Archive for February, 2014

1957 12-05 SMB-s

On March 5, 1958, Glenn Lord wrote to Oscar J. Friend: “You might be interested to know that E. Hoffmann Price got the majority of items from the Howard Memorial Collection when Dr. Howard died. He says however that most of the stuff has been borrowed or misplaced in the interim.” But, as we saw last time, Price had written a letter to Stuart Boland in an attempt to track some of that stuff down. On March 24, Price wrote to Lord:

I have just mailed you the microfilm strip. Hope it contains something new. Stuart Boland just returned from long trip in South America. He made brief acknowledgment of my message, but no reference to subject, Howard letters. Said he’d see me presently.

It appears that Boland had actually returned before Christmas of 1957 [see above], but on May 5, 1958, he finally wrote to Lord:

E.H.P. wrote to me about some letters which had been written by Bob Howard to him some time before the latter’s demise. I was under the impression that I had returned all the material E.H. had given me when he requested the return of H. P. Lovecraft’s epistles to him for Arkham House—Previously I had sent all duplicate material to a fellow named (Don?) Laney in Los Angeles at E. H.’s request. Laney was the publisher of a top-notch S.F. fan mgz. However, I shall check diligently for any stray material and send it on to you if located.

1931 Berkeley BolandGlenn wrote back right away, but he would wait eight months for Boland’s reply [photo of Boland is from the 1931 Blue and Gold Yearbook from the University of California at Berkeley]. Meanwhile, E. Hoffmann Price had started digging. When Amra editor George Scithers visited Price, the pair found two previously unpublished items in the “tear sheets.” Scithers wrote to Oscar Friend on January 26, 1959, to obtain publishing rights: “While going through some of Robert E. Howard’s tear sheets—now in the hands of E. Hoffmann Price—I came across a couple of unpublished fragments of Howard’s work.” He goes on to transcribe the poem “But the Hills Were Ancient Then” and the fragment that begins with “The wind from the Mediterranean . . .”

Boland’s next letter—January 12, 1959!—contained little information about the items Lord was seeking. It more appears that Boland was looking for an audience. He told Lord: “I corresponded with Bob for quite some time before his demise—also with his father. I have not located the missives—but if recollections and reminiscences will help, I can give you some rather colorful data concerning the letters we exchanged on European topics, art culture, archeology and anthropology, ecology and the Dark Ages.” Boland appears to have traveled extensively, including all the “usual areas of the Grand Tour” as well as North Africa and Asia Minor. Upon receiving Boland’s letters from these exotic places, Howard “replied via American express ‘poste haste’ and asked about Pompeii, Boscoreale, Herculaneum, Rhodes, Olympus, Palmyra, Orvieto, Palermo, etc.”

Glenn replied, no doubt asking about original copies, but Boland’s response on February 1 makes it clear that he has nothing: “All I can give you is a ‘Remembrance of Robert Howard’ based on what I recall of his correspondence. Laney had all the original papers and missives.” And, of course, Francis T. Laney was dead.

But Glenn wasn’t easily put off. He had tracked down Laney’s widow and sent her an inquiry. She responded on February 6, 1959: “As soon as I can find a bit of time I’ll get into Francis’ files and see if the tear sheets of Howard’s material and the Lovecraft correspondence is there.” She got back to him on April 25:

I have, at last, gone through all Mr. Laney’s effects. I did not find either the tear sheets or the Howard-Lovecraft correspondence. I am sorry. Neither did I find reference or correspondence which would have indicated where they might be. Will keep your letter and if anything should turn up will let you know.

Around this time Glenn started planning a summer trip to California. He had already been in contact with George Scithers, and when Glenn told him of his plans, Scithers responded: “As far as I know, Price has nothing else of Howard’s—reminds me I must return his file of Howard’s tear sheets.” But, of course, Glenn would have to find out for himself. During his trip he did visit with Price, and Price commented on the visit in an August 23, 1959 letter to Lord. Regarding the file of tear sheets mentioned by Scithers, Price said, “My inclination is to divide the Howard tear-sheets among the collectors & students I know. That would be better than letting the pages fall apart, from age and chemical deterioration, unshared by those who like yourself [are] keenly interested in REH’s writings.” Concerning the REH-HPL correspondence, Price said this:

1959 08-23 EHP to GL

So, with both Stuart Boland and Francis T. Laney out of the picture, and E. Hoffmann Price’s meagre stash inspected, “this marked the end of the trail,”* as far as Glenn was concerned. He had received a few photos and the Barlow microfilm from Price; the REH letters were apparently in the hands of a greedy fan; and the rest of the items were just “tear sheets,” after all.

*Zarfhaana #52, E.O.D. mailing for August 1998

[Part 7 is here.]

This entry filed under E. Hoffmann Price, Glenn Lord, Howard Biography.

Cover Small

These days it seems like every time you turn around there is a damned zombie glaring at you, just itching to eat your brain. A whole sub-culture has sprung up around these lumbering, drooling denizens from beyond the grave. Since the early 2000’s zombies have been gaining ground in popular culture. With movies, television shows, video games, books, graphic novels, blogs, fan fiction, flash mobs, social media and just about another type of media you can think of and zombies have a rotted foothold on it.

