Guide to the David Lane Wright papers,
1929-1967

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Wright, David Lane, 1929-1967
Title: David Lane Wright papers
Dates: 1929-1967 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 11 boxes (4.5 linear ft.)
Collection Number: USU_COLL MSS 002
Summary: Roughly divided into half correspondence and half literary output, including literary manuscripts, poems, early journals and diaries (1946-1957), an autobiography (1951), and various publications. Much of the correspondence (1942-1957, 1961-1964) was exchanged with individuals involved with Utah State University athletes; significant correspondents include Dick Romney, John Holway, James Miller, Doris Taylor, and the Wright family. Also includes newspaper clippings and other material on E.L. "Dick" Romney.
Repository: Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives
Manuscript Collection

Merrill-Cazier Library
Utah State University
3000 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-3000
Phone: 435 797-2663
Fax: 435 797-2880
Email: scweb@usu.edu

Languages: Material in English 
Sponsor: Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Biographical Note

David Lane Wright was born on May 22, 1929, in Bennington, Idaho to Conover and Lenora Rich Wright. He was a descendent of LDS Apostle Charles C. Rich. He spent his childhood in Bennington, and from the time he was a young man he kept copious journals. He loved sports, especially baseball and football, and enjoyed exploring the terrain around Bennington and Montpelier which figures prominently in his work. When he was seven, his brother Rich, to whom he had been very close, died from an acute appendicitis and this event continued to influence David for the rest of his life and the character of his brother often appeared under different names in many of his writings. In fact his most prominent piece, a play first produced in 1956 called “Still the Mountain Wind,” was about Rich's death.

Wright started attending Utah State University,(then called Utah State Agricultural College), in 1946 at the age of seventeen on an athletic scholarship. He studied English under the tutelage of Professors A. N. Sorensen and Ira Hayward both of whom encouraged him to write and publish. He also was a sports writer for the student paper. Throughout his life, his dream was to become a writer, but he also prepared to become an English teacher. For the first three years at college he was on the track team and played football. His final year he quit football to spend more time writing.

After graduation Wright held many jobs as a teacher throughout Idaho. On October 22, 1950 he married Nancy Johnson, one of his students from Rexburg. He changed positions several times and eventually ended up back his home town working at the elementary school. He entered the Air Force and was called into active duty and continued write, winning several Air Force story contests and producing his work, “Still the Mountain Wind.” Also during this time he was stationed in various places throughout the United States and the world including South Dakota, Florida, Alabama, and Iceland.

In 1963, Wright was able to pursue his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa while still in the Air Force. He completed it in 1964. While stationed in Alabama during this time, he became involved in the civil rights campaign. In 1965, Wright was sent to Saigon, Vietnam. There he performed mostly administrative and diplomatic duties, earning a Bronze Star and was promoted to rank of Major. When he returned from Vietnam in December, 1966, he and Nancy divorced. Wright maintained custody of the children. In February of 1967, he suffered a heart attack. He recovered somewhat and was able to return to his home in Montgomery, Alabama where he lived for the next four months. On June 26, 1967, he suffered a second heart attack and passed away at the age of thirty-eight.

Content Description

This collection contains the letters and writings of David Lane Wright. The scope and breadth is impressive due no doubt to Wright's compulsive saving, including letters he received as a child. The first six boxes are devoted to Wright's correspondence with friends, family, publishers, and the Air Force. box 1 contains outgoing mail from 1942 to 1963. boxes 2 through 5 contain incoming mail organized either chronologically or by addressee along the lines which Wright organized them himself. box six contains the envelopes from these letters. box seven contains early writings and autobiographical writings. boxes 8 through 11 contain some his writings. box 8 contains college writings and recommendations to the University of Iowa. box 9 contains mostly drafts and reviews of “Still the Mountain Wind.” box 10 contains drafts of “River Saints,” and “Speak Ye Tenderly of Kings.” The final box, box 11, contains various other poems and short stories. Finally, because the addendum was too large to incorporate into this collection and since they overlap, cross references to the addendum have been added to this register where appropriate.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

No restrictions on use, except: not available through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Use :  

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the David Lane Wright papers must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.

