Sargent, Shirley 1927-2004

views updated

SARGENT, Shirley 1927-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born July 12, 1927, in Los Angeles, CA; died December 3, 2004, in Mariposa, CA. Writer. Sargent was a scholar of Yosemite National Park, publishing numerous books about its history and people. The daughter of an engineer who worked for the national park system, she first became acquainted with Yosemite in the mid-1930s, when her father worked there. The family moved from park to park, including the Grand Canyon and Kings Canyon, over the years, but it would always be Yosemite that was dearest to Sargent's heart. After earning an associate's degree from Pasadena City College in 1947 and running the Topsy-Turvy Nursery School for a decade, Sargent returned to Yosemite. She built a cabin near the park's border and set out to learn all about its history and the naturalists, foresters, and other important figures who helped discover and preserve its treasures. Not unfamiliar with the writing process—she had by this time already published several children's books—Sargent began researching and writing guides, biographies, and other nonfiction works about Yosemite in the 1960s. Many of these titles are still sold at Yosemite's gift shops. Among these are John Muir in Yosemite (1972), Yosemite's High Sierra Camp (1976), and Protecting Paradise: Yosemite Rangers, 1898-1960 (1998). Suffering from the dystonia musculorum deformans, she was confined to a wheelchair from the time she was fourteen, making Sargent's many accomplishments and untiring enthusiasm all the more remarkable.



Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2004, p. B8.

New York Times, December 13, 2004, p. A27.

Washington Post, December 10, 2004, p. B8.