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Bruce Calvert correspondence

 Collection — Folder: S0998
Identifier: S0998

Scope and Contents

This collection includes typed, signed letters from Bruce Calvert in Pigeon-Roost-in-the-Woods, New Jersey ranging from 1929/09/24 to 1930/09/25 regarding the Indiana State Library's holdings of "The Open Road."


  • 1929/09/24-1930/09/25


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Bruce Calvert was born to William Hanson and Caroline (Ramey) Calvert at Clearspring, Jackson County, Indiana on June 7, 1866. He and his sister Ella had 2 siblings who died in infancy. When he was 19, the family moved to East Connersville, Fayette County, Indiana. Calvert attended Indiana State Normal School (now Indiana State University) in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1886, his parents hoping he would become a clergyman. He developed an agnostic philosophy, related to New Thought, and became a publisher's agent, then manager, first in Chicago, then Philadelphia. Calvert worked with monthly journals, often writing and editing articles. He became a lecturer with the Consolidated Lyceum Bureau, espousing simple living, good thinking and avoiding doctors, preachers and mind-dulling systems of education. He met and admired Elbert Hubbard and was of like mind with Walt Whitman and others.

Calvert bought land for a retreat to nature near Griffith, Indiana and moved his residence from Chicago, Illinois. In 1908, he established The Open Road: The Official Organ of the Society of the Universal Brotherhood of Man (not an actual organization). He published it monthly from September 1908 to January 1914 from his home, called "Pigeon-Roost-in-the-Woods," often using sayings by poet Max Ehrmann and writings from major figures like Eugene Debs and other figures prominent in anarchist, radical, rational, reform, or unorthodox thinking. His philosophy was "right thinking and right living" and lost considerable weight through this regimen. Calvert espoused nudity as a healthy lifestyle. The Indianapolis Star termed him, in 1912, "Indiana's prize crank."

Around June 1912, he married Anna Gulbrandsen, a Norwegian-born soloist, and he became her manager. Calvert left Indiana in 1914 for Long Eddy, New York in the Catskills. He published five more issues of The Open Road through September 1915, then wrote a column, "The Open Road'" for the socialist newspaper, The New York Call. Calvert revived the magazine, The Open Call, after moving to Mountain View, New Jersey in 1926 from their 1920 home of Pequannock, New Jersey. (which he named Pigeon-Roost-in-the-Woods, New Jersey.) "'The Open Road' was a metaphor for a broad highway, room enough for everyone who wanted freedom, and for the fluidity of life, which must never become static...for motion is life, rest is death." Calvert authored five books as well as numerous articles and columns.

Calbert died May 31, 1940, on the anniversary of Walt Whitman's birth, and Anna Gulbrandsen Calvert placed his ashes near a portrait of Eugene Debs in their home.

Sources: "Bruce Calvert." 1920 United States Federal Census. Accessed August 24, 2015.

"Calvert, Bruce." (1981) In Indiana Authors and Their Books: 1967-1980, pp. 1967-1980. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1981.

Taylor, Robert M., Jr. "Panaceas from Duneland." Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History (Winter 1989): 22-39.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a records transfer from the Indiana Division.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2005/04 by Jennifer Duplaga. EAD finding aid created 2015/08/24 by Edythe Huffman. EAD finding aid revised 2021/10/07 by Brittany Kropf.
Bruce Calvert correspondence
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.