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George Bird Evans Papers

Collection Number: A&M 3610

Scope and Contents

Papers of George Bird Evans, including records documenting his career as an author of books and articles regarding bird dog hunting, and as a breeder of his own line of Belton English Setter bird dogs called the "Old Hemlock Line" in partnership with his wife, Kay Evans. There are also records regarding his career as a magazine illustrator, including his original art works (32 oversize drawings) that were published with fiction that appeared in several popular women's magazines before and after World War II (including "Cosmopolitan" and "McCall's" among others). The collaborative writing career of George and Kay Evans under the pen name of "Brandon Bird" is documented in a scrapbook (ca.1950-1962) containing photographs, clippings, and book reviews regarding their five published mystery novels.

The collection includes a journal, which Evans referred to as his "Gun Diary", with entries ranging from 1932 to 1997 where Evans recorded and illustrated his hunting, fishing, and bird dog training excursions for 65 years. There are also several periodicals, such as "Field and Stream", "The Pointing Dog Journal", and "Gun Dog", among others, most issues contain articles by George Bird Evans and a few by Kay Evans. Other materials include extensive correspondence with publishers, friends, outdoor sports writers, hunters and breeders (such as Nash Buckingham, Dr. Charles Norris, and Dr. Gordon Gullion), and patrons of his bird dog breeding business. There are several manuscripts and galleys of published books, including "The Upland Shooting Life" and "The Best of Nash Buckingham", among others. There are also financial records regarding the publication and sales of his books, videos, and cassette tapes. The collection also includes 188 digital scans of illustrations by Evans on DVD discs (3 items), audio recordings (2 cassette tapes) of readings by George and Kay Evans, and oversized framed photographs and art pieces (7 items) of George Bird Evans, his wife Kay, and their dogs.

Series include:

Series 1. Biographical Information, 1936, 1993, 2008 (box 1)
Series 2. Journal of George Bird Evans, 1932–1997 (boxes 1-4)
Series 3. Correspondence, 1942–2005 (boxes 5-9)
Series 4. Manuscripts - Published Books, ca. 1971 (boxes 9-16)
Series 5. Manuscripts - Published Articles, ca. 1961-1995 (box 17)
Series 6. Manuscript, undated (box 17)
Series 7. Manuscripts - Illustrations, ca. 1984-1986 (box 17)
Series 8. Manuscripts - Galleys, 1956, ca. 1991, undated (box 18)
Series 9. Projects - Dr. Charles Norris, 1952-1969, undated (boxes 19-22)
Series 10. Projects - Nash Buckingham, 1960–1984 (boxes 23-25)
Series 11. Financial Records, 1971–1999 (boxes 25-26)
Series 12. Magazine Articles, 1956, 1971-1982 (box 26)
Series 13. Subjects, 1975–1997 (box 26)
Series 14. Audio Tapes, June 1989 and Fall 1993 (box 26)
Series 15. Digital Files, undated (box 26)
Series 16. Scrapbook, ca. 1948-1975 (box 27)
Series 17. Artworks, ca. 1938-1948 (boxes 28-29)
Series 18. Oversized Pictures of George Bird Evans and Others, undated (box 29)
Series 19. Artifacts, undated (box 30)
Series 20. Motion Picture, undated (box 30)
Series 21. Sportsmen Journals, 1959–2013 (boxes 31-38)
Series 22. Motion Pictures -- Unpublished, ca. 1950-1975 (boxes 39-42)
Series 23. Oversized Material, 1986 (unboxed)


  • Creation: 1932-2013
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1932-1998


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please see the Permissions and Copyright page on the West Virginia and Regional History Center website.

Biographical / Historical

George Washington Bird Evans and Eve Hunt Evans celebrated the birth of their only child, George Bird Evans, in 1906. Their comfortable Uniontown, Pennsylvania home provided a secure environment for young George to learn and develop his talents in art and literature. George's father also wasted no time pouring into his young son his love for hunting, bird dogs, and the outdoor life. George Bird Evans attended Carnegie Institute to pursue a career in art. He later transferred to the Art Institute of Chicago, staying for two years before moving to New York in 1927 to establish a career as an illustrator, but not alone. He had met and married Kay Harris from Wheeling; their marriage would last for over seventy years. In New York George Evans found success as an illustrator. He also included trips home for the hunt of game on Chestnut Ridge during hunting season. George started keeping a "gun diary" or journal in 1932, recording every outing for hunting, shooting, or bird dog training over the next 65 years. The Evans loved the Chestnut Ridge area, leaving New York in 1939 to buy a farm in Preston County, West Virginia, naming their new homestead "Old Hemlock". George enjoyed working out of his new surroundings, mailing his work to publishers in New York and having time to roam and hunt with Kay and their dogs.

This ideal life was interrupted by World War II when George volunteered his services and was commissioned a Lieutenant J.G. in Navy. He used his talents by illustrating equipment repair manuals, substituting pictures for complicated language. After the war George and Kay chose to venture into writing mystery novels as a team under the pen name "Brandon Bird". It was a success. The Evans were also beginning to breed Belton English Setters in their quest for the best bird dog possible. In 1956 George started using his journal as a source for articles, publishing over a hundred over the next forty two years. In 1971 his first book, "The Upland Shooting Life", was published, achieving status as a classic. Twenty seven more upland shooting books followed. Most of the photographs published with the articles and books were taken by Kay Evans. Always careful with their projects, George and Kay Evans began publishing their own books in 1983 under the name "Old Hemlock". George Bird Evans died in May, 1998 at the age of ninety-one. He had been hunting only a few weeks before with his best friend Kay and their family of bird dogs.


16.7 Linear Feet (16 ft. 8 in. (37 document cases, in. each); (5 flat storage boxes, in. each))


Papers of George Bird Evans, a widely published author and illustrator of books and articles regarding hunting and bird dog breeding. Most of his work was produced at his home "Old Hemlock" in Preston County, West Virginia. Records document his careers as an author of books and articles regarding bird dog hunting; as a breeder of quality bird dogs; an illustrator for several national magazines and the United States Navy during World War II; and as co-author with his wife, Kay Evans, of mystery novels. Materials include: George Bird Evans' Gun Diary with entries and illustrations regarding hunting, fishing, and dog breeding experiences for 65 years; correspondence with friends, patrons, publishers, and other hunters; manuscripts and galleys; cassette tapes (2 items) of recordings of readings by George and Kay Evans; DVDs (3 items) containing 188 digital scans of illustrations by George Bird Evans; and a scrapbook documenting the Evans' career as mystery writers under the pen name "Brandon Bird". There are also 32 oversize drawings by G.B. Evans; oversized photographs and art pieces (7 items) of George Bird Evans, Kay Evans, and their dogs; a DVD of an 18 minute motion picture regarding George Bird Evans; and several sportsman journals, most with published articles by George Bird Evans.

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL:

Separated Materials

Books by George Bird Evans separated to the Rare Book Collection.

George Bird Evans Papers
Staff of the West Virginia & Regional History Center
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US