Malkus, Alida

About the author

Alida Malkus (1895–1976) rode and swam as a child. She was the eleventh child of thirteen, so if they all had horses it must have been like a perpetual Pony Club. She was good at art, but from the age of thirteen, began writing, initially for her school newspaper. Art reared its head again when her family sent her to an art school in San Francisco, but when she returned home she went to live in New Mexico in a log cabin. After war work at a censor’s office, she returned to New Mexico, and writing, but was fired from an Albuquerque newspaper for incompetence. Her apparent lack of the ability to produce copy which could be typeset did not stop a rival newspaper from hiring her, and she went on to work for major papers like The Herald Tribune and The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

She maintained her interest in South America, and it inspired most of her books.

Finding the books
Colt of Destiny is easy to find in its US printing, but very difficult indeed in the British. Sidi is not particularly easy to find.

Links and sources
Alida Malkus’ papers are in the de Grummond collection
Terri A. Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1987
Thank you to Lisa Catz for the photograph and summary.

Bibliography (horse books only)

Colt of Destiny – a Story of the California Missions

John C Winston Company, Philadelphia, 1950, 244 pp, illus Manning de V Lee
Hamish Hamilton, London,1953, 243 pp

The capture and training of wild horses which escaped from early Spanish settlers was an
important task for the people in sixteenth century California. Young Jaime Otero played an important part in the early development of the state. He captures Starlight and her mate, and painstakingly trains horses that were bred into a strain invaluable to later American pioneers. He also fought cruel Spanish landowners and savage Indians, and supports Father Junipero Serra in establishing
Franciscan missions. 

Sidi, Boy of the Desert

Winston, 1956, illus Manning de V Lee

Ali is given a mare, Yasmin. Her black foal he gives to his son Sidi, but unfortunately Ibn Mahmoud has vowed to take both horses himself.