Huntington Frontiers

Huntington Frontiers connects readers with the rich intellectual life of The Huntington, capturing the work of researchers, educators, curators, and others across a range of disciplines. It is produced by The Huntington’s Office of Communications and Marketing.


With Malodorous Intent

Tue., July 18, 2023 | Sandy Masuo
A stroll through The Huntington’s gardens is a feast for the senses. Enhancing the plants’ beauty are their scintillating floral scents, but plants do not produce them for our pleasure. Indeed, many flowers exude odors that are unpleasant. Whether sweet or stinky, they share a common goal: reproduction.

The Spectacular Rise of Alice Spencer

Tue., April 11, 2023 | Kevin Durkin
One of the most powerful women of Tudor and Stuart England, Alice Spencer rose to become the matriarch of one of the most prominent families in British history. The story of her ascent is the subject of “A Woman of Influence,” the first book by The Huntington’s Vanessa Wilkie.


Tue., Jan. 24, 2023 | Wolf Burchard
There is little exaggeration in historian Richard Snow’s statement that the Sleeping Beauty Castle has become a sight “as familiar to the world as the Eiffel Tower.” The turrets were painted in shades of pink to create the illusion of the building as standing taller than its actual height.

Two Sisters of Blazing Genius

Tue., Nov. 22, 2022 | Devoney Looser
Devoney Looser is Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University and the author or editor of 10 books on literature by women. The following excerpt comes from Looser’s most recent book, “Sister Novelists: The Trailblazing Porter Sisters, Who Paved the Way for Austen and the Brontës.”

Excursions of Imagination

Tue., July 12, 2022 | Ann Bermingham
Stretching from the 17th to the 20th century, the range of drawings and watercolors in Excursions of Imagination: 100 Great British Drawings from The Huntington’s Collection testifies not only to the richness of The Huntington’s acquisitions but also to the breadth of British graphic art.

A Place at the Nayarit

Mon., May 16, 2022 | Natalia Molina
Natalia Molina grew up in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park and spent evenings at the Mexican restaurant her mother owned, the Nayarit, a local landmark that her grandmother founded in 1951.

Negotiating Religious Difference in 18th-Century Kilkenny

Wed., March 2, 2022 | Jonathan Koch
On Feb. 15, 1774, a young man from Kilkenny, Ireland, wrote his name across the title page of an old book. Purchased in Kilkenny's robust secondhand book trade, the slim quarto of theology had once belonged to a local Protestant minister. But its new owner was no clergyman.

Blue Boy Mania: How Gainsborough’s Masterpiece Colored Pop Culture

Wed., Jan. 12, 2022 | Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell
What is it about Blue Boy that appeals to advertisers, entertainers, and interior decorators? His youth? His fancy clothes? Nostalgia? Notoriety? Over the years, he has served as a stand-in for boyhood, Britain, and fine art itself. American Anglophiles consumed Blue Boy tchotchkes the way they might consume Downton Abbey...

Revising a Masterpiece

Mon., Nov. 15, 2021 | Malik Gaines
With a new painting that responds to Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy, Kehinde Wiley again revises a “masterpiece,” adding Black youth to the repertoire of English grand manner portraiture, redirecting the genre’s aggrandizing powers, and challenging its exclusivity.

West of Slavery

Wed., May 26, 2021 | Kevin Waite
In his book, West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire (University of North Carolina Press, 2021), Kevin Waite, assistant professor of history at Durham University in England, uncovers the surprising history of the Old South in unexpected places, far beyond the region's cotton fields and sugar plantations.

Kathy Fiscus and the Johnson Well

Wed., March 17, 2021 | William Deverell
William Deverell, director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West and professor of history at USC, recently published Kathy Fiscus: A Tragedy that Transfixed the Nation (Angel City Press, 2021), in which he tells the story of a groundbreaking live TV news broadcast of a rescue attempt in...

Legacy of Wonder

Tue., Dec. 22, 2020 | Usha Lee McFarling
The Huntington's botanical gardens have long been shaped by the vision of Jim Folsom.When young botany student Jim Folsom traveled from Austin, Texas, to The Huntington to interview for an assistant curator job in late August of 1984, he was completely turned off by the heavy traffic and acrid smog...