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William A. Hightower papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2381

Scope and Contents note

Handmade volumes of philosophical writings and essays, poetry, scrapbooks, manuscripts of 16 novels, loose papers, correspondence with his niece and other, photographs of other inmates, legal papers, quotations, copyright information, and other materials.


  • 1924-1991


Conditions Governing Access note

Access restricted by donor until further notice.

Conditions Governing Use note

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the William A. Hightower papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

William A. Hightower (1878-1974) was a baker and convicted murderer in California.

William A. Hightower was born on September 28, 1878 in Texas. He trained as a baker, and was living in San Francisco in 1921 when he was convicted of the murder of Catholic priest Patrick Heslin. Hightower was sent to the California State Prison at San Quentin, where he worked in the kitchens and produced a newsletter. He was paroled in 1965 and died in Los Angeles in January 1974.


15 cartons (15 linear ft.)

1 artifact (1 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Contains Hightower's writings including novels, essays, and poetry. Includes correspondence from prison personnel, Hightower, and Genelle Larson Pugmire. Contains copies of a manuscript in which Hightower discusses his conviction and declares his innocence. Includes political essays discussing many of the current events during his prison term, including the Great Depression, World War II and the atomic bomb, and communism. Also includes various novels, many with western American themes. Includes the typewriter Hightower used when composing in prison.

Other Finding Aids

Box-level inventory available online.

Custodial History note

Donated by Genelle Larson Pugmire in 1989 installment.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated; Genelle Larson Pugmire; 1989.

Appraisal note

Utah and American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy, 5.VII, 2007).

Processing Information note

Processed; Corey Clement, Brad Westwood editor; 2007.

Register of the William A. Hightower papers
Corey Clement, Brad Westwood editor
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States