The Awani Press story is the story of the Hubbard family. It was begun by Fran and Doug Hubbard in the mid ‘50s while they were raising their family in Yosemite National Park. The Awani Press, their small publishing company, would become a reflection of their own personal interests.
My father was Yosemite’s Chief Park Naturalist. And he had a passion for the sorts of things that one would expect of a man in this position. His job had him regularly writing interpretive articles for the “Yosemite Nature Notes” publications that included natural history topics on Yosemite’s plants, animals, and geology.
But it was the “hidden” human history of Yosemite that he loved especially.
Mom raised four young children in the park, and along with
us, a variety of other animals. In addition to the smaller animals that were occasionally brought
into the house to live with us, were very
large animals that came to visit on a regular basis.
Bear, deer, raccoon, the list is a long one. The raccoons would come to our Park Service house that was nestled near the base of Yosemite Falls just about every night. The bears would visit less frequently, once or twice a week.
On occasion, but much less often, we would see gray foxes and ring tailed cats. For a short period during one summer a beautiful red fox came by. She was the only one that we saw during all of our years living there.
At this time in Yosemite there was a real need for well written and eye-catching publications for visitors to buy and to take home with them. The first book “A Day With Tupi”, (recently renamed Tupi the Chipmunk...") was born, and so was the Awani Press!
In collaboration with artist Ed Vella, who leant a very interesting brush style that can best be described as “minimalist”, Mom wrote a story about a young Indian boy in Yosemite.
Relying on her first-hand knowledge of Yosemite Indian lore and customs, the Tupi book became a Yosemite children’s book classic.
Recently updated with a new cover and title, “A Day With Tupi” is now “Tupi the Chipmunk…an Indian boy of Yosemite.” It is available through Amazon both as a printed book as well as as a Kindle ebook.
Deciding to take advantage of the success that Mom and Ed Vella were having with “Tupi”, Dad wrote “Yosemite Yarns”, which became the second Awani Press publication.
Through interviews with the last living “Yosemite old-timers” like long time resident Laurence Degnan, and Yosemite’s last stage driver Eddie Webb the book began to take shape.
Ed Vella once again produced the illustrations featuring his distinctive trademark ink outlines and color “splashes”. With the publication of “Yosemite Yarns”, long lost stories of pioneer days in Yosemite like “How The Firefall Began”, “The First Climb Up Half Dome”, how “Galen Dug His Grave” and “Lembert’s Murder” were saved in print from being lost forever.
“Yosemite Yarns” has also been updated and brought back as "The Mysterious Rattlesnake Tree". It too is available at Amazon as a printed book and Kindle ebook.
The introduction to Mom and Dad of pen and ink wildlife artist Bill Berry, who had been working on assignment in Yosemite for the National Park Service, would eventually bring about the third Awani Press Publication which was entitled “Animal Friends Of The Sierra”.
The fun and informative children’s book again relied heavily on Mom’s long personal experience with the various furry friends of Yosemite. The animals most associated with Yosemite…the black bear, mule deer, mountain coyote and raccoon are all here. Bill Berry’s beautifully detailed and lifelike pen and ink illustrations are accompanied by Mom’s descriptions of the animals, their babies and their habits. Twenty eight lesser known Yosemite mammals are also shown and described.
“Animal Friends Of The Sierra” has been re-introduced! With a new title and cover “Furry Friends Of Yosemite” is the perfect travel book for children. It is available at Amazon in print or as a Kindle ebook.
The success of the Sierra animal friends book led to the production of Awani Press Publication animal books for other parks in other regions of the country, including:
These publications are available directly through the Awani
Press, just let us know of your interest by contacting us and
telling us how we can be of service.
Dad’s continuing interest in the Yosemite Pioneers would take a logical next step beyond “Yosemite Yarns”, which was the first of his Awani Press Publication that had been focused on the human history of the park.
Yosemite’s high sierra had been a hot bed of silver mining activity for a short period of time in the late 19th century. In fact the eastern stretch of what is today’s Tioga Road had its beginnings as a silver mining road. This story had remained a fascinating aspect of Yosemite’s pioneer history for Dad, and was little known outside of a small circle of historians.
After the mining companies shut down their operations and
abandoned their claims, not only were the mines and buildings abandoned, but
the heavy mining equipment was all left where it stood. “Ghost Mines Of
Yosemite” was an in depth study of the great silver belt including the stories
of the discovery of silver and the men who were the movers and shakers who made
it all happen. Topics include tunnels and the machinery that was hauled in to
drill them. The establishment of Bennetville where many lived and the big
mining companies were based, as well as the avalanches and other life threatening conditions
that everyone tolerated while in pursuit of riches.
The book “In Old Virginia City” was a logical continuation
of Dads interest in the mining operations in and around the Sierra Nevada
range. During her hey-day, Virginia City was known as Queen City of the West.
It was said that when Virginia City was at her height, even San Francisco couldn't compare!
“We had three churches, 50 dry good stores, a schoolhouse,
and nine restaurants. Why a feller could get a full course dinner for 75 cents…and
Mark Twain got his start here.”
It was the silver in the hills that made Virginia City what it was.
