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!

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On the way home and I thought I’d put up one more “on the road” post. Robert E. Howard doesn’t have much to say about Rio Grande City and Roma, both in Starr County, but he did go there. Of Rio Grande City, he told Tevis Clyde Smith that the “Architecture and everything is Mexican. It’s just like being in Old Mexico” (REH to TCS, circa February 1932). Here’s a shot of the old downtown:

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And here’s an old building in Roma:

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I’ll digest the meager information we found and get a wrap-up post up next week.

This entry filed under Howard's Texas, Howard's Travels.

APRS2

Well, the APRS didn’t pick us up while we were cruising around Corpus Christi and most of the way down south, but as soon as we hit Edinburg, the hits started flying. We ended up in Rio Grande City, and looks like we;ll be going dark again as we head north.

One of the nicer stops down here was Weslaco. I’ll close with a picture from the 1920s and one of my shots from yesterday.

1920s Weslaco

2013 Weslaco

This entry filed under Howard's Texas, Howard's Travels.

The men were a strange picturesque band – tall and lean, most of them, as men become who spend their lives in the saddle. Indeed, they seemed not entirely at home on the water. They were burnt dark by the sun; beardless, their moustaches drooped below their chins; their heads were shaven except for a long scalp-lock on the ridge of the skull … there was something of the eagle about them all – something wild and untamable, from the fundamental tie-ribs of life.

Robert E. Howard, “The Road of the Eagles”

Cossacks!

If there’s a person who does not find the word stirring and evocative, he (or she) is unlikely to be a Howard fan. Outlaw horsemen of a fierce, independent nature, with their own rules and communities, they thumbed their noses at Tsar and Sultan alike. Their notable leaders included the dashing Lithuanian princeling Dimitri Vishnevetsky, the roaring rebel Bogdan Khmelnitsky, and the explorer and conqueror of Siberia, Yermak Timofeyevich. Harold Lamb treated Cossacks in fiction to good effect. His stories influenced Robert E. Howard.

The mighty Conan, at one stage in his career, led Cossacks in the prehistoric Hyborian world. They were called kozaki by the Turanians there, (a word almost identical to the Polish kazaki.) These wild outlaws sprang from the same sources and situations as the Cossacks of our known history.

On the broad steppes between the Sea of Vilayet and the borders of the easternmost Hyborian kingdoms, a new race had sprung up in the past half-century, formed originally of fleeing criminals, broken men, escaped slaves, and deserting soldiers. They were men of many crimes and countries, some born on the steppes, some fleeing from the kingdoms in the West. They were called kozak, which means wastrel.

Robert E. Howard, “The Devil in Iron”

In our world it meant something like “free men”. These Hyborian kozaki are a thorn in the side of the Turanian monarch, as the sixteenth-century Cossacks were a plague to the Ottomans. They are, in the words of the harassed Turanian satrap in “The Devil in Iron”, robbers of the steppes, with their main territory around the “Zaporoska” River. REH took the name from the sixteenth-century Cossacks of the Zaporizhian Sech, on the lower Dneiper in the Ukraine, a no-man’s land between Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The other main Cossack community of the time was that of the Don Cossacks. They also roamed in disputed, lawless territory, in their case between the Russian state and the Tartar tribes. Many were part Tartar themselves.

They first emerged in the fourteenth to fifteenth century, a melding of runaway serfs, disgruntled soldiers, fugitive criminals and other riff-raff. They formed an organized, disciplined community, as unlikely as that sounds from the raw material. As REH describes it in “The Road of the Eagles”:

It was the only real democracy that ever existed on earth; a democracy where there was no class distinction save that of personal prowess and courage. To the Saporoska Sjetsch came men of all lands and races, leaving their pasts behind, to merge into the new race that was there being evolved. They took new names, entered into new lives.

They lived by fishing, hunting and herding when they were not raiding, but they eschewed farming. Too many of them had been serfs originally, bound to the land. Sowing and tending crops, then reaping them, forced folk to stay in one place and made them vulnerable to the exactions of tyrants. The Cossacks had been there and done that.

