Abbey, Edward, 1927-1989

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1927-01-29
Death 1989-03-14
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

American author.

From the description of Edward Abbey's Vox Clamantis in Deserto: Some Notes from a Secret Journal production records, 1988-1989. (University of Arizona). WorldCat record id: 41557904

Edward Abbey was born on January 29, 1927. He grew up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. His first glimpse of the American Southwest was in 1944 when he hitchhiked to Seattle and then to Arizona. After serving as a U.S. Army rifleman in Italy from 1945-1946, he enrolled at the University of New Mexico (UNM), where he earned his B.A. in 1951. While an undergraduate at UNM, Abbey explored the Southwest and began his writing career. Abbey's first novel, Jonathan Troy came out in 1954; his second, The Brave cowboy in 1956. During Abbey's lifetime, twenty-one of his books were published. He died in Arizona on March 14, 1989. He is remembered as a novelist, essayist, naturalist, philosopher, and social critic.

From the description of Manuscripts, 1950-1961 (bulk 1950-1951,1961). (University of New Mexico-Main Campus). WorldCat record id: 39474734

Edward Abbey was a teacher, a writer, an advocate of environmentalism, and a vocal critic of public land policies.

From the description of The Edward Abbey papers. 1954-1980. (University of Utah). WorldCat record id: 440820608

Author of fiction and non-fiction.

From the description of Papers of Edward Abbey, 1947-1990 (bulk 1969-1989). (University of Arizona). WorldCat record id: 27959844

Edward Abbey (1927-1989) was a teacher, a writer, an advocate of environmentalism, and a vocal critic of public land policies. His writings, especially his novel The Monkey Wrench Gang are still used as inspiration by radical environmental groups. His book, Desert Solitaire, is a partial autobiography centering on Abbey's years as a park ranger in southwestern Utah. For a more recent view, see the biography Edward Abbey, A Life, by James M. Cahalan.

From the guide to the Edward Abbey papers, 1954-1980, (J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

Edward Abbey was born on 29 January 1927 in Home, Pennsylvania, the eldest son of five children born to Mildred and Paul Abbey. At seventeen, he first hitchhiked across the West on a three month journey. From 1945 to 1946, he served in the U.S. Army in Alabama and Italy.

In 1948, while attending the University of New Mexico, Abbey began work on his first novel, Jonathan Troy (1956). In 1951, he earned a BA in English and Philosophy from that university, and published an article, "Some Implications of Anarchy." That same year Abbey received a Fullbright Fellowship to Edinburgh University. In the early 1950s, he worked as a social welfare case worker in New Jersey and New York.

In 1956, he received a MA in Philosophy from the University of New Mexico; his graduate thesis was titled "Anarchism and the Morality of Violence." The following year, he received a Writing Fellowship at Stanford University.

Abbey worked part-time as a park ranger and fire lookout in the national parks and forests of the southwestern United States. He would continue this work until the 1970s. With the publication of The Monkey Wrench Gang, he was able to devote his time more fully to writing. Abbey gave public readings and presentations at many American colleges and universities, and for the environmental causes and groups he supported. In 1974, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. During this time, Abbey was "Writer in Residence" at the University of Utah and, later, at the University of Arizona. He taught creative writing at the latter from 1981 onwards, and became a full professor there in 1988.

Abbey died 14 March 1989 in Tucson Arizona at the age of 62. Married five times, he was survived by his wife, Clarke Cartwright Abbey, and his five children.

His selected major novels include: The Brave Cowboy (1956), Fire on the Mountain (1962), Black Sun (1971), The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), Good News (1980), The Fool's Progress (1988), and Hayduke Lives! (1990). His essays and observations are compiled in Desert Solitaire (1968), The Journey Home (1977), Abbey's Road (1979), Desert Images (1981), One Life at a Time, Please (1987), and Vox Clamantis in Deserto (1989). He produced several travel books Appalachian Wilderness (1970), Slickrock (1971), Cactus Country (1972), and The Hidden Canyon (1978). He contributed to divers college anthologies, and wrote numerous articles and reviews for national and regional publications.

From the guide to the Papers of Edward Abbey, 1947-1990, (University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collection)

Edward Abbey. Photo by Cynthia Farah Haines. Part of the Writers of the Southwest Collection. PICT 986-008.

Edward Abbey was born on January 29, 1927. He grew up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. His first glimpse of the American Southwest was in 1944 when he hitchhiked to Seattle and then to Arizona. After serving as a U.S. Army rifleman in Italy from 1945-1946, he enrolled at the University of New Mexico (UNM), where he earned his B.A. in 1951. While an undergraduate at UNM, Abbey explored the Southwest and began his writing career.

From 1951-1952, Abbey was a Fulbright scholar in Edinburgh, Scotland. He enrolled as a graduate student in philosophy at Yale University in 1952, but lasted only two weeks there. He returned to the West in 1954, and received an M.A. in philosophy from UNM in 1956. His thesis was titled, "Anarchy and the Morality of Violence." Abbeys first novel, Jonathan Troy came out in 1954; his second, The Brave Cowboy in 1956.

Abbey began a career as a seasonal employee for the National Park Service at Arches National Monument, Utah, in 1956. He stayed with the National Park Service for almost 15 years, with positions at Arches, Sunset Crater, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lees Ferry, Organ Pipe, Coronado National Forest, Grand Canyon North Rim, and Glacier National Park. In 1972, he became manager of Aravaipa Canyon wildlife preserve, near Tucson, where he spent three years.

During Abbeys lifetime, twenty-one of his books were published. His best known works include The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975) and Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (1968). The Brave Cowboy was turned into a movie, Lonely are the Brave (1962), which starred Kirk Douglas and Walter Matthau.

Edward Abbey died of a circulatory disorder at his home in Oracle, Arizona on March 14, 1989. As requested, his body was transported deep into the desert in the bed of a pickup truck, where he was buried anonymously, wrapped in his sleeping bag. Edward Abbey was married five times and had five children. Abbey is remembered as a novelist, essayist, naturalist, philosopher, and social critic.

From the guide to the Edward Abbey Manuscripts, 1950-1961 (bulk 1950-1951, 1961), (University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research.)

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Subjects:

  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Aphorisms and apothegms
  • Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • Authors, American
  • Authors, American--20th century--Archives
  • Environmentalists
  • Desert in literature
  • Conservation of natural resources--Citizen participation
  • Manuscripts, American
  • Authors, American--Southwest, New
  • Environmental literature--Archival resources
  • West (U.S.) in literature--Archival resources
  • Civil disobedience
  • Environmentalists--United States
  • Contracts
  • Environmental Activism
  • Literature
  • Environment and Conservation

Occupations:

  • Writer, Prose, Fiction and Nonfiction

Places:

  • Arizona (as recorded)
  • Southwest, New (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Southwest, New (as recorded)