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Preliminary Guide to the Robert O. Easton Collection
SBHC Mss 6  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Robert O. Easton Collection
    Dates: ca. 1911-1990s
    Bulk Dates: 1940s-1990s
    Collection number: SBHC Mss 6
    Creator: Easton, Robert Olney
    Collection Size: ca. 40 linear feet (48 document boxes, 20 cartons, 2 oversize boxes, 4 audiocassettes, 1 videotape).
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106
    Abstract: Correspondence, research and subject files (including Chumash, natural resources, wilderness, and women's issues), drafts of writings, and related materials of the Santa Barbara author of Black Tide (on the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill), Love and War: Pearl Harbor through V-J Day, and the acclaimed multi-volume Saga of California series. Also includes materials on Sisquoc Ranch and Zaca Lake.
    Physical location: Boxes 1-68 (Annex 2); Boxes 69-70 (Del Sur Oversize); AV (Annex 2 - filed by format).
    Languages: English

    Access Restrictions

    None. Most materials are stored off-site; advance notice required for retrieval.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Robert O. Easton Collection. SBHC Mss 6. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by Robert O. Easton, 1972 -1996; additions by the Easton family, ca. 2000-2002.


    The following biographical information is taken from the guide to the Robert Olney Papers at the University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center:
    "Robert Olney Easton, prominent author and environmental activist, was born in San Francisco, California in 1915. He was the son of Robert Easton Sr. and Ethel Olney Easton. He was also the grandson of Warren Olney, one of the founders of the Sierra Club. Easton attended Stanford University in 1933 and 1934 and earned his bachelor's degree in English from Harvard University in 1938. Between 1938 and 1939, Easton did postgraduate work at Stanford University.
    "Easton's literary career began in 1939, when he became associate editor of Coast Magazine. He became a professional free-lance writer in 1941 and published a series of short stories in The Atlantic a year later. Easton's first book, The Happy Man, was published in 1943. A modern western novel based upon his experiences as a California ranch hand, it was well received by critics and established him as a literary talent. Easton enlisted in the Army during World War II and saw combat in Germany.
    "Between 1946 and 1950, Easton co-founded and co-edited the Lampasas (Texas) Dispatch. He continued to free-lance throughout the late 1940s and 1950s, contributing short stories to magazines such as Colliers, True, and The Saturday Evening Post. Of particular interest are his stories about Fred Meyer Schroder, an American adventurer who traveled in California, the Yukon, and China, between the 1890s and 1917. Published in True and The Saturday Evening Post, these stories were the foundation of his later works on Schroder.
    "Easton broadened the scope of his writing during the 1960s. Lord of the Beasts, a biography of American adventurer Charles "Buffalo" Jones co-written with MacKenzie Brown, was published in 1961. In 1963, his article Guns of the American West appeared in The Book of the American West. That same year, he wrote the unpublished article Right Turn in the Rockies, a study of the political far right in the Rocky Mountain region. The Hearing, a novel about the Red Scare of the 1950s, and California Condor: Vanishing American, a book concerning the threatened extinction of the California condor (co-written with Dick Smith), were published in 1964. Easton also edited the anthology Max Brand's Best Stories (1967) and with MacKenzie Brown, co-edited Bullying the Moqui (1969), which concerned Charles F. Lummis and his exposure of abuses on the Hopi Indian Reservation.
    "Easton continued to be a productive writer for the duration of his life. Max Brand: The Big Westerner (1970) is a biography of Easton's father-in-law Frederick Faust, a famed western writer. Black Tide: The Santa Barbara Oil Spill and Its Consequences (1972) was his second work exemplifying his concern with environmental issues. After years of research, Easton wrote two books in succession about Fred Meyer Schroder, Guns, Gold, and Caravans (1978) and China Caravans: An American Adventurer in Old China (1982). Easton turned to historical fiction in the 1980s and 1990s, writing the Saga of California trilogy: This Promised Land (1982), The Power and the Glory (1989), and Blood and Money (1998). He also co-wrote and co-edited three works with his wife Jane Easton: Love and War (1991), Max Brand's Best Poems (1992), and Collected Stories of Max Brand (1994).
    "Robert Easton married Jane Faust, the daughter of western writer Frederick Faust (Max Brand) in 1940. They had four daughters: Joan, Katherine, Ellen, and Jane. In addition to his literary activity, Easton was an English instructor at Santa Barbara City College (1959-1965) and a writing and publishing consultant with the U.S. Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory in Port Hueneme, California (1961-1969). He was involved in efforts to save the California condor from extinction, helping to found refuges for this bird at Sisquoc Sanctuary (1937) and Los Padres National Forest (1968). He was also active in the civic and environmental affairs of Santa Barbara, California, his adopted hometown.
    "Robert Olney Easton passed away on November 14, 1999."
    Additonal biographical information may be found in the UCSB Robert Olney Easton oral history: Life and Work (box 46) and in Series I (boxes 1-2) of this collection.

