Elizabeth Grinnell

At the first meeting of the Pasadena Audubon Society on March 25, 1904, one woman both addressed the meeting and became a signatory to the formation of the organization. That woman was Elizabeth Grinnell who had long had an interest in birds and whose home had been referred to as “Bird’s Retreat”. The large home where she lived at 572 North Marengo in Pasadena is now replaced by apartment buildings but the block on which it is located is still surrounded by many elegant homes with their porches characteristic of the era. In the 1890s and early 20th Century this home was the also where her husband, Fordyce Grinnell, a prominent local surgeon, pursued his practice and where her son Joseph Grinnell also resided. Joseph became the author of Pasadena’s first printed bird list (1895) described in a previous article as well as a famous Ornithologist, Editor of the “Condor” and the Director of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley.

Together with Joseph, Elizabeth wrote several bird related books including “Our Feathered Friends” (1898) and “Birds of Song and Story” (1901). Elizabeth also wrote a number of monographs of various individual species of birds whose study she had pursued.

All this was before the formation of Pasadena Audubon. Might she be considered the “Mother of Pasadena Audubon?”