TITLE: Dick Wick Hall Collection
DATE RANGE: 1899 – 2012 (bulk 1909-1925)
CALL NUMBER: Y-MS 18
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
PROVENANCE: Donated by the Arizona Western College Library
CREDIT LINE: Dick Wick Hall Collection, Y-MS 18, Yuma County Library District
Dick Wick Hall was a noted humorist, and writer, prospector, and businessman. He was born Richard DeForest Hall at Creston, Iowa in 1877. After graduating from high school in Creston, Hall attended the University of Nebraska for one year studying ornithology and engineering. He then held a series of jobs, including guarding government buildings, and working for the railroad. Hall came to Arizona in 1898 to live with the Hopi and observe their snake dance. He then wandered Arizona for several years taking various jobs, ranching, working in territorial government offices in Phoenix, and operating an amusement park in Phoenix.
Eventually he came to Wickenburg where he started a newspaper with his brother Ernest. During this time, Hall had his name legally changed to Dick Wick, Wick being short for Wickenburg. A year into the newspaper business found Hall deeply in debt and looking for new opportunities. He decided to sell the newspaper and headed further west where he became involved in an irrigation project in northern Yuma County. When the railroad made plans to lay rail towards California from Wickenburg, Hall saw an opportunity. In 1904, along with several other investors, he founded the town of Salome along the proposed railroad route. When the railroad passed twenty miles further south than originally planned, Hall uprooted the Salome post office and moved it south to meet the railroad, despite a number of protests.
For the next several decades, Hall was in and out of Salome frequently. He was ecstatic in 1909 when a prospector found gold near Salome. He wrote letters and news articles; sold mining stock and town lots to anyone he could persuade to purchase them. This venture came to naught when the numerous miners eventually found nothing of value on the land. An avid speculator, he was enchanted with mining, and later oil, as a method of amassing riches. His many ventures in land, mining and oil were plagued with problems and often left him empty handed. He tirelessly promoted the development of the Salome area and the improvement of roads.
In 1921 Hall started a gas station and garage in Salome, and began publishing a small humorous broadsheet to pass out to the tourists called the Salome Sun. It became a national phenomenon as the passing tourists spread the publication, and Hall soon found his writings published in numerous newspapers and magazines around the country including the Los Angeles Examiner and the Saturday Evening Post. He became Arizona’s best known humorist, and nationally was compared to Will Rogers and Mark Twain. In 1926, he was diagnosed with Bright’s disease and died a few weeks later.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE:
This collection is primarily composed of business correspondence involving Hall’s many financial ventures. The papers are largely focused in the early 1920s but extend back as far as Besides Hall’s papers, there are also papers belonging to Dick’s brother Ernest Hall, Wenden Justice of the Peace, Cecil Harrington, and the state border inspection station at Ehrenburg.
The collection is divided into six series.
Series I – Biographical: This series contains information about Dick Wick Hall including newspaper and magazine articles.
Series II – Business: This series contains papers relating to the many business ventures that Dick Wick Hall was involved in. These include papers relating to mining and oil ventures as well as the Salome Service Station and assorted financial papers. The mining material includes deeds and certificates involving a man named Jack Crago. The oil material is focused on the Aritex Oil Company which Hall was an investor in, and the Texhall Oil Company which Hall created.
Series III – Correspondence: This series composes the bulk of the collection. It is organized by the name of the participants or by category and includes many of Hall’s business ventures. Also in this series is the correspondence of Cecil Harrington of nearby Wenden, Arizona. . While both were involved in mining ventures there is nothing in this collection to suggest that they had any direct relationship.
Series IV – Memorabilia: This series contains examples of letter head and business cards used by Dick Wick Hall. Also included is a flyer bearing a map of the town site of Salome.
Series V – Publications: This is a book entitled “Underground Water for Irrigation at Pomona, California” published in 1911. DWHall is written on the cover. Also included in this series are a number of newspaper clippings covering rabbit raising in California and gardening.
