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The Nell Shipman Collection

MSS 81


The Nell Shipman collection documents the life and work of Nell Shipman  (1892-1970), actress, filmmaker, and author.   It contains letters written and received by Nell Shipman; typescripts of numerous novels, plays, stories, magazine articles, and film proposals that she wrote; press clippings about her activities; photos; and tape recordings. The collection was donated to Boise State University by her son, Barry Shipman, between 1988 and 1993, with additions made by Barry’s widow, Beulah Shipman, and her daughter, Nina Shipman Bremer, in later years.

Nell Shipman lost most of her early papers when she abandoned Priest Lake, Idaho in 1924.  Consequently, her early career as an actress and silent filmmaker is not well documented in this collection.  The strength of the collection lies in its documentation of her life and work after she left Idaho in 1924.  Her correspondence, in particular, reveals her many attempts to gain financing for proposed film projects, particularly after 1935, when she met Amerigo Serrao.  Nell Shipman wrote until the very end of her life, and the collection contains typescripts of more than 100 stories and other works.  Few, if any, of these were ever published; she seems not to have retained typescripts of her works that appeared in print.

The collection also contains approximately 400 photos of Nell Shipman and her work.  Many of these are stills from her films; these photos are the only significant body of materials in the collection dating before 1924.

Nell Shipman wrote many of her letters on acidic paper that is now quite brittle. Preservation photocopies have been made for research use. 

Researchers should also consult the papers of Professor Tom Trusky (MSS 99), for more significant material about Nell Shipman, including copies of newspaper clippings about her from the 1910s and 1920s that he found in newspapers in California and the Pacific Northwest.   Boise State University also holds the paper of Nell Shipman’s son, Barry Shipman (MSS 90).   For copies of Nell Shipman’s published books and videos of her films, consult the library catalog.

                       Collection number:  MSS 81                           
                       Inclusive dates:  1892-1970                          
                       Collection size: ca. 15 ft.                          
                       Processed by: Susan Kormylo, 1990-1991, and Alan Virta, 1990-2002

The Nell Shipman collection is divided into the following series:

Series  I: Biographical and Personal Papers


This series contains a variety of miscellaneous papers documenting Nell Shipman’s life and work.  They include her baptismal and death certificates, a list of film and publishing credits she compiled, press clippings, and her obituaries.  The press clippings are in two forms: loose photocopies in Box 1, Folders 17-28, and originals pasted in her Pressbook (see Box 19).  Folders 17-28 also contain clippings not found in the Pressbook.   The clippings in this series are clippings Nell Shipman saved or collected herself and date mainly from 1925 to 1938.  Another collection of newspaper clippings about her, compiled by Professor Tom Trusky, can be found in his papers (MSS 99). The Trusky collection contains older material, including clippings from the Priest River newspaper in the 1920s.

Folders 11 and 12 in Box 1, called “Keepsakes,” contain papers Nell Shipman kept in a shoebox, separate from the rest of her files.  Folder 11 contains items from the 1930s relating to her interest in mysticism and the occult, including letters from her friend Dorothy Yost and her son Barry Shipman.  Folder 12 consists of personal papers, such as a 1925 Christmas card from her Idaho friend, Belle Angstadt, tributes to Amelia Earhart, drawings by her son Charles Douglas Ayers and others, and poetry she collected.  A typewritten document in Folder 12 entitled “Accompanying Script: A Thorough, Personal, Descriptive Typewritten Analysis” (1951) is a 500-word psychological/character analysis of a “woman who has been forcibly developed and matured by work.…”  Written by Nell, about Nell?

Nell Shipman’s commonplace book (Box 18) was a daily planner into which she pasted a few clippings and made scattered notes.  Among the loose items removed from the book and placed in Box 1, Folder 15 are a poetic eulogy to Amerigo Serrao and a homemade birthday card presented to her by her production company in 1920.  A photo of the birthday party is print number 1016 in the photo collection.

The accounts and correspondence relating to the Barham-Jevons estates (Box 1, Folders 34-35) contain information about inheritances from Barham and Jevons relatives in England.  She seems to have received distributions in 1936 and in 1958.  Barry Shipman recalls that she used her 1936 inheritance to support her unsuccessful Florida venture with Sir John Brunton.  Letters in Folder 35 reveal that she planned to use the 1958 distributions for a Florida venture as well. 

Among the other items in this series are her 1929 California drivers license (Box 1, Folder 5), a mailing envelope (postmarked 1920) with the logo of Nell Shipman Productions (Folder 33), reminiscences of Charles A. Taylor (with whom she toured in Alaska, Folder 41), and biographical material about Charles Austin Ayers, Ernest Shipman, and Amerigo Serrao,

Perhaps the most poignant item in this series is a 1963 letter from the Motion Picture Relief Fund rejecting her application for a pension (Box 1, Folder 7).  “The major part of your writing since 1929 has not been used by the studios,” was the brutal but accurate conclusion of the relief board, disqualifying her from consideration.


Box 1: Biographical and Personal Papers

Folder 1            Obituaries (1970)
Folder 2            Biographical statements and credits
Folder 3            Baptism and death certificates
Folder 4            Passport affidavit (1956)
Folder 5            Cards and licenses
Folder 6            Copyright notices, Miscellaneous
Folder 7            Pension application: Motion Picture Relief Fund (1963)
Folder 8            Social Security papers (1966)
Folder 9            Funeral papers (1970)
Folder 10          Memorial book (1970)
Folder 11          Keepsakes I
Folder 12          Keepsakes II
Folder 13          “Seeds”
Folder 14          Miscellaneous jottings and clippings (1960s)
Folder 15          Commonplace book (1959-1960): Loose items
Folder 16          Note and address book (ca. 1962-1966): Loose items
Folder 17          Press clippings: Motion pictures (1919-1931)
Folder 18          Press clippings: Book reviews and ads (1930-1932)
Folder 19          Press clippings: Visit to Great Britain (1926)
Folder 20          Press clippings: Fort Myers, Florida (1926-1927)
Folder 21          Press clippings: Sarasota, Florida, from Audrey Ayers  (1927-1928)
Folder 22          Press clippings: Sarasota, Florida, from Pressbook (1927-1928)
Folder 23          Press clippings: Sarasota pageant (1928)
Folder 24          Press clippings: Tamiami Trail (1928)
Folder 25          Press clippings: Miami, Florida: Are Screen Stars Dumb? (1928)
Folder 26          Press clippings: Virginia (1948)
Folder 27          Press clippings: Lionhead Lodge (1968)
Folder 28          Press clippings: Miscellaneous
Folder 29          Biographical material: Ernest Shipman
Folder 30          Biographical material: Shipman family
Folder 31          Biographical material: Charles H. Austin Ayers
Folder 32          Biographical material: Amerigo Serrao
Folder 33          Nell Shipman Productions: Envelope (1920)
Folder 34          Barham-Jevons estate: Accounts (1925-1936)
Folder 35          Barham-Jevons estate: Correspondence (1956-1958)
Folder 36          Grant application: Eugene F. Saxton Memorial Trust (1963)
Folder 37          Research notes: Anti-Communism
Folder 38          Research notes: Cabazon / The Golden Pass (1967-1968)
Folder 39          Research notes: Cabazon research notebook  (1967-1968)
Folder 40          Research notes: Lola Montez (ca. 1937)
Folder 41          Research notes: Taylor Stock Company – Alaska (1942, 1968)
Folder 42          Poetry, Collected (1930s)