Preferred Citation :  

Initial Citation: David Lane Wright papers USU_COLL MSS 002, box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library. Logan, Utah.

Following Citations:USU_COLL MSS 002, USUSCA.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Arranged by subject and chronologically

Acquisition Information :  

Received as a gift from Charlotte Wright Piggot, Janice Wright Ruediger, Paul David Wright, and Gregory G. Wright--1973.

Related Materials :  

David Lane Wright AddendumMss Coll 39

David Lane Wright Photograph CollectionPO135

Bibliography :  Monographs
  • Autobiography David L. Wright. “Autobiography.” David Lane Wright Addendum Mss Coll 39, box 12, Fd 1. Special Collections and Archives, Utah State University Merrill Library: Logan, Utah.
  • Autobiography David L. Wright. “Autobiography.” David Lane Wright Papers Mss Coll 2, , box 7, Fds 5, 6. Special Collection and Archives, Utah State University Merrill Library: Logan, Utah.
Bibliography :  Serial Publications
  • Discovering A Mormon Writer: David L. Wright 1929-1967 James Miller. “Discovering A Mormon Writer: David L. Wright 1929-1967.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. V(2), pp. 79-85.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I:  Correspondence Sent, 1942-1963
(17 folders)

Chronological Arrangement (see also Mss Coll 39, box 9, Fds 4-8; box 10; box 10a)

Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
1 1 June 2, 1942 - August 24, 1945
1 2 September 5, 1945 - December l9, 1946
1 3 December 12, 1947 - July 16, 1949
1 4 August 9, 1953 - October 27, 1953
1 5 November 10, 1953 - January 22, 1954
1 6 January 30, 1954 - March 23, 1954
1 7 March 26, 1954 - May 11, 1954
1 8 May 15, 1954 - July 5, 1954
1 9 July 6, 1954 - August 24, 1954
1 10 September, 1954 - December, 1956
1 11 January, 1957 - February, 1957
1 12 March, 1957 - April, 1957
1 13 1958 to 1962
1 14 January, 1962 - March, 1962
1 15 April, 1962 - September, 1962
1 16 October, 1962 - December 1962
1 17 1963

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II:  Correspondence Received To 1950, 1949-1950
(13 folders)

Listed Alphabetically (see also Mss Coll 39, box 1, Fds 1-2)

Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
2 1 Correspondence Allen - Croft
(13 folders)
2 2 Correspondence Deseret News - Dunn
2 3 Correspondence French - Hunter
2 4 Correspondence Ipsen - Montpelier
2 5 Correspondence James Miller
2 6 Correspondence Olsen - Robertson See also: Peterson, Betty and Romney, Dick
2 7 Correspondence Peterson, Betty
2 8 Correspondence sent to Romney, Dick September, 1949
2 9 Correspondence Received to Romney, Dick June, 1950
2 10 Correspondence Sarbach - Stephens
2 11 Correspondence Teuscher - Tuddenham See also: Taylor, Doris
2 12 Correspondence Taylor, Doris
2 13 Correspondence Utah - Young

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III:  Correspondence Received From The Wright Family And Unidentified Correspondence, 1948-1950
(11 folders)

Arranged by Addressee (see also Mss Coll 39, box 1, Fd 1; box 7, Fds 7-13)

Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
3 l See also: Wright; Conover, Donna, Lenore Nona Marie, and Robert E 1950
3 2 from Conover Wright, to 1950
3 3 Donna Wright, to 1950
3 4 Lenore Wright, to 1950
3 5 Nona Marie Wright, to 1948
3 6 Nona Marie Wright, 1948-1950
3 7 Robert E. Wright, to 1950
3 8 Unidentified Addressors, to 1950
3 9 Unidentified Addressors, Received to
Fd 2
1950
3 10 Unidentified Addressors, Received to
Fd 3
1950
3 11 Cards and Announcements (some identified)

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IV:  Correspondence Received, 1951-1959
(19 folders)

Chronological with Individual folders Alphabetic (see also Mss Coll 39, box 1 Fd 2-6; box 3 Fd 1-8)

Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
4 1 1951 - 1953
4 2 Alleman - Bailey July, 1953 - August 24, 1954
4 3 Call - Sorensen. See also: Holmes, Larry; Miller, James; Stephens, Geneva July, 1953 - August 24, 1954
4 4 Holmes, Larry July, 1953 - August 24, 1954
4 5 Miller, James April - August, 1953
4 6 Miller, James
Fd 2
September to December, 1953
4 7 Miller, James
Fd 3
January - April, 1954
4 8 Miller, James
Fd 4
May - August, 1954
4 9 Stephens, Geneva Wright July, 1953 - August, 1954
4 10 Wright (Conover, Donna, Warren) July, 1953 - August, 1954
4 11 Wright, Leonore July, 1953 - August, 1954
4 12 Willie, Mervyn July, 1953 - August, 1954
4 13 Bennington Children July, 1953 - August, 1954
4 14 Unidentified Correspondence July, 1953 - August, 1954
4 15 Cards and Announcements July, 1953 - August, 1954
4 16 Poetry Public July, 1953 - August, 1954
4 17 Alphabetically. See also: Wright; Conover, Lenore, Warren 1948 - 1959
4 18 Wright; Conover, Lenore and Warren 1958 - 1959
4 19 Unidentified 1958 - 1959

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V:  Correspondence Received November, 1961 - 1965
(12 folders)

Arranged Alphabetically by Addressee (see also Mss Coll 39, box 4, Fd 4 -5; box 7, Fd 1- 2)

Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
5 1 Abramson - Brosnan, See also: Massachusetts Review; Brown, Robert; and Esquire 1962
5 2 Call - Esquire, For Esty, Jane, see Mutiny; for Hills, Rust, see Esquire 1962
5 3 Hendricks - Mutiny, See also Miller, James (2 Fds) For Lett, Paul, see Mutiny; for Hills, Rust, see Esquire; for Massachusetts Review, see also Abramson, Doris 1962
5 4 Miller, James November, 1961 - May, 1962
5 5 Miller, James June, 1962 - December 1962
5 6 Saturday - Wright 1962
5 7 unidentified 1962
5 8 Alleman - Cummins 1964-65
5 9 Esty - Mueller See also: Miller, James
(Photos with Mueller correspondence)
1964-65
5 10 N - Z 1964-1965
5 11 Miller, James 1964
5 12 Miller, James 1965

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VI:  Envelopes From The Correspondence, 1929-1967
(one box)

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VII:  Journals, Autobiographical Accounts, Early Writings, M. F. A. Thesis, 1940-1949
(16 folders)

(For Journals, see also Mss Coll 39, box 23 - box 27; for M. F. A. work see also Mss Coll 39, box 21, Fd 1; for early writings see also Mss Coll 39, box 13, Fds 1-4)

Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
7 1 Work Schedules (Writing)
8 leaves included day book notes
1956
7 2 Student Teaching Critiques 1949
7 3 Journal 1946
7 4 Journal November 5, 1946 - April 15, 1947
7 5 Autobiography
See also: "The Death of Rick", Fd 1
1950 - 1951
7 6 Autobiographical Sketch
6 typescript pages, 1st carbon Probably written as part of an application for Paul Engle's creative writing workshop at University of Iowa
April 15, 1962
7 7 Early Writings
one notebook 38 holograph typescript leaves
1940s
7 8 Early Writings
33 typescript and holograph sheets
1940s
7 9 Early Writings Summer,1947
7 10 Early Writings
7 11 Early Writings Notebook
7 12 Early Writings Notebook
7 13 Early Writings Notebook
7 14 Early Writings Notebook
7 15 Miscellaneous Early Papers
7 16 MFA Thesis, State University of Iowa, "Afterward and Before: Four Stories", "Of Pleasures and Palaces", "A Train of Events", "A Summer in the Country", "Speak Ye Tenderly of Things"

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VIII:  College Notes, Athletic Papers, Romney Correspondence, Letters Of Recommendation To State University Of Iowa, Civil Service Forms, Early Poems By James Miller , 1936-1956
(11 folders)

(see also Mss Coll 39, box 15, Fd 3; box 21)

Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
8 1 E. L. "Dick" Romney, Correspondence
in the files of David Wright 14 pieces, most dealing with USU-AAU playoffs in 1936
1936-1949
8 2 U. S. U. Athletic Papers Notes from Romney to Wright, Sports information prepared by Wright, and Correspondence dealing with this
23 pieces
8 3 Class Notes, Fall Quarter 1947
8 4 Class Notes (Literary Notes) 1947 - 1948
8 5 Class Notes, Fall Quarter 1948
8 6 Class Notes, Winter Quarter 1948
8 7 Published Material, U. S. U.
8 8 Newspaper Clippings
8 9 Letters of Recommendation for the Creative Writing Workshop at State University of Iowa
19 pieces
8 10 Civil Service Forms, Application for position as Publications Editor/ Writer, GSll, USAF
13 pieces
1956
8 11 Early Poems by James Miller,
12 items, some duplicates
1947 - 1949

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IX:  "Still The Mountain Wind," Genera, Articles , 1954-1956
(18 folders)

(For “Still the Mountain Wind,” see also Mss Coll 39, box 17, Fds 4-7; for articles see Mss Coll 39, box 16, Fds 7-18)

Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
9 1 "The Death of Rich" 47 pages Typescript, first carbon Ca. 1954 Autobiographical account Formed basis for dramatization as "Still the Mountain Wind"
9 2 Notes on dramatizing "Still the Mountain Wind" Notes on discussions with Joe Robertson and Ken Olson at Panama City, Florida
9 3 Pre-production Correspondence for "Still the Mountain Wind"
Contains holographs
1955-1956
9 4 Script "Still the Mountain Wind" typescript, early draft Contains holograph corrections and changes by Vosco Call
37 pages
9 5 Script "Still the Mountain Wind" typescript, late draft
Holograph corrections by Vosco Call 20 Pages
January 25, 1956
9 6 Script "Still the Mountain Wind"
2 bound copies
1956
9 7 Script "Still the Mountain Wind"
Director's copy for Logan Premiere performance
1956
9 8 Critiques from Premiere performance Comments received on forms distributed to the audience
24 pieces
9 9 Critiques from Premiere performance letters from member of the audience
9 10 Critiques from Premiere performance Typescript copies of contents of Fds 8 & 9
9 11 Newspaper and other articles on the Premiere performance
9 12 Correspondence Sent
Contents: possibilities of further productions of "Still the Mountain Wind"
March to December, 1956
9 13 Correspondence Received
Regarding further productions of "Still the Mountain Wind"
March to December, 1956
9 14 Critiques for the 1960 Beaver High School Production of "Still the Mountain Wind"
60 items
9 15 "A Summer in the Country" 29 pages, typescript Rewrite of the play into short story form
9 16 Reviews of "A Summer in the Country" 5 items, typescript and mimeograph Short story published in Mutiny, Autumn 1960
9 17 Genera. Typescript of works by David L. Wright Poems and prose
9 18 Articles by David L. Wright

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X:  "River Saints: A Mormon Chronicle" And "Speak Ye Tenderly Of Kings", 1964 and 1969
(12 folders)

(For “River Saints,” see also Mss Coll 39, box 16, Fd 6; for “Speak Ye Tenderly,” see also Mss Coll 39, box 14, Fd 13)

Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
10 1 "River Saints", preliminary notes 8 pages holograph, 1 page typed
10 2 "My Peaceful Village: An Account of my Visit Home, October 13-29, 1964 (from my Journal, notes, and added rememberings)" 6 typescript pages with holograph corrections and changes The prose account written on which the poetic form of "River Saints" is based
10 3 "My Peaceful Village ..." 26 pages typescript Revised draft First page missing
10 4 "River Saints" Preliminary draft 52 typescript pages with holograph addenda
10 5 "River Saints" Partially revised draft [8], 24-52pp., typescript, first carbon
10 6 "River Saints: A Mormon Chronicle" Logan, [1969] Edited, put in final form and printed by James Miller
10 7 Notes 6 pages, holograph, 10 pages typescript Notes in Wright's hand with typescript re-working (possibly by James Miller) Suggests treatment of novel "Speak Ye Tenderly of Kings" (in Deseret's Sweet Land) in the manner of River Saints
10 8 Notes 28 typescript pages (Various numbers) from novel "Speak Ye Tenderly of Kings"
10 9 "Speak Ye Tenderly of Kings" (short story) two items, typescript, 17 pages; reprint, pp. 23-33 considerable variation in wording
10 10 "Speak Ye Tenderly of Kings" (play) preliminary drafts adapted from short story by Charles W. Whitman (q. v. in "Correspondence Received") Contains correspondence and holograph notes by both Wright and Whitman
10 11 "Speak Ye Tenderly of Kings" A one act play by Charles W. Whitman and David L. Wright Adapted from a short story of the same name by David L. Wright two drafts (one with carbon copy) and a typed page of notes from Vosco Call on production descriptions
10 12 "Speak Ye Tenderly of Kings" 480 typescript pages with holograph notes Originally titled "In Deseret's Sweet Land", the strongly autobiographical novel which Wright mined for the production of short stories, including that of the same name