But despite this resurgence in popularity, zombies have been for a very long time. Supposedly originating in West Africa hundreds of years ago. Those zombies were corpses reanimated by vodu magic, while Haitian zombies were believed to have been created from living persons given a psychoactive drug that put them a zombie-like state. But no matter how they are created, they sure as Hell are scary.

Jeffrey Shanks is the editor of this collection of vintage zombie yarns. It is so good the smell of rotting flesh permeates through the 412 pages of the book. Of course, Jeff is well known as a rising star in Howard fandom; indeed he is running circles around us old geezer Howard fans and scholars. The past weekend he was a guest at Pensacon and in April he will be presenting a paper at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association in Chicago. Of course he is a guest blogger here and contributor to the TGR print journal as well. Jeff does a fine job with the introduction, which reads more like an essay than a typical introduction. Here is the section of the introduction that relates to Howard’s contribution to the anthology:

The creator of such legendary characters as Conan the Cimmerian, Solomon Kane, and Kull of Atlantis, Texas writer Robert E. Howard was one of the giants of the pulp magazines. Though best known as the father of sword and sorcery, Howard wrote stories in many different genres including horror, westerns, boxing, historical adventure, and hardboiled detective stories. He also wrote a number of Southern Gothic horror stories, among which was the zombie story “Pigeons from Hell” published in the May 1938 issue of Weird Tales—a story Stephen King once claimed was one of his favorites. Based on stories told to him as a child by his African American housekeeper, “Pigeons from Hell” features a new type of creature, the zuvembie—a female zombie that has the power to create new zombies. The story was adapted for the television show Thriller (hosted by Boris Karloff) in 1961 and is one of the series’ most famous episodes.

The book is profusely illustrated with drawings from the pulps and most of these stories were written by Howard’s cotemporaries and many of those writers he knew and corresponded with.

Contents of Zombies from the Pulps!

Introduction: “Dawn of the Zombie Genre” by Jeffrey Shanks

“Herbert West—Reanimator” by H. P. Lovecraft

“Jumbee” by Henry S. Whitehead

“The Corpse-Master” by Seabury Quinn

“Dead Girl Finotte” by H. De Vere Stacpoole

“Salt is Not for Slaves” by G. W. Hutter

“The Dead Who Walk” by Ray Cummings

“The House in the Magnolias” by August Derleth and Mark Schorer

“The Empire of the Necromancers” by Clark Ashton Smith

“The Devil’s Dowry” by Ben Judson

“The Walking Dead” by E. Hoffmann Price

“The Graveyard Rats” by Henry Kuttner

“The Grave Gives Up” by Jack D’Arcy

“Zombie” by Carl Moore

“Revels for the Lusting Dead” by Arthur Leo Zagat

“Corpses on Parade” by Edith and Ejler Jacobson

“Pigeons from Hell” by Robert E. Howard

“The Man Who Loved a Zombie” by Russell Gray

“While Zombies Walked” by Thorp McCluskey

“The Song of the Slaves” by Manly Wade Wellman

“The Forbidden Trail” by Jane Rice

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Zombies from the Pulps! is now available over at Amazon.com.

So if you find yourself standing next to an evil looking little old lady in the supermarket checkout line, give her wide berth — she might be a zuvembie, capable of turning you into a zombie. Yikes!

12-28 01

The December 1928 mailing of The Junto opened with “A Song for Men that Laugh,” a poem by Robert E. Howard that begins with this: “Satan is my brother, Satan is my son,” and ends with this: “Satan is my brother, and I will follow him.” A fine “Merry Christmas” from the post oaks.

Up next is “Regression” by Lenore Preece. This is an imaginative spoof of a future “reunion of that circle of compatriots, who, twenty years ago, constituted the Junto fraternity.” Preece begins with a description of Truett Vinson, who has become the “head of a large printing company which sells religious works of all descriptions, including the speeches of William J____ Bryan and triumphant and infallible refutations of Paine and Ingersoll.” She continues with this: “Truett shortchanges many of his customers; but his creed, which inculcates that three is one, may be responsible. He has a seventy-five thousand dollar mansion, fifteen servants, and an egregious income. His testimony recently sent three Socialists to prison. If there were any justice, he would be sent to the electric chair.” Perhaps Lenore saw Truett’s poem that appeared in the October 1928 issue of New Masses:

IMG_1050

But I digress. Vinson isn’t the only Juntite to receive a skewering.  Preece continues with this:

Indeed, a striking characteristic of the Juntites was their ostensible religion. Each pious member, on the other hand, informed me privately that the rest were hypocrites and imposters. As far as all had scaled, in one direction, the shining paths of atheism and deism, tolerance, socialism, and unconventionality, in the other they had fallen back into a quagmire of orthodoxy, bigotry, capitalistic sympathies, and social dogmas. as a striking example of this retrogression, Bob Howard was a preacher of that sect christened Apostolics, dubbed Holy Rollers. His ministerial activities have made him as supple as a snake. He it was who pronounced the blessing, which I here produce:

“Oh God, our Father, we thank Thee for Thy bounty and ask for more. We pray that Thy wrath will strike all infidels dead, and that Thou wilt cleanse the adulterer and murderer. If some here are damned and sinful, may they come to Thy throne tonight and be saved.”

