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Fox, Norman, 1911-1960. NWDA

 
 

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Biographical History

Norman Fox was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, May, 26, 1911, and raised in Great Falls, Montana. After graduating from Great Falls High School in 1919 he went on to work as a bookkeeper and accountant for various Great Falls firms from 1929 until 1938, when he dedicated himself to writing full time. A prolific writer of western novels, short stories, screenplays and radio scripts, Fox produced more than thirty novels and over 400 short stories before his untimely death of cancer at the age of 48. An avid supporter of other Western writers, Fox co-founded Western Writers of America and served as director and vice president of the organization. He was also an active member of the Montana Institute of Arts and was the "motivating spirit" behind meetings of Montana authors such as A.B. Guthrie, Dan Cushman, and Robert McCaig. After his divorce from his first wife, Pat, Fox married Rosalea Spaulding in 1949. Fox and his second wife spent their summers in Virginia City, Montana.

Almost all of Fox's novels use Montana and its history as a backdrop. While his earliest novels, such as Lord Six-Gun (194 ) and The Six-Gun Syndicate (194 ), fall under the category of pulp westerns, many of his later works achieved critical acclaim. Some of his numerous books are, The Thundering Trail (1944), Dead End Trail (1946), Shadow on the Range: a Realistic Tale of the Old West (1949), Stormy in the West (1950), Ghostly Hoofbeats (1952), The Badlands Beyond (1957), Rope the Wind (1958) , Reckoning at Rimbow (1959), and The Trembling Hills (1960). He also published one novel, Winchester Cut (1951), under the pseudonym Mark Sabine. This novel was later revised and published as Stranger from Arizona (1956), which was named one of the best westerns of 1956. Several of his short stories were collected in The Valiant Ones (1957). Four of Fox's novels were turned into films: Gunsmoke (1953), based on his novel Roughshod (1951); Tall Man Riding (1955); The Rawhide Years (1956); and Night Passage (1957).

Norman Fox died in Great Falls, Montana, on March 24, 1960.

From the finding aid for Norman Fox Papers 1941-1982 (Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections)

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