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

12-28 05

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Go to Part 4]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1945 02-07 PMK to EHP 1

Following the death of Dr. Howard, his colleague, Dr. P. M. Kuykendall, made funeral arrangements and approved the final details for the Arkham House collection of Robert E. Howard’s stories Skull-Face and Others. Early in the new year, February 7, 1945, Kuykendall finally responded to a November 16, 1944 letter from E. Hoffmann Price. Kuykendall had been getting rid of Dr. Howard’s possessions and was wondering what to do with a certain trunk that was full of papers.

[Dr. Howard] left all his affairs in my hands to settle up. All his personal effects, car, clothing, etc. were sent to his nephew Wallace Howard. The only thing to dispose of now are Robert’s stories, some of which were published, and others in manuscripts (all). There is a large trunk of these. I thought perhaps you might like to have them; if you do want them, let me know and I’ll send them prepaid to you and you can just throw the old trunk away—it is strong [enough] to send them in.

After receiving this, Price wrote to Derleth, then in the final phases of preparation on Skull-Face and Others, and told him what Dr. Kuykendall had said. He added this: “The real point of Dr. K’s delayed acknowledgment may or may not interest you professionally—I am sure it won’t—but I pass it on: I am to get Robert’s stories [. . .]” which he described as “Duds—juvenilia—miscellanea—from your viewpoint, nothing worth considering for the REH book. However, if I find anything of striking autobiographical value, I’ll let you know. I’ve not had time to make photo prints of the 65 frames of microfile of REH verses which Barlow selected from a mass of material.” Price also wrote back to Dr. Kuykendall, whose wife responded on February 21:

Received your letter last week—are glad you wanted Robert Howard’s papers, we did not go through them and are sure many of them are useless, but are sending you all we can find. Sent you four rather large boxes today by parcel post, hope they reach you in good order. We did not know he wanted you to have his writings, had not heard of his wish—so are very glad we remembered his mentioning you—as he did quite often and he had a picture of you. Did he send you a steel trunk or box of Robert’s papers? He had one made and we have not located it.

While it is tempting to think that there were two trunks full of Howard material, this missing trunk was probably used by Dr. Howard himself when sending various of his personal effects to friends and family before his death.

On March 11, 1945 Price wrote to Derleth and described what the Kuykendalls had sent:

Four boxes of REH relics arrived: tear sheets of published yarns, weird, western, adventure, etc.; some high school themes, several bales; carbons of MSS; rejected originals; half finished yarns; a bound MS of 81,500 words, Gent from Bear Creek, made up of Breckinridge Elkins yarns threaded into a continuity, and put on offer by Otis Kline, and presumably returned by Kline as unsalable. There is also a scrap book of the kind popular with women in the 1880s-90s, my mother had one, years ago, I vaguely remember it. Colored pictures, sentimental occasion cards; news clippings, verses, etc., pressed flowers after the manner of the times. Mrs. Howard’s, without doubt. In this book, loose, was a postal card sized studio picture of REH around age 5-6, or so I would deduce—the eyes, and the facial contours convince me it must be young REH. [. . .]

REH - Young studio portrait

In the batch of relics I got are also some snapshots of the house in NM from which Billy the Kid escaped; REH in front of it; usual snapshot from long range, no use as a likeness. A few snapshots posed: two-three buckos of Cross Plains, engaged in Breckinridge Elkins type mayhem. No good as likenesses, except one, and REH isn’t in it. A number of letters to REH: a few of yours, a few C. L. Moore, a few from fans; a couple or three I wrote him, back in 1932-33 [. . .]

A file of Dr. Howard’s carbons. [. . .]

There is also a file of letters from REH to HPL. This file, as a guess, counts to 250 single spaced typed sheets. RH Barlow got them from Mrs. Gamwell, and forwarded them to Dr. Howard. It has all the while been my impression that these letters had been destroyed accidentally, but Dr. H must have been confused when he wrote me on that. [. . .]

While the lion’s share of “The Trunk” was now in California, across the country, in his New York office, Otis Kline had possession of the items he had pulled in 1936. But just as Dr. Howard’s items had changed hands, Otis Kline’s would not remain in New York much longer.