Bob would have given the invitation then and there if Booth hadn’t nudged him. I hear that he preaches very juicy sermons.

Of Clyde Smith, Preece wrote that he “contributes to the American Magazine. His interviews with famous men are an inspiration. From a late write-up of Truett Vinson, one would fancy that he was interviewing God. It is very probable that Clyde had a wrong sense of direction.” And so on with other members.

12-28 04Following “Regression” is Vinson’s “The Autobiography of a Bookkeeper,” which appears to be in answer to Booth Mooney’s call for “some autobiographies” which Howard mentioned in a letter last time and which included a photograph of Vinson (poorly reproduced at right). After this is another Howard poem, “To the Evangelists,” and “The Commentary,” which was discussed in the last installment. Up next is part 2 of “Confessions of a Virgin,” signed by “ ‘H’ (A Virgin)”; this is a spoofy story of a first kiss. Part 1 was apparently published in the missing November issue. After this is “The Galveston Affair,” by Bob Howard, which describes Howard’s and Vinson’s experience while waiting to see the “Bathing girls from all over the world” at the International Pageant of Pulchritude and Annual Bathing Girl Review. And the last page of the mailing has “The Destructive Critic,” verse by Elmer T. Hendricks, who was not a member of The Junto, but did contribute to many Lone Scout papers. Mooney appears to have “borrowed” the poem for its appearance here, though I can’t find an original publication elsewhere.

After perusing this issue, Harold Preece wrote to Clyde Smith (December 16, 1928): “Bob’s ‘To the Evangelists’ in the current number of The Junto is one of his best poems in my opinion. It reminds me of Swinburne.” And the following:

Your revelations concerning Bob’s affair surely were astounding. I thought that he would be the last one of the bunch to capitulate. I am shocked, to put it mildly. I have written an impersonal tirade against women to Bob, as you requested. I can see myself, in future years, as the only bachelor of the noble fraternity of The Junto, envied by you fellows and despised by your wives, giving nickels to your children and—but I had better stop.

In a letter to Smith written not long after, Howard quotes the following from Preece’s “impersonal tirade”:

1931 Cactus HPreece d“Women are damned good actors but damned bad friends.

“One step in the process of emancipating myself, mentally, has been the complete disillusionment of myself regarding women. Women have a tendency to make men effeminate and domestic; and I believe, therefore, that they are a hindrance to the full expression of masculine personality. It is significant that the frails have never produced a single great philosopher, and that the really great women, whom this world has produced, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

“The fickleness of woman is proverbial, one of the major themes of literature, in fact. A woman, generally speaking, has no conception of honor, or obligation except to her offspring; and she generally ceases to love her mate after the birth of the first child.

“Woman should be relegated to her proper place, and kept there. Let the men assert their rights, and not be daunted by powder puff or allured by hose.”

[Photo from The Cactus, 1931 yearbook from the University of Texas, Austin.]

To which Howard says:

I am preparing a scathing rebuke of which I shall probably enclose a carbon copy to you. I will not ask you to destroy this letter, as I have foolish scruples about depriving posterity of masterpieces rightfully theirs, but for cat’s sake, hide it skillfully and with subtlety where no prying or Haroldesque eye can discover its heinous and libelous contents. [Preece] also praises my rime in the Junto  but says “Easter Island” was below my usual standard. I hesitate to tell him I wrote the sonnet over two years ago lest he should think I am apologizing for it, but I believe I will. I gather that he thinks I wrote it since I fell for the diabolical blond and I will derive a sadistic pleasure from disillusioning him — i.e. busting his best argument. Let us carry on our intrigue with caution and fiendish craft. Harold has gypsy blood in him and the Romany are proverbially revengeful. Beware the dripping and gory dagger of vengeance.

The “diabolical blond” has been identified as Ruth Baum, though when she was interviewed by L. Sprague de Camp she claimed no knowledge of Howard’s supposed infatuation with her. Whether or not Baum was the “blond,” there was no doubt going to be talk of the ladies at the proposed gathering of Juntites before the New Year. And while Booth Mooney’s prediction to Smith turns out to be accurate (“I’m beginning to fear that I shan’t be able to attend the Brownwood gathering of the Junto fraternity”), the rest of gang did manage to meet. More on that next time.

[Go to Part 5]

imageThe Robert E. Howard house and museum in Cross Plains, Texas is the single most important physical symbol of the man and his legacy that remains today — and it needs your help. This century-old structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is truly a place of great significance for American and indeed global cultural history. It was here, on an Underwood No. 5 manual typewriter, that worlds were born. It was here that new genres like sword and sorcery and the weird western came in to being. It was here that Solomon Kane first set out on a quest for retribution and vengance. It was here that Kull first sat brooding on his antediluvian throne and where Bran Mak Morn first gazed out over fields of heather contemplating the doom of his people. And it was here that Conan the Cimmerian first strode forth to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet.

