Harry W. Crosby's explorations, studies, and writings establish him as one of the foremost authorities on Baja California's colorful past.
Crosby was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1926, then moved with his family to La Jolla, California in 1935. He graduated from La Jolla Junior-Senior High School in 1944 when there was a little more than a year left in World War II. He enlisted in the U. S. Navy and attended Occidental College in Los Angeles as a pre-medical student. In 1947, while working at a salmon cannery in Alaska, Crosby was accepted into U.S.C. medical school but did not accept it. Instead, having married, he then became a science teacher for the next 12 years.
In 1967, he was commissioned as photographer for 'The Call to California', a book to commemorate California's bicentennial. He was given the task of following the route of the Portola/Serra expedition of 1769 to make photos to illustrate a text derived from diaries of the trekkers who soon founded San Diego as a base for Spain's claim to what is today the state of California. He rode 600 miles in Baja California, on mule-back and on trails far from the then-wheel track road, to the remotest areas of Baja California. Since completing that first work, he has logged over a thousand miles in the saddle over harsh and barren terrain to interview the Baja peninsula's isolated ranchers and discover its amazing prehistoric art and cave paintings.
Crosby's expeditions and documentation took the research to the next level. In his book 'The Cave Paintings of Baja California: Discovering the Great Murals of an Unknown People', he reveals the artistic splendours of Baja California as well as providing over 200 previously undiscovered rock art sites. When visited recently by Dr. Jean Clottes, then Director of the Chauvet Cave investigation, he said that he was "staggered by the extent and preservation of the paintings" and "in his opinion they should be considered as an American 'Lascaux' in terms of importance to the World's Rock Art Heritage. He went on to site Harry Crosby's book as a Baja Bible. Indeed, Harry Crosby's explorations, studies, and writings establish him as one of the foremost authorities on Baja California's colorful past.
Harry W. Crosby's other books include 'The King's Highway in Baja California', 'The Story of El Camino Real; Last of the Californios', 'Antigua California: Mission and Colony on the Peninsular Frontier, 1697-1768', 'Gateway to Alta California', a history of the 1769 Portola Expedition, and 'Portrait of Paloma', a novel.