1980-1982. Archive of Westerns Writer Robert Vaughn Bell, 1980-1982
Two spiral-bound manuscripts, pp. 165 and pp. 230 + TLS, paperback book and snapshot photo
Very Good Plus
Robert Vaughn Bell was born on April 25, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska. He was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, earning a number of citations and medals, from 1941 to 1947. As writers are wont to do, Bell held a variety of odd jobs, including as a telephone lineman for Northwestern Bell and a manager of the Crosby Horse Ranch. He worked as a deep-sea diver in the Philippines and Mexico, and as a merchant seaman and tugboat captain on the Pacific Ocean. He was also a Deputy Sheriff in Trinity County, California and spent many years as a cattle rancher. Bell’s articles have appeared in various publications, and he authored nine published novels between 1982 and 1989. He died in 1997.
This small collection contains the original typed manuscript of Bell’s book “A Valley Called Disappointment” signed by the author on July 28, 1980. The book was originally published by Ballantine Books in 1982. There is also a paperback copy of the work, whose cover announces its “Spirited women, tough men, posses, outlaws, and Indians - A great western by a new writer.” It is signed on the dedication page “For Dan Monte / A new friend, who has honored me with his spoken appreciation of this novel. / Robert Bell” and a 3-1/2” x 2-1/2” color snapshot of the author, signed and captioned on the verso, is laid in. There is also a typed letter signed by Bell to Monte about the characters in his first five novels, on Bell’s pictorial Creek Park Ranch, California stationery, dated October 15, 1982. In the letter Bell also talks about his interest in “guns and memorabilia of the old West” and his old trophy roping saddle: “I was fifteen years old and wanted very much to be a rodeo clown.” He thanks Monte for writing and offers, “Send along whatever you want signed, and I’ll be happy to oblige.”
The collection also holds the typed manuscript of Bell’s book “Devil on Horseback,” which appears to never have been published. Bell dedicated this work “to the memory of my maternal grandfather…a gentle and caring man, he was respected and beloved by all who knew him. He sent me on my first pony, almost before I could walk properly…I shall always remember him!”
Early manuscripts and correspondence of a noted writer of westerns. Some of Bell’s papers are held by the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center. Item #653