Monday, July 2, 2012

Out of the Past: Notable Idaho Writers

First, I would like to further congratulate the winners of our recent Writing North Idaho "Can You Haiku" Contest. Our wining entries came from Idaho, France, and Texas! To Thomas Leo (1st), Minh-Triet Pham (2nd), and G. Elizabeth Law (3rd), WELL DONE! Viewers may read the winning entries here:

It is wonderful, thanks to the Internet, that today so many writers from across the world can come together in such a simple way as entering an online Haiku contest in Idaho.

Terrific writers come from all over the world, many achieving varying degrees of fame. Some of these notable writers have links to Idaho---ones who spent most of their lives in Idaho, and others who spent bits and pieces of their lives here.

Following are brief profiles of seven such writers.


Ezra Weston Loomis Pound
Born: 1885 - Hailey, Idaho
Died: 1972 - Venice, Italy

Ezra Pound, was born in Hailey, Idaho in 1885, 11 miles south of where Ernest Hemingway is now buried. At 18 months, Pound left Idaho with his parents to grow up and become one of the controversial movers and shakers of modern literature. Pound’s significant contributions to poetry began with his promotion of Imagism. His later work, for nearly fifty years, focused on his encyclopedic epic poem he entitled The Cantos.

In 1924, Pound moved to Italy where he became involved in Fascist politics. He returned to the United States in 1945 and was arrested on charges of treason. In 1946, he was acquitted, but declared mentally ill and committed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C.. During his confinement, the jury of the Bollingen-Library of Congress Award awarded him the prize for the Pisan Cantos (1948). After his release from the hospital in 1958, Pound returned to Italy and settled in Venice, where he died, a semi-recluse, in 1972.


Sources and additional information about Ezra Pound: 

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Born: 1875 - Chicago, Illinois
Died: 1950 - Encino, California

Edgar Rice Burroughs creator of the Tarzan stories was one of the most famous part-time residents of Pocatello, Idaho.

During the Chicago  influenza epidemic in 1891, he spent a half year at his brother's ranch on the Raft River in Idaho. After time in the military, he returned to Idaho and became the owner of a stationery store in Pocatello in 1898. That time was followed by other work; some in Idaho, later in Chicago.

By 1911, Burroughs had begun to write fiction. He began reading and aiming his work toward the pulp genre. His first story, Under the Moons of Mars, was serialized in All-Story Magazine in 1912. Burroughs soon took up writing full-time and by the time the run of Under the Moons of Mars had finished he had completed two novels, including Tarzan of the Apes, which was published from October 1912 and went on to become one of his most successful series.

During WWII, Burroughs became one of the oldest U. S. war correspondents. After the war ended, he moved to California, where, after many health problems, he died of a heart attack on March 19, 1950. He had written nearly 70 novels.


Sources and additional information about Edgar Rice Burroughs:


Nell Shipman
Author, Screenwriter
Born: 1892 - Victoria, British Columbia
Died: 1970 -  Cabazon, California

Nell Shipman was a Canadian actress, author and screenwriter, producer, director, and animal trainer who had become a Coeur d’Alene resident after a badly sprained ankle stopped her from touring with a traveling theater company in 1910. The lifestyle and history of Idahoans captivated her, inspiring her to eventually produce a number of films at her Priest Lake studio, Lionhead Lodge, in northern Idaho between 1922-24.

She is best known for her work in James Oliver Curwood stories and for portraying strong, adventurous women. In 1919, she and her producer husband, Ernest Shipman, made the most successful silent film in Canadian history, Back to God's Country, one of the first films made in Idaho.

She stopped producing films in the mid-1920s, but continued writing throughout her career and wrote a number of novels, short stories and screenplays. Shipman was a woman film pioneer, a movie-maker who insisted on the humane treatment of animals, the value of location shooting, and the necessity of independent production in filmmaking. She died in Cabozon, California, in 1970, just one year after she finished her autobiography. 


Sources and additional information about Nell Shipman:

Carol Ryrie Brink
 Born: 1895 - Moscow, Idaho
Died: 1981 La Jolla, California

Caroline Ryrie Brink was the daughter of the first mayor of the town of Moscow, Idaho. Early orphaned, she was reared by her grandmother Caroline Augusta Woodhouse Watkins whose  stories about growing up in the Wisconsin woods were the basis of a number of books and short stories, including the 1935 Newbery Award winning work of children's fiction Caddie Woodlawn.

