Eight of the nine boxes containing Howard's typescripts.

Eight of the nine boxes containing Howard’s typescripts in the holding area for new acquisitions at the Harry Ransom Center.

On Friday, July 26th, I was privileged to be among the select few present at the pretigious Harry Ransom Center on the University of Texas Campus in Austin when the Lord family formally donated the 14,000 pages of Robert E. Howard typescripts Glenn had collected throughout his lifetime. To say it was a momentous occasion would be an understatement. The entire collection fit into nine boxes (eight of which are shown above) and contains stories, poems and letters. In addition to Glenn’s wife Lou Ann, son James, daughter Glenda and his three living granchildren, myself, Jack and Barbara Baum, Rusty Burke, Mark Finn, Paul Herman and Dennis McHaney were also in attendance.

Left to right: Damon Sasser, Mark Finn, Jack Baum, Barbara Baum, Dennis McHaney, Glenda Felkner, Lou Ann Lord, Danielle Smith, Rusty Burke, Paul Herman, Stephen Cupples, Ryan Smith and James Lord.

Twenty years before his death, Glenn Lord was pondering what to do with his massive collection of original Howard typescripts when he would eventually pass away. That was 1991 and Paul Herman was attending law school at the University of Texas and while visiting with Glenn one day, Glenn asked Paul what he should do with his vast collection, which included thousands of pages of Howard’s original manuscripts. Glenn considered the Houston Public Library. While the library is a fine organization, it is not a world-class archival facility. They wouldn’t know what to do with such a valuable and rare collection. A light bulb went off above Paul’s head and he suggested the Harry Ransom Center. While he had never been to the facility, he knew of it and they work that was done there to preserves valuable, historical items. So he got in contact with Dr. Richard Orem, who was and still is the head librarian for the Center. What is the Harry Ransom Center you may ask? Here is a brief description from the Center’s Wikipedia webpage:

The Harry Ransom Center is an archive, library and museum at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in the collection of literary and cultural artifacts from the United States and Europe for the purpose of advancing the study of the arts and humanities. The Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, 1 million rare books, 5 million photographs, and more than 100,000 works of art. The Center has a reading room for scholars and galleries which display rotating exhibitions of works and objects from the collections.

Paul asked Dr. Orem if he knew who Robert E. Howard was. Dr. Orem replied he did and further stated the Center had a collection of his books. Then Paul asked him if he had ever heard of Glenn Lord. Dr. Orem replied in the affirmative and said the Center had a set of The Howard Collector. Next Paul laid out the proposal for Glenn to donate the Howard typescripts when he passed on. Dr. Orem enthusiastically agreed and arranged for Paul to take a behind the scenes tour of the facility. Impressed, Paul soon returned with Glenn and they were given the grand tour. And so it was settled – when the time came, Howard’s typescripts would be donated to the Center, preserved and maintained for future generations to view, study and use for scholarship.

Lord-Box2

Rusty going through one of the nine boxes that was brought up from the holding area while myself and Ben Friberg look on. Luckily Ben had his camera with him in case Rusty tried to pull a Sandy Berger.

Well, that time has come. The formal announcement was made today and soon Howard fans and scholars will have complete access to Howard’s manuscripts.

Lord-TS

Typescripts for “Guns of the Mountains” and “Nekht Semerkeht.”

It took a bit of doing to get the boxes of typescripts ready to donate, as described by Paul over on the Robert E. Howard Forums, but the collection is right where it belongs — saved for posterity just as Glenn wished it to be. An invaluable legacy that will live on forever.

Here is a video from Austin television station KXAN on the donation of the Lord collection to the Harry Ransom center filmed by Ben  Friberg.

Photos courtesy Barbara Baum, the Harry Ransom Center and Dennis McHaney.
This entry was posted on Monday, August 12th, 2013 at 10:49 am and is filed under Collecting Howard, Howard Fandom, Howard Scholarship, Howard's Fiction, Howard's Poetry, Mark Finn, News, Rusty Burke. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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11 Comments(+Add)

1   Barbara Barrett    
August 12th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Damon, thanks for this post. It’s wonderful all of you attended. What a momentous occasion. I have to admit that my heart did flip flops when I read that the HRC has 5 million photos in its archives. Has anyone checked to see if there are any undiscovered ones? Probably have to check under the names of all REH’s relatives and friends also. Are the originals of the known photos in the archives?

Hopefully there will be more photos and information on this occasion in our next REHF newsletter??
BB

2   Reber Clark    
August 12th, 2013 at 3:14 pm

This is fantastic news! Mr. Lord was a great man, and it is wonderful that his collection is being kept intact and well cared-for. Well done, all involved! – Reber Clark

3   Dennis McHaney    
August 12th, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Barbara, Only the Howard typescripts were donated. HRC has no original photos of Howard.
Other than the typescripts, Glenn’s personal papers are still with the family.

4   Barbara Barrett    
August 13th, 2013 at 2:29 am

Dennis,
OMG 9 boxes of (14,000 sheets) of TSs. I know Glenn had the largest collection of TSs. Does anyone know how many other TSs are still out there in other collections?

Do you know what they plan to do with the letters and personal papers relating to REH that Glenn had. I bet there are lots of gems in there. What a collection.
BB

5   Keith J Taylor    
August 13th, 2013 at 6:14 am

I sit here somewhat like a stunned mullet, thinking “Fourteen thousand pages of REH typescript.” That is a bit like a King Arthur legends aficionado hearing about a large chest of documents dictated to a monk by Sir Beidivere in his last days …

6   Remco    
August 13th, 2013 at 9:57 am

I wonder whether it wouldn’t have been more fitting to dump it all in a big trunk…
But seriously, by the looks of it the collections is in good hands!

7   joe crawford    http://crawford.joe97@yahoo.com
August 13th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

outstanding

8   Edward Chaczyk    
August 25th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Well, there’s the trunk. No more surprises…right? Nothing left behind in an undisclosed storage unit just waiting for an episode of “Texas Storage Wars”?

9   Sam Houston    
September 28th, 2013 at 12:52 pm

It should be noted that the HRC has paid millions of dollars over the years acquiring manuscripts and typescripts of writers and poets, many very minor, in a bid to bring prestige to the University of Texas. They couldn’t have cared less about REH or acquiring HIS manuscripts, as a lowly pulp writer brings no prestige to a wanna-be Harvard like UT.

10   Barbara Barrett    
October 1st, 2013 at 9:45 am

Damon,
When will the REH collection be available for research? Do you know what the HRC restrictions are for viewing any of these typescripts?
BB

11   Damon C. Sasser    http://www.rehtwogunraconteur.com
October 1st, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Hi Barbara,

I imagine it is ready now for reviewing, but check if you are planning on visiting any time soon.

Here is the link on the procedures for reviewing the collection. Looks like you have to set up a research account, which does not cost anything.

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