Kathy Redd Mullins
Bibliophile, Bogforhandlere &
Founder, H. C. Andersen Museum
Solvang, California

Kathy Redd Mullins & The Man in the Hat
Kathy Redd Mullins & The Man in the Hat

Brigham Young High School
Class of 1952

For Kathy Redd, Brigham Young High was a family affair.

She grew up in a large ranching family in rural Southern Utah. She was one of 9 members of her family who are BYH alumni. Her father, Charlie Redd, graduated there in 1911.

Kathy, a member of the Class of 1952, was the first child in her family to follow in her father's footsteps in Provo. A list of all nine BYH Redd graduates is included at the bottom of this page.

While at BYH, Kathy demonstrated special interest in reading and literature as a staff writer for the Y'ld Cat student newspaper, and as President of the Quill & Scroll journalism club.

Because she transferred to BYH half way through her high school years, she had a little trouble getting the right classes at BYH. "I took two years to do one year's work there, I sometimes say."

She also was in the Fauvines, and represented BYH at the Utah Girls State sponsored by the American Legion. "It was a wonderful opportunity," said Kathy. "I met scores of amazing young women and about 15 months later I would run into many of them again when we were fellow freshmen at BYU."

In her senior year Kathy was Queen of the Sweethearts Ball. And in the 1952 Wildcat yearbook, she was given the title, "Miss IQ".

Kathy Redd
BYH Classof 1952

BYH Sweetheart Ball
Queen Kathy Redd

After graduation, Kathy attended BYU for three years. She received her B.A. in American Studies at the University of Minnesota in 1956, and spent several years working in advertising in San Francisco.

Before coming to Provo for her last two years of high school, Kathy had been a student at Wasatch Academy in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. There she had met Gary Mullins, and they became high school sweethearts. She later married Gary, who by then had become an electrical engineer. The couple moved to Seattle, where he worked for Boeing, and where their first daughter was born.

The Mullins family then left for Fort Walton Beach, Florida, where Gary Mullins was assigned to the U.S. Air Force at Eglin Air Force Base, working on the BOMARC missile program. At the end of 1961, the Mullins left the warmth of Florida for the cold of Canada as her husband was assigned to a base near North Bay, Ontario.

“After living in the South, we had an opportunity to experience cultural differences, such as hockey and hydro trucks,” she said.

A year later, in the dead of winter, the family packed up and migrated again, this time to Santa Maria, California, where Gary worked at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

After their second daughter was born, the family took occasional drives up to the Santa Ynez Valley. Forty minutes up the road from Santa Barbara's dazzling coastline they found the town of Solvang, California. Known as much for its Danish architecture as its delectable pastries, the Danish village in America is a popular tourist destination.

“We thought it was beautiful, but joked as we passed a Buellton housing tract, ‘Who would live in place called Thumbelina Village?’” she recalled.

Not long afterward they bought a house on Kendale Road in Thumbelina Village.

Their third daughter was born and when Mullins’ husband feared they might be uprooted again, he decided to quit Boeing, and together they opened The Book Loft on Copenhagen Drive in Solvang.

The small shop quickly outgrew itself and the Mullins decided to build a Danish-style building on Mission Drive between Alisal Road and First Street, where the shop still stands.

The Book Loft bookstore in Solvang - Kathy Mullins

A café and espresso shop, the Bulldog Café, adjoins two book stores and the museum, creating a community sanctuary of sorts. The Bulldog is a well-known haunt of cyclists, including at one time Lance Armstrong, when he was training in town. And the pleasant scent of coffee and homemade pastries has pulled more than one passerby off the street, where they discover it is a favorite place in the community for folks to pull up a seat and read for a while.

The Book Loft has a section for local authors and for books about the Santa Ynez Valley. It hosts many book signings and launches. Because the store is small, Kathy says that, rather than take advantage of space allowances from publishers, the staff tries to pick and highlight books that they like and that their customers request.

Kathy Mullins never set out to be a museum curator, just a bogforhandlere - Danish for bookseller. “We traveled to buy books, and worked to secure a specialty in Scandinavian books, especially those by Hans Christian Andersen,” she said.

Over time the bookstore gradually expanded into most of the building. In the late 1980s the couple decided to turn the top floor space into a museum dedicated to H. C. Andersen and his works.

“We began collecting Andersen’s editions to sell, but some were so nice we didn’t want to sell them. When we got more room, we began collecting in earnest,” said Kathy. That’s how the H. C. Andersen Museum was born.

“It was quite a project as we spent more time traveling and hunting for books, memorabilia, fixtures, and planning displays, with the help of the late Carl Jacobsen, a master display artist,” Kathy said.

The Hans Christian Andersen Museum opened in late 1989 and was officially dedicated on Andersen’s birthday, April 2, 1990.

Gary and Kathy Mullins also created a non-profit foundation through which the museum is operated, appropriately named The Ugly Duckling Foundation after one of Andersen’s most well-known stories that some say is an autobiography of sorts.

A huge plaster of Paris bust of Andersen looms amid the bookshelves, his prominent features flatteringly crafted by the original sculptor. The same bust, in bronze, is now at home in a little park in the middle of Solvang. It was created for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York, for display in the Danish Pavilion. It, in turn, is a "head-and-shoulders" replica of a full body statue of Andersen that sits in an intersection of a busy Copenhagen thoroughfare.

There are artifacts too — a model of Andersen’s childhood home, wooden shoemaking tools similar to those his father may have used, Andersen’s whimsical paper cutouts and other artwork.

