Letters from the Sphinx: The William Allens in England, Egypt, and the San Gabriel Valley

Spanning one hundred years and three continents, Letters from the Sphinx tells the story of the William Allens, an Old World family swept up in a New World sea of change. Incorporating sources from the United Kingdom and Egypt; previously unpublished diaries, photographs, and letters held in private collections; and journals housed at the Huntington Library, the biography describes one man's desperate pursuit of self that takes him from England to Egypt and back again before he sets sail, sick and alone, for Southern California. His story—and that of his wife and children—unfolds in unexpected ways against the backdrop of the San Gabriel Valley at a time when the foothills were a riot of golden poppies and the earth was untilled and bursting with opportunity.

--Paul C. Rollins



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