Library Exhibition: Wildflowers of the Western Deserts: The Photographs of Lustin E. Martindale

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Lustin E. Martindale (1886-1950) grew up in Indiana and settled in the Pasadena area of California in 1907. Martindale was a naturalist, photographer, and educator of art within the California State school system. He was known for his hand-tinted glass slides of California flora, which he sold commercially. He published his glass slides in book format in his photograph sales catalogs, as with The Wild Flowers of Southern California (1926), which includes seventy-one pages of his photographs.  Likewise, the Wildflowers of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts (1927), which is part of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Library Special Collections and featured in this exhibit, lists item numbers of slides and photographs available for purchase. Martindale’s photographs have been published in numerous journal publications such as American Art Annual, Western Nature Science Series, as well as in An Illustrated Manual of California Shrubs (1939) by Howard E. McMinns.

The Martindale hand-tinted photograph prints on display in this exhibit are part of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Library Special Collections. The RSA Library Special Collections holds one-hundred and one of Martindale’s photograph prints as well as well over one-hundred of his hand-tinted glass slides of plants and flowers.

The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Herbarium holds six plant specimens that Martindale collected between 1880 and 1928. Two of the Martindale specimens within the RSA Herbarium are types from the Liliaceae family (Lily): Fritillaria ojaiensis, photographs of which are featured here.

Wildflowers of Western Deserts; The Photographs of Lustin E. Martindale is curated by Brandy Watts, MFA, MLIS.


The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Library is open Monday through Friday 9am-5pm.