Box 18:  Biographical and Personal Papers

Note pad

Commonplace book (1959-1960)  [Union Bank of Switzerland weekly planner, 1958)

Note and address book (ca. 1962-1966) [AFIA daily planner, 1956]

Original envelopes containing Nell Shipman’s letters, 1938, 1941-44, 1949, 1962     (4 packets)


Box 19: Biographical and Personal Papers

Pressbook, 1925-1938  [Photocopy]
Mainly clippings from Florida and California, and reviews of her books   (Original pressbook in fragile condition is located in Box 25)

Series II: General Correspondence

Both business and personal letters are represented in Nell Shipman’s general correspondence files.  Most of the letters date from either the 1930s or 1960s; very few date from any other time.  Most of the letters from the 1930s are of a business nature; the correspondents include agents and publishers and they pertain mainly to her writing projects.  The letters from the 1960s are more varied, a mixture of personal and business. Among the correspondents in the 1960s are friends whom she enlisted to help in her writing and promotional projects, relatives, literary agents, and, in the last few years of her life, silent film buffs who discovered her in Cabazon, California.  Letters to and from her children, spanning the dates 1933-1969, are found in Series III.

Among the notable items in the correspondence is a telegram from Amelia Earhart (1937) asking Nell to telephone her.  Also present are approximately 25 letters between Nell and Earhart’s husband, George Palmer Putnam, written between 1930 and 1939.  Putnam and Shipman collaborated on several projects (including the novel Hot Oil), and their letters discuss their work.  (Shipman also discusses her work with Putnam in many letters to Barry Shipman in Series III.)   Another prominent figure represented by a file of correspondence is literary agent Ann Watkins, who represented Shipman between 1929 and 1934.  In the miscellaneous business file (Box 3, Folder 34) there is a letter from Louella Parsons dated 1931 inviting Nell to drop by her office and visit.

The correspondence with Dial Press (mainly with Lincoln MacVeagh and Grenville Vernon) chronicles the history behind the publication of Shipman’s books Get the Woman(1930), Abandoned Trails (1932), and Kurly Kew and the Tree Princess (1930).  Letters from J.K.Gordon Magee and Frank Ibbotson in the Fall of 1931 document their attempt to seeGet the Woman translated to the big screen.  Correspondence with McCall’s Magazine and Good Housekeeping  reveal objections to some of Nell’s story lines.  After serializing Get the Woman (as “M’sieu Sweetheart”) in 1930, McCall’s considered another Shipman story called “The Snow Mother,” but found part of the story line objectionable.  McCall’s editor Otto Wiese did not mind that the protagonist’s husband ran a gambling show, “but the fact that he was running women, and sold his wife into the trade, is quite a little too bald for us.”  Good Housekeeping had similar problems when considering Abandoned Trails for serialization in 1931.  Their editorial policy would not allow a lead character to “live in sin.” 

There is only one original letter in the collection that dates from Nell Shipman’s silent film career.  It is a letter from James Oliver Curwood dated 1919 in which he calls her decision to sever her contracts with him the biggest mistake of her life.  This letter was presented to Boise State University in 1989 by Mildred Stobie, who discovered it as a child among the ruins of Nell’s movie camp in north Idaho. 

Nell’s various writing and promotional projects between 1935 and 1960, when she lived with Amerigo Serrao, are best documented in her correspondence with Barry Shipman (Series III).  However, there is one small file of letters in this series written by Serrao in 1937 in his unofficial capacity as her agent.  This series also contains quite a few letters Serrao sent to Nell in the last few months of his life, while he was in New York trying to arrange financing for another of their unfulfilled projects, and a special file of tributes and letters of sympathy Nell received after he died in November 1960 (Box 13, Folder 12).

Aside from her children (Series III), the largest files of correspondence in the 1960s belong to Archibald Stone McColl, a young Army officer Nell befriended in Washington, D.C.; Georgia Burre McManis, a typist who acted as a literary agent for her; Vincent Sorey, a composer and concert violinist with whom she collaborated on several projects; and Thomas Fulbright, a silent film historian.

During the last few years of her life, Nell Shipman renewed contacts with old friends and acquaintances from her days in Idaho.   Those represented by letters in this series include Russell Bankson, Sylvia Gumaer Burwell, Jim Parsons, Lloyd Peters, and Loie Pierson.  Lloyd Peters’ work on Lionhead Lodge (1967), a book about his youthful experiences working with Nell Shipman at Priest Lake, helped spur Nell along in the writing of her own autobiography.  In the 1960s Nell also corresponded with a number of film buffs and historians.  Those include Canadians Hye Bossin and Gordon Sparling and Americans Murray Summers, Roi Uselton, and Thomas Fulbright.  Fulbright became a frequent correspondent; Nell’s daughter Daphne once suggested that Nell marry him.

Nell Shipman kept letters about some of her plays, novels, and stories, in files along with her typescripts rather than in her general correspondence files.  Those letters have been kept with the typescripts in Series V and VI and are generally filed in folders labeled Research, Related Material, or Correspondence        


Box 2: Correspondence

Folder 1              Atlantic Monthly (1927-1964)
Folder 2              Ayers, Charles H. Austin and mother (1925-1931)
Folder 3              This number not used
Folder 4              Bankson,  Russell A. (1925-1926; 1966-1970)
Folder 5              Barham, Maurice and Lucia (1952-1957)
Folder 6              Bonn, Louis A. (1960-1962)
Folder 7              Bossin, Hye (1963)
Folder 8              Brown, Jesse H. (1955-1967)
Folder 9              Brown, Sam E. (1967-1968)
Folder 10            Brown, William G. (1961)
Folder 11            Burwell, Sylvia Gumaer (1969)
Folder 12            Coombs, Diane McColl Kellogg (1962-1969)
Folder 13            Curwood, James Oliver (1918-1919)
Folder 14            Dial Press (1929-1939)
Folder 15            Dial Press: Lincoln MacVeagh (1929-1933)
Folder 16            Dial Press: Edward J. Vass (1930)
Folder 17            Dial Press: Grenville Vernon (1930-1932)
Folder 18            Diaz, Dick and Pat (1960-1969)
Folder 19            Disney Studios (1961)
Folder 20            Doubleday (1962-1965)
Folder 21            Earhart, Amelia (1937)
Folder 22            Fulbright, Thomas (1968)
Folder 23            Fulbright, Thomas (1969-1970)
Folder 24            Gillin, Don (1960-1964)
Folder 25            Gilmore, Mary (“Scally”) (1963-1964)
Folder 26            Gilmore, William E. (1962)
Folder 27            Good Housekeeping (1930-1931)
Folder 28            Gurney, William John (1967-1968)
Folder 29            Hodgkinson, Frank (1934)
Folder 30            Houghton Mifflin Company (1964)
Folder 31            Hyde, Geoffrey and Sally (1960-1963)
Folder 32            Ibbotson, Frank (1931)
Folder 33            Klausner, Bertha (1969-1970)
Folder 34            Ladies Home Journal (1927-1929, 1959)
Folder 35            Living Screen, Inc. (1962-1966)
Folder 36            Magee, J.K. Gordon (1931)
Folder 37            Martin, William E. (1960-1968)
Folder 38            McCall’s Magazine (1930)
Folder 39            McCall’s Magazine: Otis Wiese (1930)
Folder 40            McColl, Archibald Stone (1961-1969)
Folder 41            McColl, Archibald Stone (undated)
Folder 42            McManis, Georgia Burre (1966-1968)