Series VI – Writings: This series contains materials related to Hall’s publication the Salome Sun. Included are two books containing reprinted material from the publication, as well as a number of original examples, both from the tourist broadsheet and from his syndicated column in the Los Angeles Examiner. Included in this series are two short stories, one by Chris MacManus and one unsigned.
|1||1||Biographical: Hall, Dick Wick||1899 – 2012, N.D.|
|2||Business: Salome Service Station||1920 – 1925, N.D.|
|3||Business: Salome Service Station, Credit Slips||1923 – 1924|
|4||Business: Salome Service Station, Deposit Slips||1921 – 1923|
|5||Business: Finance||1908 – 1924, N.D.|
|6||Business: Account Statements||1920 – 1921|
|7||Business: Checks||1908 – 1924, N.D.|
|8||Business: Taxes||1909 – 1921|
|9||Business: Valley Bank Receipts||1923|
|10||Business: Mining, Apache Mine Company||1921 – 1926, N.D.|
|11||Business: Mining, Assays & Smelter Reports||1914 – 1923, N.D.|
|12||Business: Mining, Black Giant Mine Co.||1918 – 1920|
|2||1||Business: Mining, Consolidated Mines Syndicate||1921 – 1922, N.D.|
|2||Business: Mining, Crago, Jack (Crago Mining Company)||1930 – 1935|
|3||Business: Mining, General||1915 – 1937, N.D.|
|4||Business: Mining, Mines, Cuprite||1919 – 1921|
|5||Business: Mining, Mines, Glory Hole Bonanza||1909 – 1923, N.D.|
|6||Business: Mining, Mines, Robinson/Desert||1920, N.D.|
|7||Business: Mining, Old Apache Mine Syndicate||1922 – 1923, N.D.|
|8||Business: Oil||1919, N.D.|
|9||Correspondence: Bailey, Hall & Co.||1920, N.D.|
|10||Correspondence: Ball, Everett L.||1920 – 1923, N.D.|
|11||Correspondence: Buntman & Hall||1920, N.D.|
|12||Correspondence: Copper Frog Statues||1925|
|13||Correspondence: Cotton||1920, N.D.|
|14||Correspondence: Gregg, William||1914 – 1915|
|15||Correspondence: Hall, Daisy||1921, N.D.|
|16||Correspondence: Hall, Dick Wick||1910 – 1925, N.D.|
|17||Correspondence: Hall, Ernest||1912 – 1940, N.D.|
|18||Correspondence: Harrington, E.C.||1919 – 1929, N.D.|
|19||Correspondence: Harrington, Cecil J.||1930 – 1940, N.D.|
|3||1||Correspondence: Mining||1908 – 1923, N.D.|
|2||Correspondence: Oil||1919 – 1923, N.D.|
|3||Correspondence: Other||1913 – 1938, N.D.|
|4||Correspondence: Pryor & Smith||1910 – 1921, N.D.|
|5||Correspondence: Riverside Park, Phoenix, Arizona||1914 – 1915, N.D.|
|6||Correspondence: Roads||1920 – 1925, N.D.|
|7||Correspondence: Salome Service Station||1920 – 1923, N.D.|
|8||Correspondence: Salome Sun||1922 – 1925, N.D.|
|9||Correspondence: Uncle John||1909, N.D.|
|10||Correspondence: Van Eck, W. L.||1919 – 1920, N.D.|
|11||Correspondence: Watkins, R. A.||1920 – 1923, N.D.|
|12||Correspondence: Wilson, C. L.||1919 – 1921|
|13||Memorabilia||1925 – 1926, N.D.|
|14||Memorabilia: Salome Town Site Map||N.D.|
|15||Publications: Newspaper Articles||1919, N.D.|
|16||Publications: “Underground Water for Irrigation at Pomona, California”||1911|
|17||Writings: Manuscripts||1925, N.D.|
Writings: Salome Sun, Published Compilations
(includes: “Dick Wick Hall: Stories From the Salome
Sun by Arizona’s Most Famous Humorist” collected by Frances Dorothy Nutt; 1968; and “The Laughing Desert: Dick Wick Hall’s Salome Sun” compiled by Robin R. Cutler, 2012.
|1988 – 2012|
|19||Writings: Salome Sun, Newspapers (Original Copies)||1921 – 1926, N.D.|