Nancy Connor Zischank (1907–2000)

I would give the Japanese an idea of what the country was like
  • Jane Wehrey
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Oral History book series (PSOH)


There was little in Nan Zischank’s early life to suggest she would one day be a pioneer in the Eastern Sierra recreation and ski industry Born into a wealthy and socially prominent family in Ohio, Nan lived as a young girl in Boston and attended finishing school on Cape Cod, where she learned the requisite skills—management of servants among them—for a life in East Coast society In her long 1992 conversation with Richard Potashin, she skips over those early years entirely, to 1935. By then, her family had settled in southern California, and that year, she and her husband Max moved to an isolated winter cabin in the alpine scenery and deep snow of the Sierra Nevada eastern slopes. That, she makes clear, was when her life began in earnest. For the next sixty years, Nan was a colorful figure in the community of skiers, fishermen, and resort owners of the Mammoth recreation region. After retiring in Bishop, she lived in a small mobile home, where spectacular mountain views were a backdrop for the stories she told friends and visitors, in her familiar husky voice, of her history- making adventures in the Eastern Sierra.


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  1. 1.
    Yi-Fu Tuan, Topophilia: A Study of Environmental Perception, Attitudes, and Values (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1974), 109–112.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Remi Nadeau, The Water Seekers, 3rd ed. (Santa Barbara: Crest Publishers, 1993), 111.Google Scholar

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© Jane Wehrey 2006

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  • Jane Wehrey

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