Harold and Isabel on their 60th anniversary, 1961 1,2

Harold French (March 11, 1878 – October 2, 1962) was an early member of the Sierra Club, an outdoor enthusiast, and one of the people we have to thank for the formation of the East Bay Regional Park District. He is the namesake of French Trail in Redwood Regional Park, and founder of the Contra Costa Hills Club. French was a classmate of Jack London, during London's brief time at the University of California.

He met Isabel Borthwick (French) (January 27, 1878 – September 16, 1968) in Los Angeles in 1899, and they married October 3, 1901 after he returned from working in Alaska. 2

French was later a friend of John Muir, but even before French had met Muir, he and Isabel had named their daughter Muriel French (Tyson) and their son John Muir French in Muir's honor. 1

While not working at the U.S. Mint in San Francisco, French was usually leading hikes for the Sierra Club, the Contra Costa Hills Club, or writing about the hills and open spaces in the Bay Area. One of French's articles appeared in the Overland Monthly in 1905. 6

A biography, Harold French: A Press Agent for the Hills, was published in 2020 by Noël Siver, member of of the Contra Costa Hills Club.

1916 article 5

Links and References

  1. “Knapsack” newsletter, Contra Costa Hills Club, October 2012
  2. Oakland Couple Married 60 Years Oakland Tribune October 2, 1961
  3. Harold French obituary Oakland Tribune October 3, 1962
  4. 'Golden Wedding Plus' Fete May Start Trend Oakland Tribune September 18, 1952
  5. A Vacation in Oakland on the Installment Plan by Harold French Oakland Tribune July 16, 1916 (p2)
  6. A Mountain Wilderness in the City's Heart Overland Monthly No. 46, 1905