Dwight Bennett Newton papers , 1947-1985

Overview of the Collection

Newton, D. B. (Dwight Bennett), 1916-
Dwight Bennett Newton papers
1947-1985 (inclusive)
19 linear feet, (36 containers, 57 volumes)
Collection Number
Coll 192
Collection comprises papers of American author of western fiction Dwight Newton, including correspondence with other writers, the August Lenniger Literary Agency, and Book Creations, Inc.; literary manuscripts (including short stories and teleplays); and 57 vols. of Newton's books.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

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Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Dwight Bennett Newton, author of formulary western fiction, was born January 14, 1916, in Kansas City, Missouri, son of Otis L. and Grace (Thompson) Newton. He married Mary Jane Kregel in 1941 and has two daughters, Jennifer and Janet. He received a master's' degree in history from the University of Missouri, Kansas City in 1942, and served in the Army Corps of Engineers from 1942 to 1946.

A founder and the first secretary-treasurer of the Western Writers of America, Dwight Newton has authored seventy novels, over 175 short stories and forty television scripts. His novel Range Boss (Pocket Books, 1949) was the first bought and published as a paperback original without first appearing in a hardcover edition, initiating a new era in modern publishing. Pseudonyms used by Newton include Dwight Bennett, D. B. Newton, Clement Hardin, Ford Logan, Hank Mitchum, and Dan Temple.

In the late 1950's, Newton worked as a Hollywood scriptwriter, turning out teleplays for western television series. He wrote the first teleplay for and created several of the regular characters in Wagon Train, and worked on stories for Tales of Wells Fargo, Death Valley Days, and others. Dwight Newton lives in Bend, Oregon.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Dwight Bennett Newton Papers contain correspondence and manuscripts from a long and successful career in formulary Western fiction writing, primarily of novels. The correspondence is divided into three subseries: general, in alphabetical order (see Index of Correspondents at end of inventory); correspondence with the August Lenniger Literary Agency, in chronological order; and with Book Creations, Inc., in chronological order.

Much of the correspondence is with fellow Western writers, comparing notes, offering tips and criticisms, and sharing anecdotes about other writers and agents they have known. Of special interest are the files of correspondence with Frank Bonham, William R. Cox, Brian Garfield, Frank Gruber, Lew P. Holmes, and T. V. Olsen. There is also an informative Newton interview, conducted, by mail, by Jean Mead of Western Writers of America, Inc.

The manuscripts are also divided into three subseries, each arranged alphabetically: book-length, short stories, and teleplays. Publication information and pseudonyms are included with each title. Newton's novel-writing technique is easily documented. The first draft is composed at the typewriter on colored paper, with each session dated at the head of the text, and word counts at the top of each page. Heavy revisions are made in pencil, then the draft goes back for retyping. This second draft goes to the agent for marketing to the publishers. Often the second draft, after a once-over by a copy editor, is the one actually used by the typesetter.

Several of Dwight Newton's novels have an Oregon setting: The Big Land, Crooked River Canyon, Hangman's Knot, Oregon Rifles, and Disaster Creek. According to the Encyclopedia of Frontier and Western Fiction, "...what makes Newton's books different, and superior is his scrupulous attention to natural terrain--his sense of real places in the West..." (253). This is especially true of the Oregon novels.

Teleplays are arranged alphabetically by title of television series and title of play. The copies are mimeographed and bound, and are dated according to the date of the current revision.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Television writers--United States
  • Western stories--Authorship
  • Western television programs--United States

Personal Names

  • Bennett, Dwight, 1916-
  • Newton, D. B. (Dwight Bennett), 1916-

Corporate Names

  • Lenniger Literary Agency

Form or Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts for publication
  • Television scripts
  • Western stories