Psycho: A Novel by Robert Bloch

Robert Bloch was an author of pulp science fiction and crime stories. A protégé of H.P. Lovecraft, he grew up reading Weird Tales magazine and after high school began writing science fiction stories for the magazine himself.

Bloch moved away from science fiction and into horror themes like black magic, voodoo and demon possession. He began writing crime stories and in 1959 wrote Psycho which would be adapted into the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film.

Psycho is strikingly similar to the story of infamous murderer Ed Gein. However, Bloch wrote most of the book before Gein was caught. Strangely, while writing Psycho, Bloch lived only 35 miles away from Gein in Wisconsin.


Author Robert Bloch wrote Psycho, which was later adapted into the Alfred Hitchcock film. Robert Bloch papers, American Heritage Center.


Although Bloch wrote sequels to Psycho, the sequels to the movie are completely different stories. Bloch wrote a speculative screenplay for his own sequel, but it was never made.

Robert Bloch’s papers are available at the UW American Heritage Center. The collection consists of materials related to Bloch’s personal life and professional career, as well as the development of the horror and science fiction genres. Contents of the collection include extensive personal and professional correspondence, a large selection of science fiction and horror books and periodicals, convention announcements and programs, and annotated screenplays, scripts, and manuscripts produced by Bloch and his contemporaries, among other materials.



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A Wyoming Frost

Verna Elizabeth Grubbs, better known to her poetic peers as Ann Winslow, was a driving force in the shaping of young poets during the early-to-mid 1900s. The Ann Winslow collection evidences her immersion in the world of the golden age of American poetry, which includes correspondence between her and poets such as Robert Frost, Joseph Auslander, and Ezra Pound, and letters from fellow editors of poetry like Virginia Kent Cummins.

Ann Winslow Portrait

Ann Winslow (Verna Elizabeth Grubbs), 1932, Photographic files, American Heritage Center.

To her family she was known simply as “daughter” or “sis,” but the Verna who attended Grinnell College in Iowa became Ann, a University of Wyoming professor of English and a creative mind behind the successful poetry journal College Verse which circulated for 10 volumes over the course of 10 years.

Her most lasting effect on the University of Wyoming was her involvement in the dedication of the Robert Frost Poetry Library in Hoyt Hall, now known as the Mathison Library. A newspaper clipping from The Branding Iron, the University of Wyoming student newspaper, speaks of the books dedicated by Robert Frost during his visit to Laramie and of Ann Winslow’s work as executive secretary for “College Verse.”

Newspaper article page 1

“English Dept. Developing Library,” Branding Iron, undated clipping, Ann Winslow papers, Box 4, American Heritage Center.

Newspaper article page 2



Of the suggestion to name a library after him, Robert Frost wrote to Ann that, “I shall of course want to respond with such gifts as are within my power to give. Poetry hasn’t made me rich enough to be much of a benefactor. But there are a few books I can help you with …Would you accept some sort of special portrait?” [Frost to Winslow, May 30, 1938, Winslow papers, Box 1]. The portrait of Robert Frost, with a handwritten dedication, remains on the shelves of Mathison Library and Frost’s visit is immortalized through Winslow’s own words in a manuscript of her unpublished book in the Winslow collection.

Robert Frost portrait

Robert Frost, circa 1966, Clark Kinnaird papers, American Heritage Center.

Ann’s enthusiasm for poetry is also reflected in her work with young poets through “College Verse” and her book, Trial Balances, published by The MacMillan Co in the mid-1930s. Of this work, her good friend and frequent correspondent, Alexander Laing, wrote in 1965, “What impresses me now is the percipience of your operation. Fifteen of the new poets presented, by my count, have emerged as notable practitioners: one short of half of the thirty-two! That’s miraculous” [Laing to Winslow, September 3, 1965, Winslow papers, Box 3].

Little is revealed in the collection about her experience as an instructor in the English Department at the University of Wyoming. However, one letter written by, presumably, Winslow’s former student at basic training in 1943 suggests that the enthusiasm with which she approached poetic culture was also applied to her teaching. “I always like to hear from the folks back at Wyo. U.,” he wrote, before signing the letter as “One of Winslow’s Wild Wyomians” [Lt. E. Minich to Winslow, August 21, 1945, Winslow papers, Box 2).

College Verse front cover

College Verse back cover “College Verse” Front/Back, Ann Winslow papers, Box 5, American Heritage Center.

– Submitted by Lydia Stuver, William D. Carlson Award Intern, American Heritage Center.

