Alexis Sheehy is the President of the Redondo Beach Rotary Club and a former educator and Vice Principal of the Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. She and her husband, Jim, a retired engineer, enjoy traveling the world including to the recent Rotary International Convention in Seoul, Korea. She is a member of the Beatrix Potter Society.
She began with picturesque slides of Scotland and The Lake District of England, the setting of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, published in 1902. Beatrix Potter was born in Kensington, London, in 1866 into a privileged household, where she was educated by governesses and grew up isolated from other children. She had many pets, and spent holidays in Scotland and in England’s Lake District, where she developed a talent for painting landscapes and fungi as well as her humanized pets.
In her 30s she published a highly successful children’s book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. With the proceeds, she bought a farm, and eventually added neighboring farms to help preserve the hill country landscape. She became a prize-winning sheep breeder and prosperous farmer interested in land preservation. She married at age 47, but continued to write and illustrate a total of about 30 books, most of them for children with illustrated fantasies of her own childhood pet rabbits, mice, kittens and guinea pigs. With her interest and studies in natural sciences, she also wrote a well-regarded illustrated scientific paper on fungal germination.
Beatrix Potter died in 1943, leaving most of her property including 4000 acres to the National Trust (now part of the Lake District National Park) along with most of her original book illustrations. Her copyrights were given to her publisher (now part of the Penguin Group). An unpublished book manuscript was recently discovered in the Victoria and Albert Museum archive, and will be published in September 2016, the 150th anniversary of Potter's birth.