Their horsemanship was astounding. They regarded their horses as companions in battle, not mere animals, and they trained themselves as exactingly as their steeds. They practiced an art called jighitova, or stunt riding, which was a fighting technique as well as equestrian art. Leaning far out of the saddle and shooting – accurately – under his horse’s belly at full gallop was a simple performance to a Cossack. Vaulting into the saddle, riding full-out while standing on the horse’s back, or vaulting over the horse and snatching objects from the ground before vaulting back, were also considered basic. They required great strength, which Cossack boys developed by holding heavy stones between their knees for hours.

A favorite Cossack trick to play on the enemy was lurching backwards as though shot, with the “dead” man’s feet apparently stuck in his stirrups. When enemies pursued the “dead” man on his “runaway” horse, they would unexpectedly find themselves shot by the “corpse” or having their heads cut from their shoulders. A trick that even Cossacks viewed as somewhat difficult and dangerous was diving under a racing horses’ belly and coming up into the saddle on the other side. However, they performed that one as well – and no doubt broke their necks sometimes.

The stamina of men and horses alike was amazing. They could cover seventy or eighty miles in a day with ease, more at need. On campaign they raided swiftly, hitting and disappearing like Mongols or Comanches. Don Cossacks were not the least of the troubles faced by Napoleon’s army as it invaded Russia. He supposedly said that if he had Cossacks in his Grand Army he could conquer China as well as Europe.

Don and Zaporizhian Cossacks were the earliest Cossack communities. Others developed later, in other regions – Volga Cossacks, Terek Cossacks, Siberians and Kubans. (But that’s for next post.) The Zaporizhians were associated with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – at the time an immense state which rivaled Russia. The notion of recruiting Cossack bands for border service was first officially promoted at the State Council of Lithuania (then a Grand Duchy) in 1524. The idea was shelved due to lack of funds for carrying it out. At a later council (1533) it was raised again by the Major of Cherkasy, who argued forcibly that forts along the Dneiper in the Ukraine, with two thousand soldiers and several hundred cavalrymen at least, were necessary to check Tartar raids. Again, nothing came of it, though the proposal was sound and the measure necessary.

Read the rest of this entry »

This entry filed under Howard's Favorite Authors, Howard's Fiction.

APRS

Ever since my school district started giving the teachers three weeks off for winter break, I’ve been using the extra week to do some traveling with my dad. Big surprise, we go to Texas to look for traces of Robert E. Howard. This year, I was hoping to post while on the road, but internet service has been pretty spotty. Here it is day 4 and this is the first time I’ve had a solid connection.

For those that would like to follow us in our travels, we’re running APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) via the ham radio. Go to http://aprs.fi and search for km6gf-2. That will pull up a Google map and show you where we were the last time we got a hit (see picture above). The amateur radio repeaters that upload our position to the internet are pretty spotty the further away from “civilization” we get, but you’ll get the idea.

So far, we’ve been to Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Crystal City, Catarina, Poteet, and George West. I’ll try to add some more photos later, but here’s a shot of the old depot in Poteet:

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This entry filed under Howard's Texas, Howard's Travels.

Happy New Year!

With a quick movement of the clock’s minute hand, we started a New Year, leaving behind last year’s memories, both good and bad. In my case, I want to leave those bad memories far, far behind — 2012 was not a stellar year for me. But it has been a stellar year for this blog.

All the bloggers and guest bloggers gave it their usual 100%, posting informative, interesting and groundbreaking posts about Robert E. Howard, his writings and his life and times. Throughout the year, dozens of posts went up. Here are just a few of the many great posts of 2012:

Something in Seminole” by Rob Roehm

Robert E. Howard and the Issue of Racism: The African and African-American Poems – Part 4” by Barbara Barrett

The Pirates of Cross Plains” by Damon C. Sasser & Patrice Louinet

New Letter Found in Glenn Lord Effects” by Rob Roehm

The Ring of … Set?” by Keith Taylor

If Wishes were Horses — Part Three” by Keith Taylor

PulpFest 2012–The Conan Panel, the Black Circle, and My Collecting Habits” by Brian Leno

As we move into 2013, the year holds a lot of promise for another year of excellent posts.

