Mary Bennett Love was a legendary and colorful character who settled in Santa Clara in the mid-1840s — a very turbulent period in the history of the Santa Clara Valley. Six feet tall and over 300 pounds, Love was described in her own time as “an American lady of Amazonian proportions”. She is profiled in the City’s Sesquicentennial book, A Place of Promise: The City of Santa Clara 1852-2002. Now, a full length book on this remarkable woman has just been published by Texas Tech University Press. David J. Langum, Sr., a Law Professor at Samford University in Alabama and the author of eight other books of legal history and biography has written this new book titled, Quite Contrary: The Litigious Life of Mary Bennett Love.
Though illiterate, Mary knew the law thoroughly and used it to her advantage, squatting on public land and engaging in dozens of lawsuits to advance her interests. Her love life was quite tumultuous. Harry Love, her second husband, a California State Ranger and the slayer of the notorious bandit Joaquin Murrieta, died at her bodyguard’s hands. He is buried in our City Cemetery.
Quite Contrary is the first full length book to focus on Mary Bennett Love. Come to hear about the writing of this intriguing and entertaining history book. Learn why Mary is representative of the relationship people had with the law in pre-Gold Rush California and the ways in which Mary paved the way for future female entrepreneurs.
The program is sponsored by the Santa Clara City Library. This lecture is free and open to the public. The book will be for sale the author will sign books following the presentation.