Stewart Edward White
12 (1873) is the birthday of Stewart Edward White, a well-known
author of Westerns in the first half of the 20th
born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, attended Central High School in
Grand Rapids, and received two university degrees: University of
Michigan (B.A. in Philosophy, 1895, Phi Beta Kappa) and Columbia
was an avid outdoorsman, observed nature closely and appreciated
it. He developed a love of hunting, camping, and hiking, He also
lived at a time when he could still talk to people who had been
part of early western history: forty-niners, fur trappers, and
pioneers. He became good friends with Theodore Roosevelt.
also an excellent observer of human nature. His novels were
marked by authenticity.
youth he spent six months prospecting for gold in the Black
Hills of South Dakota. That experience led to his first
published novel, “The Westerners”, in 1901. It was eventually
made into a movie in 1919. His most famous Western was “The
Blazed Trail”, 1902.
worked as a cowboy on an Arizona ranch owned by Captain W.H.
McKittrick and learned to ride horses. He kept a journal while
working there and used that material as inspiration for his
novel “Arizona Nights”. He dedicated the book to McKittrick “in
memory of many Arizona nights and days.”
of the book has been in my family since it was published in
1907. It has seven illustrations by N.C. Wyeth, the first of a
three-generation family of famous artists: N.C., Andrew, and
found the very first line in the novel interesting: “The ring
around the sun had thickened all day long, and the turquoise
blue of the Arizona sky had filmed.” Filmed? What an interesting
way to put that.
best knows works were probably his “Saga of Andy Burnett”: “The
Long Rifle”, 1930; “Folded Hills”, 1932; “Ranchero”, 1933; and
“Stampede”, 1942. Walt Disney created a series for his Wonderful
World of Disney from the books.
wrote Westerns, histories, travel and adventure books,
children’s books, essays, and short stories.
1918 he and his wife Betty attended a party where a Ouija board
was brought out, and that introduced them to the spirit world.
Betty became a medium to the “invisibles”. He published several
books in the psychic exploration genre.
I show you this pic in case you were wondering what N.C.Wyeth illustrations in Stewart Edward White's "Arizona Nights" looked like,109 years ago.
As for the caption - I don't write like that in my own Westerns, and other contemporary Western authors tend to avoid such dialect; it gets tiresome to read. Still, I find the expression "bent my gun on them" an interesting idiom I had not seen before.