This addendum to the David Lane Wright collection
(COLL MSS 2) contains further writings, correspondence, and journals, as well as some
Air Force and college material from the Idaho writer. Since Wright generally kept copies
of his own letters, the collection contains outgoing as well as received correspondence.
Also includes are notes and draft for some of his novels, short stories, and other forms
of writing. Collection predominantly in English with some notes in French and
Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives Manuscript Collection
Merrill-Cazier Library Utah State University 3000 Old Main Hill Logan, UT 84322-3000 Phone: 435 797-1663 Fax: 435 797-2880 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Collection materials are in English.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant,
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. Character's based on 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 full-time 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 as well as 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 February 1964. Later, 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 he was later promoted to the rank of
Major. When he returned from Vietnam in December, 1966, he and Nancy divorced with
Wright maintaining custody of the children. In February of 1967, he suffered a heart
attack. He recovered somewhat and returned 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.
David L. Wright. "Autobiography." David Lane Wright Papers Mss Coll 2, box 7,
Fds 5, 6. Special Collections and Archives, Utah State University Merrill Library,
James Miller. "Discovering A Mormon Writer: David L. Wright 1929-1967."
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. V(2), pp. 79-85.
David L. Wright. "Autobiography." David Lane Wright Addendum Mss Coll 39, box
12, Fd 1. Special Collections and Archives, Utah State University Merrill Library,
This addendum to the David Lane Wright collection (Mss Coll 2), contains further
writings, correspondence, and journals, as well as some Air Force material from the
Idaho writer. The collection has been organized along the same lines as the original
collection with boxes devoted to correspondence, his writing, his career in the Air
Force, and his journals.
boxes 1 through 7 contain incoming correspondence from family, friends, and publishers
organized chronologically. A few folders organized by date but containing correspondence
from specific people or institutions were retained since Wright had organized these
himself. The last part of box 7 and all of box 8 contain more correspondence, incoming
or outgoing as noted, which Wright organized into specific collections (such as
correspondence with his friends Vosco Call and Jim Miller, as well some people he knew
in Vietnam), or which had no date. Since Wright generally kept copies of his own
letters, boxes 9 and 10 contain outgoing mail organized chronologically. A great portion
of this correspondence, particularly that from 1955 and 1956, contain information on
Amos Wright, David Wright's great-grandfather, who figured prominently in Idaho and
early-Mormon history and about whom Wright was writing a biography.
boxes 11 through 19 contain publications and drafts of Wright's work. box 11 is
specifically devoted to published versions of his writings in journals and pamphlet
form. boxes 12 through 15 contain drafts, notes, and compilations of short stories as
well as some miscellaneous composition books and free writing. While the attempt has
been to organize the writing to make research easier, for the most part the content of
the folders reflects how Wright organized them. Thus, some folders which contain
untitled manuscripts or miscellaneous writing are as Wright organized them in order to
preserve what order he ascribed them. box 16 contains poetry, poetry compilations, and
essays, while boxes 17 through 19 are devoted to Scripts and Novels, containing notes
and drafts of both. box 20 contains miscellany such as newspaper clippings, photographs,
and programs, including those from the original production of "Still the Mountain Wind."
box 21 has items from college, primarily the University of Iowa, and box 22 is devoted
to Wright's Air Force career and contains photographs, manuals, notes, and official
records. The rest of the collection, boxes 23 through 27 contain Wright's numerous and
detail journals as well as three audio recordings. There is some overlap in the journals
as Wright apparently would start one before he had filled up another and then later
would return and finish the others. He frequently used notebook paper and letters to
fill in for days when he did have his journal with him. Finally, because this is an
addendum to the Mss Coll 2 with which it frequently overlaps, numerous cross references
have been added to aid the researcher in locating all relevant material.
Overall the collection documents and life and work of a voluminous writer who only
began to receive national recognition for his work shortly before his death. That much
of his writing is still relevant is evidenced by posthumously published poetry and
continuing performances of his best known work, "Still the Mountain Wind," performed as
recently as 1995, nearly thirty years over his death. Wright's work documents life in a
small, Mormon community in Southern Idaho, in addition to his research into the life of
Amos Wright. This collection has value, not just for the literary works, but also for
how it documents life and relations in southern Idaho.
Use of the Collection
Restrictions on Access : Restrictions
Open to public research.
Restrictions on Use : Copyright
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of
the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her
transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and
hold harmless the Utah State University Libraries, its officers, employees, and agents
from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of
David Lane Wright addendum, 1940-1967 (COLL MSS 39). Utah State University. Special
Collections and Archives Department.
Organized into boxes devoted to his correspondence, his writing, his career in the Air
Force, and his journals.
Acquisition Information :
Much of the material in this addendum was presented to Utah State University in November
1976 by Mr. Wright's daughter, Charlotte Wright Piggot. In 2003, additional material was
presented to the University by Charlotte Wright, who had retained some of the papers for
her personal research. There are also publications of Mr. Wright's work and references
to these publications which were done posthumously by Ms. Wright.
Early Drafts and Short Stories Chronologically
(see also Mss Coll 2, box VII, Fds 7-15; box XI, Fds 1-21)
Early Drafts: "I Loved Too Young" "Her
Reminiscences" "The Time River" "A Tribute to Eve"
"Critical Papers,Drafts, 1952: "Character
Revelation in The Two Soldiers," "Pattern in Old Morality," "Life-Death Theme
in Death in Venice," "The Last of Jack Robe," "Gunsmoke," "Air Force Doctor!"
"The ECI Murder Case"
Drafts, 1953: "Dreams That Never Came Back"
"Academic Freedom in Secondary Schools" "...Early Though the Laurel Grows..."
Various untitled poems and stories
Short Stories, 1953: "The Bigger Game," "Home
Run" (2 drafts), "Early Though the Laurel Grows..." "Run Sheep Run!" "Of
Pleasures and Palaces," "Ellen," "The Third Dream"
Short Stories, 1958: "The Bigger Game" (2
drafts), "Madonna," "Moods in Chirstmastime," "Something Extra," "Locomotive,"
"A Fisherman among Men," "The Hawk," "The Return," "Home Run"
Story Workshop, notes and outlines for various
stories and story called, "At the Train Station"
Iowa Workshop Stories, 1963: "Memory," "Of
Pleasures and Palaces"
Iowa Workshop Stories, 1963: "The Rough Edge of
Experience," "Still the Mountain Wind"
(see also Mss Coll 2, box VII, Fds 7-15; box XI, Fds 1-21)
"The Rough Edge of Experience"
"The Rough Edge of Experience
"The Eyelash Fantasy and other stories"
Drafts: "The Hawk," "A Train of Events"
"A Summer in the Country," Short story version
of "Still the Mountain Wind"
"Madonna," and other untitled writings and notes
"Madonna: A Novel Condensed by Memory"
Drafts: "The Bigger Game," "The Littlest Nation"
"Speak Ye Tenderly of Kings"
Short Story Writing, notes
College Writings: "Simplicity," "The Old Place,"
"My First Love," "The Eccentricities of Adolescent Love," "The Atomic Bomb"
Drafts: "The Making of a Citizen," "The Day the
Notebook of thoughts and opinions
Poetry and Story Compilation: "An Interlude of
Love," "The Man From Nebraska," "The Old Man and the German Girl," "Academic
Freedom in Secondary Schools," "The Death of Rich," with explanatory
"Of Pleasures and Palaces"
"Of Pleasures and Palaces"
"Big Dreamer," "The Lost Child"
"The Man from Nebraska"
"By Thy Works"
"Shadows in the Wind: Stories from Bennington,