his journey he developed an appreciation for the physical beauty of the Southwest, and for its native cultures. Along the way, he sent articles about his experiences to General Harrison Gray Otis, publisher of the Los Angeles Times. When Lummis arrived in Los Angeles , Otis hired him as the newspaper’s first City Editor.

“I have not the Art to Say Things Softly.”
— Charles Fletcher Lummis

Flamboyant and outspoken, Lummis later served as City Librarian. But he is best known as a prolific author, editor, and activist on behalf of historic preservation. His magazine Land of Sunshine , extolled the wonders of Southern California and had a major influence on the region’s early image and appeal to tourists. He was a founder of the Landmarks Club, an organization credited with beginning preservation of California ‘s missions. (see also: Helen Hunt Jackson). His photographs and collection of Southwestern art became the foundation for the Southwest Museum, located on a hilltop above his home, El Alisal, which is now the headquarters for the Historical Society of Southern California.

Contributed by Jon Wilkman, 1999

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