Mary Hunter Austin (September 9, 1868–August 13, 1934) was an American writer of fiction and non-fiction.
Mary Hunter was born in Carlinville, Illinois, (the fourth of six children) to George and Susannah (Graham) Hunter. She graduated from Blackburn College in 1888. For 17 years she made a special study of Indian life in the Mojave Desert, and her publications set forth the intimate knowledge she thus acquired.
Her family moved to California in 1888 and established a homestead in the San Joaquin Valley. She married Stafford Wallace Austin on May 18, 1891 in Bakersfield, California. He was from Hawaii and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Their home in Inyo County, California, now a historical landmark, was designed and built by the couple.
She and her husband were involved in the local water dispute, where the water of Owens Valley was eventually drained to supply Los Angeles. When their battle was lost, he moved to Death Valley, California and she moved to Carmel, California where she was part of a social circle that included Jack London, Ambrose Bierce and George Sterling.
A 1950 edition of The Land of Little Rain, and a 1977 edition of her later work Taos Pueblo, both had photographs by Ansel Adams.
She died in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Nine years after her death she became the namesake of a World War II Liberty ship, the SS Mary Austin.
Her play, The Arrowmaker, dealing with Indian life, was produced at the New Theatre, (New York) in 1911.