Patricia Beatty was born on August 26, 1922, in Lapush, Washington. Raised near the Quillayute reservation, she learned a great deal from these people about their culture and beliefs. These early impressions gave her a lifelong interest in history.
When her husband, John Louis Beatty, took a job as a history professor at the University of California Riverside in 1953, she began writing her first book, The Indian Canoemaker, co-authored by John. She wrote her second book while her new baby daughter slept. Eventually, she authored more than 50 books, 10 of which John co-authored.
After John's death in 1975, Patricia married Carl Uhr, a professor of economics at the University of California. They were married for 16 years.
An avid reader all her life, Patricia felt that, "What a young person reads becomes part of his or her mental luggage forever! This is the learning time, short but vital to the future adult. That mental luggage deserves to be filled with the best stuff only, not pap. It may have a long, long way to go." Patricia died suddenly in 1991, at the age of 69.
John and Patricia were great admirers of California and its history, establishing the John and Patricia Beatty Award, which is given annually to honor the book that best promotes an awareness of California and its people.