Skip to main content

Hough, Emerson



  • Existence: 1857-1923

Emerson Hough was born in 1857 in Newton, Iowa where his parents, Joseph B. and Elizabeth Hough had moved from their native Virginia in 1852. After graduating from Newton high school in 1875 Hough taught in a rural school and then entered the State University of Iowa. He received a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1880 and pursued the study of law with a firm in Newton. Looking for a new start, Hough moved west to White Oaks, New Mexico where he opened a law firm and worked as a reporter for The Golden Era, the White Oaks newspaper. After returing to the midwest in 1886 Hough worked on newspapers in Iowa, Kansas, and Ohio as well as contributing freelance articles to hunting and fishing magazines. He was hired by Forest and Stream in 1889 and later worked for Field & Stream and the Saturday Evening Post. Hough became known as a avid outdoorsman and was dedicated to conserving Western wildlife. After spending time in Yellowstone in 1893 and seeing herds of buffalo decimated, Hough wrote several articles influencing Congress to take action. In 1897 Hough secured the reputation of being a Western author with the publication of The Story of the Cowboy. Hough would eventually become the author of more than twenty-one works focused on frontier life and the American west. Hough served as a captain in the Army Intelligence Division during World War I and became engaged in regular correspondence with President Roosevelt, a fellow conservationist and outdoorsman. Two of his novels, The Covered Wagon (1922) and North of Thirty-Six (1923), were turned into screenplays by Hough and became enormously popular silent films, making him one of the first Western authors to enter into the motion picture industry. He married Charlotte Chesebro of Chicago in 1897 and made Chicago his home. Hough died in 1923 from heart failure following an operation. He is buried in Evanston, Illinois.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Emerson Hough Papers

Identifier: msc0628
Abstract Journalist, editor of Forest and Stream, and novelist of the West. Includes letterpress book, 1902-1912 and 34 letters 1912-1923 to Mr. and Mrs. Fred Bigelow.
Dates: 1902-1975