Lavender, David (Sievert) 1910-2003
LAVENDER, David (Sievert) 1910-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born February 4, 1910, in Telluride, CO; died April 25, 2003, in Ojai, CA. Educator and author. Lavender, who was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, was well known for his many honest and colorful portrayals of the American West. The son of a rancher who also owned a stagecoach business, Lavender spent his childhood in the rugged landscape of Colorado. But it was while studying in New Jersey at Princeton University, where he earned a B.A. in 1931, that he became interested in history. After taking graduate courses at Stanford University for a year, he returned to Colorado and worked on his father's ranch. Later, he also worked as a gold miner before accepting a teaching job at Thacher School for Boys in Ojai in 1943, where he remained until his retirement in 1970. As a writer, Lavender was appreciated for his accurate research and descriptive skills in books that covered everything from stories about Native Americans and San Francisco bankers to the explorations of Lewis and Clark and the tragedy of the Donner party. His first book, One Man's West (1943; second edition, 1956), is about his own experiences as a ranch hand and miner. In all, Lavender completed thirty-four books, five of which were for young-adult audiences. With the exception of novels such as Andy Claybourns and Red Mountain, he mostly wrote nonfiction, including The Big Divide (1948), California: Land of New Beginnings (1972), The Way to the Western Sea: Lewis and Clark across the Continent (1988), The Santa Fe Trail (1995), Let Me Be Free: The Nez Perce Tragedy (1999), and Overland Migrations: Settlers to Oregon,California, and Utah (2002). Although he did not win the Pulitzer, Lavender received numerous other honors, including the Spur Award for Bent's Fort (1954) and the Western Writers of America award for The Great West (1965).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2003, p. B19.
New York Times, April 30, 2003, p. A27.
Washington Post, April 28, 2003, p. B4.