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Welcome to ‘Read through Yosemite’ with Conservancy staff member Charnelle Ruff where we will explore the plethora of books offered through the Yosemite Conservancy.

We will update this blog as we move through 2024. Check back to see what titles gets added as we move through the year. All of the titles are available at Conservancy retail locations in Yosemite National Park as well as in our online store.

February: Black History Month

Books to check out this month:

Gloryland by Shelton Johnson

Haunted by the terrors endured by Black Americans during the Reconstruction Era, Gloryland follows the life of Elijah Yancy who joins the Federal army as a Buffalo Solider. He is sustained only by visions, memories, prayers, and his questing spirit — which finds a home when his troop is posted to Yosemite National Park in 1903.

Yosemite Stagecoach Driver – the Life and Times of George Monroe and His Family by Tom Bopp

Yosemite Stagecoach Driver reveals a family’s epic journey from the Antebellum South, through the California Gold Rush and on to Yosemite, ending in Southern California at the dawn of the automobile era. The story follows George F. Monroe’s rise to the top of his profession, his mother’s heroic fight for her family, his father’s role in civil rights, and how they built a 480-acre ranch near Yosemite.

March: Women’s History Month
Read Through Yosemite and celebrate Women's History month with Pioneers in Petticoats by Shirley Sargent shown here sitting amongst some conifer foliage. The book is orange on the left and on the right a historic image of two women dancing on a rock overlook.

Pioneers in Petticoats by Shirley Sargent

Biographical histories of the women who played a role in the early history of the Yosemite region. Sargent covers stories from the Native women experiences to the first women tourists of the 1850s through the development of the Valley in the 1890s.
Sitting in the foliage is the book High Country Women featuring two women on the cover of the book.

High Country Women by Chris Enss

Women have played an important — though often hidden — role in shaping the history of Yosemite National Park. High Country Women reveals the contributions made by strong and independent pioneers. The stories range from the nation’s first woman park ranger to the first women to climb Half Dome to a Paiute woman who lived humbly in the traditional manner and taught Yosemite visitors her tribe’s customs.

Nature Swagger by Rue Mapp

Filled with breathtaking photography, inspiring stories, profiles, and spotlights from Outdoor Afro group members, prominent Black leaders in outdoor spaces, and other organizations, this book inspires Black communities to reclaim their place in the natural world. Interspersed throughout are essays from Rue Mapp on the rich history of Black involvement in the outdoors, activism, and conservation, as well as resources for readers who want to deepen their own connection with the elements.

Cliffs and Challenges by Laura White Brunner

Laura White Brunner’s memoir, recovered from the Yosemite Archives, recounts two summers spent working and hiking in Yosemite Valley during a time of great change–in the park and in the world beyond. In captivating prose Brunner describes her unlikely adventures in the summers of 1915 and 1917, as well as what she calls “the interlude” between them. Sometimes funny, sometimes painful, always engaging, her account captures the “trails” and tribulations of a young woman coming of age in America’s most beautiful national park.

Get to reading!