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.

The Art of Sargent Claude Johnson

Tue., April 2, 2024 | John P. Bowles, Jacqueline Francis, and Dennis Carr
Scholars reexamine Sargent Claude Johnson’s life and work through a new lens, exploring his role within the development of American modernism and his influence among artists. From sculptures of underrepresented subjects to majestic architectural commissions, Johnson’s oeuvre is viewed within an expansive framework of global modernism.

The Great Basin Bristlecone Pine

Tue., March 26, 2024 | Daniel Lewis
The rings of bristlecone pines, the planet’s longest-living trees, chronicle past details about changes in the climate and other environmental variations of global significance. The Huntington’s Daniel Lewis explores this topic and more in his book “Twelve Trees: The Deep Roots of Our Future.”

Guns, Secession, and a Secret Message in a Spool

Tue., Feb. 6, 2024 | Olga Tsapina
The Huntington’s Edward Davis Townsend collection contained something rather curious: a spool of thread with a note hidden inside that shed new light on the dramatic events that unfolded shortly after the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860.

Plant Conservation at The Huntington

Tue., Dec. 19, 2023 | Sandy Masuo
When Henry E. Huntington purchased his estate in 1903, plant conservation was not foremost in his plans, but his passion for rare and unusual plants created the foundation for botanical collections that are significant to conservation initiatives in the 21st century.

Betye Saar’s “Drifting Toward Twilight”

Tue., Dec. 12, 2023 | Lynell George
Betye Saar’s “Drifting Toward Twilight,” a site-specific installation commissioned by The Huntington, poetically connects the external realm to interior territories—The Huntington’s grounds to its galleries and the life of the body to the mind—and has also been a way to manifest the artist’s personal history.

Coral Lives: Literature, Labor, and the Making of America

Tue., Nov. 21, 2023 | Michele Currie Navakas
Michele Currie Navakas—professor of English at Miami University and a 2017–18 National Endowment of the Humanities fellow—tells the story of coral as an essential element of the marine ecosystem, a highly sought-after ornament used for display and adornment, a global commodity, and a powerful political metaphor.

Avocados at The Huntington and Beyond

Tue., Oct. 3, 2023 | Sandy Masuo
In 1905, Henry E. Huntington asked his superintendent of grounds, William Hertrich, if it was possible to grow an avocado orchard. Hertrich replied that he would be willing to make the experiment. More than a century later, the avocado experiment continues, linking communities and expanding our understanding of plant science.

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.