Archive for the 'Lindsey Tyson' Category

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Another enjoyable Howard Days has come and gone, and it is safe to say that any who attended were glad they did.  The number of attendees on June 10th and 11th seemed to be a bit above average, reflecting a trend toward straining the capacity of current venues and program formats.  The panel audiences are already larger than could be served by formerly used facilities like the Cross Plains Library and the Howard House Pavilion.  Panels this year were held at the CP High School and the CP Senior Center.  Many new faces were evident at the banquet in the Community Center.  The weather was hot but otherwise pleasant, though mosquito repellent was sometimes required.

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The day before the festivities began, the staff of the Cross Plains Review newspaper kindly offered a tour of their old facilities, complete with antique printing press and other equipment.  Original copies of editions containing articles about or by Robert E. Howard were on display.

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On Friday, following the bus tour of the CP area hosted by Project Pride veteran Don Clark, a panel composed of Rusty Burke, Bill Cavalier, and Susan McNeel-Childers discussed the first 30 years of Howard Days celebrations.  REHupans Burke and Vern Clark made an initial foray to Cross Plains in 1985.  Impressed by the wide open spaces of Texas and even more by how imaginative Howard must have been to have envisioned stories in such settings, Burke thought that other serious fans might be lured to visit Cross Plains, and so organized a trip there the next year by ten REHupans, including Cavalier and Glenn Lord.  The Friends of the Library, headed by Joan McCowen, gave a gracious reception to those they called international scholars on June 6th, which the mayor proclaimed to be “Robert Howard Day.”  Those the visitors talked to included Cross Plains Review editor Jack Scott, head librarian Billie Ruth Loving, REH heirs Alla Ray Kuykendall and Alla Ray Morris, and Charlotte Laughlin of Howard Payne University in Brownwood.  Laughlin would act to preserve what remained of REH’s personal book collection that his father had donated to HPU and which now resides in the Howard House.  Seeing the commercial possibilities in attracting more such visitors, the founding members of Project Pride (originally created to spruce up the downtown area of Cross Plains) bought the Howard House in 1989, which Project Pride then renovated and operated as a museum with the aid of donations.  Alla Ray Morris contributed $10,000 to Project Pride just before her death in 1995. The money was used to install central heat and air conditioning and to remodel the inside of the house. Project Pride also received a portion of Alla Ray’s estate and that money was used to build the pavilion next to the house and finish the remodeling. The pavilion was completed in 2000 and dedicated to Alla Ray. By that time Howard Days had become an annual 2-day event organized by Project Pride and REHupa, who have done so much to welcome and educate fans of the Texas author and to change the once-low opinion of many of the residents regarding Howard and his admirers.

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Guest of Honor Michael Scott Myers spoke at the banquet and was interviewed by REHupan Mark Finn at a Friday panel marking the 20th anniversary of the film The Whole Wide World, which Myers had adapted from the memoir One Who Walked Alone, written by Howard’s sometime girlfriend Novalyne Price Ellis.  Myers was a speech student of Ellis during her last years at Louisiana State University.  As a movie publicist, Myers saw the potential in making a small independent film based on her book, but many individual factors have to align before such a movie can be made.  Myers optioned the book for $20 and wrote the script between 1989 and 1994.  Director Dan Ireland and the actor portraying REH, Vincent D’Onofrio were on board early on.  Replacing actress Olivia d’Abo, who had become pregnant, in Novalyne’s part was Renee Zellweger in her first major role.  TWWW was filmed over 3 and a half weeks in the summer of 1996 for $1.2M.  While it did well at the Sundance Film Festival, an unfavorable release date held the film back until positive reviews led to its success on home video and cable TV.  It served as many people’s introduction to REH, and the film helped to bring a less narrow, more nuanced, and very human portrayal of the author to the fan public.  Ellis did see and enjoy the movie.  After the interview, TWWW was screened in the high school auditorium.

The Robert E. Howard Foundation Awards were bestowed Friday afternoon.  The winners are spotlighted elsewhere on this blog.

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REHupans Mark Finn, Chris Gruber, and Jeffrey Shanks staged another of their always entertaining “Fists at the Ice House” presentations outdoors at the site where Howard boxed with his friends and locals.  This sport, REH’s part in it, and his boxing fiction were the subjects.  Experts on these stories, the speakers recommended them highly to all.  Even if one is not into the sport, the surprisingly good humor of the yarns will be enough to get one through them.  And Howard’s enthusiasm and versatility shed light on important aspects of the author’s personality that one might have no clue about if one is familiar only with his fantasy tales.  Howard’s boxing and boxing stories served as vital releases for the pressures and frustrations that were dogging him at the time.

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The first panel on Saturday concerned REH and artist Frank Frazetta, who painted the covers of most of the Lancer Conan paperbacks of the late 1960s which did so much to attract readers to Howard’s fiction.  The panelists were REHupans Rusty Burke, Bill Cavalier, Gary Romeo, and Jeff Shanks.  Cavalier called the publication of Conan the Adventurer the single most significant event in the history of Howard publishing and the one that drew him in personally.  Shanks noted that this was the 50th anniversary of that event.  Frazetta had illustrated comic books, but it was his covers of Edgar Rice Burroughs paperbacks that got him noticed.  Frazetta’s artistic resonance with the material made for an impressive product that was greater than the sum of its parts.  Burke said that the Conan stories had come out earlier in book form as Arkham House and Gnome Press hardbacks.  Writer L. Sprague de Camp was a fan of REH and, working with agent Oscar Friend, took on the editing of the Conan reprints.  Romeo explained that de Camp assiduously shopped the stories to publishers, finally hooking Lancer’s Larry Shaw, as well as Frazetta by letting him keep the ownership of his art.  Romeo thinks that Frazetta’s art was a big part of Conan’s appeal, but not as much as the prose itself.  Burke added that, though you can’t judge a book by its cover, the cover can be important in providing an essential good first impression of and introduction to the character.  Shanks observed that, even though the images were static, Frazetta’s dynamic, exciting poses were a game changer for fantastic art.

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Weapons, especially edged weapons, axes, swords, and spears, hold my attention as nothing else can. Long ago I started collecting them, but found it a taste far too expensive for my means. I still have the things I did manage to get hold of — a few sabers, swords, bayonets and the like.

— Robert E. Howard to H. P. Lovecraft, 6 March 1933, CL3.31

By the time Bob Howard reached puberty, the sword was almost defunct as a weapon of war. Aside from ceremonial weapons, the only combat swords in the United States military were issued to the cavalry, though the day of the cavalry charge itself was finished, and the navy, which retained a few cutlasses. The sword had its day, and the weapons were surplused, or taken home by old soldiers to be kept, passed down, or sold to the likes of Robert E. Howard.

Yet for centuries the sword was one of the principal weapons of war, its form evolving to changing technologies, needs, and styles of combat, and it features heavily in the fiction and poetry of Robert E. Howard. It is of interest then to examine swords and swordsmanship in the writings and life of Robert E. Howard from a technical viewpoint, to see both what he wrote about swords and using them, and what that tells us about him.

Part of this article will retread familiar ground—readers may recall that several years ago, Barbara Barrett wrote two excellent articles, Robert E. Howard: The Sword Collector and His Poetry and Robert E. Howard: The Sword Collector’s Sword Collection, which illustrated the several types of swords in Howard’s collection, and which were mentioned in his poetry—but are repeated here for the sake of completeness in addressing this subject.

The Swords of Robert E. Howard

We know very little about Howard’s collection, including when or where he bought them, however, from the few details given in his letters and the memoirs of others we can make some educated guesses—and, as fortune has it, a few photographs of Bob Howard and his blades survive, which allows us to at least tentatively identify a few of them.

I enacted these wars in my games and galloped full tilt through the mesquite on a bare-backed racing mare, hewing right and left with a Mexican machete and slicing off cactus pears which I pretended were the heads of English knights. (CL2.292)

Howard’s first “sword” was probably that self-same Mexican machete from his private games; the “racing mare” might have been the same that he had named Gypsy. (CL3.55n39) This was probably the same machete that Howard was wielding in a staged photograph with Truett Vinson.

Robert E. Howard (left), Truett Vinson (right)

Robert E. Howard (left), Truett Vinson (right)

In 1922 at the age of sixteen, Robert E. Howard transferred to Brownwood High School, as the Cross Plains School District only went up to the tenth grade. There, he first made the acquaintance of Truett Vinson and Tevis Clyde Smith, who became fast friends. Howard by that point had either already begun acquiring his collection of swords, or would soon thereafter and they came into play during their leisure:

I used to wish that I could learn to fence, but the opportunity never presented itself, fencing masters not being very commonly met with in West Texas. A friend and I, several years ago, decided to try to learn the art by practice, and being unable to obtain foils, we used a pair of army swords. It was my misfortune, however, to run him through the right hand in the very first bout, and thereafter he could never be persuaded to fence again. I doubt, though, if fencing could ever have interested me like boxing, since it is, apparently, founded on finesse, and gives little opportunity for the exercise of ruggedness and sheer physical power. (CL3.242)

And sometimes less playfully, as Clyde Smith would write:

A mutual friend, talking of the futility of existence, said life meant nothing. “Just the same, you’d jump like hell if I made a pass at you with this knife,” said Bob. He was at the moment trimming his nails with one of his sabres; as the friend went ahead with his discourse, Bob slashed out at him with the cold steel. For some reason or other he missed, no doubt because the friend, in the midst of his eloquent desires for death, leaped out of the way, and howled in a pale voice: “My God, you’d kill a feller!” (RWM 10)

Of course, from Bob’s own accounts, he and his friends were well-used to a bit of rough-and-tumble play:

Two of them had me down once, one big gazabo was on top of me with a quarter-Nelson on me and another guy had me by the feet and was alternately kicking me on the shins and jabbing me in the ribs with a bayonet sheath. I drove my elbow into the neck of the guy that was holding my hands, got one hand free, got hold of a bayonet — and they let go. I used the bayonet, not the sheath, and the point at that. (CL1.11-12)

A few photographs from this period survive, and showcase elements of Howard’s collection from this period. One such depicts Robert E. Howard his neighbor’s children, brother and sister Leroy and Faustine Butler:

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Leroy Butler (left), Faustine Butler (center), Robert E. Howard (right)

While shadowed and partially concealed, these swords—evidently from Bob’s collection—provide enough details that they many can be reasonably identified. The basis for this identification are the key characteristics of the weapon: the length and shape of the blade, the shape of the hilt, which includes the guard (any device to protect the hand), handle, and pommel (the fitting at the end of the handle), the present of quillons (a projection on the guard of a sword), langets (flaps of metal extending from the guard), and any ornamentation. Manufacturer and issue marks on the blades are indistinguishable in the photograph.

