Juana Briones of Nineteenth-Century California

Meeting with author Jeanne Farr McDonnell

Please read An Update From Friends of The Juana Briones House, Spring 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The author will explain ways she placed Juana's life in contemporary geographic, economic, and philosophic conditions, and analyzed Juana's skill at adapting and succeeding within drastic change, beginning with her childhood during the monarchical dominance of Spain.

Juana Briones de Miranda lived an unusual life, wonderfully told in this highly accessible biography. She was one of the first residents of what is now San Francisco, then named Yerba Buena (Good Herb), reportedly after a medicinal tea she concocted. She was among the few women in California of her time to own property in her own name, and was a skilled farmer, rancher, and businesswoman. In retelling Briones' life story, Jeanne Farr McDonnell recounts the history of nineteenth-century California from this unique perspective.
Photo is courtesy of NPS
Point Reyes National Seashore Archives

Juana Briones y Tapia de Miranda lived under a government that lost the Mexican-American war and in a region that was overwhelmed by Americans. This occurred shortly after she took over management of a 4,400-acre ranch, a new enterprise for her.

Juana Briones lived the second half of her life on land that later became Los Altos Hills and Los Altos.

About the Author

Jeanne Farr McDonnell has attended Stephens College, Ohio State University, University of Brussels on a Fullbright Scholarship, Columbia University for an M.A. in American literature, an intensive journalism course at Stanford University over one semester, and many continuing studies classes at Stanford. She was born in Akron, Ohio, and lived in New York and Pennsylvania before settling in Palo Alto, California. After various jobs in the newspaper and publishing business, she entered the nonprofit sector, serving on the boards of nine organizations and acting as the executive director of three. As the founder and executive director of the Women's Heritage Museum, now the International Museum of Women in San Francisco, McDonnell first learned about Juana Briones, helped over several years to manage public and school tours of her house in Palo Alto, and worked to preserve that house.

Juana Briones of Nineteenth-Century California, by Jeanne Farr McDonnell was published by the University of Arizona Press, Tuscon in 2008, and available in book stoors and on Amazon.

Jeanne Farr McDonnell speaks at the event.

Photo courtesy of Ralston Independent Works©








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