Few fandom communities are fortunate enough to have an existing physical location, a physical structure, associated directly with the creation of the objects that fuel their passion. Fewer still have a location that they can actually visit and see first hand — a building that they can walk through and experience the way that their icon did so long ago. We as Howard fans are truly blessed and fortunate to have this house still standing, still available as a mecca for us to visit, preserved like a shapsot of Bob Howard’s 1930s Texas.

imageBut none of this is by accident. This house and museum only exist because of the hard work and efforts of the good people of Project Pride in Cross Plains. It was Project Pride who, in 1989, first bought the house and restored it to its original condition. It is Project Pride and its volunteers that have continued to maintain the house over the years, that provide docents to give tours, that arrange to have someone there to greet visitors throughout the year, and whose members go to great lengths to welcome hundreds of fans to their tiny community every year for Howard Days in June.

But Project Pride has very limited resources. They depend on us — the fans — to help them out when funds are needed for more than routine maintainance for the house. This is one of those times. The house is overdue for repair work to replace areas of wood rot. The rot was so bad that the window to Howard’s bedroom recently fell out and needs to be replaced. The entire house is in need of painting. These and other needed repairs are expenses that Project Pride cannot bear alone — so they need your help to preserve this historic treasure that means so much to all of us.

imageRusty Burke once said that if every fan who ever enjoyed a Robert E. Howard story would just give one dollar, then there would never be a need to ask for money again. But as it is, we do have to ask. Every little bit helps. So please send a few dollars or whatever you can spare to Project Pride. They can be PayPaled directly at projpride@yahoo.com or you can send a check or money order to:

Project Pride
P.O. Box 534
Cross Plains, TX 76443

Thank you so much to everyone who does their part to preserve this important monument to Robert E. Howard’s legacy.

reh_moustache

On October 7, 1956, another person interested in Howard’s unpublished works arrived on the scene. On that day Glenn Lord wrote to Oscar Friend in regards to the publishing rights for Howard’s verse and added “I would also want to know of any poems published in sources I did not mention and/or unpublished verse.” Later—November 15, 1956—Lord asked Friend “if a portrait of Howard can be obtained for the volume? The only picture I have seen is the snapshot that appeared in MARGINALIA [above].” Such simple requests . . .

On December 3, 1956, Friend wrote again to Dr. Kuykendall: “A young enthusiast of Bob’s now is trying to gather up all possible poetry of his and publish in one volume. This sort of thing has no real commercial value, and scarcely repays the original investment, but naturally I am for it. And again I ask you if you can’t dig up some halfway decent picture or snapshot of Robert to include in a volume of poems.”

Meanwhile, Glenn was getting impatient. Friend had sent two poems—“Chant of the White Beard” and “Rune,” both embedded in the unpublished story “Men of the Shadows”—but on May 3, 1957, Glenn wrote the following:

Did you ever hear from the Howard estate? If not, could you furnish me with the address as I have about decided to go out to Brownwood and Cross Plains in June. At Brownwood, I intend to look through the Memorial Library at Howard Payne College—that is, if the Library is still in the college library. May be able to find a picture of Howard there also.

Besides Oscar Friend, Glenn was also utilizing his connections in the world of fandom to help track down Howard verse. One such contact, Lovecraft scholar George Wetzel, may have provided the first hint that some of Howard’s papers were in the hands of E. Hoffmann Price. In his May 20, 1957 response to Glenn’s inquiry, Wetzel sent a list of possible contacts, including this:

I had somewheres here the first 3 issues of The Ghost but no Howard poetry was in it. In one issue there was a biog of Howard written by Price. Most of this was reprinted in the Arkham House Howard omnibus. But several letters plus a high school composition by Howard about wanting to be a pirate were omitted in the Arkham reprint.

The Ghost had appeared in 1945, not long after Price had received The Trunk from Dr. Kuykendall. Besides the essay referred to above (“Some People Who Have Had Influence Over Me”), Price’s memoir also included “The Wandering Years,” one of Howard’s letters to Farnsworth Wright, and three of Howard’s letters to Price. Both “Some People” and “The Wandering Years” were part of the “several bales” of school work that Price mentioned to Derleth in Part 3 of this series. The inclusion of the essays would have indicated that Price had access to rare, unpublished Howard materials, but in 1945, a year before Skull-Face and Others, there wasn’t a whole lot of interest in publishing Howard.

Whether or not Glenn knew about The Ghost, he was soon hearing a lot about E. Hoffmann Price, not all of it accurate. On May 29, 1957, Sam Moskowitz wrote this:

A man who knew a great deal about Howard was E. Hoffmann Price, one of his closest friends. I am not completely sure, but I seem to remember reading something about Price dying recently. Derleth might conceivably know where to locate Price.

But Glenn didn’t need Derleth for that. On May 30, Lee Baldwin asked, “have you tried E. Hoffmann Price, Redwood City, Calif?” Plus, Glenn was about to hit the town, so to speak. In early June he drove up to the post oak country to see what he could find; he described his discoveries in a June 13 letter to Oscar Friend, highlights included “a previously unpublished poem entitled THE TEMPTER,” which appears to have once been part of the Memorial Library at Howard Payne as Glenn found it “in the hands of the head of history department at Howard Payne.” He also acquired two snapshots from Lindsey Tyson in Cross Plains, and some information from Dr. Kuykendall in Ranger. Kuykendall “remembers Dr. Howard, shortly before his death, sending tear sheets and other material in a trunk to ‘Robert’s friend in California,’ he believes that it was E. Hoffmann Price of Redwood City.”