Posted in Authors and literature, found in the archive, Poetry, Robert Frost, Uncategorized, University of Wyoming history, writers and poets, Wyoming history | Tagged | Leave a comment

Party like it’s 1993: AHC Celebrates 25 years in the Centennial Complex

The University of Wyoming American Heritage Center and Art Museum are hosting a public open house for the 25th anniversary of their shared building, the Centennial Complex on Friday, September 14, from 1-4 p.m.

On the theme of “Celebrating the Past, Looking Forward”, the Open House will feature tours and highlights from the American Heritage Center collections, spotlight tours in the Art Museum exhibitions and galleries, hands-on art-making activities and musical performances throughout the afternoon.


One of the originally proposed building designs for the American Heritage Center with a large “W” on facade, 1980-1989. AHC Photo Files.

In 1986 the University of Wyoming launched the “Centennial Campaign,” at the time the most ambitious fundraising campaign in UW’s history with the goal to raise $19 million for a new building to house the American Heritage Center (AHC) and University of Wyoming Art Museum (UWAM), as well as an additional $6 million to build endowments to support student scholarships and faculty positions. Until that time, the Wyoming Legislature had been the major source of funding for the university. This new initiative began a trend of substantial private contributions bolstered by matching state funds that kicked off a new era in growth around campus.


Construction of the Centennial Complex, 1992. AHC Photo Files.

Architect Antoine Predock described his inspiration for the building as an “’archival mountain’… with a village, the art museum, at its base.” Predock wrote that he hoped to create “a sense of rendezvous, that timeless quality of meeting on an open landscape that we can trace from Native Americans to French trappers to Anglo settlers.”


Antoine Predock, left, discussing the schematics of the Centennial Complex using a scaled, dissected model, 1989. AHC Photo Files.


Early sketch of interior, forest area (now the Loggia) of the American Heritage Center, Centennial Complex, undated. AHC Photo Files.


Detailed look at model and the various construction phases of the Centennial Complex including its collection areas, undated. AHC Photo Files.

“In step with the development of the University mapped out in its Strategic Plan, ‘Breaking Through: 2017-2022,’ the AHC continues to develop a strategic plan with initiatives designed to see the AHC as a place increasingly aligned with the educational mission of the University of Wyoming,” says acting director and Dean of Libraries, Ivan Gaetz. “As the AHC maps passageways through the mountain and carves tunnels that lead to truly great discoveries of the objects contained therein, we can lead to profound discoveries by students and researchers of their own learning potentials—and these are the truly spiritual dimensions of the whole edifice.”


Centennial Complex today.


For more information on the festivities, contact the AHC at (307) 766-4114, or follow the AHC on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Posted in announcements, Centennial Complex, Current events, events, exhibits, Uncategorized, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, Wyoming history | Tagged | Leave a comment

Andrew Bugas’ Account of the Rock Springs Massacre of 1885

Andrew Bugas was not quite 20 years old in 1885 when he arrived in Rock Springs to work in the Union Pacific’s coal mines. Born in Austria, he came to the United States in 1880 to join his father in Mahoney, Pennsylvania, where young Andrew worked as a “slate picker” and as a “trapper” in the coal mines. Slate picker and trapper were menial jobs usually performed by boys. Slate pickers plucked sharp-edged pieces of slate and other impurities from the coal. Trappers sat underground, usually in total darkness, opening and closing wooden doors (trap doors) located across the mine.


“Boys Picking Slate in a Great Coal Breaker, Anthracite Mines, Pennsylvania.” Photo from Coal Region History Chronicles.

It’s not certain what led Andrew to Rock Springs, but he probably heard of the coal boom in southwestern Wyoming. He had an adventurous spirit, which showed itself in 1888 when he left Rock Springs to travel the United States for eight years.

In 1885, Andrew walked into a situation in the Rock Springs mines that was about to spin out of control. The tensions between white and Chinese miners had reached a breaking point.

The Chinese had worked in the Union Pacific’s mines since the early 1870s. They had proven themselves to be hard workers who would labor for cheap. Even though they were paid less than whites, Chinese miners could earn many times more in the United States than they could in China. If they were careful, in a few years, they could save a lifetime’s fortune to take back home. By 1882, anti-Chinese sentiment was rampant and Congress limited the number of Chinese immigrants. But the new law was full of loopholes, and the immigration question was open-ended and confusing.

Union Pacific Railroad policies did not help an increasingly tense situation. Pay cuts and paycheck gouging by UP company stores led to unrest among the white miners. And, although white and Chinese miners worked side by side every day, they spoke different languages and lived separate lives. This made it possible for each to think of the other as not entirely human. As the anger of the white miners intensified, they staged a number of strikes but with no results. At the end of an 1884 strike, mine managers in Rock Springs were told to only hire Chinese. By the time Andrew arrived, there were nearly 600 Chinese and 300 white miners working the Rock Springs mines.