Brink attended the University of Idaho then Berkeley in 1918. After living in Europe for a time, she moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where she began writing articles and short stories for local publications. She soon graduated to national publications and then started writing book-length works of fiction, for both adults and children. She authored three plays and twenty-seven novels.

Her novels won several awards: the John Newberry Award for Caddie Woodlawn; the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award for Caddie Woodlawn; the Friends of American Writers Award for The Headland; the McKnight Family Foundation Medal for Snow in the River; the National League of American Pen Women Award for Snow in the River; the Southern California Council of Literature for Children and Young People Award; and the Kerland Award for Four Girls on a Homestead. She also received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Idaho in 1965.

Carol Ryrie Brink Hall, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho


Sources and additional information about Carol Brink:


Vardis Alvero Fisher
Born: March 31, 1895 Annis, Idaho
Died: July 9, 1968 Hagerman, Idaho

Vardis Fisher was born in Annis, Idaho, near present-day Rigby. Fisher was an assistant professor of English at the University of Utah and at New York University. He also taught as a summer professor at Montana State University in Bozeman.

Between 1935 and 1939, Fisher worked as the director of the Idaho Writer's Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. He wrote several books about Idaho. He was also a newspaper columnist for the Idaho Statesman and Idaho Statewide (which later became the Intermountain Observer).

Fisher’s Testament of Man series, reprinted by Pyramid Books as mass-market paperbacks in 1960, inspired the DC Comics editor Joe Orlando and the comic book Anthro. His historical novel, Children of God, tracing the history of the Mormons, won the 1939 Harper Prize in Fiction. His novel Mountain Man was adapted for Sydney Pollack's film, Jeremiah Johnson. The Mothers: An American Saga of Courage told the story of the Donner Party tragedy. Tale of Valor is a novel recounting the Lewis and Clark Expedition. God or Caesar? is his non-fiction book on how to write.

Fisher died in 1968 at the age of 73 in Hagerman, Idaho.


Sources and additional information about Vardis Fisher:

Ernest Hemingway 
Born: 1899 - Oak Park, Illinois
Died: 1961 - Ketchum, Idaho

Born in Oak Park, Illinois, Ernest Hemingway started his career as a writer in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen. After the First World War, he became a reporter for Canadian and American newspapers.

During the twenties, Hemingway became a member of the group of expatriate Americans in Paris, which he described in his first important work, The Sun Also Rises (1926). Equally successful was A Farewell to Arms (1929), the study of an American ambulance officer's disillusionment in the war and his role as a deserter. Hemingway used his experiences as a reporter during the civil war in Spain as the background for his most ambitious novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Among his later works, the most outstanding is the short novel, The Old Man and the Sea (1952), the story of an old fisherman's journey, his long and lonely struggle with a fish and the sea, and his victory in defeat.

His straightforward prose, his spare dialogue, and his predilection for understatement are particularly effective in his short stories, some of which are collected in Men Without Women (1927) and The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938). Hemingway died in Ketchum  Idaho in 1961.


For additional information about Earnest Hemingway:  


Cecil Whitaker "Ted" Trueblood
Outdoors writer, Conservationist 
Born: 1913 Boise, Idaho
Died: 1982 Idaho

Born in Boise, “Ted” Trueblood was raised on his parents farm near Homedale, Idaho. He sold his first article, A Certain Idaho Trout, to National Sportsman magazine the same year he graduated from Wilder High School. After attending the University of Idaho in Moscow, he returned to Boise to work as a reporter for the Boise Capital News. He soon began a lifelong affiliation with the conservation movement by helping organize the Idaho Wildlife Federation. In 1941 Trueblood was offered the position of Fishing Editor with Field & Stream in New York.

Years later Trueblood returned to Idaho, where he continued to write for the magazine as Associate Editor for the remainder of his life. Trueblood became involved in a number of conservation groups and was the recipient of numerous awards for his work with conservation and outdoor groups. In 1975 the U. S. Department of the Interior presented him with its Conservation Service Award. 

Trueblood loved to write about the outdoors almost as much as he loved the outdoors itself. He contributed hundreds of articles to outdoor journals, edited several book-length anthologies of his work, and played an influential role in the conservation and environmental movement of the American West.

The Ted Trueblood collection at Boise State University preserves Trueblood’s literary and photographic legacy.

To read the papers and letters of Cecil Trueblood: 
Sources and additional information and to read the papers and letters of Cecil Trueblood: 

1 comment:

Jennifer Rova said...

Excellent, informative post. I loved all the information plus the pictures of the authors and their books. thanks for such an educational piece of writing.