EHP

With the address in hand, Glenn fired off a letter. Price responded on June 15, 1957:

Somewhere I have—or think I have!—a few feet of microfilm, from the effects of the late Robert H. Barlow, containing some Howard poems. I also have some tear sheets of magazine material, or think I have—the doubt arises because of a vague recollection of having loaned some material to Stuart W. [sic: M.] Boland, of San Francisco.

I do have a studio portrait of Howard, taken during the final year of his life [sic.]. I also have a studio shot of Howard as a small boy.

Stuart Boland had apparently corresponded with Howard (and Lovecraft, too) and wrote an essay about his experience in 1945 for The Acolyte. Price responded to Boland’s article with a letter to the editor which intimated that he had access to rare Howard items: “Reading some pages, single spaced typing, of the letters Howard wrote Lovecraft make it clear that he met raw life in oil boom towns, in cow towns, and in travel about Texas.” Price also makes it clear that he and Boland are at least acquaintances: “Boland is quite some traveler. I once spent a number of enjoyable hours looking over his photos and listening to his reminiscences of far off places. One of these days I hope to repeat the meeting.” Apparently, he did.

In response to Glenn’s prodding, Price wrote to Boland on February 8, 1958:

Glenn Lord wants tear sheets of Howard yarns other than those published in Weird Tales. I wonder if you’d mind shipping him, at his expense, the tear sheets I handed you in the course of one of your final visits?

Also, those letters from Howard to Lovecraft: I think it’d be a grand idea to microfilm them, which I could now do, readily, and prepare a few duplicate 35mm. prints, to circulate among fans.

But Price was far from certain that Boland even had those papers. In a letter to Lord written the same day as the letter to Boland (which Price included as a carbon to Glenn), Price says “it does seem that I gave Boland a batch of tear sheets of non-weird yarns.” He later adds, “As to the letters, REH to HPL, that’s a shot in the dark. I do not know for a fact that I handed them to Boland. I simply can’t find them, and there is the lurking notion that I let him take them, six or seven years ago. He used to drop in quite often, during the final years of my writer career.”

It is hard to imagine someone handing “four boxes of REH relics” to someone. It seems clear that Price had been loaning them out, here and there, to interested parties. As he told Glenn, “rather than let the tear sheets crumble from age, I let this one & that read—and, you know how such things go. But I think Boland got the majority of the lot.”

[Part 6 is here.]

Ranger clinic

[Apologies for the overlap, particularly in this installment, with the earlier series of posts, The Business.]

On May 5, 1949, Friend wrote to Kuykendall to inform him of a deal he was working on, “to do a complete collection of the Conan stories.” He also told the doctor that he hadn’t gotten “around to reading the heretofore unpublished Howard material” he had “on hand,” but he would get to it eventually. By August 10, 1950, he still hadn’t read it:

The other Howard material I wrote you about last year (the heretofore unsold stories) I shall start going over with Gnome Press (who want to publish all Howard material that is not utterly hopeless) and I shall attend to the re-writing of such material as can be whipped into shape for today’s market.

A year later, May 10, 1951, Friend’s search through the “Howard file” yielded a result: “I am selling the first reworked Howard story—The House of Arabu—to Avon Publications for $86.” Word of his discovery spread, as told by L. Sprague de Camp in his introduction to King Conan:

I was talking on the telephone with Donald A. Wollheim, then an editor for Avon Publications. He mentioned a theretofore unpublished story by Robert E. Howard, of which the original title was “The House of Arabu” but which later appeared in Avon Fantasy Reader No. 18 as “The Witch from Hell’s Kitchen.” And I asked Wollheim if any more like it existed.

“Yes,” he said. “I understand Howard’s agent has a whole pile of unpublished Howard manuscripts.”

“What! Who’s his agent?”

“Oscar J. Friend. Do you know him?”

“Sure I know Oscar! Thanks; g’bye!”

I called Jackson Heights and presently heard Oscar’s rich southern accents.

“Why, yes,” he said. “I’ve got a whole carton full of Howard manuscripts. They were left with Otis Kline, who was Howard’s agent, when Howard died, and Otis left ’em to me when he died. Might even be some unpublished Conan stories among ’em. Why, would you like to look through ’em?”

“You bet I would!”

So on November 30th, 1951, I went to Oscar Friend’s apartment, where I met Harold Preece, who had been one of Howard’s few personal acquaintances among professional writers. Preece told me how frustrating Howard had found life in Cross Plains, Texas; how he could never get very far away because he supported his parents by his writing and because his mother had kept him too closely tied to apron-strings. This excessively close relationship proved fatal to Howard, for when in 1936 his sick mother passed into her final coma, and Howard (then thirty) was told by the nurse that she would never speak again, he drove thirty miles out into the desert and blew his brains out. Preece echoed my own thoughts:

“If he’d only gotten away . . . If he’d only gone out with girls the way the other boys did . . .”

