University of Idaho

Manuscript Group 218

VARDIS FISHER, 1895-1968

Papers, 1927-1974
1 cubic foot

This assemblage of Vardis Fisher papers was processed by Judith Nielsen in August 1990.


Born in Annis, Idaho, March 31, 1895, Vardis Fisher was the son of Joseph and Temperance (Thornton) Fisher. He received his early education from his mother until he was ready for grade 5 or 6 and began attending Poplar elementary school. He attended the high school in Rigby, Idaho where he graduated in 1915. He received his A.B. from the University of Utah in 1920, then attended the University of Chicago where he received his M.A. in 1922 and his Ph.D in 1925.

He married his first wife, a childhood sweetheart Leona McMurtrey, on September 10, 1917. They had two children before she died in 1924. In 1928 he married Margaret Trusler with whom he had one child; they were divorced in 1939. In 1940 he married Opal Laurel Holmes, and lived with her in Hagerman, Idaho, until his death on July 9, 1968.

Following his graduation from the University of Chicago he taught English at University of Utah for several years, then at New York University where he became friendly with Thomas Wolfe. In 1931 he moved back to his father's ranch in Idaho in order to continue writing, and when in 1935 he was named director of the WPA writer's project in Idaho he moved to Boise.

Following his marriage to Opal Holmes in 1940 he built a home near Hagerman, Idaho, where he wrote his monumental Testament of Man series. He wrote novels, historical works, essays, and newspaper columns and was considered Idaho's most prominent and prolific author.


The material in this record group includes correspondence from Vardis Fisher to University of Idaho Professor Francis Laney concerning the Idaho Writer's Project, between Vardis Fisher and University of Idaho Humanities Librarian George Kellogg, and letters from Harry Schwartz to Kellogg's successor, Milo Nelson, concerning Schwartz's article on Fisher. There are also articles by and about Vardis Fisher.

Related material may be found in Manuscript Group 57 George Kellogg Papers, and Manuscript Group 5320 Letters from Vardis Fisher to Harry Schwartz.


The material in this group has been arranged in two series: correspondence and other materials and articles about and by Vardis Fisher.

The first group includes correspondence from Vardis Fisher to University of Idaho geology professor Francis Laney concerning articles to be used in the Idaho Writer's books, original letters to George Kellogg, Humanities librarian who was working on a bibliography of Fisher, and carbons of Kellogg's letters to Fisher, and letters to Milo Nelson from Harry Schwartz concerning his article on Fisher. Also included are transcripts of two interviews with Fisher, several articles about him and printed articles by him, which also include a typescript of a portion of his book Suicide or Murder. The final items in this series are an article about and an invitation to the film "Jeremiah Johnson" based on Fisher's novel Mountain Man.

The second series consists of photocopies of articles about and by Fisher. Those about him are arranged alphabetically by author, those by him are alphabetical by title. With the exception of "Postscript on Maturity" there is no duplication between series.


I.	Correspondence and Other Materials, 1935-1974	1
II.	Articles, 1927-1970	1
	A.	Articles about Vardis Fisher, 1939-1970
	B.	Articles by Vardis Fisher, 1927-1964


I. Correspondence and Other Materials, 1935-1974

1	1	Correspondence from Vardis Fisher concerning Idaho Writer's Project, 1935-1938	12
	2	Correspondence from Vardis Fisher to George Kellogg, 1960-1968	31
	3	Correspondence from George Kellogg to Vardis Fisher, 1960-1968	12
	4	Correspondence between Harry Schwartz and Milo Nelson, 1974	10
	5	Interviews with Vardis Fisher, ca.1960-1961	2
	6	Articles about Vardis Fisher, 1939-1963	6
	7	Articles by Vardis Fisher, 1947-1962	7
	8	Jeremiah Johnson: article and invitation, 1972	2

II. Articles , 1927-1970

A. Articles about Vardis Fisher, 1939-1970

	9	Davis, David B. Children of God: an historian's evaluation. Western humanities review, winter, 1953	1
	10	Flora, Joseph M. Vardis Fisher and the Mormons. Dialogue: a journal of Mormon thought, Autumn 1969	1
	11	Flora, Joseph M. Vardis Fisher and Wallace Stegner: teacher and student. Western American Literature, 1970	1
	12	Kellogg, George A. First man of Idaho letters. Bookmark, March 1961	1
	13	Long, Louise. Children of God. [reviewed in] Southwest review, October 1939	1

B. Articles by Vardis Fisher, 1927-1964

	14	Antelope people. Antelope people: the North family. Voices, March 1928, April 1929	1
	15	Author's field day; a symposium on Marxist criticism. New masses, July 3, 1934	1
	16	Charivari. Rocky Mountain review, 1939	1
	17	An Essay for men. Esquire, September 1936	1
	18	Fifteen against death. Rocky Mountain review, 1943	1
	19	Hometown revisited; the Antelope Hills, Idaho. Tomorrow, December 1949	1
	20	Joe Burt's wife. Direction, Autumn, 1934	1
	21	A legend of red hair. Direction, Spring 1937	1
	22	The Mormons. Transatlantic, May 1944	1
	23	The Mothers. Omnibook, November 1943	1
	24	My experiences with Thomas Wolfe. Tomorrow, April 1951	1
	25	Novel writing is my trade. Tomorrow, August 1950	1
	26	Old Timers. Globe, intimate journal, 1937	1
	27	Overalls or trails. Globe, intimate journal, February-March 1938	1
	28	A Partnership with death. Rocky Mountain review, 1942	1
	29	Postscript on maturity. Inland, Winter 1950	1
	30	Sonnets to an imaginary Madonna. Voices, December 1926/January 1927	1
	31	Swift. Voices, October 1927	1
	32	Thomas Wolfe and Maxwell Perkins. Tomorrow, July 1951	1
	33	Western novel--a symposium: Vardis Fisher. South Dakota Review, Autumn 1964.	1

November 1995 / mg218.htm

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