Sometime between May 1945 and August 1946, Kline relocated from New York to Short Beach, Connecticut. He died there on October 24, 1946. His daughter had a go with the family business, but by 1948 the business was back in New York in the hands of Oscar J. Friend. On June 17, 1948, Friend wrote to Kuykendall:

For your information, I have purchased the Otis Kline agency from the Kline heirs—being an old friend and client of Mr. Kline’s myself—and am handling all of the business details of unfinished affairs in the name of the Klines without disturbing anything. Please feel free to write and ask me for any information at any time. I have the complete Howard file and records in my office.

And there things stood in 1948. E. Hoffmann Price had possession of “The Trunk,” which included the Barlow microfilm, Howard’s side of the REH-HPL correspondence, an unknown quantity of fiction (both published and unpublished), and a mass of related items, photographs, letters, scrapbook, etc. Oscar J. Friend had the “Howard file” in his office, which contained the stories pulled by Otis Kline.

As we will see, neither of these gentlemen was very careful with the items in their possession.

[Go to Part 4]

This entry filed under Dr. Isaac M. Howard, Howard Biography.

File2381

In a letter to Harold Preece postmarked September 23, 1928, Robert E. Howard wrote the following:

I have just received the July and September Juntoes. I enjoyed very much your article in the latter and was disappointed to note that you had nothing in the July number. I agree with Truett as stated in his “Hell Bent” that the younger generation or degeneration as they might be called, is bound for — not an orthodox Hell, the existence of which I deny — but stagnation, ruin, and utter futility and worthlessness. With the new knowledge and freedom which they possess, they might be giants but they choose to be instead, parasites, drones and degenerates. Damn them all; and that includes myself.

Vinson’s article, which sadly does not survive, proved to be fodder for comments in The Junto until at least January of the following year, but the ruckus didn’t really get started until the October issue appeared, which contained comments for the July issue. As Howard mentions above, he received both the July and September issues at the same time (there may not have been an August number), so let’s have a peek at the first surviving issue of The Junto: Volume 1, number 6, for September 1928.

On the cover is “Age,” verse by Robert E. Howard. This 20-line poem sets up a contrast between the interests of youth and age, with Age eventually calling Youth to fight and die in his battles. Also in this issue are Howard’s “Surrender—Your Money or Your Vice,” a series of movie reviews, including Surrender, Dressed to Kill, A Girl in Every Port, Escape, and The Claw; and “Them,” an article that comments on Charles Lindbergh’s fame and mob mentality. The rest of the contents are listed below:

“Modern Love Among Youth,” article by Maud McKay: a discussion of contemporary dating rituals as compared with those of the past; a defense of “modern” activities. Also touches upon women’s changing values and behavior.  “A Tribute to My Community,” article by Hildon V. Collins (1930 photo below): a discussion of Liberty, Texas, its citizens and geography, using patriotic and natural imagery; reads like propaganda. “Error of Opinion . . .” untitled article by Harold Preece: a laundry list of radical ideas and persons and the establishment that they were opposed to. It ends with this: “Why not trust human discernment of right and wrong to deal with fallacious ideas? Why be so tyrannical as to try to force your opinions upon others? Can you conscientiously expect for yourself the same right of self-expression you deny others? Because of the principles involved, and from the experience of mankind, absolute tolerance seems to be the best policy.”

1930 Collins Lone Scout

The mailing list for this issue, which informed people where to send the issue next and provided space for them to write comments, does not survive, and there were no comments on previous issues included in the actual mailing. There were, however, two block quotes inserted to fill space, the first on page 5, the second on page 8:

9-28 05

About the same time that issue was circulating, Robert Howard wrote to Harold Preece (letter is postmarked September 23, 1928): “Clyde, Truett and I went over to Clyde’s uncle’s ranch and there, some miles from civilization, we sported hither and yon clad in innocence, purity and a loin cloth apiece — there being caves to explore and cliffs to climb. I guess I’ll wind up in the South Seas yet and go native.” This might be the trip that inspired Clyde to write “Gods in Arcady” which might be one of the contributions mentioned in a circa September letter from Mooney to Smith: “Thanks very much for your two letters and the two contributions for The Junto. [. . .] I was glad to get another article about college life from you.”