The blade in Leroy Butler’s right hand is a long, slightly curved, single-edged blade with a distinct fuller (a groove in the blade to save weight and add stiffness) running most of the length of the blade, stopping several inches before the tip of the blade; the hilt is of the type called a “three-bar hilt” with an oval guard with no quillons or langets; the handle appears to be ribbed, with a ribbed pommel. The three-bar hilt is characteristic of French model cavalry swords of the 18th and 19th century, which were frequently the basis of American cavalry swords, and this appears to be a US Model 1860 Cavalry Trooper’s Sword, or an equivalent weapon.

On his left hip, we can just see the handle of a short sword or dagger—if it was a longer blade, it would likely be evident in Butler’s shadow, and the handle seems to be bare of decoration, with a small rectangular metal guard. Unfortunately, too little of this weapon is showing to identify it.

Faustine Butler carries a straight-bladed sword; the hilt features a knuckle guard with one quillon, with a handle that narrows as it approached the egg-shaped pommel. Blade is shorter than saber on the left. Such blades were based on the military smallsword of the 18th century, designed primarily for thrusting with a single or double-edged blade, and appears to be a US Model 1840 Infantry Non-Commissioned Officer’s Sword.

Robert E. Howard is holding a curved single-edged blade—more curved than Leroy Butler’s saber—with a fuller that stops several inches before the tip of the blade; the blade is apparently not sharpened, or Howard would not be gripping the cutting edge. The hilt is distinguished by small guard with a quillon and langets on either side of the blade, and possibly a knuckleguard, though this and the handle are mostly obscured by the angle of Howard’s hand. The strong curve suggests a saber, and the arrangement of quillon and langets suggests a US Model 1812 Dragoon Saber, or similar blade. The term “Dragoon” originally referred to a French cavalry trooper armed with a firearm called a dragon, but developed into a term for mounted infantry.

Two fixed-blade knives or daggers are stuck through Bob Howard’s belt-sash. On the left is a double-edged dagger with no scabbard, a short cross-guard, and a round handle that is flattened at the end; a very generic design that resists identification, the best that can be said about it is that it does not appear to be a bayonet, being both short and lacking an attachment point.

The blade on Bob’s left hip is a larger knife or short-sword, in a scabbard that suggests it is curved with a single edge; on the handle you can see two places where bolts extend through the handle and the tang (the portion of the blade that extends into the handle), and ends with a rounded, forward-projecting knob. Given the evidence, it appears to be a US Model 1909 Bolo Machete.

Some of these guesses can be at least partially verified when another photograph from the same period is considered:

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Robert E. Howard (left), Truett Vinson (center), Tevis Clyde Smith (right)

Here, these appear to be the same three swords that were in the prior photograph; this time it is notable that all three young men are carrying the the scabbards for their sword.

Clyde Smith (right) appears to be wielding the same curved blade that Howard was grasping in the previous photograph: you can see the curve of the blade, the fuller, the quillon and one of the langets, and in addition it has the distended knuckleguard (sometimes called a “stirrup hilt”) typical of many cavalry sabers of the 19th century, including the US M1812 Dragoon Saber and the Prussian M1811 cavalry saber. The scabbard slipped into his belt appears to be metal (as opposed to wood and leather), and you can see a single band with the ring mount used to adjust the hang of the sword, which would normally be carried in a leather harness or “frog.”

Truett Vinson holds the three-bar hilted saber, where you can fairly see all three bars; swords of this type were typically made primarily for right-handed users, and you can see the bars cover the outside of the right hand when carried in that manner. Bob Howard is carrying the straight-bladed NCO Infantry sword, with few other details discernable.

After Robert E. Howard’s death, his father gave his collection of blades to Bob’s friend Earl Baker, who described them as including:

Robert E. Howard’s collection of edged weapons consisted of eight or nine pieces altogether. There were two swords, both sabers of Civil War vintage – one a battle saber, heavy and sharp; the other a handsome dress saber without an edge. There was a double-curved French bayonet of the late 19th century modeled after the Turkish yataghan. There was a World War I trench knife, with a triangular blade and an iron knuckle-guard. There was a boomerang, and there were three or four heavy knives of various kinds. (Barrett)

The de Camps, who interviewed Baker for their biography Dark Valley Destiny, add:

The collection eventually included a pair of foils, a cavalry saber of Civil War vintage, a Latin American machete, a boomerang, and several knives and daggers, one of which was a World War I trench knife with a triangular blade and a scalloped knuckle guard. He even obtained a long French double-curved bayonet of a type copied from the Turkish yataghan. (DVD 215)

A few things stand out in these descriptions; keeping in mind that that the de Camps’ account is based largely on Baker’s interview, as well as other sources. The two sabers that Baker describes could well be the US M1860 cavalry saber and the US M1812 dragoon saber pictured in the photograph of Howard and the Butlers. The M1860 (or even the early M1840) would be Civil War era, though it is important to remember that the model number refers to when the sword pattern was adopted and pattern swords could be produced for decades, and the M1812, as noted above, may not have had an edge.

The “double-curved French bayonet of the late 19th century modeled after the Turkish yataghan” could be any number of a family of yataghan-style bayonets that were popular in the 19th century, including the sword bayonet for the M1861 Navy rifle; Barrett also suggests the M1841 Mississippi Rifle bayonet which is of the same basic design. These bayonets typically featured cast-brass grips, with a quillon on one end of the cross guard and a muzzle ring to attach to the rifle on the other. The yataghan that this style of bayonet derives its name from is a short Ottoman sabre with a forward curve—that is, the part of the blade farthest from the handle is curved to be ahead of the hilt, to provide more striking power.

The “World War I trench knife, with a triangular blade and an iron knuckle-guard” is almost certainly a US M1917 knucklebow knife. The stiletto-like blade has a triangular cross-section and a steel knucklebow studded with small pyramidal projections. The US M1918 knuckle knife, also known as the Mark One Trench Knife, had a cast brass hilt with a studded knuckleduster grip.

The De Camps’ list contains “a Latin American machete”—probably the Mexican machete Howard described in his letter (CL2.292)—and, curiously, a pair of fencing foils. They go on to say of the foils:

Robert and Lindsey took a pair of empty brass cartridge cases, taped them over the ends of the foils, and tried to fence without the fencer’s usual mask, jacket, and gloves. Luckily no eyes were injured. Robert also fenced a little with Earl Baker. (DVD 215)

This is very curious given that in Howard’s 1933 letter to H. P. Lovecraft, he claims “being unable to obtain foils, we used a pair of army swords.” (CL3.242) While it is possible that Howard obtained the foils at a later date, given Howard’s own statement and the lack of mention of foils by Baker, it seems likely that this is an error on the part of the De Camps, or a misrecollection. More likely, Howard and his erstwhile partners used two of the three swords in the above photographs.

As for where Bob kept his collection:

As opportunity and finances permitted, Robert began to collect weapons, some of which decorated the bathroom wall itself, while others were stashed with his guns in the long closet built into the west wall of the room. (DVD 215)

  1. E. Hoffmann Price, in a letter to L. Sprague de Camp (who had apparently specifically asked about it), wrote that “I was in his work room, but, saw nothing. Can’t imagine where he kept the stuff.” But admitted “Or, I may have seen them and without really noting them at all.” (CLIMH 313)

Read Part 2,  Part 3

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When Robert E. Howard pulled the trigger on June 11, 1936, he left behind a mass of papers that, years later, helped fuel the “Howard Boom” of the 1970s and has provided fodder for countless publications, both professional and amateur, well into the current century. These previously unpublished stories, poems, fragments, letters, etc. were ushered into print by Glenn Lord, who spent much of the late 1950s and ’60s tracking down the remnants of Howard’s collection. We all know the debt that we owe to Glenn, but how many of us know the circuitous route that Howard’s papers took before ultimately ending up in his capable hands? Thanks to Glenn’s massive correspondence collection, his own writings published in the Esoteric Order of Dagon amateur press association, and L. Sprague de Camp’s interviews housed at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas, we can piece together the wanderings of Howard’s papers, the contents of the historic Trunk.

The de Camp interviews are filled with references to Howard’s trunk. Novalyne Price Ellis told de Camp that Howard “had a trunk filled with things.” Norris Chambers remembered “a great big old trunk” that “was completely full of manuscripts, letters and stuff.” According to Kate Merryman, one of the ladies helping out in the Howard house during Hester Howard’s last days, Robert Howard generally kept his room tidy, but the day of his suicide there “were more papers on the floor than he usually had. He spent quite a bit of time in his room the night before.” Following the deaths of Robert and Hester, Doctor Howard had Merryman help him sort through the mess.

