Kate Brandegee

Exploring Life

The great woman botanist and Californian Kate Brandegee wrote her husband, Townshend, who she lovingly called Townie.
On this day in 1908, Kate was 64, and though she and Townie often botanized together, Kate was not afraid to go explore alone. She let Townie know in this letter that:

" I am going to Eldorado County to walk from Placerville to Truckee - I may be gone two weeks. …”

Well, that would have been a 52 mile trip by foot. She was no slacker.
Kate and Townie's love story is one of my favorites. They found each other late in life, and they made up for lost time, and they were very affectionate with each other. Their botanical legacy is secure; after the San Francisco earthquake, they replaced the ruined botanical Library and specimens with their own personal collection. And Kate personally mentored many young botanized, including her backfill: the impressive Alice Eastwood.

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Kate Brandegee
Kate Brandegee courtesy the Hunt Institute

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