George R. Stewart Collection

Photo of several book covers

Special Collections at the University of Nevada, Reno Libraries has the second largest collection of books by George R. Stewart in the world, surpassed only by the Stewart collection at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley.

A comprehensive George R. Stewart collection was developed at UNR by Ken Carpenter, the Head of Special Collections in the 1970s and a personal friend of Stewart.

George Rippey Stewart (1895-1980) was an English professor at the University of California and a prolific writer in a number of genres, on a variety of subjects. His academic specialty was toponymy, the taxonomic study of place-names. He wrote several books on the subject, and he also wrote fiction and other types of nonfiction. His science fiction novel, Earth Abides, won the first International Fantasy award in 1951. His novel Storm, in which the storm was named Maria, inspired the custom of naming storms as well as the song "They Called the Wind Maria."

Other writers, including Wallace Stegner, have been impressed and influenced by Stewart's work, and some consider him to be the first author of environmental fiction. Most of Stewart's novels were set in California and Nevada. The desert in Sheep Rock is Nevada's Black Rock Desert. His nonfiction includes Ordeal by Hunger, about the Donner Party and other books about the Sierra Nevada mountains and the history of the area.