Nell Lounsberry Letter to Zane Grey

Identifier: NC1327


Nell Lounsberry Murbarger (1909-1991) was an author best known for her writings about the desert and her popularization of the hobby of "ghost towning." Collection contains one fan letter and a poem written by Nell Lounsberry to author Zane Grey in December 1927.


  • December 12, 1927


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

Nell Lounsberry Murbarger (1909-1991) was born on October 19, 1909 in South Dakota and home-schooled through the eighth grade. She attended schools in California, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington. An outdoorswoman, she enjoyed riding horses, camping, photography, exploring the western United States, and world travel. She married Wilbur G. Murbarger in 1931 and divorced in 1939.

Murbarger is credited with being the first to collect Lithophragma maximum, a member of the saxifrage family, in 1936 on San Clemente Island, the southernmost of the Channel Islands in California. She worked for several western newspapers, including the Los Angeles Examiner and the Salt Lake Tribune and was editor for the Costa Mesa Globe Herald from 1936-1939 and the Newport-Balboa Press from 1940-1945. She became a full-time free-lance writer in 1945, writing several books and approximately 1,000 magazine articles on every conceivable desert subject. Her feature stories in Desert Magazine and other periodicals popularized the hobby of "ghost-towning."

In 1955, she received the American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit. Her Ghosts of the Glory Trail was recognized nationally as the best nonfiction book of 1956. She was a life member of the Nevada Historical Society. In 1996, Murbarger was posthumously inducted to the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.

She died on December 19, 1991, in California.


3 Leaves (3 pages)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Russ Wilson in June 2018.

Guide to the Nell Lounsberry Letter to Zane Grey
Jessica Maddox
July 2018
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)