Oscar had hauled out the carton of manuscripts—about twenty pounds of them. Most were outside the field of imaginative fiction in which Howard is mainly remembered. There were sports stories, westerns, detective stories, and oriental adventure tales on the Harold Lamb-Talbot Mundy model. There was an unpublished Solomon Kane story [“The Blue Flame of Vengeance”], unlike the others non-fantastic—all swordplay. There was the story which had been announced for the April 1933 Strange Tales, under the title of “The Valley of the Lost,” but which never appeared because of that magazine’s demise. And there were three unpublished Conan stories. These were “The Frost-Giant’s Daughter,” 3000 words; “The God in the Bowl,” 600 [sic.]; and “The Black Stranger,” 29,000. While there was no exact indication of when these were written, there was, clipped to “The God in the Bowl,” a small rectangle of paper: a sheet from a calendar-pad, dated July 1, 1931, on the back of which was written in longhand:

Wandrei and I have read these tales with keen interest & appreciation. Best wishes for their ultimate publication! Dwyer seems to have enjoyed them greatly, too. The climax of “The God in the Bowl” is splendidly vivid!     HPL

“HPL” was of course Howard Philips Lovecraft, one of the leading American fantasy-writers of that time. Presumably this was one of the first Conan stories written, and Howard had sent it, with one or more others, to Lovecraft for comments.

De Camp’s visit seems to inspired Friend. Just two days later, December 5, 1951, he wrote to Kuykendall:

[L]et me ask you if you know of any Robert E. Howard material or manuscripts or parts of manuscripts, or any unpublished Howard material at all. I am well aware that Mr. Otis Kline got most of Bob’s material from Dr. Howard, but if there’s the least scrap of stuff around Ranger that you know of, please wrap it up and send it to me. I would like, also, to have a copy of the British-published book, A Gent from Bear Creek, if you happen to have one laying around.

Friend repeats his request in an April 7, 1953 letter to Kuykendall:

I would like to know if you know of any Robert Howard manuscripts existing in anybody’s possession at this time. For instance, Otis Kline went carefully through all Howard MSS he could find, and which Dr. Howard sent him in the late 1930s, but do you think you could possibly find any strays anywhere for us? For instance, Robert Howard studied for a time at Howard Payne College there in Texas and is reputed to have left the college some of his manuscripts as a sort of legacy. Do you know, or can you learn if this is true?

Receiving no response, he wrote again on June 24:

You never did answer my letter regarding the possibility of Bob Howard having left any original MSS to his college, or if you know of any unpublished material of his anywhere.

A July 1, 1953 letter has Friend asking Kuykendall if he can “scare up for us a fairly good photo of Bob” for publication in the Gnome Press series, “along with a facsimile of Bob’s signature.” Kuykendall finally responded on July 13, saying that he had “searched through all of the very meager records that Doctor Howard left” and found nothing. He does, however, give friend the following bit of information:

1953 07-13 PMK to OJF

And that seems to have put the issue to rest for Friend. As the years progressed, he continued to let friends and associates paw through the Howard file, telling John D. Clark in a September 22, 1953 letter to “come over to my office to visit, chew the fat, discuss any Howard plans, and look through the Howard material” that he still had. And by September 26, 1956, L. Sprague de Camp was telling friends that “There are no more Howard mss suitable for use in the Conan series.” Of course, de Camp didn’t know about—and Friend had never investigated—that “friend of Robert’s in California.”

[Go to Part 5]

Weird Tales Covers

Seems like Chicago is the place to be in April. In addition to the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association is holding its national conference April 16th through 19th at the Marriott Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile Hotel. For those of you not familiar with PCA/ACA, here is their mission statement:

The mission of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association is to promote the study of popular culture throughout the world through the establishment and promotion of conferences, publications, and discussion. Aiding the PCA/ACA in this goal is the PCA/ACA Endowment which offers support for scholars and scholarship.

The PCA/ACA actively tries to identify and recruit new areas of scholarly exploration and to be open to new and innovative ideas. PCA/ACA is both inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary. Finally, the PCA/ACA believes all scholars should be treated with dignity and respect.

You can find the complete details pertaining to the conference here.  Below is a list of topics of interest to Howard and fantasy fans, courtesy of Jeffrey Shanks:

Pulp Studies I: Weird Tales: The Unique Magazine

Weird Modernism: Literary Modernism in the First Decade of Weird Tales – Jonas Prida (College of St. Joseph)

The Occult Truth of History: Lovecraft, Howard, Smith, and the Headless Sublime – Jason Carney (Case Western Reserve University)

“What Subtle Torment the Black God’s Kiss Had Wrought Upon Him”: Gender Performance as Strategic Advantage in American Sword and Sorcery – Nicole Emmelahinz (Case Western Reserve University)

Pulp Studies II: History, Horror, and the Heroic Fantasy of Robert E. Howard

Cthulos/Kathulhu: Intertextuality in the Pulp Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard – Nicole Rehnberg (California State University, Fullerton)

Through a Glass Too Darkly: Conan Revealed as “The Bright Barbarian” – Frank Coffman (Rock Valley College)

Night Falls on Asgard: Robert E. Howard’s Weltgeschichte – Rusty Burke (Independent Scholar)