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XI:  Short Stories And Poems, Undated
(27 folders)

(for short stories see also Mss Coll 39, boxes 13-15; for poetry see Mss Coll 39, box 16, Fds 1-6)

Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
11 1 "The Bigger Game" 11 pages typescript, first carbon
11 2 "A Boy and Girl and An Evening" 5 pages typescript, 1 page typed notes, all with holograph changes
11 3 "By Thy Works" 2 pages mimeographed 2 copies
11 4 "Every Little Moment" 2 pages typed Also titled "The Time After the First Time"; "The Argument B. C. and A. D."
11 5 "A Fisherman Among Men" 9 pages typescript See also: "River Saints" and "The Conscience of the Village"
11 6 "Flight" 25 pages, holograph
11 7 "The Hawk" 7 pages typescript, second carbon
11 8 "Her Third Birthday" 3 pages 2 original typescript copies
11 9 "The Hero" 11 pages typescript
11 10 "The High Life" 10 pages, 3 drafts with holograph corrections and notes
11 11 "Honesty is the Best Policy Except Sometimes" 11 pages typescript two drafts included first carbon of early draft entitled "The Making of a Citizen" and original and two carbons of final draft holograph notes on first carbon
11 12 "Of Pleasures and Palaces" 45 typescript pages with holograph changes Earlier titled "Amid the Alien Corn" Final draft in MFA Thesis
11 13 "Of Pleasures and Palaces" Third draft 40 pages, original and partial carbon typescript Original with holograph changes
11 14 "Of Pleasures and Palaces" Fourth draft 36 pages, typescript with holograph changes
11 15 "Of Pleasures and Palaces" Fifth draft 40 pages First carbon with holograph changes
11 16 "A Measure of Contentment" 11 pages typescript together with page proofs from publication in The Humanist
11 17 "Mice Men and Principles" 7 and 8 pages Five drafts
11 18 "Moods in Christmastime" various drafts in typescript and ditto
11 19 "Too Small" 5 pages, 12 drafts, typescript and carbon with holograph changes Titled through various re-workings "The Littlest Enemy" "What Little Boys Are Made Of" "Comes The Revolution" "The Day the Revolution Began"
11 20 "Sparkplug" 5 pages, original and first carbon
11 21 "A Train of Events" 13 pages, Six drafts Typescript with holograph changes, also first carbon
11 22 Poems 1 (Drafts) "A Difference in Age" - "Hired Help"
11 23 Poems 2 (Drafts) "Inside the Outside Boy, Down South" - "Six Years of Marriage and One Threat"
11 24 Poems 3 (Drafts) "Small Town Girl" - "Word of Wisdom from a Friend"
11 25 Poems (Untitled)
11 26 Poems (Last revisions) Typescript by Janice Wright from last known revisions
11 27 "Scenes From a Train Trip (to Larry Holmes)" Poem 6 pages typescript with holograph changes

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Subjects

    • Subject Terms :
    • Authors, American--Idaho
    • Authors, American--Utah
    • Mormon authors--Idaho
    • Mormon authors--Utah
    • Poets, American--Idaho
    • Poets, American--Utah
    • Personal Names :
    • Romney, E. L. (Ernest Lowell), 1895
    • Wright, David Lane, 1929-1967
    • Family Names :
    • Wright family

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