According to de Camp’s interview notes, Merryman “came upon a handwritten sheet, which she read and saw it was a will leaving all [Robert’s] property to Lindsey Tyson. She said: ‘Look at this, Doctor!’ He took it, read it, and said: ‘Don’t say anything to anybody about this.’ This was the last she or anyone ever saw of it.” But Cross Plains is a small town, and, as de Camp found out, Tyson learned of the will shortly after its destruction. In his interview notes, de Camp says that Tyson “said, a few days after the suicide, a lawyer stopped him on the street and told him that Robert had willed everything to him. But that the doctor had destroyed the will. Tyson was disturbed and upset and didn’t even ask for details. He did not want to profit from his friend’s loss anyway.” While it is hard to imagine what would have happened to Howard’s papers if Tyson had ended up with them, it could hardly have been worse than what did eventually occur. Whether the destruction of the will was small town gossip or historical fact makes no difference at this late date—Doctor Howard retained possession of his son’s papers. In his July 11, 1936 letter to E. Hoffmann Price, Dr. Howard says that “I have at home now a large fire proof steel trunk which I purchased immediately after [Robert’s] death, placing his carbon[s] of different stories as also his rejected and returned stories, and his poems.”

In the weeks that followed, Norris Chambers helped organize those papers; he also typed letters for Doctor Howard, notifying Robert’s correspondents of his death. On July 29, 1936, Isaac Howard asked family friend Reverend B. G. Richburg for more help with his son’s papers:

Can you spend Monday, Tuesday, and perhaps Wednesday in my home reading and helping me arrange Robert E. Howard’s poems of which there are one hundred twenty eight and about thirty two unpublished stories? Agents and publishers are clamoring for this work. I have it pretty well catalogued. They are asking weekly that I submit it.

It is not known if Richburg was able to help, but not long after the above letter was mailed, Dr. Howard sent Robert’s papers to agent Otis Kline to see what was worthy of publication. On September 17, 1936 he wrote Kline: “I note that you completed the checking of the material in the trunk, and enclosing a list of the stories and poems you have retained.” The Kline lists survive, and, based on their content (see The Collected Letters of Isaac M. Howard), the agency retained the cream of the unpublished crop and reams of poetry. We’ll hear more about the Kline Agency’s stewardship of these materials.

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Doctor Howard also made arrangements for Howard Payne College to receive Robert’s library of books; the news was published in both the Brownwood Bulletin and Cross Plains Review. On June 29, 1936, in a letter to H. P. Lovecraft, Doctor Howard hints at an expansion of the school’s Memorial Collection: “The Howard Payne College of Brownwood has asked for letters from correspondents. If it is agreeable with you, I will furnish them with some of your correspondence to him as he has some in his files and they are interested in letters.”

Lovecraft’s “In Memoriam” (Fantasy Magazine, September 1936) announces the collection: “Mr. Howard’s library has been presented to Howard Payne College, where it will form the nucleus of the Robert E. Howard Memorial Collection of books, manuscripts, and letters.” Not mentioned here were Howard’s magazines; these, too, went to Howard Payne, but by December, Doctor Howard was having a change of heart. In his December 19, 1936 letter to Lovecraft, he complains that readers “are wearing the backs off of his magazines.” In his February 19, 1937 letter to Otis Kline, Doctor Howard says, “I went to Howard Payne this week, and I brought all of Robert’s filed copies of Weird Tales that I had given to Howard Payne. I put them in a place of safety, and they are now in my possession.” Whatever papers were part of the collection remained, for a time.

Following the death of H. P. Lovecraft, Arkham House co-founder August Derleth wrote to Dr. Howard (April 21, 1937):

Donald Wandrei and I are putting together three volumes of Lovecraft’s work for early publication, and that the third of these is to be a volume of Selected Letters. I know from both HPL’s letters and from Bob’s letters that Lovecraft wrote at length to Bob, and that you must still have some of these letters from Lovecraft. We should like very much to see these for copying, after which we will of course return them to you promptly.

The doctor responded on April 27:

I have, I presume, most of the letters [Lovecraft] wrote to Robert during his lifetime. There are volumes of them. He, of course, has all of Robert’s letters on file. In as much as I contemplate having a book of Robert’s life done, I will have to depend on someone perhaps who never saw Robert, or at least had not a very extended personal acquaintance with him, to write the major part of the book. I am thinking his letters to Mr. Lovecraft would furnish an excellent basis from which one might write a very good book. I will only be too glad to exchange files with Mrs. Gamwell [Lovecraft’s aunt], in case she would do so, in order that I may use Robert’s letters in the book of Robert’s life we now have in mind.

On May 15, 1937, Dr. Howard tells Otis Kline that “H. P. Lovecraft’s letters from Robert E. Howard, I have ascertained are with Mr. Barlow in Kansas City. He will send them to me. These letters will help furnish a basis from which to make a book of his life.” And on May 22, 1937, the doctor tells August Derleth, “Today I am sending to you H. P. Lovecraft’s letters to Robert E. Howard. They will go by express. There might be more, but in case I should find them I would send them. But unless there should be some in the Robert Howard Memorial Collection at Howard Payne College, I guess this is all there is.” Shortly after this, the good doctor reclaimed whatever of his son’s papers remained at the school, leaving only the collection of his books, more than 300 titles. Today, only 68 books remain in the collection.

In a February 18, 1977 letter to de Camp, Lindsey Tyson said, “After Bob’s death, Dr. Howard took the trunk full of manuscripts over to Howard Payne University at Brownwood. After they had been there for some time, he picked them up [. . .]”

By June 12, 1937, Doctor Howard was becoming impatient with Barlow’s delay: “Since Mrs. Gamwell has given her consent for me to have the letters written by my son to H. P. Lovecraft, and at same requesting that I send August Derleth H. P. Lovecraft’s letters which I have done. May I not urge you to send my son’s letters to me at once. I am asking that you do this even though it may inconvenience you to do so. We have been trying to secure these letters for weeks and I feel that since so important a matter that you should do me the kindness to get them to me at once.”

Unfortunately, it seems that no other letters from Doctor Howard survive from this period. We know that Robert’s letters to Lovecraft did, in fact, end up with Doctor Howard; Lovecraft’s letters to Howard, well, that’s a story for a future post. I’ll end this time with the state of affairs at the end of 1937: Doctor Howard was in possession of his son’s papers; he had, according to Merryman, purchased a new, larger trunk to hold them all. The Kline Agency had the typescripts of what was considered the best of this material. It is possible that some of Howard’s papers were lost or destroyed while they were housed at Howard Payne, but the doctor’s retrieval of those papers saved the greater portion, and through his wrangling with Derleth and Barlow, he insured that Robert’s letters to Lovecraft returned to Cross Plains. Things were looking good.

[Go to Part 2]

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[Part 9 is here.]

As the 1960s began, Howard publishing continued its sluggish pace. George Scithers published an excerpt from one of Howard’s letters to August Derleth (which Scithers entitled “On Astounding”) in the January 1960 issue of Amra; “Dreams of Nineveh” appeared in The Golden Atom’s 20th Anniversary issue; “The Challenge from Beyond” appeared in Fantastic Science Fiction Stories for May 1960; and the Wollheim-edited Macabre Reader, containing Howard’s “The Cairn on the Headland,” was re-issued in the United Kingdom.

For Glenn Lord, the beginning of the 1960s was the same as the end of the ’50s: he traded pulp magazines and information regarding Robert E. Howard with an ever-growing circle of fans, collectors, and professionals, as well as individuals who had actually known the writer from Cross Plains personally or through correspondence. This last group included people like E. Hoffmann Price, Tevis Clyde Smith, Clark Ashton Smith, Lindsey Tyson, Frank Thurston Torbett, Norbert P. Sydow, and Lenore Preece. The former group was of course much larger, but included some well-known individuals like Donald Wollheim, Joseph Payne Brennan, Darrell C. Richardson, John Pocsik (then only 16-years-old), L. Sprague de Camp, and others. And Glenn was still looking for more.

In a postcard postmarked January 28, 1960, Dale Hart tells Glenn’s a bit about one of his people-of-interest: “Alvin Earl Perry has been absent from his bookshop when I tried to contact him. I’ll keep working on the case.”

Another person Glenn was interested in was the co-author of “The Last Ride,” Robert Enders Allen (aka Chandler Whipple). In a February 14 postcard, Tevis Clyde Smith tells Lord, “As for Allen, I am sorry, but I am unable to be of assistance, as I have no recollection of ever having heard of him before.” On February 22, Lindsey Tyson checked in with the following:

You mentioned a Robert Enders Allen. I never heard Bob mention anyone by that name. I am of the opinion that there was no such person because Bob did not like partners in anything. Bob did speak quite often of H. P. Lovecraft and Otis A. Kline. Dave Lee informs me that he had never heard of Allen either, and I am sorry to say that he has none of Bob’s material.

Other information was obtained from noted CAS scholar George F. Haas, including the following from a March 1, 1960 letter:

Among the more precious items in my dusty archives is a hand-written letter from H. P. Lovecraft to Clark Ashton Smith. There are three sheets or six pages of closely written script. There is no date on the letter but the envelope is postmarked June 20, 1936. On the last page is this paragraph:

“Since beginning this epistle I’ve had a most depressing & staggering message—a postcard with the report that good old Two-Gun Bob has committed suicide. It seems incredible—I had a long normal letter from him dated May 13. He was worried about his mother’s health, but otherwise seemed perfectly all right. If the news is indeed true, it forms weird fiction’s worst loss since the passing of Whitehead in 1932. Few others of the gang had quite the zest & spontaneity of good old R.E.H. I certainly wish I could get a bulletin saying the report is a mistake! ’36 is certainly a hellish year!”

