Brewster Ghiselin photograph collection, 1950-1980s  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Brewster Ghiselin photograph collection
1950-1980s (inclusive)
136 photographs
Collection Number
The Brewster Ghiselin photograph collection contains photographs of Writer's Conference activities; portrait photographs of conference participants; three views of areas in Utah photographed by Karl F. Kunkel.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections.
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT
Telephone: 801-581-8863
Access Restrictions

Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Brewster Ghiselin was born in Webster Groves, Missouri, in 1903, but once said that he felt more at home in California near Mt. Tamalpais, where he moved at age 18. Ghiselin is specifically well-known for his poem "The Rattlesnake" but has many finely developed and diversified abilities. In addition to publishing numerous collections of poetry, Ghiselin was responsible for creating and teaching a course on the creative process, which in turn birthed his over 500,000-copy bestseller, The Creative Process. Not being limited merely to the exposition and sublimation of the written word, Ghiselin held a showing of watercolors and drawings at the Salt Lake Art Council's Art Barn in 1937. The result of Ghiselin's achievements: a garner of awards and immense recognition of achievement in the arts. In 1970, Ghiselin received an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and had his "Country of the Minotaur" selected by Masterplots as one of the oustanding books printed in 1970. To further the list, in 1981 and 1982 respectively, Ghiselin received the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America and the Governor's Award for the Arts.

The University of Utah Writer's Conference was established, conducted, and supplied with well-known and gifted teachers and writers through the efforts of Ghiselin, who served as conference director for nineteen years. Ghiselin joined the University of Utah faculty in 1929 after receiving his A.B. degree from UCLA in 1927, his M.A. from UC Berkeley in 1928 and after completing a year of study at Oxford, where he had gone in pursuit of "finding a large-minded faculty and a liberal view" and D. H. Lawrence. A strong vein of naturalism runs through Ghiselin's work, and Wallace Stegner, in Ghiselin's The Water of Light, seems to sum Ghiselin's ability and his interpretation of the natural world the best: "That has been his double mark--the capacity to take in through the senses the whole range of the natural world, and the curiosity and patience and passion to know it in its quintessence, its ultimate quiddity, its absolute right image or word" (pg. 214).

As for Ghiselin's personal excellence in poetry, he has been called "one of the brightest of the young poets"; as for the University of Utah Writer's Conference, the Ghiselin excellence is apparent. "On the whole, though, I am very well satisfied with what seems to me the essential success of the conference in serving the needs of the writers in the community who matter most. It is a comfort, too, to find that the smart and talented young people all feel I have been doing the best thing possible for them in handling the conference as I have" (excerpt from a letter to Caroline Gordon, dated July 3, 1952).

(Sources for the biography include newspaper articles and shorts from his published works.)

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Brewster Ghiselin photograph collection contains photographs of Writer's Conference activities, portrait photographs of conference participants, three views of areas in Utah photographed by Karl F. Kunkel.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Writer's Conference activities, conference participants, areas in Utah photographed by Karl F. KunkelReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1

Container(s) Description
Writer's Conference activities, conference participants
Photograph number 1: Robie Macauley, Andrew Lytle, Reed WhittemorePhotograph number 2-11: 1961 PicnicPhotograph number 12: Brewster Ghiselin at picnicPhotograph number 13-18: luncheonPhotograph number 19: Dorothy McClearyPhotograph number 20-22: Glenway Wescott and Warwick LaumoreauxPhotograph number 23-30: Writers' ConferencePhotograph number 31: Brewster Ghiselin
Writer's Conference activities, conference participants
Photograph number 32: Albert J. GuerardPhotograph number 33: Alec WaughPhotograph number 34: Allen TatePhotograph number 35-36a: Andrew LytlePhotograph number 37: Brewster GhiselinPhotograph number 38-40: Earle BirneyPhotograph number 41-42: Caroline GordonPhotograph number 43-44: Delmore SchwartzPhotograph number 45-47: Dorothy McClearyPhotograph number 48: E. Reed WhittemorePhotograph number 49-51: George P. ElliottPhotograph number 52: George R. StewartPhotograph number 53: Glenway WescottPhotograph number 54: Harry ShawPhotograph number 55-57: Herbert GoldPhotograph number 58: Jessamyn WestPhotograph number 59: John BerrymanPhotograph number 60: John CiardiPhotograph number 61: John HawkesPhotograph number 62: Joseph Wood KrutchPhotograph number 63: Leslie A. FiedlerPhotograph number 64: Louise BoganPhotograph number 65: M. K. FisherPhotograph number 66: Malcolm CowleyPhotograph number 67-68: Marjorie Flack BenetPhotograph number 69: Oliver laFargePhotograph number 70: Peter Taylor
Writer's Conference activities, conference participants
Photograph number 71-74: Radcliffe SquiresPhotograph number 75: Ralf HumphriesPhotograph number 76-79: Ray B. West, Jr.Photograph number 80-82: Richard EberhartPhotograph number 83: Robie MacauleyPhotograph number 84: Stephen SpenderPhotograph number 85-87: Vardis FisherPhotograph number 88-89: Virginia SorensenPhotograph number 90: Vladimir NabokorPhotograph number 91-94: Walter Van Tilburg ClarkPhotograph number 95-96: Whit BurnettPhotograph number 97: William Jay SmithPhotograph number 98: Wright MorrisPhotograph number 99-101: UnidentifiedPhotograph number 102-104: Duplicates
Photograph number 1: Portrait of Eileen Davis for her 1950 writing "application".Photograph number 2-6: Snapshots of Oscar Williams with an unknown group of people.Photograph number 7-19: Images of individual writers.Photograph number 20: View of Cathedral Valley photographed by Karl F. Kunkel.Photograph number 21: Kodachrome Flat or Valley of the petrified holes also taken by Kunkel.Photograph number 22: "Outer Guardians" formations of Goblin Valley in Southern Utah.
Writers Conference (Addendum)
Photograph number 1: Ghislen seated by boxes
Scenes of Utah (Addendum)
Photograph number 1: Double rainbow over Wild Horse Mesa near the Lost Valley of the Goblins. February 22, 1953Photograph number 2: Kodachrome Flat taken by KunkelPhotograph number 3: Cathedral Valley. The "Mayan Temple" with two jeeps reduced to toys by the size.Photograph number 4: The Jacob Hamblin Arch, Cyote Gulch.Photograph number 5: Snowy mountain scene.Photograph number 6: Alta
"Inspiration of Natural Light" (Addendum)
Photograph number 1-2: Miscellaneous photos taken June 4, 1985
Photograph number 1: Alan Leonard Burns

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Authors, American--Congresses--Photographs
  • Authors, American--Photographs
  • Corporate Names :
  • University of Utah--Writer's Conference--History--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Utah--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographic prints--1950-1970
  • Portrait photographs