Artist, photographer, writer and explorer Mary Schaffer Warren overcame the limited expectations of women a century ago in order to follow her dreams. Born into a wealthy Pennsylvania Quaker family, Mary Sharpless was a precocious child who longed to experience the world beyond her sheltered home. An 1889 cross-Canada trip with her new husband, doctor and botanist Charles Schaffer, proved to be the turning point in her life: it was when she fell hopelessly in love with the Canadian mountains.
After her husband’s death in 1903, Mary embarked upon a series of explorations in the Canadian Rockies that were far more extensive than was thought proper for a woman at the time. Her most famous trips, in 1907 and 1908, led to the rediscovery of Maligne Lake and, later, her highly regarded book Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies, published in 1911 and now part of the Mountain Classics Collection from Rocky Mountain Books. Mary eventually settled in Banff and married her handsome young guide, Billy Warren. Since her death in 1939, her extraordinary accomplishments continue to inspire people—particularly women —to follow their dreams.
This latest printing of Janice Sanford Beck’s bestselling biography of Mary Schaffer Warren features new information based on correspondence between Schäffer and her friend and lawyer, George Vaux Jr., that was recently acquired by the Whyte Museum in Banff.