Box 3: Correspondence

Folder  1             Parsons, Jim (1966)
Folder  2             Peters, Lloyd (1924, 1967-1969)
Folder  3             Pierson, Loie (1966-1968, 1986)
Folder  4             Putnam, George Palmer (1930-1939)
Folder  5             Republic Pictures (1937-1943)
Folder  6             Riesenberg, Felix (1938)
Folder  7             Saturday Evening Post (1928-1933)
Folder  8             Scott, Warren P. and Terry (1967-1968)
Folder  9             Serrao, Amerigo (1960)
Folder 10            Serrao, Amerigo: Correspondence with Robert Lewis, Jr./ H.N. Swanson, Inc. (1938-1939)
Folder 11            Serrao, Amerigo Miscellaneous: 1937
Folder 12            Serrao, Amerigo: Letters concerning his death (1960-1961)
Folder 13            Shipman, Nina (1955-1968)
Folder 14            Shipman, Noel (1965)
Folder 15            Shipman relatives (1968-1969)
Folder 16            Sorey, Vincent (1961-1968)
Folder 17            Sorey, Vincent
Folder 18            Sparling, Gordon (1966-1969)
Folder 19            Stapler, C.A. (1960-1961)
Folder 20            Story, Ralph (1967)
Folder 21            Summers, Murray P. (1967-1970)
Folder 22            Susskind, David / Talent Associates-Paramount (1963)
Folder 23            Thayer, John E. (1967-1968)
Folder 24            Uselton, Roi A. (1967-1968)
Folder 25            Valentine, Spencer (1934-1936)
Folder 26            Variety: Abel Green (1963)
Folder 27            Von der Au, C.L.  (1968)
Folder 28            Walker, Joseph (1962-1963)
Folder 29            Ward, John (1961-1962)
Folder 30            Watkins, Ann (1929-1933, 1962)
Folder 31            Williams, Annie Laurie (1964-1965)
Folder 32            Wolfe, Harlen W. (1969)
Folder 33            Yost, Dorothy (1933)
Folder 34            Miscellaneous business correspondence (1929-1967)
Folder 35            Miscellaneous personal correspondence (1928-1970)
Folder 36            Sympathy letters (1970)

Series III: Correspondence with Barry Shipman and Charles and Daphne Ayers


This series contains letters exchanged between Nell Shipman and her children, Barry Shipman, Charles Douglas Ayers, and Daphne Ayers Feldman, from 1933 to 1969.  Because so many of the letters were written on paper that is now very brittle, researchers are asked to consult photocopies, which have been arranged in chronological order and placed in eight notebooks. 

By far the largest body of correspondence is between Nell Shipman and her oldest son, Barry Shipman (1912-1984).  The earliest surviving letters between them date from 1933, when Barry lived in the mountains at Big Bear, California.  Nell at that time still lived in California, too, but she soon left for New York, where she went to work as a writer and story developer for George Palmer Putnam, who recently had become head of Paramount Pictures’ editorial board.  Some of Nell’s and Barry’s earliest letters discuss mysticism (to which Barry was much attracted at the time), but for the most part, the letters discuss Nell’s writing projects, her promotional ideas, plans for making movies herself, and family and personal affairs over the course of four decades.  There are many more letters in the file written by Nell than by Barry.  A few letters between Barry Shipman and Amerigo Serrao are also included in these files, in their appropriate chronological order.

The letters chronicle Nell’s gradual separation from Charles Austin Ayers, her life with Amerigo Serrao in New York, Florida, California, and Washington, D.C., and her final years in Cabazon, California.  They also reflect her often-precarious financial situation and the difficulties in providing a settled home life for the twins Charles and Daphne when they were children.  Occasional letters to Barry Shipman from Charles Austin Ayers, Amerigo Serrao, and others are also included with the photocopies, as well as a few letters by Nell’s eldest granddaughter, Nina Shipman, and her children’s spouses.  When Barry Shipman turned forty years old (in 1952), he wrote a long letter to Nell chronicling the decades of his life.  Though written in a terse, breezy style, the letter is invaluable in tracing Nell and Barry’s movements from 1912 to 1952.

Among the names mentioned frequently in Nell’s letters are George Palmer Putnam; Putnam’s wife Amelia Earhart; literary agents Ann Watkins, Jean Wick, and Nan Blair; Nell’s friends Shelly Johnson and his ex-wife, Thelma Robertson; Billy and Marion Colvin, old friends from Nell’s repertory days who also worked with her in Florida; adventure novelist Felix Riesenberg; writer and collaborator Philip Hurn (“Fippi”); movie producers Emanuel Cohen (of Paramount), Larry (J. Laurence) Wickland, Charles Glett, and Sir John Brunton; Captain George A. Baynes, of Eastern Service Studios; screenwriter Rex Taylor and cinematographer Joseph Walker (old friends from moviemaking days); niece Pat Shipman and her husband Dick Diaz; and the sculptor Luella Varney Serrao (Amerigo Serrao’s mother).  She lived in New York in the 1930s, too, and Nell and Amerigo helped look after her in her declining years.


Box 4-A:  Correspondence with Barry Shipman and Charles and Daphne Ayers

Book 1             1933-1934
Book 2             1935
Book 3             1936-1938
Book 4             1939

Box 4-B:  Correspondence with Barry Shipman and Charles and Daphne Ayers

Book 5             1940-1941
Book 6             1942-1945  [no letters for 1946-47]
Book 7             1947-1960
Book 8             1961-1969

Series IV: Autobiographical Writings and Non-Fiction


This series contains autobiographical writings and fragments by Nell Shipman, both published and unpublished, and some non-fiction essays.

The two typescripts of Nell’s autobiography, The Silent Screen and My Talking Heart, vary little from the text published by Boise State University.  These are relatively clean typescripts, made after the writing was done. The first was apparently typed by Nell Shipman herself; the second by her daughter-in-law, Beulah Shipman (“Bool”).  The typescripts are accompanied by letters Nell wrote in search of publishers, as well as letters to libraries and other places in her attempts to pin down details of fact.  Also in the file is a two-page fragment of a possible sequel (Folder 19), recounting an incident involving Barry Shipman at the Mission Play in San Gabriel, California, sometime in the late 1920s.