Glenn even contacted Howard contemporary and Weird Tales regular Seabury Quinn, whom he reached through Arkham House. Quinn responded on August 7:

You are correct in surmising that I was an admirer of the work of the late Robert E. Howard, whom I considered one of the few really significant contributors to 20th Century American fantasy. Unfortunately, however, I never had occasion to exchange letters with him, or to meet him personally, so I’m afraid I can’t be very helpful to you in your projected compilation of his works. This is unfortunate, and I assure you that if I had any such material I’d be glad to let you have it. Fantasy writers of the early part of this century undoubtedly did make significant contributions to the sum of American literature, but except for a few interested people, such as you and August Derleth, their work has gone largely unnoticed.

1960 08-07 Quinn to GL

All the while Glenn was still trying to get copies of Oscar Friend’s inventory. In the above letter, Quinn told Lord, “I’m also not too much surprised at Oscar Friend’s lack of cooperation. I’ve done business with Friend.” And in a September 28 letter, L. Sprague de Camp has the following:

I don’t know what can be done to move Oscar Friend; I have had the same sort of trouble with him. The only thing that works is to call at his home in person and ask to be allowed to go through the stuff, and that’s not always practical.

Frustrated with Friend’s pace, Glenn wrote to the former owners of the Kline Agency and asked if they had anything. Kline’s daughter, Ora Rossini, responded on November 22: “I am sure that we no longer have anything of this sort. Probably the records went to Oscar Friend with any material, and the personal correspondence must have been destroyed.”

At the turn of the new year, Glenn had gathered enough information about Howard publications that he was almost ready to publish his findings. He wrote to George Scithers for advice on January 10, 1961:

Wonder if you’d tell me a few things. First, do you have to register (or anything) with the local authorities when you publish a fanzine? Secondly are any other steps necessary to copyright same except so stating in the fanzine? And what did you wind up having to pay Oscar Friend for the use of the Howard poem and fragment you used? Reason I’m asking all this is I’m seriously thinking of issuing a deluxe fanzine with material about and by Howard. Perhaps just a one-shot.

While Glenn was contemplating publication, 1961 did bring some Howard appearances: “Rogues in the House” ran in the British edition More Not at Night; “The Garden of Fear” was reprinted in Fantastic Stories of Imagination, May 1961 and “The Dead Remember” in the December 1961 issue. Fire and Sleet and Candlelight was put out by Arkham House—it contains two Howard poems.

Besides these appearances, Howard was about to crack the small screen. On March 23, 1961, MCA Artists sent Oscar Friend contracts for Dr. Kuykendall to sign “covering certain television rights in the story entitled PIGEONS FROM HELL, written by the late Mr. Howard.” Their offer of $400 was enough to get Friend moving for a change. He wrote to P. M. Kuykendall, unaware that he had died in 1959 and left the Howard rights to his wife and daughter. This caused some trouble with MCA for, as Friend put it in his March 24 letter to the dead doctor, “A TV sale always requires a lot of red tape because they get sued so much. In this case they require the signature of the administrator of the estate instead of the agent for estate.” This last requirement necessitated the new heirs sending Friend copies of Dr. I. M. Howard’s will and other documents related to their ownership. When the dust from the MCA deal had cleared, Friend wrote to his new clients, April 6, 1961:

First, please accept my belated condolence for the lost [sic.] of your husband which I was not aware of but which I should have suspected and written about, except that I myself have been incapacitated due to illness myself during the past two years (cataractal). [. . .] The Robert L. [sic.] Howard estate is growing rather complicated, what with the passing of Mr. Kline, and now with the passing of Dr. Kuykendall. Because of the revival of SF and Fantasy in literature, with the rather surprising continual existence of interest in the work of Robert Howard, it means that you and I should become better acquainted.

Friend no doubt envisioned future fat checks from production companies. “Pigeons from Hell” aired on NBC’s Thriller, June 6, 1961. Of course, for our purposes, the most important publishing that appeared in 1961 was The Howard Collector.

Untitled-2

[Part 11 is here.]

Shortly after Howard’s death, Dr. Howard had himself appointed Temporary Administrator of his son’s estate since Howard allegedly died intestate (without a will); much as been written about a missing will. Howard biographers L. Sprague de Camp and Mark Finn have addressed the issue, along with other Howard scholars. In a nutshell, it appears Howard left a typewritten will leaving everything to his friend Lindsey Tyson. While going though his late son’s papers, Dr Howard found the will and destroyed it.

One of the duties of an Administrator of a deceased person’s estate is to file with the court a document that lists that person’s assets. Dr. Howard did that on June 16, 1936 when he petitioned the probate court in Callahan County to be appointed Temporary Administrator. That document appears on this page. (Hat tip to Rusty Burke for the document scans.)

As shown below, the bulk of Howard’s estate was cash and savings. What caught my eye was most of his money was in the Post Office in Brownwood. This was news to me since I didn’t know the Post Office was in the banking business; so I did a little research.

Back in Howard’s day, banks were suspect  for a safe place to put your hard earned money – the Great Depression saw to that, with some 9,000 banks nationwide going under during the 1930s.

Unlike banks at the time, the United States Postal Savings System (“USPSS”) was federally insured. The USPSS was administered by the US Post Office Department, which is known today as the USPS (United States Postal Service). The savings program started in 1911 and ended in 1967. It was originally founded to encourage immigrants to get the cash out of their mattresses and into a banking institution. Participants were allowed to keep up to $2,500 with the USPSS. The depositors were told their money was backed by “the full faith and credit of the United States Government.”

However, beginning in January of 1934, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) provided insurance to private banks. Initially, deposits were insured up to $2,500; over the years that has increased to $250,000. Obviously the creation to FDIC was a blow the Postal Savings System since it made banks as safe as the USPSS. But folks still used it – perhaps having more faith in a 159 year-old institution in lieu of some newfangled government insurance program.

The USPSS issued certificates in a number of denominations, depending on the amounts deposited. The Postal Savings System paid 2 percent interest per year on deposits. There is a nice little write-up on the USPSS here if you’d like to read more about the program.

Since the Cross Plains Post Office was too small for the USPSS, Howard used the one in Brownwood. It is also interesting to note he kept cash in Brownwood’s First National Bank instead of a bank in Cross Plains. Perhaps he did not want some gossipy bank teller telling anyone his business. I imagine he kept some cash on hand for walking around money and minor emergencies, such as car repairs.

One more item of interest: starting in 1921, participants in the USPSS were fingerprinted. This was done for identification and to aid with detecting any fraudulent activity. So, while his fingerprint card was likely destroyed decades ago, at one point in his life Howard was fingerprinted!

Some members of REHupa were having an email chat about early trips to Cross Plains. This reminded me of a letter that Glenn Lord wrote to Oscar J. Friend, who was the agent for the Howard heirs at that time. Glenn was searching out Howard’s poetry for Always Comes Evening. The letter is presented below:

 13 June 1957

Dear Mr. Friend:

You might be interested to know what I have found in the way of Robert E. Howard material in the Brownwood-Cross Plains area. First, the Howard Memorial Collection is no longer at Howard Payne College—it remained there only a few years until Dr. Howard discovered that the material was being mutilated by students; so he carried it home with him forthwith. Dr. Howard had went to Ranger shortly after Robert’s death and went into co-practice with Dr. Kuykendall in the latter’s hospital there. Upon Dr. Howard’s death in 1944, Dr. Kuykendall found himself, to his surprise, the administrator of the Estate. I talked with him in Ranger and find that he is not being remiss by not answering his letters apropos the Estate but is not aware of anything of interest in his possession; no pictures and no material. He 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.

I did find, in the hands of the head of history department at Howard Payne, a previously unpublished poem entitled THE TEMPTER, probably one of the last Howard wrote. It has definite suicidal tendencies.

I could find fault with Mr. de Camp’s statement on page 7 of KING CONAN that Howard drove 30 miles into the desert and shot himself. From the CROSS PLAINS REVIEW, June 12, 1936, he walked out of his home, got into his car, shut the door, and shot himself—probably not over 15 feet from his house. Also, the Cross Plains area is not desert—it is rolling plains dotted with scrub oak and looked quite green to me.

From Lindsey Tyson of Cross Plains, who seems to have been Howard’s closest friend there, I obtained 2 snapshots of Howard, both better than the one that Derleth has. He also promised to look for other pictures he once had, including a portrait. Seems that pictures of Howard are really hard to find, took me 2 days of searching to turn up these.

I’ll send along the Mss. shortly. If I find something after I send them along, however, I will put it in the volume. I presume that you want the 10 copies of the book sent to you, but should like to know if Dr. Kuykendall gets one of those as I promised I’d see that he got a copy upon publication.

Cordially,

Glenn Lord

[Date-stamped: “JUN 17 1957”]

At the end of my last post I went off on a tangent regarding Robert E. Howard’s cousin, Earl Lee Comer; he was the subject of my mania last summer and I “published” my findings in a REHupa ’zine. Since then, a few more nuggets of information have emerged, including a couple of interesting items from Glenn Lord’s collection of Howard’s typescripts. Anyway, let’s see what most people already know about Earl Lee before we get into that.

Most of us were introduced to Mr. Comer in the pages of L. Sprague de Camp’s biography of Howard, Dark Valley Destiny:

Robert Howard was thirteen years old when his family bought their home in Cross Plains. Although Robert had not outgrown the Burkett school system, which lacked high-school facilities, we surmise that Mrs. Howard’s nephew, Earl Lee Comer, who had come to live with them, had already reached high-school age. Very little is known about this nephew, except that he shared the Howards’ house for several years. Robert, in his later letters to Lovecraft, never once mentions the slightly older lad whose presence must have affected him in one way or another. Since the two boys shared the sleeping porch, ate at the same table, and even attended the same high school, it is indeed curious that no mention of him appears in the correspondence of either Robert or his father.

