Norman Smith Letters Project
Background on Norman Smith
Norman Smith moved to Trinidad in 1914 and purchased land near Moonstone Beach. He surveyed timberlands, railroads and roads in northern California. Prior to moving to California, he joined the Klondike Gold Rush and plotted the townsite for Nome, Alaska. On November 9, 1918, Norm Smith’s son, Chester died of influenza. Theses journals, which span from 1918-1943, give a look into the life of Norman Smith.
For more information about the collection, please visit the Humboldt Room on the third floor of the library.
The English 315, Creative Writing: Fiction, students were asked to blend the factual details of Smith’s life with fictional details that they invented. Whether that be juxtaposing different events that occurred in the notebooks and letters, writing a new scene and weaving one of Smith's entries, or even creating a new character to interact with the notebooks and letters themselves. The main goal was to push themselves to write a story that they thought no one else would think of. At the end of this assignment the students chose one of the stories to be submitted for publication.
Arthur Gist Letters Project
Background on Arthur Gist and the Gist Letters
Dr. Arthur Gist, Humboldt State President from 1930-1950, maintained a regular correspondence with the hundreds of Humboldt State College students who left school to join the war effort. Approximately 1,000 letters from 365 service men and women are in this collection. These letters were later donated by Mrs. Gist.
The English 315, Creative Writing: Fiction, students were asked to blur the lines between the factual details in the Gist Letters with fictional details that they invented. Whether that was by telling the the last day of the letter-writer spent of campus, adding to the letter by adding a childhood memory, or even writing from the perspective of the letter-writer's family member. The purpose of this assignment was to push students to combine archival documents with creative fiction. At the end of the assignment the students voted for one of the short stories to be sent for publication.
Samples of the letters
Humboldt State University is located on the present and ancestral Homeland of the Wiyot Tribe. Donate to the Wiyot Tribe honor tax.