Lorraine Passero, author of Clara Mason Fox: Pioneer, Painter, and Poet of Orange County, will speak at the O.C. Historical Society tomorrow (Thurs., May 9), 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. (See the OCHS website for details.)
More than 50 years after the death of local pioneer Clara Mason Fox, a box found in an attic helped piece together the narrative of this remarkable woman. Clara's story, expressed through her art, poetry, and writings tells us that the Mason family left Illinois in the 1880s and were among the first settlers of Silverado Canyon. A true pioneer of her era, Clara served as perhaps the first schoolteacher in the canyon, and became an early Laguna Beach artist. She eventually travelled alone to New York City to study art at Cooper Union. After marrying local rancher George Fox and moving to El Toro, Clara was the first to write a history of that town.
In 2010, a serendipitous discovery of more than 150 of Clara's botanical watercolors—some dating back to 1894—were discovered in cabinets filled with plant specimens at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont. These watercolors are currently part of the exhibit “When They Were Wild: Recapturing California’s Wildflower Heritage” (March 9 – July 8) in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery at the Huntington Library in San Marino. The exhibit also includes work by other artists, including Alice Brown Chittenden (1859–1944), Ethel Wickes (1872–1940), and Milford Zornes (1908–2008).
Hope to see you at OCHS!