Queries to former teachers at the Cross Plains school and to others who lived in the neighborhood have revealed nothing. All we know is that after completing his high school courses, Lee Comer left Cross Plains to work for one of the oil companies in Dallas. Perhaps no one will ever know what Robert thought of this interloper in his home or what this orphaned youth thought of his thirteen-year-old cousin.

In later pages, discussing the family’s house in Cross Plains, de Camp adds the following: “Several years later, when Lee Comer moved out, the family’s sleeping arrangements were entirely rearranged.” And that’s all for DVD. De Camp’s use of “interloper” seems to be designed to put a negative spin on the whole arrangement, even though he had no information to that effect. The only mention of Comer that I’ve found in de Camp’s papers is from an October 10, 1977 letter from Lindsey Tyson:

There was one relative of the Howards that no one seems to remember much about. His name was Earl Lee Comer. Earl Lee was a nephew of Mrs. Howard’s, he came to live with the Howards while they were still in Burkett. He was an orphan.

Earl Lee left here in the early twenties, went to Dallas, and Bob told me went to work for the Mobile Oil Co. Earl Lee was I think four or five years older than Bob. He came back here to the funeral service and I talked to him for a few minutes before the services, but I did not get to ask some things I was interested in. I was one of the pall bearers, thought I would talk to him some more later, but he left as soon as the service was over and I have never seen him again.

Rusty Burke’s “Short Biography” does not mention Comer, but the most-recent biography, Mark Finn’s Blood and Thunder, adds some more details:

Robert had to endure the first of many boarders. His cousin, Earl Lee Comer, was staying at the Howard house, most likely to work in the nearby oil fields. Robert was forced to share the sleeping porch with this older man, who came to them through Hester’s side of the family. Comer stayed for at least a year, presumably until the work ran out, and then moved on like the rest of the oil field folks. Robert never discussed his cousin to anyone.

Now why does everyone assume that Comer’s coming was a bad thing? Howard had to “endure” his cousin’s presence and was “forced” to share sleeping quarters? Finn takes it a step further in his discussion of bullying when he speculates: “Was his older cousin, Earl Lee Comer, a tormentor in addition to being an oil field roughneck? Nobody knows.” We’ll have more on Howard’s reaction to his cousin later, but first, let’s see what we can find out with some internet archeology.

The friends of Miss Alice Ervin, formerly a resident of Muskogee, and a sister of Mrs. J. O. Cobb, will be interested in learning that Miss Ervin was married on Wednesday of last week to Rev. J. Frank Comer, of St. Louis, Mo., at the home of the bride’s parents at Commerce, Mo. The many friends of Miss Ervin in Muskogee join the friends at her home in wishing the wedded couple all the peace, joy and contentment that life affords. — Muskogee Phoenix – March 12, 1896

Following their marriage, Rev. J. Frank Comer and Hester’s sister Alice vanish from the internet record. There is a “J. F. Comer” listed as a land owner in Richmond, Missouri, Ray County, in 1897. Looking at the map (below), there is a cemetery right next door. If Mr. Comer was a reverend, that could make sense, but this is the only mention I’ve found. They are not listed on the 1900 Census, so it’s a mystery what the couple did from 1896 to 1910, except that on July 13, 1898, Earl Lee was born in Saint Louis. We pick up the trail on April 23, 1910, where the now widowed “Alice G.” and her son were enumerated on the Census at Big Spring.  She is listed as a dress-maker. The pair probably moved to Big Spring following the death of Frank to be near Alice’s older brother, William Vinson Ervin.

In 1911, Earl Lee participated in Texas’s Troop No. 1, the so-called “oldest Boy Scout troop in Texas,” which began in Big Spring that year (“Scout Troop Completes 25 Years,” from the December 27, 1936 edition of the Big Spring Herald). The good times didn’t last long, though, as his mother died a few years later, July 14, 1915. With both of his parents now gone, and Uncle William already having several of his own children, Earl Lee ended up with his Aunt Hester in Cross Cut. He appears in “Cross Cut Items,” from the December 10, 1915 edition of the Cross Plains Review (thanks Rusty), where it is reported that he is part of the Cross Cut school’s basketball team. Earl was 17 years old; his cousin Robert was 9.

If Tyson’s statement above is accurate, Comer went with the Howards when they moved to Burkett—but he was gone before they moved to Cross Plains. On May 25, 1918, he signed up for the U.S. Navy. After the war, the 1920 Census has an “Earl E. Comer” listed as a “Lodger” in Milwaukee, Ward 4, Wisconsin, of all places. Perhaps he was sent there as part of his enlistment. This appears to be our Earl as the Big Spring Herald reported the following on January 7, 1921:

Earl Lee Comer who recently returned from Milwaukee, Wis., where he had been to take a course in mechanical drawing, after spending the holidays with friends and relatives in this city left for Cross Plains where he will make his home.

What he did in Cross Plains is a mystery. One would suppose that he was put to work using the training he’d received in Wisconsin. Whatever he did, Earl’s second stay with the Howards didn’t last long. By Christmas 1923 he was living in Dallas, as reported in the Big Spring paper for December 28th: “Earl Comer was here from Dallas to spend Christmas with Dr. W. C. Barnett and family,” and again on May 9, 1924: “Earl Comer of Dallas was here this week for a visit with the family of Dr. W. C. Barnett.”

It is unclear what Earl was doing for a living at this time, but he seems to have landed a permanent position by the time the following item appeared in the Big Spring paper, September 10, 1926: “Earl Comer, en route from Los Angeles to Dallas, where he has accepted a position, visited friends in this city this week, leaving Thursday morning for Dallas.” What he was doing in LA is a mystery. [UPDATE: Looks like we know at least one thing he was doing, writing a letter to Weird Tales. Look here.]

The next Earl sighting is in Cross Plains. It appears that Earl enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with the Howards in 1928: “E. L. Comer of Dallas, nephew of Dr. and Mrs. Howard, spent past weekend here” (Cross Plains Review, Nov. 30, 1928).

Also around 1928, apparently, we get a glimpse at how Robert Howard felt about his cousin. In March of that year, the first mailing of The Junto was circulated. Its editor, Booth Mooney, appears on a list of Howard’s friends and the cities they lived in: Truett Vinson, Clyde Smith, Booth Mooney—and “Earl Lee Comer, Dallas, Texas.” Another stray page has a list of three: “Truett Vinson / Clyde Smith / Earl Lee Comer.” Earl’s inclusion on these lists seems to indicate that Howard considered him as a friend; they may have even corresponded.

The 1930 Census has “Earl L. Comer” as a draftsman lodger in Dallas, Texas, and from there we lose sight of Earl until his appearance at the Howards’ funeral. Sometime before December 1938, Earl got married. He and his wife visited Big Spring a few times in 1938 and 1939. We know from his military record that he was divorced at the time of his death, and Earl’s trips to Big Spring in 1941 were taken alone, so perhaps the marriage was a brief one.

There is an Earl Comer being brought up on charges of child desertion in Rusk, Texas, in 1963; whether or not this Earl is our Earl, we’ll probably never know. The earliest mention of a Mrs. Earl Lee is December 1938. It seems odd that the couple would have a child young enough to be “deserted” in 1963. I’m guessing this was someone else.

The last definitive sighting of Earl is from the Galveston Daily News for Sept. 16, 1970:

Earl Lee Comer, 72, a retired Galveston draftsman, was found dead in his room at Moody House Tuesday. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Brookside Memorial Park in Houston, the Rev. William C. Webb Jr. officiating. Cremation will follow under the director of J. Levy and Bro. Funeral Home of Galveston. Born in St. Louis, Mo., Comer worked as a draftsman for the U.S. Bureau of Mines prior to his retirement. No survivors were reported.

ADDENDUM: In response to some emails I’ve received, I thought I’d add the following comment to the post. This is in response to de Camp’s claim that “Robert, in his later letters to Lovecraft, never once mentions the slightly older lad whose presence must have affected him in one way or another.”

I think we can now explain why Howard doesn’t mention Earl in his correspondence: Earl was probably gone before Howard started writing letters, at least any that have survived. The first letter we have is dated June 8, 1923 and we know that Earl was living in Dallas before Christmas of that year. So we’ve got Earl living with the Howards in Cross Cut and maybe Burkett, a period that Howard doesn’t mention much in his correspondence, and then again from 1921 to some point before December 1923, when Howard was in high school—another period he doesn’t talk about much. But there *are* a few unnamed cousins in the correspondence. This one, in particular:

Another thing that discourages me, is the absolute unreliability of human senses. If a hunting hound’s nose fooled him as often as a human’s faculties betray him, the hound wouldn’t be worth a damn. The first time this fact was brought to my mind was when I was quite small, and hearing a cousin relate the details of a camping trip, on which one Boy Scout shot another through the heart with a .22 calibre target rifle. I was never a Boy Scout, but I understand that they are trained to be keen observers. Well, there were about twenty looking on, and no two of them told the same story in court. And each insisted that his version was the correct one, and stuck to it. And I understand that this is common among all witnesses.

Of course, this could be Howard hyperbole, but given the “quite small” comment, and the fact that Earl was a Boy Scout, could be . . . And here’s another:

One of the damndest falls I ever got in my life was on a frozen pool — or tank, as we call them in these parts. I was just a kid, and wrestling with my cousin who was much older and larger. Eventually our feet went from under us, and we both came down on my head.

Now that we know the real age difference, that sounds like it could be Earl, too. So maybe it’s not that Howard never talked about Earl, maybe it’s just that we didn’t know enough about Earl to find him in the letters. But again, we’ll never really know; these could just be coincidences.

