Passionate Pilgrim: The Extraordinary Life of Alma Reed

Overview

Journalist, archeologist, art gallery owner, and world traveler, Alma Reed 1889-1966 lived a life of high drama that is vividly rendered in this action-packed biography. May draws from Reed's own writings, both private and published, among other sources, to create a riveting account of a woman who, whether exploring the ancient ruins of a lost Mayan city or covering the infamous Fatty Arbuckle murder trial, lived life on her own terms.
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Overview

Journalist, archeologist, art gallery owner, and world traveler, Alma Reed 1889-1966 lived a life of high drama that is vividly rendered in this action-packed biography. May draws from Reed's own writings, both private and published, among other sources, to create a riveting account of a woman who, whether exploring the ancient ruins of a lost Mayan city or covering the infamous Fatty Arbuckle murder trial, lived life on her own terms.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although she began her journalism career as a ``sob sister'' for the San Francisco Call , Alma Reed (1889-1966) recognized early that her forte was archeological reporting. Drawing on Reed's published writings and on interviews with her colleagues, May, a biographer ( Helen Hunt Jackson ) and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle , recreates her subject's remarkable adventures in a biography marred by a reliance on fictionalized quotations and occasional florid writing. Beginning her journeys by covering an archeological team from the Carnegie Institute that was surveying the Mayan ruins in Mexico's Yucatan in 1923, Reed broke the story of the theft of priceless objects subsequently smuggled to the Peabody Museum in Boston. After the tragic assassination of her lover, Yucatan Gov. Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Reed made expeditions to North Africa to see the ruins of Carthage, and later devoted herself to promoting the works of the Mexican artist Orozco. (Apr.)
Library Journal
May, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle , here provides an uninspiring account of the life of Alma Sullivan Reed (1889-1966), a journalist who spent her long career promoting an understanding of Mexican culture and history in the United States. May's narrative covers the major events in Reed's life from her first trip to Mexico, her engagement there to revolutionary governor Felipe Carillo Puerto (which ended with his assassination), and Reed's subsequent careers as an archaeology reporter, manager of a New York art gallery, and promoter of the work of Mexican artist Jose Orozco. Despite the drama inherent in Reed's unusual life, May fails to draw the reader into her narrative. She loses authority as a biographer by relying heavily on fabricated and unconvincing dialog to convey Reed's story and never fully addresses the complexities of Reed's character, such as her lifelong propensity for self-aggrandizing exaggeration.-- Ellen Finnie Duranceau, MIT Lib.
Mary Carroll
Alma Reed was born in San Francisco in 1889. She learned from caring for her nine siblings that she didn't want a family of her own; her brief marriage to Samuel Payne Reed ended in divorce. After talking her way into a job as "sob sister" Mrs. Goodfellow at the "San Francisco Call", Reed took up the case of Simon Ruiz, a Mexican teenager scheduled to hang for murder, and led California clubwomen in a successful lobbying campaign to limit capital punishment to felons over the age of 18. After covering the three Fatty Arbuckle trials in her native city, Reed set off for Mexico, where she fell in love with the country, Mayan ruins, and the reform governor of Yucatan, Felipe Carrillo Puerto. Reed--by then a reporter for the "New York Times"--and Carrillo Puerto were planning marriage when he was assassinated in 1924 by de la Huerta's rebels. Reed plunged back into work, following her interest in archaeology to Carthage, Delphi, and the depths of the sea. As a New York gallery owner who championed Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco in the 1930s, then as art editor of the "Mobile Press Register" in the 1940s, and finally as a columnist for the English-language "Mexico City News" from 1950 until her death in 1966, Reed remained the pilgrim for whom the song "La Peregrina" had been commissioned by Carrillo Puerto. "Passionate Pilgrim" will entertain and enlighten readers curious about art and archaeology, Mexico, journalism, or twentieth-century women's history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569248683
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1994
  • Pages: 320

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