Everett Ruess: His Short Life, Mysterious Death, and Astonishing Afterlife

Everett Ruess: His Short Life, Mysterious Death, and Astonishing Afterlife

Philip L. Fradkin

Language: English

Pages: 296

ISBN: 0520265424

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Everett Ruess was twenty years old when he vanished into the canyonlands of southern Utah, spawning the myth of a romantic desert wanderer that survives to this day. It was 1934, and Ruess was in the fifth year of a quest to record wilderness beauty in works of art whose value was recognized by such contemporary artists as Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and Edward Weston. From his home in Los Angeles, Ruess walked, hitchhiked, and rode burros up the California coast, along the crest of the Sierra Nevada, and into the deserts of the Southwest. In the first probing biography of Everett Ruess, acclaimed environmental historian Philip L. Fradkin goes beyond the myth to reveal the realities of Ruess’s short life and mysterious death and finds in the artist’s astonishing afterlife a lonely hero who persevered.

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“I think there was a white kid out there, but whether you can connect him to Everett Ruess is a whole other thing. I think Nez had more to do with that killing than he let on.”50 As for Krauter, Roberts said on the National Geographic website that his mistakes were not due to human errors but rather because he had employed “relatively new technology in an unprecedented way.” The Affymetrix software, Roberts said, was “unproven for forensic work.” Krauter had not known the software could produce

teaches bioanthropology at San Francisco State University, as an advisor on Dennis Van Gerven’s work. All are specialists in older bones. Portions of the last chapter were read by Kevin Jones, Ken Krauter, Paul Leatherbury, and Mark Dowie, the former publisher of Mother Jones and an award-winning magazine journalist who advised me on journalism issues. Carl Brandt, Dianne Fradkin, Connie and Michael Mery, Doris Ober, and Kim Robinson read the entire manuscript. Carl is my literary agent, Dianne

Anderson, Polishing the Jewel, 33. 69. Everett Ruess to Pat Jenks, August 6, 1931. As of this date, he becomes inconsistent in his use of names. 70. Evert Rulan to Christopher Ruess, July 16, 1931. He wrote two nearly identical versions of this trip: the first to his father and the second four days later to Bill Jacobs. Nearly identical descriptions sometimes appeared in his letters and journal entries. 71. Evert Rulan to Bill Jacobs, July 20, 1931. 72. Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Law’s boots were stolen while he slept on the ground outside Flagstaff, and he was stuck for three days without any food or a ride between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. He hopped a freight train that took him to Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he wired his aunt for money. Passenger trains and buses eventually delivered him to his home in Staten Island, New York. Law couldn’t find work, so he wrote short stories and poems. He admired Everett’s poetry and sent him a poem that began: “Life is a sane

Steffens. Oh, and by the way, he told his parents, Paul Elder’s bookstore and gallery at 239 Post Street had taken his mounted prints on consignment. They seemed pleased to have them. Placing his art in this San Francisco cultural institution was quite a coup for the gifted amateur printmaker.46 From sketches or photographs taken in the field and then transferred to India-ink drawings, Everett hand-carved the images on linoleum, which was then mounted on wooden blocks. He or his mother, from whom

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