More on Earl Lee here: An Earl Addendum

Still more: Another Earl Addendum

[Photo credits: Downtown Big Spring , Photograph, n.d.; digital image, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth50477/ : accessed July 08, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Hardin-Simmons University Library , Abilene, Texas. Thanks to Damon Sasser for making the trip to the Houston National Cemetery and taking the picture of Earl’s headstone.]

I learned of Glenn Lord’s passing on the morning of January 1st upon receiving Paul Herman’s email. The shock was heightened by the fact that I received the information at such a moment, just after the New Year’s festivities, or so I thought initially. I was numb, and remained morose and tight-lipped for a number of hours, unable to participate actively in the conversations around me, in the house of the people where my wife Sheila and I were staying. Somewhat later, Sheila explained the situation to them, and they, in turn, asked me who this Glenn Lord person was and why his death affected me in such a way.

It was at this moment I realized it would be hard to explain why the death of someone residing several thousand miles away from me, someone I had met a handful of times in 23 years, could affect me so much. But I knew that I was truly afflicted, much more so than I would have imagined, and I soon realized that the state of mind would not leave me for quite some time, New Year’s Day or not.

I first encountered Glenn’s name in 1983 or 1984, when I read the French translations of the Howard books published in France. The (de Camp-edited versions of the) Conans briefly mentioned his name as an agent for the Howard heirs and someone who had discovered Conan typescripts. The NéO books (REH’s non-Conan books) contained some more, if still sparse, information. I learned that you could reach Glenn at a certain P.O. Box 775 in Pasadena, Texas. I didn’t even know at the time what a P.O. Box was, but understood it to be some kind of postal address that would not let average people know where this important person Glenn Lord actually lived, so he would not be bothered by fans. Reading more of the NéO introductions, I became puzzled as to the source of all those stories that were appearing in the French books, and which were mentioned as having been found by Glenn Lord in a cache in Howard’s home. I had visions of someone discovering some hidden passage in the house, or maybe a loose panel behind which were stacked tons of then-unknown typescripts. For whatever reason, I pictured that man as elderly, and elderly he remained in my mind for a few years, as I had no way to find more about him, in those pre-Internet days. François Truchaud’s introductions sometimes included excerpts from his correspondence with Glenn, such as when NéO published the eleven juvenile El Borak stories a few years before they appeared in the States, and the man came off as friendly and helpful. Perhaps, after all, he was not that unreachable.

It was a few months later that I decided to embark upon what would become my Master’s Degree Memoir on Howard, and that I formed plans to go to Texas for the first time. Truchaud assured me Glenn was the nicest person on earth, at least judging from his letters (as he had never met him), and he encouraged me to write directly to him. Which I did in late 1988 as I was preparing my first pilgrimage to Bob Howard’s state. “Mr. Lord” as I then called him replied promptly to my letter, to my utter joy and pride to have received a personal letter from the man Truchaud called “The Guardian of the Idol.” Preparations were made, dispositions were taken, and a few weeks later I landed at Houston International Airport, where I met Glenn for the first time. The first thing I noticed was that he wasn’t the elderly man I had pictured. He had brought along a few things for me, among which, I remember, a copy of Dark Valley Destiny. He drove me to my motel and we spent a good chunk of time discussing Howard, what else? The second thing I was to notice was that his English and mine were two different languages. It took way more time to adapt to that than to the question of his age. The next day, I was invited to have lunch with Glenn and his family, at their place, little doubting at the time what a privilege I was granted. He had probably pitied that French guy who had really no reason to be in Pasadena other than to talk to him and ogle a few typescripts and rare books. Thanks to Glenn, I was introduced to Rusty Burke, learned about REHupa, about Novalyne Price, about everything I needed and a million of things I didn’t know I needed. He phoned to people in Cross Plains and Brownwood to make sure I would be welcomed and shown around, and because of him, my stay there was infinitely more pleasant and smoother than it would have been otherwise. Suddenly, I had been put into orbit, propelled in the American sphere of Howardom, all thanks to Glenn. All he got from me was a French fanzine or two when I arrived, and my immense gratitude when I left, which was all I could offer him. When I came back to France, I wrote him that I had been wondering if I could join REHupa, but feared I was not up to the skills and knowledge required, to which he replied that I should not worry and go ahead, that this Bill Cavalier guy would be very happy to have me join.

Glenn’s letters would soon become the highlights of my correspondence. Every day, when I went to check my mailbox, I was hoping to find a Glenn letter in there, informing me of what was going on in the world of Howardiana. As I was always in need of material — for my Master’s Degree Memoir at first, my Pre-Doctoral Thesis after, and my personal research and editorial activities later — he would always include some copies of typescripts and, at first, even bought me the books I needed but had no way to find in Limoges, France. I sent him money at first, but he soon told me that he was not keeping count, and proposed what he called a “gentleman’s agreement”: I was to find him what foreign books and publications he needed, and send them to him. Over the years, he would send me thousands and thousands of pages. There was no way the trickle of French publications could compensate the time and money he was spending on those photocopies of typescripts. So I soon started to scour the world thanks to that new thing called the Internet, in search for Howard publications in countries sometimes more exotic than those of the Hyborian Age, it seemed to me. We discovered Howard had been published in virtually every country in the world, most of the time in pirate publications, and many had begun to appear after the collapse of the USSR. I remember tracking those from Estonia, how he would marvel at the sheer number of Conan books published in Russia (nearly a hundred at the time), and the fun we had trying to match the text or cover to a specific story or equivalent of an American edition. Over the next few years I would buy, receive and send him books from I don’t know how many countries. It was more than a fanzine or two this time, but it was — again — terribly inadequate when compared to the sheer bulk of material he was sending my way.

The flood of all those typescript pages was such that I soon preferred to read the Howard stories from the photocopies. I became increasingly familiar with Bob’s practices, idiosyncrasies and began learning how to date those typescripts. Thanks to those pages, I eventually wrote an article for The Dark Man on the literary “birth” of Conan. It was this essay that led Rusty Burke (and Marcelo Anciano) to ask me to edit the Wandering Star Conans a few years later, and which opened the way to all that followed, in the States and in France. Without Glenn, this would never have happened. I wouldn’t have had any typescripts to study and my life would have been different.

And the life of everyone reading these lines would have been different, too. Each and every Howard scholar and reader is hugely indebted to Glenn Lord. He was there first, the one who lit the way and paved the road. And without him, there would have been no road to speak of.

He was there in 1957 when he published Always Comes Evening, partly funding the endeavor from his own pockets, and showing readers that Howard was not all blood and thunder. He launched the very first Howard fanzine, The Howard Collector, in 1961, sharing his treasures with what few Howard aficionados there were at the time: prose pieces and poems of course, but also biographical articles and related essays, a template from which many future Howard publications would take their inspiration. The publication of his bio-bibliography The Last Celt in 1976 was a landmark event, a sum as impressive as it was staggering. When Glenn became the agent for the Howard rightholders in 1965, he made the transition from amateur to professional in a matter of months. Via Donald M. Grant, a series of beautifully produced and illustrated books began to appear, books that would serve for blueprints for the luxurious editions that have appeared since. Glenn would also ensure that Howard’s name was present in anthologies, giving away stories or poems to the fanzine editors. Thanks to his tireless efforts, Howard was soon present everywhere, from fanzines to classy semi-professional booklets, from hardcovers with limited print-runs to massmarket paperbacks. By the mid-seventies, virtually every story Howard had penned was available in one form or another, a mere ten years after he had become the agent for the rightholders. Impressive as this was, it is just a facet of Glenn’s accomplishment as a Howard champion.

Without Glenn, we would probably all be reading the de Camp-edited versions of the Conan stories. The story of his long and arduous battle against de Camp has been recounted elsewhere, but Glenn was instrumental in having the pure-text Berkley editions of Conan stories published in the 1970s under the editorship of Karl Edward Wagner, even going to the point of furnishing the publisher with his own personal copies of Weird Tales to typeset the stories. Years later, when he was no longer agent, he furnished the Wandering Star/Del Rey crew all the material we needed for the books, and continued to do so even though there was some very bad blood between him and the then rightholders.

Perhaps even more importantly, without Glenn tracking down, locating and eventually buying the contents of the long lost “trunk” of Howard typescripts that Isaac M. Howard had sent to E. Hoffmann Price in 1944, as well as buying a number of original typescripts from the Otis A. Kline agency, we would be short of thousands and thousands of pages of original material. No one can say what fate would have been theirs, at a time when no one cared. No one but Glenn.

Without Glenn, a Conan story, several fragments and more than 2,000 pages of drafts and carbons that were so important when publishing the purest edition possible would have been unavailable.

Without Glenn, a Kull volume would contain “The Shadow Kingdom,” “The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune,” and the poem “The King and the Oak.”

Without Glenn, Bran Mak Morn would have starred in “Kings of the Night” and “Worms of the Earth” only.

Without Glenn, the Solomon Kane volume would be missing five stories. Without Glenn, no Cormac Mac Art stories, no “Marchers of Valhalla,” no Post Oaks and Sand Roughs, and hundreds of poems lost to time. Without Glenn, no “Three-Bladed Doom,” not a single story about Dark Agnes, no “Isle of the Eons.” Of the dozens and dozens of Howard’s juvenile efforts, not one would have survived.

Without Glenn, we would know that Bob Howard and H. P. Lovecraft were correspondents, but the 400+ pages of the Howard side would have disappeared.

Without Glenn, people like Harold Preece, Lenore Preece, Truett Vinson or Tevis Clyde Smith would probably have never told what they knew, and whatever material they had would have been lost as well. No Juntos, and probably not a single one of those important letters to Harold Preece.

Writing a biography of Howard would have been almost unthinkable given the scarcity of the material and information that would have survived.

Without Glenn, we would know almost nothing about Robert E. Howard, and his entire known output would have been reduced to what was published in the pulps.

