This digital archive collects, transcribes, annotates, and maps more than 450 nineteenth- and twentieth-century documents relevant to the story of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island. This Nicoleña was isolated alone on the most remote of the California Channel Islands between 1835-53, an event triggered by a massacre resulting from the international sea otter trade and then by the Spanish policy of reducción, or the in-gathering of Native tribes to Catholic Missions. The story of the Lone Woman, widely known in the nineteenth century, is perhaps best remembered today in the version Scott O’Dell fictionalized in his 1960 children’s novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins. In O’Dell’s Newbery-winning book, the Lone Woman is reimagined as the teenaged Karana.
Courtesy of California Weekly Explorer; further reproduction prohibited