On the morning of September 2, 1885, Andrew was at his house, located only a short way from Bitter Creek which was one of the staging areas for a mob of men, women, and even children determined to drive the Chinese from Rock Springs. By 10:00 A.M., Andrew saw that the “[Chinese] dinner carriers, who daily carried the dinners on poles across their shoulders…were being stoned with rocks and chased by boys and men until they had to drop their loads and flee for safety”.

Rock Springs

View of Rock Springs, Wyoming, undated. Photofile: Wyoming – Rock Springs, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

After the stoning of the dinner carriers, Andrew watched through the window as “the mob with guns on their shoulders began their march towards Chinatown”. He followed the brigade “½ curious and ½ scared”. When the mob came to Chinatown’s Joss House, Andrew saw them halt and send a committee to tell the Chinese inside of the mob’s intent. Confusion reigned among the Chinese men in the building; some seemed to want to stay and others to leave. Andrew heard and saw “loud jabbering and swinging of arms, etc. etc., that could be observed from outside…through the windows”.

As the time to evacuate the Joss House neared, the mob grew impatient and moved toward the building. Andrew “saw some Chinese jump out the window upon a bundle of what looked like blankets.” By then, members of the mob were against the house and “some one hit the locked door with an axe or sledge from the way it sounded”. Chinese men (only a few women lived in Rock Springs) poured out through the doors and window while “the mob started shooting into the house and toward the fleeing men”. Andrew noticed that “hundreds of shots must have been wasted for the scare”. He continued to follow the mob as they advanced into Chinatown, “driving out of the houses those that were too frightened to run and setting fire with kerosene oil to all houses after first plundering each house of everything valuable”. He watched as some of the Chinese men were killed inside their houses while most were shot in the back as they ran.


Here’s a Pretty Mess!” (in Wyoming) – 19 September, 1885 by Thomas Nast for Harper’s Weekly. Thomas Nast Source: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Soldiers were brought in to restore order. Andrew observed that “at first the soldiers and whites were distrustful of one another and many fist fights took place in the saloons”. But later, soldiers and miners began to fraternize. Discipline was not a strong suit among the soldiers. Andrew reported that “[on] several occasions a Chinaman was caught in darkness and his ‘pigtail’ cut off by soldiers”. That act, he noted, “was held to be a very grave offense by the Chinese and a soldier if proven to have committed it was given severe penalty”. The “blue coats” as the soldiers were known spent their money freely in Rock Springs and “were missed by Rock Springs businessmen when they finally left in 1898 after 13 years in Rock Springs.” Though Andrew did mention that “…a year or so prior to the final withdrawal of the army from R.S…[o]ne or two companies or detachments of companies of colored soldiers came, the white army leaving. The colored army sojourn in R.S. while brief, was the most trying period for the peace officers as well as citizens in general…R.S. drew a breath of relief when this colored army was replaced by a white one…” He doesn’t elaborate on the what took place except to note that the town peace officers’ “resourcefulness in their line saved R.S. a dangerous outbreak and killing of probably many citizens and negro soldiers”.


Federal troops, shown here on Front Street in 1885, stayed in Rock Springs for 13 years. Wyoming Tales and Trails photo.

Andrew Bugas lived in Rock Springs until 1888 when he began his travels in the United States. He must have seen Rock Springs as home because he returned there in 1896, married a local girl in 1902, and raised a family. He opened a saloon, invested in a coal mine at Point of Rocks, and served as a state legislator, school district treasurer, and precinct committeeman. But he never forgot what he witnessed upon his arrival in Rock Springs. His account of the Rock Springs Massacre was written in 1933, many years later. The account can be found in the papers of his son John Bugas, which are held at the UW American Heritage Center.

AP Bugas

Andrew P. Bugas, undated. Find a Grave photo.

Posted in Chinese Americans, found in the archive, International relations, Labor disputes, Local history, mining history, Railroad History, Rock Springs Massacre, Uncategorized, Violence - history, Western history, Wyoming history | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Summer Exhibit Series: University of Wyoming

This video was created to promote the University of Wyoming’s summer school in 1939. It shows UW’s campus, various activities, and highlights reasons that people may want to attend summer school at UW. From the University of Wyoming University Relations/Media Services Collection, AV Box.

The Union Pacific Railroad brought people to Laramie and put it on the map in its early years but the University of Wyoming would add to that presence. Founded in 1886 as a land-grant university, the University of Wyoming opened its doors the following year while Wyoming was still a territory. From there, the university began its decades long history of teaching those in the West and anyone else that ventured to Wyoming to pursue an education.