As they did last year, today Rob and his father are driving to Texas armed with a few clues and a lot of determination to find new information on Two-Gun Bob. Hopefully the pair will strike gold and share those nuggets with us.

Additionally, Patrice has promised some surprises that will knock the socks off Howardom and Brian is getting geared up as well, armed with new topics that always make his posts so interesting. Not to be left out, Keith will finish his series on horses and has half a dozen other posts and series of posts he is working on for the New Year. And I’m sure a few guest bloggers will pop-up from time to time.

It looks to be a busy year on the blog.

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

New Year’s Eve is supposed to be a festive occasion, celebrated with parties, good cheer and hopes for a happy new year at the stroke of midnight. New Year’s Eve 2011 was far from an ordinary News Year’s Eve for Howard fans. While everyone was celebrating with friends and family, terrible news rocketed across the internet and bounced off of cell phone towers around 10:00 pm Central Time – Glenn Lord was gone. The party ended for me the moment I read the news on my iPhone.

Howard Heads worldwide collecitvely got a punch in the gut that evening one year ago today. The man who single-handedly saved REH from obscurity, had sudden left us. It was hard for me to accept — I had just seen him six weeks prior at his 80th birthday celebration and had just received a handwritten thank you card from him for attending that special event. In the hours and days following the news of his death, tributes and remembrances of Glenn flooded the internet. Here on the TGR blog all posts for the first week of 2012 were devoted to him.

December is certainly a bittersweet month for Howard fans — it is the month Conan was born and the month Glenn Lord passed away. Like Conan, Glenn was many things in his life: son, soldier, husband, father, provider, collector, literary agent, grandfather, who left a legacy for all of us, seeking out and keeping Howard’s writings for posterity. But most of all he was a friend to all Howard fans and throughout his life, he always took time to sign books, answer letters and questions for everyone. Easy going, soft spoken with a wry sense of humor, he was one of a kind and it was an honor for me to have known him.

When I started publishing TGR again in August of 2003, Glenn mailed me a check for the issue. I returned the check to him with the magazine and a note that said: “Glenn, your money is no good here.” From then on, Glenn’s copy was the first to go in the mail. Recently, when I began, mailing out copies of the new issue, I couldn’t mail it to him – which felt strange. However, I decided the first copy of every new issue would be mailed gratis to someone I felt epitomized what Glenn was all about – the ultimate fan and collector. So a new tradition was born out of an old one.

A few weeks ago, I drove over to Humble to visit Glenn. Some folks might wonder why he is buried in Humble instead of Pasadena, some 28 miles away. Well, Rosewood Memorial Park is where Lou Ann’s family (her maiden name is Yates) has a plot and many of her family members are buried there, including her mother. Glenn has a VFW grave marker, one of the benefits of being a veteran, which includes Lou Ann’s marker where she will be buried someday next to her beloved Glenn. One little known fact about Glenn is his full name — Oliver Glenn Lord; he did not care for his first name and he always went by his middle name.

If you are ever visiting the Houston area and want to pay your respects, Rosewood Memorial Park Cemetery is located at 2602 South Houston Avenue, Humble, Texas 77396. Below is a map (click to enlarge) and information for finding his gravesite in the cemetery.

Locating Glenn’s Gravesite in Rosewood Memorial Park

The cemetery entrance is on South Houston Avenue. You will see the main building (pictured above) on your right. Go to the third cross street and turn left as shown by the green line on the map. Drive to the third intersection, which is a small traffic circle, and turn left. On your right is Section 3. Drive slowly toward the end of the section. Almost on the corner of the section, you will see a large granite grave marker (yellow dot on map) with the name “Dohmann” on it. Stop the car and get out, facing Section 3. A short distance parallel from the “Dohmann” marker you will see Glenn’s grave (blue dot on map), which is near the curb. His marker is flush with the ground, so it may take you a moment or two to locate it.