    Scope and Content of Collection


    The collection contains the following series:
    Series I: Biographical/Personal. Boxes 1-2. Includes bibliographies, articles about Easton, and other.
    Series II: Correspondence. Boxes 3-12. Largely professional. Some correspondence also has been left where found, in other series such as Issues and Writings.
    Series III: Issues/Subject Files. Boxes 13-19. Includes:
    • Natural Resources (Cachuma, Water)
    • Wilderness
    • Women's Issues
    • Miscellany
    Series IV: Writings. Includes manuscript drafts, research files, correspondence, notes, annotated photocopies, reviews, and related materials.
    • Articles, shorter works, contributions, book reviews, and technical/military writings and reports (arranged alphabetically by title). Box 20.
    • Monographs / Longer Works. Boxes 21-68.
      • Black Tide (1972) / Oil Spill Files - incl. articles, bibliographies, correspondence, documents and reports, environmental movements and agencies, historical and background material, oil industry files, press releases, research notes, and photographs.
      • Bullying the Moqui, editor with Mackenzie Brown (1968)
      • California Condor: Vanishing American, with Dick Smith (1964)
      • China Caravans (1982)
      • Collected Stories of Max Brand (1994)
      • Guns, Gold, and Caravans (1978)
      • The Happy Man (1943; 50th anniversary ed. 1993)
      • The Hearing (1964)
      • Life and Work [UCSB oral history] (1988)
      • Lord of Beasts: The Saga of Buffalo Jones, with Mackenzie Brown (1961)
      • Love and War (1991)
      • Man in the Middle (1996; unpublished?)
      • Max Brand, the Big Westerner (1970)
      • Max Brand's Best Poems (1992)
      • Max Brand's Best Stories, editor (1967)
      • One Writer's World. Introductory essays and selections from earlier writings (unpublished)
      • Saga of California Series. Includes numerous files on the Chumash Indians, as well as Blacks and the Spanish in California
        • Vol. 1: This Promised Land (1982)
        • Vol. 2: Power and Glory (1989)
        • Vol. 3: Blood and Money (1998)
        • Vol. 4: Love and Destiny (unfinished)
        • Other related files - incl. research files on the Chumash Indians
      • U.S. Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory - technical reports, et al, 1960s
      • Western Stories and Other
    Series V: Oversize. Boxes 69-70. Includes awards and articles in larger magazine format.
    Series VI: Audiovisual. Individually numbered. Includes audiotapes - mainly radio interviews, and videotape re Love and War.
    Acronyms used in the guide:
    • ROE = Robert Olney Easton
    Special also has first and signed editions of Easton's works, which have been cataloged separately and which can be searched on Pegasus, the UCSB Libraries online catalog. Works which Special Collections lacked or which have significant notes or marginalia also have been cataloged separately. Some, such as government publications, have been transferred to other areas of the UCSB Libraries.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Easton, Robert Olney
    Ecology & environment
    Santa Barbara County (Calif.)

    Related Collections

    At UCSB:
    • Easton [Robert E.] Collection, ca. 1893-1968. Mainly papers and ledgers re Easton's business dealings, especially the Sisquoc Ranch Co., central coast of California. (SBHC Mss 55).
    • Easton [Robert O.] Oral History. Recollections of Easton [son of Robert E. Easton] re his youth on the Sisquoc Ranch and the real life experiences he used in writing his novels. Also, his Harvard University days during the Depression, where he edited The Harvard Lampoon, his military service in World War II, and the relationship he had with his literary mentor and father-in-law, western author Max Brand. (OH 9).
    • Sisquoc Ranch Photograph Album, ca. 1899-1900. Approximately 76 b/w images and handwritten captions, mainly of Sisquoc Ranch [Rancho Sisquoc], Santa Barbara County, California, including the land, buildings, work such as branding cattle, and the Lucius E. Greene and Vicente Castro families. (Wyles SC 588).
    At Other Institutions:
    • Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. Materials from Easton, primarily relating to the California condor.
    • Texas Tech University, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library. Robert Olney Easton Papers. Contains photocopied manuscript (ca. 1963) of Part Seven of The Book of the American West, entitled "Guns of the American West."
    • University of Arizona Library Special Collections. Papers relating to Robert O. Easton's Lord of Beasts: The Saga of Buffalo Jones (Collection Number AZ 313).
    • University of California Berkeley, Bancroft Library. Frederick Schiller Faust [aka Max Brand] Papers (BANC MSS C-H 69). Much of Easton's work involving Max Brand, his father-in-law, is housed at the Bancroft Library.
    • University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center. Robert Olney Easton Papers (Coll. No. 02833). The collection contains correspondence, clippings, manuscripts, notebooks, photographs, and other materials concerning his life and literary career. Also materials relating to Fred Meyer Schroder.