Mary Farkas was the director of the First Zen Institute of America (FZIA), running the center's administrative functions for many years following the death of her teacher (Sokei-an) in 1945. Though she was not a teacher of Zen Buddhism in any traditional sense of the word, she did help to carry on the lineage of Sokei-an and also was editor of the FZIA's journal, Zen Notes, starting with Volume 1 in 1954. Additionally, she also edited books about Sokei-an, i.e. "The Zen Eye" and "Zen Pivots." Through her transcriptions of his talks, the institute was able to continue on the lineage without having a formal teacher.
Zen was introduced in the United States at the end of the 19th century by Japanese teachers who went to America to serve groups of Japanese immigrants and become acquainted with the American culture.
Though its origins are distant, today there are plenty of prominent American Zen .