The First and Only Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Many Worlds of
"The master of imaginative fantasy adventure...
...the creator of Tarzan and...
...the 'grandfather of science-fiction'"
MEET THE MASTER OF ADVENTURE
MEET THE AUTHORS by ERB - Amazing Stories - June 1941
FOOLS RUSH IN by ERB ~Tarzan Triumphant dust jacket - September 1, 1932
TARZAN'S AUTHOR, EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, DIES AT AGE OF 74
~ Associated Press~ Obituary
MEET THE AUTHORS: EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS
Amazing Stories - June 1941
We present here an autobiographical sketch of Edgar Rice Burroughs, popular author of the John Carter stories now running in our pages.
In the first place, I don't like this assignment. If I tell the truth about myself, it will make dull reading. If I tell all the truth, it will be very embarrassing for me. But who ever takes his air down and tells all the truth about himself?
According to the orthodox and approved introduction to an autobiography. I should tell all about my birth; but unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I can recall absolutely nothing about it: I don't even know that I was there.
Another cruel thing about an autobiography is that one is supposed to tell the exact date of one's birth. Oh, well, what's the difference? I was born on Wednesday. I think I got around that very neatly, for how many of you know that September 1st, 1875, fell on a Wednesday?
But I can go back much farther than that: my first ancestor of record (barring Adam) was Coel Codevog, King of the Britons, who ruled in the third century. There! You see it was just as I expected: as soon as you start writing your autobiography, you start bragging. You don't say a word about Stephen Burroughs who was such a notorious forger and jailbreaker in early New England days that a book was written about him. I probably inherited my bent for writing from him.
Early childhood: Probably the less said about that the better. Fortunately for me, nearly everyone who knew me then has carried his damning evidence tot he grave. Let it lie and moulder: that will save me from lying.
Education: I had a lot of it, none of which stuck. After an advanced course in a private kindergarten, where I majored in weaving mats from strips of colored paper, I went as far as the sixth grade in the old Brown School in Chicago. That school has a roster that sounds like a Who's Who: Lillian Russell, Flo Ziegfeld, and dozens of others whose names I cannot recall. Then along came a diphtheria epidemic, and our parents yanked half a dozen of us boys out of public school and put us in Miss Coolies Maplehurst School for Girls! Were our faces red!
Miss Coolie endured us for one semester, after which most of us were sent ot the Harvard School on the South Side. Somewhere along the cow path of my education I had a private tutor; then I was sent to Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts. They stood for me for one semester before they asked my father to take me out of there.
He did. He took me to The Michigan Military Academy at Orchard Lake, Michigan, which had a sub rosa reputation as a polite reform school. I remained there four years as a cadet, ending up as second ranking cadet officer; then I went back as assistant commandant and cavalry instructor.
Somewhere along the line I went to Idaho and punched cows. I greatly enjoyed that experience as there were no bathtubs in Idaho at that time. I recall having gone as long as three weeks on a round-up without taking off more than my boots and Stetson. I wore Mexican spurs inlaid with silver; they had enormous rowels and were equipped with dumb bells. When I walked across a floor, the rowels dragged behind me and the dumb bells clattered; you could have heard me coming for a city block. Boy! was I proud!
After leaving Orchard Lake, I enlisted in the 7th U. S. Cavalry and was sent to Fort Grant, Arizona, where I chased Apaches, but never caught up with them. After that, some more cow punching; a storekeeper in Pocatello, Idaho; a policeman in Salt Lake City; gold mining in Idaho and Oregon; various clerical jobs in Chicago; department manager for Sears, Roebuck & Co., and, finally, Tarzan of the Apes.
For thirty years I have been writing deathless classics, and I suppose that I shall keep on writing them until I am gathered to the bosom of Abraham. In all those years I have not learned one single rule for writing fiction, or anything else. I still write as I did thirty years ago: stories which I feel would entertain me and give me mental relaxation, knowing that there are millions of people just like me who will like the same things that I like.
The readers of this magazine have been very generous to me, and in return I try to give them the best that I can. No man can ring the bell every time; but he can always try; and your generous support, as evidenced by the letters you write to the editor, are, I can assure you, an incentive to a writer to do his best for you.