“A Call to Arms for the Scenario Writers” (1912) is the earliest composition in the series, followed by “Me” (1919), a short autobiographical sketch. “A Call to Arms” was published in West Coast Magazine and “Me” was published in Photoplay. Both are represented only by  photocopies of the published articles (Folder 22 and 3, respectively).  So too is “This Little Bear Went Hollywood,” a memoir of her bear Brownie, published in Good Housekeeping in 1931 (Folder 15).  There is also a published version of “The Movie That Couldn’t Be Screened” (Atlantic Monthly, 1925) as well as a second photocopy of part of it, annotated by Nell Shipman in her own hand, naming individuals only vaguely identified in the original text (Folder 5).

Nell Shipman wrote at least four versions of the story of her sojourn in Spain, 1926-27.  There is a typescript journal covering the dates January 1, 1927 through March 24, 1927 (Folder 12) and three other reminiscences entitled “Borrowed Castles” (Folder 10), “Galicia Goes By (Folder 11), and “Memoirs of Spain” (Folders 13 and 14). 

In 1930 Nell, Barry, and Charles Austin Ayers drove from Taos, New Mexico, to Yellowstone National Park, where Nell and Charles caught a train to Seattle.  The story of their difficult auto trip across Wyoming’s Continental Divide and their visit to Yellowstone is recounted in “Red Gate” (Folder 7).  Nell and Charles’ subsequent cruise from Seattle to Juneau is told in “Sentimental Journey” (Folder 8).

“Fade In” (Folder 1), written in 1962, is a rambling reminiscence of several incidents during the filming of Girl From God’s Country, God’s Country and the Woman, and Back To God’s Country, and mentions William Clune, Louis B. Mayer, Charles A. Taylor, Rollin Sturgeon, and her bears Big Bessie and Brownie, among others.  “Sleep Deep” (Folder 9) is a poetic eulogy of Amerigo Serrao, and “Guess Who’s Grateful” (Folder 2) is a Thanksgiving Day prayer Nell composed in 1967.  “I am thankful for what has been bestowed upon me through association with the Lively Arts, even if in small portions,” she wrote.  “To work on the fringe of the magic world of make-believe is reason for sincere thanksgiving.”


Box 5: Autobiographical writings and Non-fiction

Folder 1              Fade In (1962)
Folder 2              Guess Who’s Grateful (Thanksgiving Prayer) (1967)
Folder 3              Me: Photoplay (1919)
Folder 4              The Movie That Couldn’t Be Screened : Typescript (1924)
Folder 5              The Movie That Couldn’t Be Screened:  Atlantic Monthly (1925)
Folder 6              The Movie That Couldn’t Be Screened:  Annotated (1968)
Folder 7              Red Gate (1930)
Folder 8              Sentimental Journey (1930)
Folder 9              Sleep Deep (To Amerigo Serrao) (1960)
Folder 10            Spain: Borrowed Castles (excerpts)
Folder 11            Spain: Galicia Goes By
Folder 12            Spain: Journal (1927)
Folder 13            Spain: Memories of Spain (pp. 1-69)
Folder 14            Spain: Memories of Spain (pp. 70-137)
Folder 15            This Little Bear Went to Hollywood: Good Housekeeping (1931)
Folder 16            The Silent Screen and My Talking Heart: Typescript, pp. 1-114 (1968)
Folder 17            The Silent Screen and My Talking Heart: Typescript, pp. 115-225 (1968)
Folder 18            The Silent Screen and My Talking Heart: Correspondence (1968-1969)
Folder 19            The Silent Screen and My Talking Heart: Sequel fragment (ca. 1969)
Folder 20            The Silent Screen and My Talking Heart: Retype, pp. 1-119
Folder 21            The Silent Screen and My Talking Heart: Retype, pp. 120-259
Folder 22            A Call to Arms for the Scenario Writers: West Coast Magazine (1912)
Folder 23            Fight Fair: Field & Stream (1922)

Series V: Novels


Series V contains typescripts and drafts of ten novels, representing work Nell Shipman did between 1925 and 1966.  These are all unpublished works; apparently she did not retain typescripts of those that were published.   Many of the stories contained within these novels also appear as short stories in Series VI.

The earliest typescript in the series is called Pirate Girl.  According to Barry Shipman, Nell wrote it at Old Lyme, Connecticut, during the summer of 1925, her first summer in the East with Charles Austin Ayers.  Pirate Girl is a swashbuckling story of the Spanish Main, foreshadowing her imminent move to Florida and then Spain itself.   

The typescript entitled Abandoned Trails is not the typescript of the novel as published (1931), but the first third of the original story, which was cut by the editors.  Along with the typescript is correspondence relating to it and the book as published, including comments and pre-publication suggestions by those who read the manuscript.

Edge of Beyond and Heaven Casts a Long Shadow are both novels with mystical themes.  During the early 1930s, both Nell and Barry became entranced by mysticism and Eastern spirituality, in part through the influence of their friend, Dorothy Yost, a prolific Hollywood screenwriter.  Nell wrote several stories with a mystical element, including these novels. Both are set in territory she knew well, northern Idaho and eastern Washington.  Edge of Beyond is the older typescript of the two, probably dating back to the 1930s, though it appears she made changes and additions in later years (including the title page).  Heaven Casts a Long Shadow dates from the 1960s.  It was Nell’s last major project before she turned to her autobiography.  The typescript is accompanied by research correspondence, including letters to and from Peter Van Gelder of the Spokane Mountaineers and noted raptor specialist Morley Nelson.  A typescript entitled High Frontier (Box 6) is closely related to Heaven Casts a Long Shadow; some of the pages are actually headed with the latter title.   Among the other stories Nell wrote with mystical themes are her Borderline Tales (Box 17).  They too were set in the same locale and involve many of the same characters.

Bitterroot was also set in the Pacific Northwest.  Nell Shipman seems to have worked on it just before Heaven Casts a Long Shadow.  “It is safe to say there is not an incident in ‘Bitter’ which was not experienced in real life or the ‘fiction’ developing from that life,” she wrote to the publisher Doubleday in 1965.  “So, I am afraid, I must plead guilty of plagiarizing myself and must continue, at the end of a long and eventful life, to so do.”

Little Lost Lady and The Naked North (also titled Woman Against the Wilderness) are Alaska novels.  Little Lost Lady appears to be the older of the two, written ca. 1940-1942.  Portions of the typescript have been removed; Nell Shipman appears to have renumbered them and inserted them into The Naked North.  Both tales involve a stock company actress in early 20th-century Alaska.  The Road to God’s Country is another Alaska novel, set during World War II and loosely formed around the building of the Alcan Highway.  One of the protagonists is a young stock company actress, and several of the characters from Little Lost Lady and The Naked North reappear as “old timers.”