So this last post of 2012 ends the year as it began, with Glenn. While we all miss Glenn and his wisdom, he left us an endowment of all the Howard material he had collected over a lifetime and a few surprises – some previous unknown and unpublished bits and pieces that we will be enjoying over the next several years. Glenn is gone, but he is not forgotten and never will be as long as we keep him alive in our hearts and minds and thank him for giving us the gift of Robert E. Howard.

This entry filed under Collecting Howard, Glenn Lord, Howard Fandom.

Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention 2013

Now that Christmas is over and the wrapping paper has been picked up and stuffed into garbage bags, ready for the landfill and the family dog is back from the vet after drinking too much pine-laced water from the Christmas tree stand, thoughts turn to the upcoming slate of pulp and comic conventions. Of course, the elves who put on these big events work year round, often beginning work on next year’s convention while this year’s is still going on. A good place to keep track of all these events is on Bill Thom’s Coming Attractions website. Bill  recently posted news of one of 2013’s early conventions, April’s Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention:

This year’s themes will celebrate the 80th anniversaries of science fiction and fantasy magazines (using as our starting point Weird Tales for fantasy and the scientifiction issue of Science & Invention for SF), as well as the 100th anniversary of Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu.

Those themes will be the focus of our film programming, once again being assembled by Blood ‘N’ Thunder’s Ed Hulse, as well as our art show, program book and evening panels.

If you have any appropriate art that you’d be willing to make available for display, please let me know. And we’re still looking for more material for the program book, which once again is in the hands of Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books (and if you’d like to place an ad in the program book, the deadline is March 5, 2013).

Our Friday night auction will once again feature material from the estate of Jerry Weist, but this time most of the material will be from Jerry’s personal collection (as well as a few lots from the warehouse find that has been the focus of the last few year’s auctions). As many of you know, Jerry collected for condition, and there are some beautiful pulps among the over 1100 items that will be spread across 200 lots. We’re in the process of photographing and scanning, and have 41 lots currently available for viewing on our website and Facebook page — check them out! More will be added soon.

Among the highlights of the auction are over 80 issues of All-Story, including 16 issues with ERB (including 3 installments of his first story, Under the Moon of Mars), a complete run of Planet Stories in great condition, 11 stunning issues of Real Detective Tales and Mystery Stories, a rare publisher’s bound copy of Overland Monthly featuring 2 stories and 2 poems by Clark Ashton Smith (including his first published story and first published poem), items from the files of the Gernsback magazines, early issues of Blue Book, and tons more.

The convention runs April 12-14, allowing all you income tax procrastinators an excuse for putting it off for the very last minute. Of course, Windy City is also a great place for Howard fans,  especially those who live in the mid-west, to congregate and talk Howard. And if you are a  Lecacy Circle member, there is always a Foundation luncheon scheduled for you to attend.

The 2013 Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention will be held at the same hotel it was at last year, the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center in Lombard, IL. Rooms can be booked online here. The deadline for booking rooms and getting the convention rate is 5:00 pm Central Time on March 25, 2013. Also, check the convention’s website or Facebook page for news and updates.

This entry filed under Clark Ashton Smith, Howard Fandom, News, Weird Tales.

BtS_cover-sm2

As Damon mentioned in his previous post, Back to School is now available. Details here:

Back to School

This entry filed under Howard Biography, Howard's School Days.

This is final post for 2012 of the online version of Nemedian Dispatches. This feature previously appeared in the print journal and is now on the blog. On roughly a quarterly basis, Nemedian Dispatches will highlight new and upcoming appearances of Howard’s fiction in print, as well as Howard in other types of media.

In Print:

Conan Meets the Academy: Multidisciplinary Essays on the Enduring Barbarian
Just  published, this volume from McFarland & Company, Inc., takes on Howard’s Conan as its only subject. Two TGR contributors, Frank Coffman and Jeff Shanks, are among the many contributors The collection of Conan essays focuses on the following topics: stylometry, archeology, cultural studies, folklore studies, and literary history, additionally the essays examine statistical analyses of Howard’s texts, as well as the literary genesis of Conan, later-day parodies, Conan video games, movies, and pop culture in general. By displaying the wide range of academic interest in Conan, this volume reveals the hidden scholarly depth of this seemingly unsophisticated fictional character. The book is edited by Jonas Prida.

