Claire Wilhelm collection on Zane Grey

Claire Wilhelm collection on Zane Grey

Dates: approximately 1900-1956

The Claire Wilhelm collection on Zane Grey documents Wilhelm's interactions with Grey while accompanying him on various expeditions. The collection contains black and white photographs of Zane Grey and his family, Claire Wilhelm and various other women on trips with Zane Grey, and scenes from Zane Grey movies. It also contains ephemera collected by Claire Wilhelm including silhouettes of Zane and Lina Elise Grey, a Christmas card from Zane Grey to Wilhelm, and a Zane Grey book plate. These materials date from approximately 1900 to 1956.

  • Extent: 1 box (0.5 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Wilhelm, Claire, 1898-1984
  • Call Number: MSS 8277
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; Arts & Communications Archives; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602;
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
This collection is arranged into two series: 1. Claire Wilhelm collection of Zane Grey photographs, approximately 1900-1956. 2. Claire Wilhelm collection of Zane Grey ephemera, 1915-1954.
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Claire Wilhelm collection on Zane Grey must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 8277; Claire Wilhelm collection on Zane Grey; Arts and Communications; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following Citation: MSS 8277, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Purchased from Between the Covers Rare Books, Inc. bookstore in August 2013; with funds generously provided by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies.
Acquisition Information
Purchased; Between the Covers Rare Books, Inc. bookstore; August 2013.
Separated Material
One publicity brochure was separated from the collection to be transferred to the print collection.
Related Material
See also MSS 6081, Zane Grey papers. See also MSS 8316, Zane Grey papers.
Subject Terms
Grey, Zane, 1872-1939; American literature; Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Frontier and pioneer life; Literature; Novelists, American--Archives
Genre / Form
Photographs; Printed ephemera
Processing Information
Processed; Elizabeth Barrus; November 2013.
Appraisal Information
Prominent author (Arts & Communications Archives Collecting Policy, 2010).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Wilhelm (Claire) collection on Grey (Zane)
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Barrus
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2014-02-10T16:47-0700
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Claire Wilhelm (1898-1984) was the sister of artist Lillian Wilhelm Smith and companion to Western author Zane Grey.

Claire Wilhelm was born on 20 July 1898 in New Jersey to Henry T. and Leonore Wilhelm. She was the youngest of seven children, the oldest of which was the artist Lillian Wilhelm Smith. She was the cousin of Lina Elise Grey, wife of Western novelist Zane Grey. She accompanied Zane Grey on various fishing and camping expeditions beginning in 1914. In 1918, Grey's attentions turned to other women and Wilhelm found herself estranged from him. She married Phillips Carlin in June 1921.

In 1924, Grey began inviting Wilhelm to accompany him once again after Wilhelm sustained serious injuries in a car accident. She entered into Grey's employ as a secretary when her marriage began to fail. After nine months with Grey, Wilhelm finally parted ways with him and returned to New York City where she resolved the strains in her marriage. She had two daughters, Virginia and Patricia, and gave up travelling to raise them, however, she continued to correspond with Zane and Lina Elise Grey for many years afterward.

Claire Wilhelm died on 15 January 1984 in Branford, Connecticut.

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Ben Harry
Curator - Arts & Communications Archives