Under Western Skies: Ernest Haycox and the West in Fiction and Film



This exhibit celebrates the life and writings of Oregon author Ernest Haycox, consummate writer of Western fiction whose action stories are about romantic cowboys, ranchers, U.S. marshals, farmers and pioneer women in typical western settings such as frontier towns, army outposts and sprawling cattle ranches. Haycox was a prolific writer who produced 24 novels and more than 200 short stories; his first stories appeared in pulp magazines in the early 1920s and '30s but later he was a regular contributor to many of the national magazines such as Collier's and the Saturday Evening Post.

In the 1960s Jill Haycox, widow of Ernest, generously donated Haycox's personal collection of books about the West to the University of Oregon, Haycox's alma mater. That collection constitutes over 2,000 volumes of rare and scarce books and periodicals about the early history of the West, and by its acquisition richly augmented the scope and depth of Special Collections' print resources.

The Library was also fortunate to acquire Ernest Haycox's personal papers of literary manuscripts, research notes, and other documents, likewise a gift of the Haycox family. Together with his personal library, this collection of research materials became an extremely valuable resource on Western history and Western fiction, a historical treasure unparalleled in its depth and scope on classical Western history.

This exhibit is the fruition of a collaboration of a number of people in the University of Oregon community who generously shared their knowledge and resources to make it a reality. The exhibit was originally the idea of Suzanne Clark, Professor of English, who teaches a course on the literature of the Northwest. The exhibit was coordinated and produced by Linda Long, Manuscripts Librarian in the Division of Special Collections and University Archives. The text was written by Steve McQuiddy, local historian, and Professor Forest Pyle of the Department of English. Duffy Knaus, Manuscripts Assistant, and Will Harmon, Computer Support Technician in the Division of Special Collections; and Cristian Boboia, Graphic Artist in Media Services, provided invaluable technical support. Colleen Bell of Knight Library's Reference Department designed and created the online version of the exhibit, which can be accessed through the Library's web page. This exhibit would not exist but for the support of the Library Administrative Services, in particular Judi Byrum and Doug Hodson. The poster—our exhibit keepsake—was designed by Lori Howard, University Publications.

Under Western Skies is co-sponsored and generously funded by the University Library, the Department of English, the Department of History, and the Oregon Humanities Center. It is my hope that this collaborative effort will provide the viewer with a heightened sense of awareness of the richness of our collections and the significance of the people they represent.

George W. Shipman, University Librarian