The Complete Marvel Tales
Lance Thingmaker, the publisher of the highly acclaimed complete collection of The Fantasy Fan, has published an equally impressive follow volume his next project — a hardback book that collects the five issue run of William Crawford’s Marvel Tales. Each issue was filled with fantasy from top Weird Tales writers, with Howard’s “The Garden of Fear” appearing in the second issue. To order, contact the publisher. The price of the book is $50.00 (includes US postage), but if you mention the TGR blog, you can save $5.00 and pay only $45.00 (includes US postage). Just like The Fantasy Fan, this volume is sure to be an instant collector’s item.

Skullcrusher
The cover of this collection of various  Howard’ stories is either laughable or terrifying, depending on you point of view. Skullcrusher is the first volume of a two-volume collection of fantasy stories by Howard. The contents feature all of Howard’s most famous creations — Conan, King Kull, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn — and also includes Cormac Mac Art, James Allison, Red Sonya, and Cormac Fitzgeoffrey. The anthology covers several genres: sword and sorcery, fantasy, horror and adventure.

Weird Tales Magazine
The present day incarnation of this classic pulp Howard contributed many stories has returned to its roots. Gone are the slick, modern logos that were on the cover the past several years — the current editor as brought back the classic Weird Tales logo. Check out the website for the new issue and plans for the magazine’s future. Judging from the list of contents, the new owner of the magazine seems to be returning the “Unique Magazine” to its glory days.

Weird Tales, May 1934Weird Tales Pulp Replicas
Speaking of Weird Tales, in recent months Girasol Collectable, Inc. has published three pulp replicas of WT featuring Conan, two of them cover stories. The most recent replica is the December 1932, which features the first Conan story, “The Phoenix on the Sword. The other two contain “Black Colossus” and ‘Queen of the Black Coast.”

Adventures in Science Fantasy
Copies of this collection of Robert E. Howard’s sort of science fiction stories published by REH Foundation Press are still available. The centerpiece of this collection is Howard’s interplanetary adventure novel, Almuric, backed up by a dozen or so other science fantasy yarns from Howard’s battered Underwood typewriter. The book features a stunning wraparound cover by Mark Schulz, an introduction by Michal Stackpole and is edited by Rob Roehm. Some of the Foundation books are selling out — the first volume of Collected Letters is out-of-print.

 

Coming Soon:

 REH - Back to SchoolBack to School
In addition to the pirate book, this volume from the REH Foundation Press will be on sale by the end of the month. The book is a collection of all the known, surviving work for school that REH produced. It includes works for practically every class you can think of: English, History, Biology, Geometry, etc. Most of the contents have never before been published. Also, REHF members can look forward to a holiday card in the mail that contains a previously unpublished poem and the year-end edition of the Newsletter — two more reasons to join the Foundation’s membership ranks.

The Dark Man Vol 7, No. 1
The new issue is due out any day now. Contents include: “The Writer’s Style: Sound and Syntax in Howard’s Sentences” by David C. Smith, “I and I Liberate Zimbabwe: Motifs of Africa and Freedom in Howard’s “The Grisly Horror” by Patrick R. Burger and “Robert E. Howard and the Lone Scouts” by Rob Roehm, plus reviews and more. TDM will be available from Lulu.com.

Alluring Art of BrundageThe Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage
This volume, due out the end of February, is an extensive tribute to  Brundage  and her art. Her fantasy, science-fiction, and horror paintings graced the cover of many an issue of Weird Tales and other pulps during Howard’s lifetime. The sexy, alluring and sensationalistic Brundage covers even featured Conan nine times. She was the first female cover artist of the pulp era and her work was controversial for the day, often featuring bondage themes, with semi-nude young women bearing whips. The book comes in three editions, all with full color art. Visit the publisher’s website for more details and ordering information.