(Editor's Addenda: During the past few months, with the publishing of "John Carter and the Giant of Mars" in our January issue, we began a new series of Burroughs novels, to continue until early in 1942. During this time we will publish in all, five stories of the immortal John Carter [which, says Mr. Burroughs, will later appear in book form as the finest of the series of Mars stories}; and four stories in the Pellucidar series, featuring David Innes in that strange world inside the earth. Simultaneously, in our companion magazine, Fantastic Adventures, we will feature a series of four novels of the adventures of the popular Venusian character, Carson of Venus. Thus, with 1941, we will be presenting, with the exception of the famous Tarzan, all of the pseudo-science, fantastic characters of the world's greatest imaginative writer.
No other author has ever achieved the widespread circulation, over the entire glove, in so many different languages, that Edgar Rice Burroughs has reached. Literally millions of his books are on millions of bookshelves and in millions of memories. Here is a pulp writer who will live as long in the mind of old and young alike as pulp fiction will live.
AMAZING STORIES has published the work of this writer before. Notable examples are "Land That Time Forgot," published in February, March, and April, 1927, in serial form; and "The Master Mind of Mars," published in AMAZING STORIES ANNUAL, in July , 1927, in complete form.
Thus, for fourteen years, we have been associated, and to judge from the praise that is being heaped upon his recent work, we will be associated for many more years.
It is interesting to note that most of these present stories were written, not at Tarzana, the famed ranch and post office that Tarzan built, but in the south seas, in Hawaii. Here where soft breezes sweep in from the sea, and warm sun beats down on green palms and yellow sand, have been born the most thrilling adventure stories of other worlds Mr. Burroughs has yet written. Long may you live, John Carter, Carson Napier, David Innes -- and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
This is the third of my books to be published by my own corporation, and notwithstanding the head shakings of many a good friend, including several experienced publishers, we have found the venture profitable. We could not have selected a less propitious time to enter the publishing or any other business, yet we took the chance in the face of many reminders of the sad fate that attended the late Mark Twain's historic publishing venture and in spite of the fact that several publishers have were keen to publish my novels.
So far we have not regretted our decision; our sales are increasing even during this period of financial uncertainty, and we have made a lot of splendid new friends and are having a bully time all around. Every one has been so helpful and decent to us that we have decided that even were we to lose money it would be worth it just be in the publishing business.
We are trying to give you the best book for the money that can be turned out, and we feel that we are succeeding. We hope that these books satisfy you, if they do, tell us; if they don't, tell the marines -- we like to hear nice things.
By Associated Press
ENCINO, CALIF., March 20 -- Edgar Rice Burroughs, who dug a literary gold mine in the African jungle with Tarzan, is dead.
Burroughs died yesterday, but the ape-man he created will live on to delight other generations of youngsters the world over.
Fifteen novels were awaiting publication when Burroughs died of a heart attack. A movie producer said he had contracted to make 15 more Tarzan films. A tradition born in 1912, when Burroughs sold his first Tarzan book, apparently will continue for years to come.
The 74-year-old writer became ill three months ago, but up to that time had kept busy turning out new stories about his jungle hero.
"Tarzan of the Apes" brought Burroughs only $700. After its phenomenal success, he retained control over his literary works and the royalties reached fabulous proportions. From movie rights alone he is reported to have realized $5,000,000.
Almost 40,000,000 Tarzan books have been sold. Some have been translated into as many as 56 languages. The ape-man, portrayed by such actors as Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe and currently Lex Barker, has appeared in 27 movies.
Burroughs never set foot in Africa, the locale of his jungle stories. He liked to recall, however, that world travelers frequently complimented him on the authenticity of his settings.
Burroughs and his first wife, the former Emma Hulbert, whom he had married in 1900, were divorced in 1934. A year later he married Florence Dearholt. That marriage ended in divorce in 1941. He had three children, Joan, John and Hulbert, by his first marriage.
Burroughs was living in Honolulu when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Accredited as a war correspondent for the Los Angeles Times despite his age, he traveled from island to island with the armed forces for four years.
Before he began writing he had been a salesman, clerk, cowboy, gold miner and railroad guard.
. WEBJED: BILL HILLMAN .
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