Feather From the Right Wing is an anti-communist novel, related to the scripts “Face of the Enemy” and “The Fifth American” (Box 11).   Nell Shipman transformed those 1950s screenplays into a novel in 1961, largely as a tribute to Amerigo Serrao.  The typescript is accompanied by quite a bit of correspondence documenting her unsuccessful efforts to get it published.


Box 6: Novels

Folder 1            Abandoned Trails typescript (Unpublished Book I), pp. 1-80 (1931)
Folder 2            Abandoned Trails typescript (Unpublished Book I), pp. 81-150 (1931)
Folder 3            Abandoned Trails: Related material (1932-1960)
Folder 4            Abandoned Trails: Incomplete retype, pp. 1-27 (ca. 1990)

Folder 5            Bitterroot, pp. 4-44, 30-42
Folder 6            Bitterroot, pp. 43-264 incomplete
Folder 7            Bitterroot, pp. 265-478 incomplete
Folder 8            Bitterroot: Research and miscellaneous

Folder 9            High Frontier, pp. 1-143 incomplete
Folder 10          High Frontier, pp. 144-414 incomplete
Folder 11          High Frontier, pp. 415-583 incomplete


Box  7: Novels

Folder 1            Edge of Beyond, pp. 1-109
Folder 2            Edge of Beyond, pp. 110-247
Folder 3            Edge of Beyond: Mystical research

Folder 4            Heaven Casts a Long Shadow: Synopsis
Folder 5            Heaven Casts a Long Shadow, pp. 1-235
Folder 6            Heaven Casts a Long Shadow, pp. 236-443
Folder 7            Heaven Casts a Long Shadow, pp. 444-622
Folder 8            Heaven Casts a Long Shadow: Correspondence (1964-1966)
Folder 9            Heaven Casts a Long Shadow: Research


Box 8: Novels

Folder 1            Feather From the Right Wing, pp. 1-127
Folder 2            Feather From the Right Wing, pp. 128-276
Folder 3            Feather From the Right Wing: Correspondence (1961-1966)

Folder 4            Little Lost Lady, pp. 1-199
Folder 5            Little Lost Lady, pp. 1-21, 46-53, 98-154

Folder 6            The Naked North/Woman Against the Wilderness

Folder 7            Pirate Girl (1925)

Folder 8            The Road to God’s Country (World War II): Synopsis
Folder 9            The Road to God’s Country (World War II): Preface
Folder 10          The Road to God’s Country (World War II)


Series VI: Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments


More than 120 stories, plays, scripts, film scenarios, and film treatments are found in Series VI.  Some are represented by more than one version, and some are accompanied by correspondence.  With but one exception, noted below, none of her pre-1925 work is represented here.  The scripts for the films she made in the 1910s and 20s apparently have all been lost.

The earliest item in the series is a shooting script, with camera directions, for a proposed silent film entitled “The Last Empire.”  Set in Cuba, it is the rare surviving example of Nell Shipman’s early screenwriting and likely was inspired by a trip to Cuba, ca. 1915-16.  Other early works include a pageant play, “Florida” (1928); an opera libretto also from Florida entitled “Crown of Conquest;” and two radio plays from 1932, “Mann the Mystic” and “Your Own Story Hour: My Night of Terror.”   The latest item in the series is a proposal for a Lassie television program (1967).  In between are all kinds of works, many undated. 

North Idaho and the wild country of the Pacific Northwest feature in a number of stories, notably the “Borderline Tales” (Box 17).  Many of these stories came out of her novels, particularly Heaven Casts a Long Shadow.  They appear to date from the 1960s.

Shipman’s fascination with the sea is as evident in this series as her love of wilderness.  “Blow the Man Down” (1934) is one of her earliest sea stories, a film scenario coauthored in New York with her friend, the prolific novelist Felix Riesenberg. ”Grand Bahama” (1936) is a proposal, in letter form, she drew up for Sir John Brunton, who hoped to produced films in Florida and the Bahamas.  (A 1936 magazine profile of Brunton is contained in the Pressbook in Series I.)  “Jungle Ship” was a project about exploration that she worked on for several years, offering it as a radio play as early as 1937 and then developing it as a film proposal a few years later.  A shooting script is included in the collection.  In 1945 Nell Shipman recorded portions of “Jungle Ship” onto a 16-inch disc.  The recording has been transferred to a tape cassette for research use (Series VII).   “The Flying Fox” is another version of “Jungle Ship.”

From time to time Shipman promoted the idea she called the “Aquadrome,” a theater combining motion pictures with live water shows.  She floated the idea most enthusiastically in the early 1960s and enlisted an engineer-friend to help design it.  Another idea from the 1960s was “Center 16,” a chain of small movie theaters located in shopping centers.  Her proposal went nowhere at the time, but within a decade the idea took root in suburban shopping malls across America.

Nell Shipman grasped the dramatic possibilities of television early on, and in 1949, while living in Virginia, wrote several one-act plays intended for the new medium. Those titles include “Center Door Fancy,” “First One In,” and “The Girl and the Monster.”  She proposed more television programs in the brochure “Country Beyond the River” (1952).

Current events and newspaper stories often inspired stories.  A classified ad for a diamond ring prompted the story,  “A Great Tomorrow” (1936).  “Refugee Ship” (1939) was based upon the plight of the refugee Jews on the ship St. Louis, who were denied entry at many ports. “White Ambush” (1940) tells the story of the Finns who turned back the Soviet invasion of their land in the Winter War of 1939-40.  There are several other World War II-inspired works as well.  During the 1950s Nell Shipman wrote at least three anti-Communist screenplays, “Face of the Enemy” (two versions, 1950 and 1952) and “The Fifth American” (1955).  She transformed them into a novel, Feather from the Right Wing, in 1961.

Wherever she lived, Nell Shipman was quick to absorb the local culture and feature it in her stories.  While at Provincetown, Massachusetts, she wrote “Cape Cod Beachhead” (1944).  A story of tobacco, “The Golden Road,” dates from her Virginia days (1948).  Her stay with friends in New Jersey in the early 1960s prompted “The Guns of ‘76” and “Guns on the Delaware,” the latter production to be staged in her Aquadrome.  While in New England during the early 1960s she wrote “Rape of the Lily,” a play about the siege of Louisbourg at the outset of the French and Indian War.  Quite a few stories were set on the sidewalks of New York, including “Hurdy Gurdy” (1961) and “Everything Comes Out Verdi.”  She envisioned the latter as a musical comedy and enlisted the aid of her friend, composer Vincent Sorey, to write the music.  Shipman and Sorey seem to have collaborated on several projects (as indicated in their Correspondence file, Box 3), including the song “Nakome,” which was published in 1961 by Metropolitan Music Company.  And all through the 1960s she promoted a work about the history of wine called “The Golden Grape” for production in California, possibly in San Francisco Bay on the Aquadrome.

