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Guide to the Charles H. Snow Collection
Mss 115  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Charles H. Snow Collection,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1930-1967
    Collection Number: Mss 115
    Creator: Snow, Charles H. (Charles Horace), b. 1877
    Extent: .4 linear feet (1 document box)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
    Physical Location: Del Sur
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions


    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

    Charles H. Snow Collection. Mss 115. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchase, 1969.


    Charles Horace Snow was born in Lake County, California in 1877, the son of George and Annie Snow, who had come to the frontier from Missouri. He spent his childhood pursuing backcountry activities such as hunting, fishing, and swimming, while getting a basic primary education. While in his teens, he began to support himself as a miner. He had an older half-brother, John Allen Veath, who obtained a position as assistant superintendent of a mine in British Columbia, Canada. Seeing an opportunity, Veath sent for his 17-year-old brother to join him, and Snow traveled north by train. After a few successful years in the Pacific Northwest, the brothers went to Panama to work a mine there. However, Snow soon contracted malaria and was sent home to California.
    Charles Snow spent the next several years wandering the western United States and Mexico, supporting himself through mining and prospecting. During this time he married Halla Nunley, who soon gave birth to their daughter Thelma. By 1914, John Veath had become very successful, and offered his brother a university education in the profession of his choosing. Snow declined, preferring his rugged existence.
    Not long after, however, Charles Snow was blinded when an engine he was repairing exploded in his face. For three years, Snow struggled to come to terms with the loss of his sight, and to find a way to continue to support his family. It was Veath who suggested that he draw upon his early experiences and write stories of life in the West. With the aid of his wife and daughter, Snow spent the following three years studying the rudiments of fiction, finally selling his first story in 1922.
    At the same time he launched his career as a writer, Charles Snow was also elected as a justice of the peace for Napa, California, where his family had settled. He also served as local correspondent for two metropolitan newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee. His stories and novels became extremely popular in Great Britain, and when his term of office was up four years later, he was successful enough to devote himself full time to writing.
    Charles H. Snow would go on to be one of the most prolific writers of all time, publishing 465 novels under both his own name and up to a dozen pseudonyms, such as Charles Ballew, Gary Marshall, Ranger Lee, and H.C. Averill. Throughout his career, he would dictate the stories to his daughter, who would transcribe them on a typewriter and send them to the publisher, usually Wright & Brown of London. In 1955, he was elected honorary president of the Western Writers Association. He was working on a new book when he died in 1967 at the age of 90.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The materials described in the container list are part of a much larger collection of printed works by Snow, about 200 titles, which have been cataloged individually and which can be searched on Pegasus, the UCSB University Libraries online catalog.
    The manuscript portion of the collection contains typewritten manuscripts of Charles H. Snow's last two unpublished stories, "Bridge River Gold" and "Baseball in the Cow Country." There are also numerous small newspaper clippings from the 1930s and 1940s, featuring reviews of Snow's books, as well as papers relating to his interactions with his various publishers. There is also an issue of the Quarterly of the Society of California Pioneers, v.10, inscribed to Snow by the secretary of the society, H.L. Van Winkle.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Snow, Charles H. (Charles Horace), b. 1877