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Mary Austin

The voice of Mary Austin, an early 20th Century author, playwright, and critic also resounds from the museum in the form of her books, which are not only still in print, but still some of the most enjoyable and educational works about man's impact on a unique desert environment. Critics and college students still delve into her novels and essays and find themes that continue to resonate today, whether they involve Native Americans, water in the West, or a strong, female literary voice and life. Austin wrote about "The Land of Little Rain" and other Owens Valley related topics stemming from her years in Independence. She is often cited as one of the nation's first ecological, or environmental writers because of the deep concern and links to the land that mark much of her work. Her home, a California State Landmark, is just a block from the museum.