"Now we have the largest collection of Andersen books for sale outside of Denmark," she says, and, as far as she knows, it is the only museum in the United States dedicated to the influential author.

Andersen’s birthday is celebrated at the museum with a cake and party each April 2nd. The celebration also features a storyteller, or special showings of videos made from Andersen's tales.

Gary Mullins died of cancer in January 1996, but Kathy said she knows he would be proud of the way the store and the museum have been accepted and valued as part of the essence of Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley.

The Book Loft has managed to carve out a loyal fan base not so much by catering to tourists, but instead to its market as locals who love to read. Kathy Mullins has developed a wealth of knowledge about all things Andersen, and is always willing to share and enlighten. She observes that Andersen's stories are usually familiar to many people as age-old fables, even before they realize it was Andersen who wrote them.

The Book Loft & H. C. Andersen Museum - Solvang

The museum in the little Danish village--settled by Danish immigrants, where everyone has nurtured the heritage--reflects the famous Dane who wrote more than 150 tales--"We like to say they are for children 8 to 108," according to Kathy.

Not one of his unique stories ended They Lived Happily Ever After, yet they are loved throughout the world, and translated into more languages that any other works of literature except the Bible. "I think that he cultivated the imagination ... some have a clear message, some don’t," said Kathy.

Andersen also wrote and illustrated excellent accounts of his travels. On the other hand, the novels and plays that he wrote have mostly not stood the test of time.

“Andersen is studied in Denmark the way Shakespeare is studied in England and Mark Twain is studied in the United States,” she says. “The big, official Andersen museum is in his hometown of Odense.”

Following in the footsteps of her husband, who was involved in the early development of Solvang Theaterfest, Kathy has been an active theater-goer and has served on the Theaterfest board. She has also served on the Elverhoj Museum board, the Solvang Centennial Committee, and on the board for the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau.

In her spare time, Kathy spends as much time as possible with her eight grandchildren, five of whom live in the Santa Ynez Valley.

In 2005, Kathy Redd Mullins was honored as Grand Marshal of Danish Days Parade. In 2012 she is being honored for her volunteer work in enhancing her community by The Santa Ynez Valley News and the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation.

When Gary and Kathy Mullins opened the Hans Christian Andersen Museum above their store, The Book Loft, they saw it more as a labor of love for a community that had so warmly welcomed their family. They also believed it also was an appropriate addition to Solvang and, of course, a complement to their book business.

“Most of my ‘community involvement’ centers on being in charge of a business that has become a kind of community center where both local people and visitors come for information, advice and relaxation,” Kathy said.

She added that she now spends a majority of her time in the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, in large part because the efforts of the Solvang Visitors Bureau have helped it evolve into a special showcase for Solvang and its Danish heritage.

Kathy often welcomes foreign visitors, many from Russia who often tear up, seeing tales remembered from childhood. The museum also receives many Asian visitors. “Meeting folks from all over the world has been an immense pleasure and an awesome responsibility,” she says. More.

Special thanks to By Raiza Giorgi, Wendy Thompson, & Sherrie Petersen, writers for the Santa Ynez Valley Journal, Solvang, California

Hans Christian Andersen Museum - Solvang, CA

Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark, on April 2, 1805 and he died in 1875.

After his father died in a fire, young Andersen worked
in a garment or fabric factory for a brief time. His mother found the job for him, but he was ill-suited to it, was made fun of by his co-workers, and did not last long there. He also worked in a cigarette factory.

Andersen later enrolled in a nearby Slagelse grammar school with the help of a benefactor, Jonas Collin. Andersen’s first novel--The Improvisatore--was published in the beginning of 1835 and was a hit.

Andersen was a prolific author of striking tales that have been translated into hundreds of languages.

The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Little Mermaid, and The Princess and the Pea are well-known to children all over the world.

William Dean Howells, in an introduction to Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales, writes:
"Never has a beautiful talent needed an introduction less than Hans Christian Andersen... Every one knows who this gentle Dane was, and almost every one knows what he did."
Andersen’s stories have been brought to life by hundreds of illustrators and storytellers with their many interpretations of his fairy tales. The treasured tales have become well-loved additions to family libraries and read by parents to lucky children who love to listen to Andersen’s words come to life.

Hans Christian Andersen's literary legacy is a little more widely understood and appreciated in the world today, thanks to Kathy Redd Mullins.

Hans Christian Anderson Museum, Solvang
Hans Christian Anderson Museum, Solvang


Kathy Redd Mullins' parents are Charlie Redd [BYH Class of 1911]
and Annaley Naegle Redd, of LaSal and Provo, Utah.

The Redd children include:

  • Katheryn Anne "Kathy" Redd Mullins [BYH Class of 1952] (Gary), Solvang, California (subject of this brief biography)

  • Charles Hardison "Hardy" Redd [BYH Class of 1954] (Sonya), LaSal, Utah;

  • Annaley Redd (died in infancy).

  • Robert Byron Redd [BYH Class of 1957] (Mary), Provo, Utah.

  • Paul David Redd [BYH Class of 1959] (Diane), Paradox, Colorado.

  • Maraley Redd Rasmussen [BYH Class of 1961] (Richard), Winnetka, Illinois.

  • Beverly Redd Woods [BYH Class of 1963] (Loyd), Mapleton, Utah.

  • Regina Redd Mitchell [BYH Class of 1964] (James), North Salt Lake, Utah.

  • Rebecca Sue Redd Lambert [BYH Class of 1968] (Brian), Mapleton, Utah.

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