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About Us

The Hemingway Western Studies Center was founded in 1986 to promote the study and appreciation of the American West across a variety of disciplines. The heirs of author Ernest Hemingway agreed to allow Boise State University to use the novelist’s name on the center.

Since the Center’s reorganization and rededication to its broad, interdisciplinary western-studies mission in 2011, major activities and programs of the Center include a summer research grant for BSU graduate students working in any area of U.S. western studies, as well as lectures and events promoting knowledge of western American literature, history, and cultures.

The Hemingway Western Studies Center is a research unit of the College of Arts & Sciences at Boise State University. It was administered in the English Department and directed by Dr. Tara Penry, Associate Professor of English, until May 2014. Penry’s successor has not been named.

HWSC, Idaho Film Collection, and Idaho Center for the Book

In 1985, under founder Tom Trusky, the Idaho Film Collection began to gather films, photographs, articles and correspondence, and other materials relating to silent and talkie feature films made in Idaho. The Collection is especially rich in the work of filmmaker and actress Nell Shipman. That collection was housed in the HWSC until 2011, when it was moved to the Cinema and Digital Media program under the leadership of Dr. Pete Lutze, Communication Department. It currently “lives” in the department of Special Collections at Albertson’s Library, Boise State University.

In 1993, the HWSC was recognized by the Library of Congress as the Idaho Center for the Book. The ICB was established to promote an interest in reading, writing, making, disseminating, and collecting books, and preserving the bibliophilic heritage of the Gem State. With ICB as a key focus of activity, the HWSC specialized until 2011 in the publication of artists’ books, including the work of Idahoan James Castle. The ICB is now managed by Prof. Stephanie Bacon of the BSU Art Department. It continues to focus on book arts in Idaho.

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