Nell Shipman’s biggest film credit after the collapse of her own studio at Priest Lake was as coauthor of the story for the motion picture Wings in the Dark (1935), starring Myrna Loy and Cary Grant.  A “release dialogue script” is included in this series, even though Nell Shipman did not write the final script of the film itself.  In a letter after the movie was released, she said it was a “nice picture and will never hurt anyone’s feelings and the flying is quite wonderful but there is nothing about it that I can see which relates it to the original theme, the over-coming of a dreadful handicap through the loving service of a dog.”  This script was not part of the original collection; it was purchased from a movie memorabilia dealer and added to the collection.


Box 9: Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Folder 1               Angels Flight (1938)
Folder 2               Angels Flight: Correspondence (1938, 1964)
Folder 3               Aquadrome (1959-1964)
Folder 4               Aquadrome: Printed proposal (1964)
Folder 5               Aquavista School for Skindivers
Folder 6               Beans Over Boston
Folder 7               Black Ice
Folder 8               Blow the Man Down (1934) (with Felix Riesenberg)
Folder 9               Blue Barriers
Folder 10            Blue Barriers: Research
Folder 11            The Bluevale Boo-Boo
Folder 12            The Bluevale Boo-Boo / A Man About a Horse
Folder 13            The Bluevale Boo-Boo / A Man About a Horse
Folder 14            Cape Cod Beachhead (1944)
Folder 15            The Catnip Mouse: Synopsis
Folder 16            The Catnip Mouse: Treatment (1967)
Folder 17            The Catnip Mouse: Original script “Discarded” (1963)
Folder 18            The Catnip Mouse (1963)
Folder 19            The Catnip Mouse (April 1963)
Folder 20            The Catnip Mouse: Related material
Folder 21            Center Door Fancy (1949)
Folder 22            Center 16  (1962)
Folder 23            Cheap at the Price (ca. 1932)
Folder 24            Cinderella Town (1938)
Folder 25            Cinderella Town (ca. 1948)
Folder 26            Cinderella Town
Folder 27            The Circus Kids (1938)
Folder 28            The Cluck Comes Home


Box 10: Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Folder 1              Concerto for Tomorrow
Folder 2              Count-Down to Victory
Folder 3              Country Beyond the River (brochure) (1952)
Folder 4              Country Beyond the River, pp. 1-90 (last pages missing)
Folder 5              Cows Don’t Fly (1942)
Folder 6              Crown of Conquest (ca. 1928)
Folder 7              Dark River
Folder 8              Dawn Over Florida: Proposals, Synopses, etc.
Folder 9              Dawn Over Florida: Proposals, Synopses, etc.
Folder 10            Dawn Over Florida: Libretto
Folder 11            Dawn Over Florida
Folder 12            Dawn Over Florida
Folder 13            Dawn Over Florida
Folder 14            Dawn Over Florida: Correspondence (1961-1963)
Folder 15            Desert Rat
Folder 16            Dictated, But Not Red
Folder 17            Everything Comes Out Verdi
Folder 18            Everything Comes Out Verdi: Corrected lyrics
Folder 19            Everything Comes Out Verdi: Research (ca. 1958)


Box 11: Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Folder 1              Face of the Enemy, pp. 1-120
Folder 2              Face of the Enemy, pp. 121-217
Folder 3              Face of the Enemy: Handbill
Folder 4              Face of the Enemy / The Silver Bridle, pp. 1-86 (1950)
Folder 5              Face of the Enemy / The Silver Bridle, pp. 87-177 (1950)
Folder 6              The Face on the Mountain (1935)
Folder 7              The Fear Market
Folder 8              The Fear Market
Folder 9              The Fifth American, pp. 1-140 (1955)
Folder 10            The Fifth American, pp. 141-271 (1955)
Folder 11            The Fifth American: Chapter 18
Folder 12            The Fifth American: Miscellaneous (1955)

Box 12: Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Folder 1              First One In (1949)
Folder 2              Flight to Forever (1963)
Folder 3              Florida (1928)
Folder 4              The Flower of Empire (1939) (with George Palmer Putnam)
Folder 5              The Flying Fox
Folder 6              Gentleman of the House
Folder 7              The Gimmick
Folder 8              The Girl and the Monster (1949)
Folder 9              Give Us This Day
Folder 10            God Made the Sea (ca. 1937)
Folder 11            God Made the Sea (Jack London story adaptation)
Folder 12            The Golden Grape
Folder 13            The Golden Grape
Folder 14            The Golden Grape
Folder 15            The Golden Grape: Correspondence, etc. (1961-1963)
Folder 16            The Golden Grape: Correspondence: Louis R. Gomberg (1961-1968)
Folder 17            The Golden Road  (booklet) (1948)
Folder 18            Grand Bahama (proposal) (1936)
Folder 19            The Grass Grows High
Folder 20            The Great Clam Robbery
Folder 21            A Great Tomorrow (1936)


Box 13: Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Folder 1              Guns of ’76 / Fires of Batsto: Synopses
Folder 2              Guns of ’76: Treatment
Folder 3              Guns of ’76: Treatment
Folder 4              Guns of ’76 / Fires of Batsto: Script
Folder 5              Guns of ’76 / Fires of Batsto: Excerpts
Folder 6              Guns of ’76 / Fires of Batsto: Research notes
Folder 7              Guns on the Delaware: Synopsis
Folder 8              Guns on the Delaware: Bibliography and excerpts
Folder 9              Guns on the Delaware: Correspondence (1963)
Folder 10            Guns on the Delaware: Aquadrome concept
Folder 11            Hamster in the Dishwasher (1963)
Folder 12            Hell Cat (1932)
Folder 13            Honeysuckle on the Moon (poem)
Folder 14            Hot Ice
Folder 15            Hot Scotch (1938)
Folder 16            Hot Scotch (ca. 1948)
Folder 17            Hurdy-Gurdy (1960)
Folder 18            The Interpreter’s Brush (1964)
Folder 19            Jungle Ship: Treatment (1930s)
Folder 20            Jungle Ship: Correspondence (1937-1938)


Box 14: Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Folder 1              Jungle Ship, pp. 1-85
Folder 2              Jungle Ship, pp. 86-172
Folder 3              Lassie’s People-to People Program (1967)
Folder 4              The Last Empire: Synopses (ca. 1916)
Folder 5              The Last Empire (ca. 1914-1916)
Folder 6              Lidice
Folder 7              Little Lip
Folder 8              Little Lip: Research notebook
Folder 9              Little Lip: Research
Folder 10            Lord of the Lone Land (1938)
Folder 11            Make Like a Murder (ca. 1961)
Folder 12            Make Like an Epic (1960)
Folder 13            The Make-Up Man (1931) (Physical Culture, Nov. 1931)
Folder 14            Mann the Mystic (1932), by Myron Kraft (pseudonym?); copyright Nell Shipman
Folder 15            Mary Had a Little Wolf (1944)
Folder 16            Mary’s Little Wolf, pp. 1-70
Folder 17            Mary’s Little Wolf, pp. 71-136
Folder 18            Milestone Zero (booklet) (1962)