The first class in September 1887 included 42 students, both men and women. These students were taught by 5 faculty members in the classrooms of Old Main. Originally built on the outskirts of Laramie in the city park, Old Main served as home for classes, the library, and administrative offices during UW’s early days.

With the university’s first president, John Wesley Hoyt, a curriculum of arts and humanities was created for both a graduate and normal school. Through the requirements of the land-grant act that had established the university, classes of agriculture, engineering, and military tactics augmented the curriculum established by the president.

Various other curricula of sciences and other disciplines as well as organizations like ROTC, athletics, and numerous other clubs and entities have grown out of the humble beginnings of the University of Wyoming. The university now is home to thousands of students and over 700 faculty members and continues to grow.

Our exhibit on The University of Wyoming is on display from September 4 to 17 in the 4th floor reading room.

-Katey Parris, AHC Reference Department

Posted in exhibits, Laramie 150th Anniversary, Local history, Student Life, undergraduate students, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, Wyoming history | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Beanies, Brooms and Bother: UW Freshmen Get the Initiation Treatment

With the start of the fall semester on August 29 at the University of Wyoming, it seems a good time to show off a couple of old-time UW freshman traditions.

A once constant sight on the University of Wyoming campus was the sight of freshmen wearing beanies. According to a September 1967 article in the UW school newspaper, Branding Iron, freshmen only needed to don the head wear until the first home football game of the season. After the UW Cowboys scored their first touchdown, the students threw their beanies in the air and never had to wear them again. The tradition of beanies apparently goes back to 1908 when male students had to wear green caps and women green stockings. During the 1920s, freshmen had to wear the beanies until Homecoming.

Students in beanies

In this 1950s photograph, freshmen are purchasing books while dutifully wearing their beanies. Photo File: Colleges and Universities – University of Wyoming building – Arts and Bookstore, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Freshmen were also expected to repaint the W on “W Hill”. The idea for the letter on the hill, then in a distant, unpopulated part of what is now residential Laramie, came from the freshman class in 1913—the class known then as the class of 1917. The W was 50 feet high by 80 feet wide and consisted of a layer of six inches of limestone laid in a trench. Whitewashing the W each year had to be done within two weeks after registration or freshmen would “take the consequences” from the rest of the college. The nature of the “consequences” was never stated.

W Hill

Freshmen in their beanies whitewash the W on W Hill. Photo from 1953 UW Yearbook. 

As years passed, the tradition of “whitewashing the W” continued, though it has now died out. The stones have not been whitewashed in many years. But if you look carefully on the hill on the north end of Laramie, you can still see a hint of the W.


Google Earth photo showing “W” on W Hill, 2015. 


Do you remember these traditions when you attended UW? 


Text courtesy of University of Wyoming by Rick Ewig and Tamsen Hert (2012) and “The W on Laramie’s W Hill” by Phil Roberts.

Posted in Local history, Uncategorized, undergraduate students, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, Wyoming history | Tagged | Leave a comment

Summer Exhibit Series: Highways in Laramie

The railroad is what most of Laramie’s early history is focused on as it allowed new peoples and industries to grow the burgeoning city. Even so, a few decades after the railroad first came to Laramie, a new form of transportation came through that would cause Laramie to be a stop on a major highway system.

The historic Lincoln Highway started as one of the earliest transcontinental highways in 1913. Cutting across the southern part of Wyoming, it allowed travelers to go from East to West with a new-found freedom that came with the invention of the automobile. Laramie was just one of the many stops in southern Wyoming but held a claim to fame with the highest point on the highway being only miles outside of the growing town.


Signpost along the Lincoln Highway. Photo File: Lincoln Highway, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

By the late 1950s, the historic Lincoln Highway was set to be replaced by the new Interstate 80. The second longest interstate in the country, I-80 would wind its way through southern Wyoming, bringing with it large truck travel and various others that wanted to make the trek cross country.

Both highways boasted fast travel but the weather in Wyoming could either help or hinder that travel. Large amounts of snow and wind called for special structures to keep roads clear, although it wasn’t always effective.

These highways follow historic paths, such as the Oregon Trail, and have made a mark on Laramie’s history through those that have come to Laramie on these paths and the stories the highways have given Laramie’s residents.


Map cover advertising the Lincoln Highway. Lincoln Highway Collection, Accession #10869, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The Highways in Laramie exhibit will run from August 20 to September 4. Exhibits can be viewed in the 4th floor Reading Room. Reading Room hours are Monday 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. and Tuesday through Friday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

– Submitted by Katey Parris, AHC Reference Department.

Posted in found in the archive, Laramie 150th Anniversary, Lincoln Highway, Oregon trail, Transportation history, Uncategorized, Western history, Westward migration, Wyoming history | Tagged , | Leave a comment