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Claire Wilhelm collection on Zane Grey

Identifier: MSS 8277

Scope and Contents

Contains documentation of Wilhelm's interactions with Grey while accompanying him on various expeditions. The collection contains black and white photographs of Zane Grey and his family, Claire Wilhelm and various other women on trips with Zane Grey, Native Americans, and scenes from Zane Grey movies. It also contains ephemera collected by Claire Wilhelm including silhouettes of Zane and Lina Elise Grey, a Christmas card from Zane Grey to Wilhelm, and a Zane Grey book plate. Materials date from approximately 1900 to 1956.


  • approximately 1900-1956


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Claire Wilhelm collection on Zane Grey must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Claire Wilhelm (1898-1984) was the sister of artist Lillian Wilhelm Smith and companion to Western author Zane Grey.

Claire Wilhelm was born on July 20, 1898 in New Jersey to Henry T. and Leonore Wilhelm. She was the youngest of seven children, the oldest of which was the artist Lillian Wilhelm Smith. She was the cousin of Lina Elise Grey, wife of Western novelist Zane Grey. She accompanied Zane Grey on various fishing and camping expeditions beginning in 1914. In 1918, Grey's attentions turned to other women and Wilhelm found herself estranged from him. She married Phillips Carlin in June 1921.

In 1924, Grey began inviting Wilhelm to accompany him once again after Wilhelm sustained serious injuries in a car accident. She entered into Grey's employ as a secretary when her marriage began to fail. After nine months with Grey, Wilhelm finally parted ways with him and returned to New York City where she resolved the strains in her marriage. She had two daughters, Virginia and Patricia, and gave up travelling to raise them, however, she continued to correspond with Zane and Lina Elise Grey for many years afterward.

Claire Wilhelm died on January 15, 1984, in Branford, Connecticut.


1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged into two series: 1. Claire Wilhelm collection of Zane Grey photographs, approximately 1900-1956. 2. Claire Wilhelm collection of Zane Grey ephemera, 1915-1954.

Custodial History

Purchased from Between the Covers Rare Books, Inc. bookstore in August 2013; with funds generously provided by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased; Between the Covers Rare Books, Inc. bookstore; August 2013.


Prominent author (Arts & Communications Archives Collecting Policy, 2010).

Related Materials

See also MSS 6081, Zane Grey papers. See also MSS 8316, Zane Grey papers.

Separated Materials

One publicity brochure was separated from the collection to be transferred to the print collection.

Processing Information

Processed; Elizabeth Barrus; November 2013.

Register of Claire Wilhelm collection on Zane Grey
Elizabeth Barrus
2013 November 21
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.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States