Box 15: Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Folder 1              The Moon Was a Dime
Folder 2              Moonshine
Folder 3              Mother Liberty (1939)
Folder 4              Murder in the Stars
Folder 5              Mrs. Casey and the Bat (1950)
Folder 6              Mrs. Casey and the Bat
Folder 7              Nakome (1961)
Folder 8              Nothing Happens in Hollywood
Folder 9              Once in a Blue Moon
Folder 10            One Man’s Venus
Folder 11            One Miami Night (1936)
Folder 12            One Miami Night
Folder 13            The Pack Rat (1963)
Folder 14            Painted Grass (1963)
Folder 15            The Phantom Pack
Folder 16            Profile of a Packman (1961)
Folder 17            The Purple Trail (1938)
Folder 18            Quiet, Please! (1936)
Folder 19            The Rape of the Lily
Folder 20            The Rape of the Lily
Folder 21            The Rape of the Lily: Synopses
Folder 22            The Rape of the Lily: Research
Folder 23            The Rape of the Lily: Research
Folder 24            The Rape of the Lily: Research


Box 16: Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Folder 1              Refugee Ship (1939)
Folder 2              River of Conquest
Folder 3              Road to God’s Country: Ghost Dog of Desolation Gulch
Folder 4              Road to God’s Country: Mountain That Cracked Down
Folder 5              Road to God’s Country: Uncle Sam and the Sourdough Spirit
Folder 6              Scollay Square Follies
Folder 7              The Secret of Magnolia
Folder 8              Sky Taxi
Folder 9              Spinning Rope, The Will Rogers Song
Folder 10            Star Spangled Cargoes (incomplete)
Folder 11            [This folder number not used]
Folder 12            Star Spangled Song / Wings of Song (1935)
Folder 13            Star Spangled Song / Wings of Song (1935)
Folder 14            Star Spangled Song: Correspondence: Emanuel Cohen (1935)
Folder 15            There Were Giants (ca. 1956)
Folder 16            The Thirtieth Palm
Folder 17            This is America (Series)
Folder 18            Three Straight Women
Folder 19            Thumbs Up (1941)
Folder 20            Thumbs Up (1941)
Folder 21            Tomorrow for Sale: Typescript (1941)
Folder 22            Tomorrow for Sale: Booklet (1941)
Folder 23            Tomorrow for Sale: Related materials (1941)
Folder 24            The Trade Rat
Folder 25            Tree With a Beard (ca. 1964)
Folder 26            A True Story (poem)
Folder 27            Valley’s End
Folder 28            Verdi’s Requiem
Folder 29            Wagon Wheels Wilson, by Clinton Rose (pseudonym?)
Folder 30            White Ambush (1940)
Folder 31            White Ambush (1940)
Folder 32            Wings in the Dark (1935)
Folder 33            Wings in the Dark: Correspondence (1935)


Box 17: Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Folder 1            Wings to Paradise
Folder 2            World Without End (1945)
Folder 3            Your Own Story Hour: My Night of Terror (1932)
Folder 4            Your Own Story Hour (brochure) (1932)
Folder 5            Sketches (miscellaneous)


Borderline Tales

Folder 6              Beyond the Border
Folder 7              Black Ice
Folder 8              Cabin at Chimney Rock
Folder 9              Christmas Eve
Folder 10            A Drowned Star
Folder 11            Every Man’s Hand
Folder 12            The Heart is a Hunter
Folder 13            Henry’s Ghost
Folder 14            Hobo Go Home
Folder 15            Mrs. Bye and the Out Beyond
Folder 16            Museum Piece
Folder 17            My Brother’s Keeper
Folder 18            The Phantom Rope
Folder 19            Red Devil Running
Folder 20            Three Brothers Ranch


Series VII: Sound Recordings


With the exception of “Jungle Ship” and “The Golden Road,” these tapes of Nell Shipman reading date from her years at Cabazon, California, 1967-1970.  “Doraleen and Fuzzy Vague” and “The Longest Hour” were fairy tales originally written by Barry Shipman for his daughter Nina during World War II.   “Fig Tree John” is an Indian tale Nell was reading for her niece, Pat Shipman Diaz, who had become blind.  The other tapes from the 1960s are some of Nell Shipman’s “Borderline Tales.”  Barry Shipman made this comment when he gave these tapes to Boise State University: “Hearing the dramatization of Nell’s words, especially in ‘The Golden Road,’ is evidence that she wrote words to be performed; Nell’s writing talent, like poetry, seems better when ‘heard’ than ‘read’” (June 7, 1990).


Box 20:  Sound Recordings

Tape 81.1            Doraleen and Fuzzy Vague (Parts 1 and 2)
Tape 81.2            Doraleen and Fuzzy Vague (Part 3)
Tape 81.3            Mrs. Bye and The Out Beyond
Tape 81.4            Excerpts from Chimney Rock / Christmas Eve (Conclusion)
Tape 81.5            Heart is a Hunter
Tape 81.6            Fig Tree John
Tape 81.7            Christmas Eve (part of introduction missing)
Tape 81.8            The Longest Hour (Parts 1 and 2)
Tape 81.9            The Longest Hour (Conclusion)
Tape 81.10          Hobo Go Home
Tape 81.11          Doraleen and Fuzzy Vague (Parts 1 and 2)
Tape 81.12          Doraleen and Fuzzy Vague (Part 3)
Tape 81.13          Hobo Go Home / Christmas Eve (Part 1)
Tape 81.14          Christmas Eve (Part 2) /  Cabin at Chimney Rock
Tape 81.15          The Golden Road (originally recorded 1950) /  Jungle Ship (originally recorded 1945)
Tape 81.16          A March for These States


Box 21 (Oversize): Sound Recordings

Preview Jungle Ship (1945)  16-inch disc at 33-1/3 rpm, one side only      (Rerecorded on Tape 81.15)

The Golden Road, by Nell Shipman (1950)   16-inch disc at 33-1/3 rpm, one side only      (Rerecorded on Tape 81.15)


Series VIII: Photos


The Nell Shipman collection contains approximately 400 images of Nell Shipman, her family and associates, and places where she lived and worked, including stills from several of her movies.  Most of them were donated by Barry Shipman, in the form of 35 mm negatives he made from contemporary prints in his possession.  Also included in the collection are copy prints that Professor Tom Trusky obtained from other libraries, archives, and private individuals during his research on Nell Shipman. 

Boise State University can provide copy prints of those images donated to us by Barry Shipman, however we cannot make copies of photos that came from other sources. For further information, consult an archivist in the Special Collections Department.

Each image has been assigned a photo number.  For reference use, copies of all the images have been arranged in the following ten categories:


Nell Shipman and her family (portraits)

Associates and animals

Scenes at Priest Lake, Idaho

A Bear, a Boy, and a Dog

Something New

The Girl from God’s Country

The Grubstake

Little Dramas of the Big Places

Other films and productions

Shipman-Curwood Productions album


Some photos relating to Tom Trusky’s activities both researching and promoting the films of Nell Shipman can be found in MSS 99, the Tom Trusky collection.  Copies of Nell Shipman’s films are available on videotape and at the Simplot-Micron Instructional Technology Center at Boise State University.


