Gulick, Bill, 1916-

Alternative names
Birth 1916-02-22
Death 2013-10-25

Biographical notes:

Grover Cleveland "Bill" Gulick was born in Kansas City, Missouri and educated at the University of Oklahoma. He was a prolific writer of western stories and novels.

From the guide to the Grover Cleveland (Bill) Gulick papers, 1916-1986, (Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries)

Grover C. “Bill” Gulick was born on February 22, 1916, in Kansas City, Missouri. After a series of jobs during the Great Depression, in 1940 Gulick enrolled in the Professional Writing School at the University of Oklahoma. Soon after beginning his studies with Walter Stanley Campbell (who published under the name Stanley Vestal), Gulick was selling stories and regularly writing for national magazines, first for pulp westerns and then for literary magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post. Gulick began publishing traditional western novels in the 1950s, beginning with Bend of the Snake (1950). By the 1960s, he was focused on writing historical novels. Gulick’s historical novels include a series about the Nez Perce (Northwest Destiny, 1988) and a series on the Columbia River (Roll On, Columbia, 1997-2008). Several of Gulick’s stories were turned into major motion pictures, including Bend of the River (1952), Road to Denver (1955), and Hallelujah Trail (1965).

Gulick wrote and produced three historical outdoor dramas: The Magic Musket (1953), for the Washington Territory centennial; Pe-Wa-Oo-Yit (1955), for the centennial of the Walla Walla Treaty Council of 1855; and Trails West (1976-77), which represents events from the arrival of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the Pacific Northwest in 1805 through the Walla Walla Treaty Council. Gulick also published seven non-fiction books about the land and history of the Northwest and an autobiography, Sixty-Four Years as a Writer (2006). Gulick’s extensive body of literary work is characterized by a clear, dramatic narrative style and content that is informed by solid research.

Gulick’s research brought him to Walla Walla and the library and archives at Whitman College in the late 1940s. Knowing that he wanted to write about the Northwest, Gulick and his wife, Jeanne Abbott, whom he married in 1946, moved to Walla Walla in 1949. Soon after they settled there, Gulick called Walla Walla a three-dimensional town-“one with a past, a present, and a future”-and it became the center of much of his life and work.

Gulick began donating his papers to the Whitman College and Northwest Archives in 1960, when Jeanne Gulick became the Pacific Northwest Librarian at the Penrose Library. In the decades that followed, Gulick continued to donate his journals, correspondence, manuscripts, and research materials to the archives. The Bill Gulick Papers document Gulick’s long literary life-a career that began during the advent of the television and continued through the advent of the personal computer. Gulick is one of the most important interpreters of the history of the Northwest and his papers are an important part of the region’s cultural record.

From the guide to the Bill Gulick Papers, 1940-2008, (Whitman College and Northwest Archives)


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Ark ID:


  • Literature
  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Nez Percé Indians--Government relations--History
  • Novelists, American--20th century
  • Authors and publishers--Correspondence
  • Western stories
  • Western stories--Authorship
  • Nez Perce Indians--History
  • Walla Walla (Wash.) History
  • Authors, American--20th century--Correspondence


  • Authors


  • Idaho (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)