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Dana and Ginger Lamb: Orange County’s Enchanted Vagabonds

Paul Wormser, Library Director

Paul Wormser, Library Director

On February 19, 1933 when Dana Lamb and Virgina “Ginger” Bishop married, Orange County was a quiet place compared to today. The couple had grown up in Orange County, both having graduated from Santa Ana High School.  But for Dana and Ginger Lamb, civilization had encroached too far into Orange County.  They yearned for adventure – and perhaps a bit of fame. So, in August 1933, they embarked on what became a three-year,16,000-mile honeymoon in their homemade, sixteen-foot canoe, the Vagabunda.  

 

The over of Enchanted Vagabonds, the Lamb's bestselling book.

Their adventure took them from Newport Beach down the Pacific coasts of Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica,  culminating in their crossing of the Panama Canal in September 1936. They chronicled their adventures in a book, Enchanted Vagabonds (1938), and went on the lecture circuit to capitalize on the great public interest in their journey and lives as adventurers. 

They continued their travels in Mexico and Central America during the 1940s, during which time they did some research for the Federal Government as special agents and produced a substantial report titled Report on Mexico in 1943.  Their second book, Quest for the Lost City (1951), detailed their continued adventures in the 1940s and was the basis for a feature length film of the same name produced by Sol Lesser in 1954. 

 

A news service advertisement promoting the Lamb's adventures.
Dana and Ginger holding a jaguar pelt.

In the years following their canoe adventure, the Lamb’s lived in Corona del Mar, when they were not on the lecture tour or another adventure.  They eventually found the area too built up and moved to a small town in New Mexico.

Throughout his life, Dana Lamb maintained extensive records of his activities.  Sherman Library’s Dana and Ginger Lamb collection, which is open for research, includes everything from the hand-written diaries the couple maintained on their honeymoon to the manuscripts for Enchanted Vagabonds and Quest for the Lost City.