Without Glenn, we would never even dream of finding hidden philosophical meanings and intellectual puzzles in the Conan stories, and we probably would be convinced that Robert E. Howard was crazy and maladjusted to the point of psychosis.

We are fortunate that Glenn was there when he was, before anyone cared. We are fortunate to have had a man who spent years tracking down typescripts, stories, memoirs, information and everything pertaining to Robert E. Howard.

We are fortunate to have had a man who was always there to help from fans to publishers, even when he was assailed by those who held him in low esteem or deemed him an enemy.

Fortunately, he lived to be old enough to see the rewards of his actions. He saw Howard published in pure-text editions and his importance reconsidered. He lived long enough to have people come up to him and thank him for what he did. He saw Dennis McHaney publish a tribute book where everyone involved on some degree in Howard studies and publishing wrote as many “thank you” articles. In the little world of Howardiana, where quarrels and bickerings are the norm, everyone has but an immense respect for Glenn and what he did.

As the impact of the shock slowly fades away, the impossibility to write anything about him fades away as well, and the happy memories slowly come back to the surface.

I remember.

I remember him and Rusty in our motel room in Cross Plains in 2001, discussing the progress on the Conan book for Wandering Star.

I remember Glenn laughing at the World Fantasy Con in Austin, in 2006, when I brought him a page from a transcript of an interview in which the de Camps described him as a truck driver and a man so inferior in social status to them it was almost shocking. I remember him showing that piece of paper to everyone in sight and just chuckling: “a truck driver!”

I remember that evening in Cross Plains when he brought me, among other things, the original typescript to “The God in the Bowl” so I could read it so very close to the Howard house, a few yards away from where Bob Howard had typed it. It was one of those magical moments in my life, and I know he knew perfectly well what it would mean for me.

I remember the next day when I told him I was afraid I had lost the original page to the synopsis for “The Scarlet Citadel.” I was mortified, but he told me it was okay, nothing to worry about. It turned out he had left it on the dashboard of his car.

I remember asking him one day for duplicates of some Howard pics, and my utter shock to discover in his next letter a bunch of 1920s and 30s original photos, with a note saying that I should return those when done.

I remember one time when Paul Herman was interviewing him at the World Fantasy Con in 2006. Paul’s question took him about a minute to formulate, and Glenn’s answer was three laconic words, to Paul’s amused dismay, which episode provoked much laughter from the audience.

I remember the instant sparkle in his eyes when I showed him the original to the famous 1934 Howard picture that had been given me a few weeks before.

I remember him saying he had brought me something which I would “probably find interesting” when he, Rusty, my friend Lionel Londeix and I had dinner on Halloween night in 1990, and which turned out to be the bulk of the Howard/Lovecraft correspondence in typescript.

I cherish what Glenn brought to my life. Those Howard documents and publications first, then his comments and advice on what I was writing and then, increasingly, as he was less and less involved in day-to-day Howardian activities, those special moments I could share with him, rare as they were. Surely there was more I could do than buy him a fanzine or a foreign book.

When Fabrice Tortey and I arrived at George Bush International Airport two years ago, the customs officer asked him the reason of his presence there, for what was a three-day stay only, to which Fabrice answered: “I am here for a birthday.” When asked the same question, I gave an identical reply. The man stared at us for a while, nonplused, and simply added: “Well, that must be one hell of a friend, then.” There is certainly not a single person not part of my family for whom I would have been ready to travel all the way to Houston simply to be present for a birthday party.

I like to think that he knew how much he was appreciated.

I’ll miss you, Glenn.

Some time in the summer of 1929, probably around the time his friend Clyde Smith graduated from college, Robert E. Howard moved to Brownwood. According to Smith’s “Adventurer in Pulp,” Howard spent “several months” in the town while “he worked at his writing.” Since you don’t need to write letters to someone who lives in the same town, there are no letters from Howard to Smith from late-July until late-December 1929, when Howard wrote that he was back “doing business at the old stand” in Cross Plains.

During this period there are a few items from the Cross Plains Review that help to pinpoint the time that Howard lived in Brownwood. An August 9th report states that “Lindsey Tyson visited with Robert Howard, at Brownwood, the past week-end,” and another on November 1, “Robert Howard returned to Brownwood Monday after spending several days with his parents, Dr. and Mrs. I. M. Howard, here.”

While there are no letters to Smith from this period, at least one letter, to Thrills of the Jungle Magazine, survives. The letter is addressed “816 Melwood Ave., Brownwood, Texas.” The same address appears at the top of the typescript for “The Voice of the Mob”; clearly this is where Howard roomed in 1929.

As with the other Howard locations in Brownwood, nothing of the Melwood address remains. In 2010, the back portion of the Quality Body Works shop (top) occupied the location of Howard’s former rooming house. In Howard’s time, Austin Avenue did not go through; it terminated one block east at Booker Street. When Austin was widened and converted into a major thoroughfare, the home was destroyed. While doing some research on one of Clyde Smith’s former girlfriends, Gladys Brannan, I discovered that she had spent some time in the boarding house at 816 Melwood Avenue in 1923. This sparked my curiosity. What follows is more than anyone needs to know about 816 Melwood Avenue.

The Prism (Howard Payne’s student newspaper before Yellow Jacket): December 1, 1916

Brownwood Bulletin: March 8, 1918
I SHALL BE in Brownwood several days during which I must sell my new strictly modern 2-story residence, 816 Melwood Ave. To induce a quick sale I will take $600 less for the property than the price for which I have heretofore been offering it. Phone R-884.—A. E. Baten.

Brownwood Bulletin: March 27, 1918
B.Y.P.U. Social
Saturday the B.Y.P.U. of the First Baptist church enjoyed a social evening at the home of Mrs. D. L. McDurmitt, 816 Melwood Avenue.
The affair was in the nature of a welcome to the new members and a “get together” of the old members. A few visitors were welcomed guests. Pleasant indoor as well as outdoor games were planned for entertainment and the entire evening was one of pleasure. A short business session was held, as is the custom at the monthly meetings. Ice cream and cake gave refreshment to about fifty.

Brownwood Bulletin: May 23, 1918
FOR RENT—Nicely furnished, cool comfortable bed rooms; references. Apply 816 Melwood Avenue. Phone R-998.

Brownwood Bulletin: March 5, 1919
MOVING DAY.
When somebody decides to move in Brown wood, something is usually started. Here is an illustration:
J. T. Allen has purchased the home at 816 Melwood Avenue, formerly occupied by Dr. R. L. Howell and family. When he got ready to move in Dr. Howell had to move out, and here is what happened: W. A. Robertson and family moved to the former Allen residence,
702 Coggin. Prof. T. H. Taylor and family moved into the house formerly occupied by Mr. Robertson at 1008 Fisk Avenue. That gave Dr. Howell his chance, and he moved to the home formerly occupied by Prof. Taylor, at 1419 Coggin Avenue.

Brownwood Bulletin: February 27, 1920
FOR RENT—one nicely furnished room, and two unfurnished rooms; all upstairs. 816 Melwood Avenue, phone J-623.

Brownwood Bulletin: February 25, 1921
FOR RENT—Three furnished bed rooms and sleeping porch with wide hall, front and back porch, all modern conveniences, upstairs. Can be used for light housekeeping. 816 Melwood Ave. Phone J-623.

1921 City Directory:
Latta, Ollie P, clk Adams Cash & Carry Grocery, rms 816 Melwood av
Patterson, Hellene Miss, student, h 816 Melwood av
Patterson, John P, student Howard Payne College, h 816 Melwood av
Patterson, John W (Fannie M), r 816 Melwood av

1923 City Directory
Pattersons still there, Helene at Howard Payne
Boatright, Roy W (Jessie) clk Adams Cash & Carry Grocery rms 816 Melwood av
Brannan, Gladys O student Howard Payne College rms 816 Melwood av
Brannon, Joy Miss student rms 816 Melwood av
Craven, Burnice Mrs student Howard Payne College rms 816 Melwood av
Cravens, Henderson L (Burnice) student Howard Payne College rms 816 Melwood av

Brownwood Bulletin: December 22, 1923
CHRISTMAS TREES—50 cents and 75 cts, come and get them.—816 Melwood Avenue. Phone J-623.

Brownwood Bulletin: August 25, 1924
FOR RENT—Three furnished apartments and one unfurnished apartment; each with glassed-in sleeping porch. Will consider renting my fourteen room house. Well located.
816 Melwood; Phone J-623.

1925 City Directory
Pattersons still there
Brown, Gladys Miss student r816 Melwood av
Burson, Chester clk Mallow’s Drug Store rms 816 Melwood
Harris, Hattie Miss sten J M Radford Grocery Co rms 816 Melwood av
McFadden, Henry C truck driver McCullough Gro Co rms 816 Melwood av
Parker, Mary S Miss student rms 816 Melwood av
Severe, Ed (Nellie) rms 816 Melwood av
Smith, Mary Miss student rms 816 Melwood av
Tanner, Leonard student rms 816 Melwood av
–Under “Boarding Houses” and “Furnished Rooms”: Patterson J W 816 Melwood av

Brownwood Bulletin: January 1, 1926
Personal Mention
Mr. and Mrs. Paul S. Byrom of Whitney are here on their wedding trip and are guests of Mr. and Mrs. W. K. Byrom, 816 Melwood Ave.

Brownwood Bulletin: September 14, 1926
WANTED—Roomers and boarders. Excellent meals. nicely furnished rooms.—816 Melwood Avenue. Phone 1022.

