Joanna Kafarowski

Living the High Life

Despite her willing participation in seven Arctic expeditions, Louise Arner Boyd lived a glamorous life- no doubt about it. Her father, John Franklin Boyd was a self-made millionaire who had struck it rich in the gold mines of California. Her childhood home, in which she lived until nearly the end of her life, was a sumptuous mansion called Maple Lawn located at 1312 Mission Avenue in San Rafael, Marin County just outside of San Francisco.

Miss Boyd loved to shop and maintained meticulous lists of her favourite stores and ateliers in cities around the world and the home she inherited was considered one of the finest in town. She conducted major renovations on at least two occasions to better facilitate the storage of her expanding library and collection of films, photographs and maps generated as a result of her expeditionary work. But she also made changes to Maple Lawn to accommodate the needs of her many friends who stayed with her on a continually rotating basis. She was an explorer first and foremost but she was always a bright star in elevated social circles in California.

The next few blog posts will highlight Maple Lawn- that home that was dear to her heart. This first early photograph, likely taken prior to 1926, shows the sweeping staircase and treasured antiques which were commonplace to Miss Boyd as she was growing up.