Manuscripts Box List, MSS 81


Box 1               Biographical and Personal Papers

Box 2               General Correspondence, A-M

Box 3               General Correspondence, P-Z, Miscellaneous

Box 4-A           Correspondence with her Children [Photocopies]

Box 4-B           Correspondence with her Children [Photocopies]

Box 5               Autobiographical Writings

Box 6               Novels

Box 7               Novels

Box 8               Novels

Box 9               Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Box 10             Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Box 11             Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Box 12             Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Box 13             Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Box 14             Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Box 15             Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Box 16             Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Box 17             Stories, Scripts, Scenarios, and Treatments

Box 18             Biographical and Personal Papers

Box 19             Biographical and Personal Papers (Pressbook, Photocopy)

Box 20             Sound recordings

Box 21             Sound recordings

Boxes 22 through 25 contain original letters, scripts, stories, etc. that are in fragile condition (brittle paper).  Photocopies have been placed in the appropriate files within the main collection for patron use.    Also contained in these boxes are carbons of certain titles made by Nell Shipman.

Box 22             Fragile originals: Correspondence and “The Last Empire”

Box 23             Fragile originals and carbons (stories and scripts, filed alphabetically)

Box 24             Fragile originals and carbons (stories and scripts, filed alphabetically)

Box 25             Fragile originals: Pressbook


Nell Shipman photo collection

Photo Box 1   Prints  1-150
Photo Box 2   Prints  151-222
Photo Box 3   Prints  224-322
Photo Box 4   Prints  1015-
Photo Box 5   Prints 323-   /   Prints 1051-
Photo Box 6   Shipman-Curwood Productions album
Photo Box 7   Negatives



Series VI: Travel

During her life, Power traveled extensively in Europe and Central America.  This series contains her journal of a trip to Mexico in 1938, and news articles of her trips to Mexico in 1939 and 1947.  Included, also, are narratives of her trips to Europe in 1958 and again in 1968.

Box 2: Travel

Folder   18   Tours, France; Itinerary  1930

               19   Mexico Travelogue  June 16 ‑ July 6, 1938

               20   Mexico  1939

               21   Mexico  1947

               22   Europe  1958

               23   Basque Country; Itinerary,

               24   Europe  1968

               25   Memorabilia


Series VII: Writings


Power delivered the salutatory oration at her high school commencement in 1918.  Her topic was “America’s New Womanhood.”  In the address, she explained how the war gave women increased opportunities and a greater “feeling of democracy” in America.  Power stated it was time for equal suffrage for “the new robust class working and thinking women.”

Following her year of study in Tours, Power returned home to obtain a master’s degree at the University of Illinois.  As part of the requirements, she wrote French Opinion of America in the Correspondent.  She completed much of her research during her studies in France.  A copy of the thesis can be found in the Albertsons Library’s Archives.  Other than the thesis written in 1933, Power’s writings are arranged alphabetically in this series because several are undated.  The subject matter may enable the reader to estimate the period. 

Power taught foreign languages for the military and incorporated many methods into her techniques for teaching college students and elementary ones as well.  The Marriage of Conde illustrates Power’s ability to translate French, for both the original and the translation are in Folder 6.  She translated an article written by President of Guatemala to English, with hopes that his views would be published in the United States (Box 3, Folder 9).  Her interest in the Basque people is evident in her articles, “Basque Culture” and “Toward a Cultural Revival with the American Basque.”

Box 3: Writings

Folder   1    High School Salutatorian’s Oration   June 1918

               2    Masters Thesis: French Opinion of America in  The Correspondent    1934

               3    Basque Culture 1974

               4    Batasuna (Unity) by Francois Maspero, translated by Camille B. Power  1970            

               5    Foreign Language in Elementary Schools  1956

               6    Language Training Methods

               7    The Marriage of Conde: Recollections, narrated by Armand Mercier,  translated by Camille B. Power

               8    Modern Spanish: Report of a Questionnaire  1964

               9    “Out of the Mouths of Babes”

             10    Pedalogical Scepticism, by Juan Jose Arevelo,   translated by Camille B. Power   1948

             11    Revitalized Interest in Foreign Language and What We Should Do About It

             12    Toward a Cultural Revival with The American Basques 1972

Series VIII: Basque Materials


Power’s interest in Basque people and culture is found in the collected materials in this series.  Of primary interest to her was the relationship of the United States government to the Basque citizenry as they attempted to gain autonomy.  Her interest in the preservation of Basque culture is at the forefront of the series.  See also Power’s Correspondence files in Box 2 for more correspondence with Jon Bilbao, and the  Basque Studies Program at the University of Nevada.

Box 3: Basque Materials

Folder    13   United States - Basque Relations:  Frank Church  1970

                14   United States - Basque Relations: Congress  1971

                15   Boise State University - Basque Relations  1975

                16   Boise, Idaho Local Basque Events  1972

                17   Basque Studies at University of Nevada, Reno  1971

                18   Basque Alphabet

                19   Basque Nationalism

                20   Manuscript by Martin de Ugalde  1936

                21   Miscellaneous Basque Articles  1973

                22   Miscellaneous Basque Publications 1982


Series IX: Boise State University: 50th Anniversary


In 1982 Boise State University celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary.  Power served of  the program committee.  She corresponded with several alumni and faculty members whose letters can be found in Folder 23.  Folder 24 contains the master list for participants in the anniversary celebration.

Related material can be found in Manuscript collection 50 (MSS 50): 50th Anniversary Slide Presentation, and in the University Archives, RG 135.2.

Box 3: Boise State University: 50th Anniversary

Folder    23    Correspondence  1982

                24    Alumni Master List  1932-1940

                25    Related Materials 1982


Series X: Photographs

Both posed and formal photographs of Camille as a child and as an adult are found in Box 4. Photos of her childhood include pictures with her brother, a tea party, with other children, and pictures posed with her many china dolls.  In the collection are negatives of her son, Kent Power, taken in the 1930's.

The photos in this collection document Power’s academic career. The collection contains a negative of her office at BJC, a publicity photo for the Idaho Statesman, a photo of the women faculty of St. Margaret’s Hall in 1932 and one of a BJC Women’s Association Tea in 1937.  Photos of the Language Department’s one act plays are evidence of the melodrama used to convey the action since many audience members were unable to understand the dialog.  A photo of the Spanish Club’s float for Homecoming (1950s?) is also in Box 4. Two photos of the Basques are indicative of her interest in the  culture.  Photos of a visiting Venezuelan delegation are also part of the collection.

              Photos 001-031       5 x 7 inches or smaller
              Photos 101-111       larger than 5 x 7 inches

Series XI: Videos

Camille Power donated with the collection six 8mm films of her personal home movies.  The movies have been converted to VHS.  The movies include activities of Camille and her family and friends as well as Boise Junior College.  Included in the scenes of BJC is the first commencement in 1934, Homecoming 1949, and general early campus views.  Both the original films and the tape can be found in Box 5.

Special Collections • 1910 University Drive • Boise, ID 83725-1430 • Phone: 208-426-1204 • Email: Archives