Porterville College



The Cultural and Historical Awareness Program (CHAP) at Porterville College

is proud to host a presentation from


Kathryn Davis

Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of Global Studies, San Jose State University


Thirst for Adventure:

Three Women Explorers of Early 20th Century California


Friday, March 10th, 2017

7-8 p.m.

Porterville College Theater


In the first half of the twentieth century, American women were exploring the world, traveling places and doing things few men were willing to do at the time in their thirst for adventure. While many were famous during their lifetimes, they are virtually unknown now. In this presentation, three such women - all from California - will be profiled.


Harriet Chalmers Adams, a native of Stockton, spent two years (1904-1906) traveling around South America on foot, horseback, and train. She wrote twenty-three articles for National Geographic magazine and was one of the Society’s most popular speakers. She was the first woman allowed at the French front during World War I, and reported on the war and women’s contributions.


Ynes Mexia lived in San Francisco and attended UC Berkeley studying Botany. While a student she became a world-renowned botanical collector, traveling usually with native guides in Mexico and South America. She was the first official collector in what was then Mt. McKinley National Park in Alaska and also traveled east to west up the Amazon accompanied only by native guides. All this was accomplished by her while she was in her 50s!


Louise Arner Boyd from San Rafael both financed and led scientific expeditions to the Arctic. During WWII she led an Arctic expedition for the U.S. government and served as an adviser on military strategy in the Arctic.


Kate Davis will share the forgotten but amazing stories of these women and bring their adventures to life once again.



Kathryn (Kate) Davis received her BA and MA in History from San Francisco State University and her PhD in Geography from UC Berkeley. For the past sixteen years she has taught at San Jose State University, first in the Department of Geography, and currently in Environmental Studies and has also served as Director of Global Studies since 2012. Her research has focused on ocean environments and environmental history, and her doctoral dissertation was about the Monterey sardine industry. Since the early 1990s she has also researched women explorers, including the three profiled in this presentation.




CHAP events are FREE and OPEN to the public – ALL are welcome

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Doors will be closed approximately 10 minutes after the start of the event OR when the theater has reached capacity. Due to safety regulations, once the theater is full no additional people can be admitted.




Kern Community College District