Mom and Dad's close friendship with Margaret Schlictmann and her husband Emil through their collaboration together in The Yosemite Pioneer History Center in Wawona, led to the Awani Press assuming the publication of Margarets book.
Entitled "The Big Oak Flat Road To Yosemite", the book was the winner of the prestigious California History Award which is presented annually by the Commonwealth Club Of California and remains a Yosemite Classic today.
Because of the rules in place at Amazon, even though this book is a copyrighted publication of The Awani Press, we are unable to build a dedicated page for this book at the Amazon site.
At Amazon you will find many used copies for sale, but BE ASSURED the only new and unused copies being sold at the original retail prices are available from the Awani Press.
Your Satisfaction Guaranteed.
The evolving story of the Awani Press and its Awani Press Publications really is the story of the Hubbard family. As the family moved from place to place, Mom and Dad wrote books that reflected new interests and experiences influenced by our location at the time.
We moved from Yosemite National Park to Washington, D.C. in 1966 as the Vietnam War was really heating up. In a stupor, the family scrambled to adjust to a serious culture shock from the relocation. There wasn’t much time for, or interest in, “creative writing”.
My older brother Doug Jr. would not write about his life during this time until much later, but his experiences in Vietnam as a Special Agent with Naval Intelligence would eventually lead to his own contribution to the growing library of Awani Press publications.
What today is known as N.C.I.S. was known simply as N.I.S during Vietnam. Doug was the youngest N.I.S. agent to serve in Vietnam and did three tours of duty there. Fortunately for us, in retrospect, he carried with him a small high quality German camera, and he shot many frames of film while traveling on his assignments.
Not only was Doug a part of a very small number of men who served in Vietnam as Special Agents for Naval Intelligence, he is the only one to write about his experiences.
For his book he expanded upon his own personal experiences during his three tours “in country”. Interviews with brother agents who preceded him as well as those who followed, enabled him to write a complete story of the NIS experience during the Vietnam War.
The Awani Press Publication “N.C.I.S. History Special Agent Viet Nam” takes his first iteration published in 2006 entitled “Special Agent Viet Nam” and adds over 116 never before seen photos and maps.
Most of the photos were shot by Doug at the scene, and an effort has been made to arrange these so that they appear near the text that describes them. This effectively helps to bring his stories to life.
Former Director, CIA National Clandestine Service Michael Sulick says this about “N.C.I.S. History Special Agent Viet Nam”:
“Special Agent Vietnam is the first comprehensive account of naval counterintelligence and criminal investigation in Vietnam. Doug Hubbard’s first-hand experience provides unique insights into this little explored topic of the war, and the addition of a broad spectrum of his photos complements the narrative with a real life appeal. In a era when the term “terrorism” was not yet in vogue, NIS’ investigations of insurgent attacks against US troops is a grim reminder of current threats our military faces in Afghanistan and around the globe on a daily basis.”
For the first time in print, group photos and the names of those in Vietnam with NIS are featured, from the earliest small group in 1964 to the last in 1973.
And for the last time we see how the books of the Awani Press reflect where the Hubbard family is living. In 1971 the Hubbard’s moved from the East Coast to Central Texas and a small town called Fredericksburg. LBJ's Texas White House was about ten miles away. At this time L.B.J had pet projects that he had been focused on in the area.
Dad had met the President earlier when he had been flown to "the ranch" to help get the L.B.J National Historic site off of the ground several years earlier.
One of the Presidents other projects was his dream of transforming the historical “skeleton” of what once was the Nimitz Steamboat Hotel back to its original grandeur from the ugly stucco façade that it was in 1971.
After the attack at Pearl Harbor, CINCPAC, (Commander In Chief Pacific) was Chester Nimitz. Nimitz had been born in Fredericksburg and grew up in and around his grandfathers historic Steamboat Hotel.
There was an enormous up-side here, and through lots of string pulling L.B.J. and other influential individuals made Dad an offer that he couldn’t refuse. The Hubbard family was soon on its way to Texas.
The last Awani Press Publication to be written by Fran and Doug Hubbard had the self explanatory title of “The Admiral Nimitz Museum Story…The Evolution of the Museum of the Pacific War”.
In an excerpt from the preface to the book, Lady Bird Johnson writes this…
“By the time it was decided to create the museum, the hotel was a crumbling old building—this, the centerpiece of our plans! But not to worry, genius arrived in the form of Doug Hubbard, a thirty year veteran of the Park Service. His hand can be found in the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and at the LBJ National Historic Site. Doug had worked in Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Yosemite and Texas. He absorbed much of the National Park Services’ creativity, philosophy and mystique—a sheer mass of knowledge and can-do spirit. Somehow, out of this mess, through twists and turns, successes and fallow times, there evolved the handsomely restored Nimitz Museum. From those modest beginnings there also arose a serene and beautiful Japanese garden of peace, and an unmatched collection of relics from the war."
"The museum portrays the War in the Pacific magnificently, but it is Doug’s story, and I hope you will enjoy hearing him tell it.”
Dad died in 2011 at 92 years of age.
Lady Birds kind comments in the last of his Awani Press books, serve as a fitting and perfect tribute to my Dad. It is a snapshot of “what made him tick”. We miss him.