1928 City Directory
Alexander, Forrest student Howard Payne College r816 Melwood av
Allen, Eltie J lab Prairie Pipe Line Co r816 Melwood av
Farmer, Roy C (Mary L) oil driller r816 Melwood av
Jaynes, Clyde T (Jettie L) reprmn Top Wheel & Body Wks r816 Melwood av
Linton, Arth G oil driller 816 Melwood av
Peters, Edith Mrs. furn rms 816 Melwood av r do
Rice, Walter H formn Prairie Pipe Line Co r816 Melwood av
Schupp, Norman J lab Prairie Pipe Line Co r816 Melwood av
Westbrook, Virgil lab Prairie Pipe Line Co r816 Melwood av
–Uder “Furnished Rooms”: Peters Edith Mrs. 816 Melwood av

1929-30 City Directory
Alton, Frank lino opr Brownwood Bulletin r816 Melwood av
Binnion, J Ernest printer Brownwood Bulletin r816 Melwood av
Burton, Jesse B driller r816 Melwood av
Cox, Marvin A lino opr Brownwood Bulletin r816 Melwood av
Cross, C Patk r816 Melwood av
Haines, Jack granite clk Brownwood Marble & Granite Wks r816 Melwood av
Howlett, J Knox r816 Melwood av
Keeler, Bernard appr Brownwood Bulletin r816 Melwood av
Keeler, Mertie E (wid John E) h816 Melwood av
Keeler, Norma Miss r816 Melwood av
Keeler, Wilma E Miss student r816 Melwood av
McIntire, Thos W driller r816 Melwood av
Russell, Roy eng r816 Melwood av

Encouraged by his first sale to Spicy-Adventure Stories, Howard was soon at work on another spicy adventure. Like “She Devil” (aka “The Girl on the Hell Ship”), “Ship in Mutiny,” Howard’s second spicy effort was set in the South Pacific and featured Clanton’s love interest, Raquel O’Shane from the first yarn. However, “Mutiny,” written as a sequel to “She Devil,” was doomed from the start.

In “Mutiny,” Howard really turned up the heat, literally bringing the sexual tension to a boil. Howard used the device to build-up the overall suspense of the story and it worked, perhaps even too well. Remember that “jaunty’ style Editor Armer wanted? With all the tension, the jauntiness went out the window. Indeed, the story was so grim Howard could have easily rewritten it into a Conan story.

In the story, Clanton enjoys the sexual “charms” of an island princess named Lailu, but he returns to the arms of Raquel, violating one of the main edicts of the spicys – thou shalt not be monogamous. His bringing Raquel into the story surely raised Armer’s eyebrows and helped the story along toward rejection. Howard learned his lesson and forever banished Raquel from the Clanton stories.

The villain of the yarn is Tanoa is a half-breed who possesses both European and barbarian characteristics. At one point in the story, Clanton is in the clutches of Tanoa, who boasts: “We’ll find the girl and make her watch while I skin him alive! I’ll make a garment of his hide and force her to wear it always about her loins to remind her how her lover died!” This outburst of male-on-male sadomasochism may have been a bit much for Editor Armer to stomach. As I said above, pretty grim stuff.

When “Ship in Mutiny” didn’t sell, Howard kicked around the idea of reworking the story for Thrilling Adventures, but never got around to it during the short amount of time he had left to live. Thus, “Mutiny” remained the only unpublished Clanton until its appearance in The She Devil (Ace, 1983)

But as a professional writer, Howard did not dwell on the rejection and soon had another Clanton yarn ready for submission. With “Desert Blood,” Howard returned to the jaunty style that made “She Devil” a success. The story is also much lighter fare than the failed “Ship in Mutiny.”

Written in November 1935, “Desert Blood” is set in Tebessa, Algeria where Clanton is pursuing a local temptress Zouza while he waits for the sale of a cargo of rifles he has in his ship’s hold to be completed. While Zouza successfully rebuffs the advances of Clanton, she manages to convince him that only a man who has killed a lion is worthy of her “charms.” Clearly thinking with the wrong head, Clanton falls for this malarkey and agrees to go on a lion hunt in the middle of the desert. Leaving Zouza’s quarters, he runs into an American school teacher (Novalyne, is that you?) he has seen in his travels. The vacationing teacher, Augusta Evans, is somewhat snooty and quickly rebuffs Clanton’s advances. After striking out twice, the burly brawler hits the nearest dive to drown his sorrows.

Soon a drunken Clanton is riding off into the desert on the back of a mule, all part of a plot hatched by the scheming Zouza, a desert sheik Ahmed ibn Said, his henchmen and yet another seductress, Zulaykha. It seems the group is after that load of guns Clanton has on his ship.

This is certainly one of Howard’s spicier tales, featuring four different women for Clanton to woo. Clearly his favorite of the foursome was Aicha, a concubine of Ahmed ibn Said, one of the yarn’s villains:

He had forgotten Zouza; this girl had everything she had and more; she was vibrant with that intangible quality some call glamour, which sets the natural artist apart from the willing worker, however skilled and lovely.

All his life Clanton had been following his impulses, and now there was no revisiting the peremptory urge of his primitive nature. He saw in this girl’s eyes the same light he knew burned more fiercely in his own, and that was enough.

“To hell with Ahmed!” In sudden savage hunger he crushed her to him, found her red hot lips, until she caught fire from his ardour and her arms locked in equal fierceness about his neck, as she gave him kiss for kiss. There was a profusion of silk pillows in one corner. She yielded meltingly in his arms as he lifted her from her feet and carried her across the tent. The soft white gleam of her flesh in the mellow light made his head swim. Then for a time, Time stood still in the little striped tent.

Some time later the girl squirmed blissfully in Clanton’s arms, stretched her white arms luxuriously above her head and then threw them about his thick neck, laughing with pure joy. She kissed him with a gusto still not satiated in the slightest.

This encounter is only a brief respite from Clanton’s life and death predicament, with Ahmed and Shaykh Ali ibn Zahir after his shipment of guns meant the Berber chiefs and their fighters battling the French for control of Algeria. In El Borak-like fashion, Clanton’s sympathies lie with the Berbers fighting the imperialistic French.

The story concludes with Aicha saving Clanton by taking and wearing Augusta Evan’s garments as a disguise to distract the bad guys while Clanton makes good his escape.  The haughty schoolteacher gets her comeuppance by being put on a donkey and sent riding though the countryside wearing only a pair of eyeglasses.

An argument could be made that Howard was having a bit of fun at Novalyne Price’s expense by having his attractive schoolteacher character humiliated in such a way. No doubt Howard was still smarting from the betrayal by his best friend, Lindsey Tyson and his girlfriend, who were dating behind his back.

“Desert Blood” appeared in the June 1936 issue of Spicy-Adventure Stories – it is not known if Howard saw it in print before he died.

After writing “Desert Blood,” quickly started writing another spicy story, “The Purple Heart of Erlik.” The story centers around a pretty young woman who is blackmailed by a scoundrel named Duke Tremayne into stealing a valuable jewel. For this outing, Howard makes his spicy hero a real bastard. While he does not actually rape Arline Ellis, the story’s heroine, he sure seems to be giving it his best shot.

Clanton runs into Arline in Shanghai – again. It seems he’s been following her across the globe and tells her “…I came to Shanghai just because I heard you were here…” It sounds like Clanton has been stalking his lovely prey. He further states:

If I didn’t think you were so good-looking, I’d smack your ears back!…Now are you going to be nice or do I have to get rough?…Nobody interferes with anything that goes on in alleys behind dumps like the Bordeaux…Any woman caught here’s fair prey.

Apparently not a big believer that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, Clanton attempts to take her by force. In the ensuing struggle, Arline crowns him with a water pitcher, momentarily rendering him senseless as she makes good her escape.

It is interesting that in hiding behind the Sam Walser pseudonym, Howard could channel all his frustrations and negative thoughts into the character by pretty much making Clanton a bastard. With his problems collecting money he was owed from Weird Tales and his mother’s failing health, coupled with the stress of his failing relationship with Novalyne, he certainly needed some outlet for his anger.

Getting back to our heroine, who jumps from the frying pan into the fire when, impersonating an English noblewoman, she meets with Woon Yuen, yet another of Howard’s Oriental villains, who possesses the “Purple Heart of Erlik,” the jewel she has been sent to Shanghai to steal. Yuen, it seems, is a bigger bastard than Clanton, and after figuring out her game, he promptly rapes Arline and tosses her into an alley. Regaining his senses, Clanton comes to her rescue, deals with Tremayne and Woon Yeun, and gets his reward in the arms of Arline.

“The Purple Heart of Erlik,” along with “Desert Blood,” were quickly scooped up by Editor Armer for Spicy-Adventure, and with the year winding down, Howard accomplished his goal of breaking into new markets. He mentions the new markets he’s cracked in a December 17, 1935 letter to Robert H. Barlow:

In the past few months I have made three new markets, Western Aces, Thrilling Mystery and Spicy Adventures. In addition to the magazines above mentioned my work has appeared in Ghost Stories, Argosy, Fight Stories, Oriental Stories, Sport Stories, Thrilling Adventures, Texaco Star, The Ring, Strange Detective, Super-Detective, Strange Tales, Frontier Times and Jack Dempsey’s Fight Magazine.

However, after successfully selling “Desert Blood” and “The Purple Heart of Erlik,” Howard falls off the spicy wagon again with two rejected non-Clanton spicy stories.

To be continued…

Don’t Dilly-Dally Around – Place Your Order Today!

The REH Foundation Press has already sold half the print-run of Spicy Adventures. The book is due out the end of September with a print run of 200 copies. This 211 page volume collects all of Howard’s “spicys” and is the first time many of these stories have appeared in hardback. In addition to all of the complete tales, this volume contains a large miscellanea section with drafts and synopsizes that allow readers to glimpse Howard’s creative process. A standout cover by Jim and Ruth Keegan completes the package. Pre-orders are now being accepted at the Foundation’s website.

Read: Part I / Part III / Part IV / Part V