Pulp Studies III: Imperial Pulp – Nationialism and Colonialism in Pulp Fiction

From Jungle Lords to Planetary Pioneers: Ideologies and Anxieties of Colonialism in the Pulps – Jeffrey Shanks (National Park Service)

“Thou, Africa!”: An Analysis of Robert E. Howard’s Conflicting Views on Race in His Unpublished Poetry – Barbara Barrett (Independent Scholar)

“Too bad it’s in the Soviet Zone now”: Divided Germany and Pro-American Discourses in James McGovern’s Romance Novel Fräulein (1956) – Elisa Edwards (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria)

Pulp Studies IV: Weird Menaces and Hard-Boiled Heroes

Erle Stanley Gardner’s Pulp Legacy – Jeffrey Marks (Independent Scholar)

Pulpy Rhetoric: The Modern Sophism of Black Mask – Rachel Tanner (University of Oregon)

Spicy Horror: Sex and Magical Reversal in Weird Menace Pulp Fictions – Meta Regis (Stella Maris College)

Pulp Studies V: Pulp Pedagogy – Pulp Fiction in Education

Teaching the Pulps: A Heuristic for Rhetorical Reading of Popular Fiction – Justin Everett (University of the Sciences)

Orange Pulp: Collecting & Interpreting Pulp Magazines at Syracuse University – Sean Quimby (Syracuse University)

The Cosmic Angle of Regarding: Mathematics and the Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft – Daniel Look (St. Lawrence University)

As you can see, the various areas of study cover a lot of ground and include presentations by guest bloggers and TGR contributors Barbara Barrett, Rusty Burke, Frank Coffman and Jeffrey Shanks. If you can make it, you’d be helping show support for the topics and presenters. That support would be a big part of bringing Robert E. Howard studies to the forefront of academia.

The controversy surrounding Vinson’s “Hell Bent” no doubt continued in the November issue; unfortunately, we’ll never know as that is one of the missing issues. And, while the actual mailing lists for the September and October issues don’t survive, some of the comments that were written on them were included in “The Commentary” section of the December issue. The relevant passages follow:

12-28 05

Besides the above, Mooney also included the following, signed by “S.A.S.”:

Bob Howard’s poetry is, as a usual thing, delightful to an extraordinary degree, but I must say that his “A Hairy-Chested Idealist Sings” is distinctly disappointing. There is very little that may be commended in the poem, and, after reading it over several times, I was reluctantly forced to conclude that a page and a half of that issue of The Junto was wasted, insofar as I was concerned.

Undoubtedly “A.M.Y.” is “hell bent,” if there is a hell. But, also undoubtedly, he will not lack for company, and I am sure that it will be interesting and stimulating company. I’d like to know “A.M.Y.” and I have an idea that he is Clyde Smith in disguise—though that doesn’t explain his initials, of course.

When I come to one of Hildon V. Collins’ articles in The Junto, I invariably feel that I have got a copy of some Lions Club publication, by mistake. With no intention whatsoever of giving offense to Mr. Collins, I wish to hell that he would quit writing articles in praise of the “liberty” and the “justice” and the “beauty” of these United States. However, if he feels that that is too much to ask, I should like to request that he attempt to rid himself of his platitudinous style of writing.

Clyde Smith’s style is great! His themes are fresh and original and amazingly well expressed. I number his prose as some of the best that has appeared in The Junto. I, for one, welcome everything that he writes. Let’s have more by him.

Now, before we get to the actual content of the December issue, let’s take a look at what was going on behind the scenes during the fall of 1928.

Circa Oct. 1928, Robert E. Howard to Tevis Clyde Smith:

Booth wants some autobiographies so for God’s sake, give him a line — all bull, get me, of course. I’m going to start mine:

I was a nun until the age of fourteen. At four I robbed a bank and burned down an insane asylum. At nine I raped my governess. I was a nun until I got a change of heart (?) when I became a monk. At seventeen, like all the other Juntoers, I knew everything there was to know in the world and started out to reform people by picking their pockets. Then I went to the Antarctic with a bastard whose name I don’t remember. He had four hands.

Maybe.

For God’s sake you somnolent jackass, write something for the damned Junto to clear the muck. Don’t get sore at Booth for not publishing your Yapoo business — he will next time, likely didn’t get it in soon enough. He’s a good kid but he’s got a lot of anti-religious fanatics dizzying him. Don’t let this letter get mixed up and don’t send it on in the Junto. I am drunk, but I know what I’m talking about.

Circa Oct. 1928, Booth Mooney to Tevis Clyde Smith:

Thank you very much for the two contributions. I assure you that all material is appreciated, and that the more you send in, the better I like it. I certainly like your poetry, and will be glad to get a great deal of it . . . the same goes for your prose. According to comments, you and Bob Howard stir up quite a bit of notice—not all favorable, by the way, but, of course, that doesn’t matter. [. . .]

I am also heartily in favor of the get together of you, Preece, Truett, and Bob (and myself) sometime during the Christmas holidays. I believe that the days immediately following the twenty-fifth would be best. I believe that I could make it, though I might, as you said, be forced to hitch hike it. Anyway, it would be well worth any time and money spent. I certainly am in favor of the meeting being held in Brownwood, and I appreciate the offer you made. Let’s don’t let this thing die down. We want to carry it out. [. . .]

I’ll be very glad to receive any contributions for “Misapprehensions” [a proposed regular column for The Junto] from you. So far, only one has been received; it will be used in the November issue, which is due to appear within three weeks.

Oct. 15, 1928, Harold Preece to Tevis Clyde Smith:

The Junto came today, and its contents would have highly elated the American Association for the Advancement for Atheism. An article on “Religion” by H. P., “The Autobiography of an Atheist” by my sister, Lenore, and some choice comments by Bob.

Circa Oct. 1928, Booth Mooney to Tevis Clyde Smith:

I am receiving quite a bit of material for The Junto now from yourself, the mysterious “H,” “A Virgin,” “A.M.Y.,” you, Bob, Lenore Preece, Harold, and others. [. . .]

I suppose that you have seen Bob recently, as a letter which I received from him yesterday was sent from Brownwood. Bob’s a genius. He sent quite a lot of material for The Junto. A poem, “Swings and Swings,” was very good, as were also several articles, principally about him, you, and Truett.

Around this time, the end of October 1928, Volume 1, Number 8, the November issue of The Junto appeared—as stated above, that issue does not survive, but there are some comments in the surviving correspondence:

Nov. 5, 1928, Harold Preece to Tevis Clyde Smith:

I presume that you received The Junto which I mailed you, several days ago, in a besmeared envelope. I don’t like the “Snappy Stories” tendency of the Junto. [. . .]

I am planning to be at the Brownwood gathering if I walk both ways. What date are you fellows planning to throw it?

Circa Nov. 1928, Booth Mooney to Tevis Clyde Smith:

Yes, do send some more material for The Junto if you can. I have enough for the next issue or so, but we mustn’t forget the March anniversary issue. [. . .]

I’m glad you met Harold [circa mid-October]. He and I have met four times, and I have never failed to enjoy his company. He has a very brilliant mind, and can discuss very intelligently on almost any subject that is brought up. I have known him for almost two years, much longer than any of the others of the Junto bunch. It was through him that I got acquainted with the rest of you.

Circa Nov. 1928, Robert E. Howard to Tevis Clyde Smith:

Thanks for your comment in the Junto. I think Amy must be a boy but if he can’t fight any better than he writes, I don’t think we have anything to fear. [. . .]

I hope to hell Mooney puts some of yours and Truett’s work in the next Junto. Most of the last was a lot of hokum, though Harold and Lenore did good work. After writing a lot of scathing denunciations of the present day system of life in most of my letters, my last epistle to Harold contained a passionate defense of the gilt and tinsel of life, and the gaudy shams. I spoke gloatingly and lip-smackingly of pageantry and golden banners and knighthood and the old days of war and glory. I haven’t heard from him since.

Circa Nov. 1928, Robert E. Howard to Tevis Clyde Smith:

I’m glad Truett has made such a hit with the Junto she-males. That boy has sex appeal. I’m also glad you saw Harold before he emulates Sacco and Vanzetti. I guess you got the Junto I sent you. Another ought to be out soon.

Circa Nov. 1928, Robert E. Howard to Tevis Clyde Smith:

I’m enclosing a letter and articles to Booth Mooney. Read the articles and if you don’t want them published, don’t hesitate to send them back. Also if you want any changes made. If o.k., just mail the letter on to Mooney, will you? Now, get this straight, if you’d rather not have these articles published, I want you to say so and it will be alright with me.

We’ll hear more about these articles, and the proposed Christmas gathering, next time.

[Go to Part 4]

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The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention will be held again this year in Lombard, a suburb of Chicago, on April 25-27. The event has expanded from a single day event in 2001 into the largest pulp and popular culture show in the nation with more than 400 attendees each year. The goal of the convention is to bring the fans the best the pulps and popular culture have to offer, and year after year it does. For 2014, Windy City will be celebrating the 85th anniversary of Sam Spade and Dashiell Hammett, and the 95th anniversary of Western Story Magazine.

This is the fifth year the convention will be held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. The event runs Friday through Sunday, but the con suite will be open on Thursday evening where you pick up your badges and program books early.

If you plan on attending and haven’t booked your hotel room yet, the deadline to get the convention rate, which is a huge savings over the regular rate, is April 7th at 5:00 pm, Central time. You can book online at the hotel’s website.

western-story-magazine-pulp-movie-poster-1938-1020410314Again this year, Bill Cavalier will be hosting a Robert E. Howard Foundation luncheon for all the Howard fans who are Legacy Members at the Westin on Saturday. This year everyone will be going Dutch since the Foundation is conserving funds for other Howard related endeavors.

This event usually attracts a good sized group of Howard fans, so if you can make to the Windy City convention, you’ll have plenty of like-minded folks to hang out with. Plus, you will have place to get together and talk Howard since the Foundation will have a table in the dealer’s room.

The best place to get information and updates on Windy City and other upcoming conventions is at Bill Thom’s Coming Attractions website.

This entry filed under Collecting Howard, Howard Fandom, News.