The same letter carries more reaction to Smith’s previous work: “I doubt if, despite [Roy McDonald’s] caustic comment, he can present a more true-to-life type than you did in ‘Collegiate’ and ‘Little Yahoo at College,’ which I believe I really like better than the former.” Mooney also mentions at least one Howard item that appeared in one of the lost issues: “Howard’s ‘Dust Dance,’ Sandburg’s ‘Chicago,’ and others of like type kindle within me a consuming fire, an irresistible thrill to the words and the meaning and the wild chant of the work.” The letter also mentions a recent plan: “Harold P., while visiting me a few weeks ago, mentioned something of plans for a get-to-gether of the masculine element of the Junto bunch, this Christmas. I believe that he said it would be held at Brownwood.”

In late September 1928 the October issue of The Junto began its circulation. Here’s a run-down of the contents:

V1N7, October 1928: “Song of Burial,” verse by Lenore Preece: a call for hope upon someone’s death. “More Evidences of the Innate Divinity of Man,” article by REH: a discussion of various torture techniques. The article states that Native American’s torture practices weren’t much before the arrival of the Christians. Also includes the following aside: “Women have always been the greatest torturers, and, to anyone who doubts this statement, I refer to any detailed history of the various wars and intrigues of older times—and present times. / However, the torture that women inflict is a very delicate subject, as the gentle sex, with its usual modesty and tenderness, has always favored torments of a nature indescribable and unspeakable.” “Dreams,” by Louise Preece: pastoral description of the life of a dreamer. “The Autobiography of an Atheist,” by Lenore Preece: humorous history of Honey Lenore Preece, includes anecdotes about her siblings and “necking.” “A Hairy Chested Idealist Sings,” verse by REH: regarding drinking, dancing, boxing, brothels, and mortality. “Religion,” article by Harold Preece: “The human race seems to have an eternal tendency, due to its innate cowardice, to choose the tinsel trappings of the imaginary to the somber hues of reality.” ’Nuff said. “The Prayer,” verse by Lenore Preece: soul in tomb “ponders deep in hearty dreams / Of memories, and this!”

But the main attraction of the issue was this, “One of the ‘Hell Bent’ Speaks”:

I am of the younger generation. I am going to Hell. I know, for it has been told me many times. I do not know whether there is a Hell nor where it is, but I know that is where I am bound for. I do not give a damn. If I really am going to Hell, that is the more reason that I should enjoy myself while I am going. I might as well, for I will go to Hell, anyway, so I will do it in the most pleasant manner. I do not think of anything but drinking (and, my God, what stuff one does get nowadays), and of petting, and of acquiring syphilis. I know this is true, for Truett Vinson said so. He is right. That is what I do think of. But I am not a hypocrite about it. I enjoy such things, and I intend to do what I enjoy, for I will go to Hell, anyway. So it does not matter much. But I believe Truett Vinson was wrong when he said the world war caused me to go to Hell. It did not. The World War happened ten years ago. The younger generation is about eighteen years of age, according to Truett Vinson. How could the war have caused it? I do not see. But I am not in favor of war. It may be because I am a coward. I do not know. But there is something so useless about war. It is so futile, so sickening for mob to kill mob. But I suppose that it can not be helped. Men have always fought. They always will. Men are like that. But this has nothing to do with my going to Hell. But I believe that I would have gone even if there had not been a war ten years ago. Of course, I do not know. I might not have. It does not matter now. I should like to invite Truett Vinson to accompany me to Hell. The way is pleasant.—A.M.Y.

After reading this, sometime in October presumably, Robert Howard wrote to Clyde Smith:

The reason I’m sending The Junto to you instead of Truett, I want you as a damned personal damned favor to me, see, to put as a comment a slam on this A.M.Y. business about Hell Bent or else a boost for Truett’s article. Now, I’m full of Virginia Dare, but I know what I’m talking about, see. We three birds are the holy and most revered Original Three and we must stand up for each other.  I have a hunch this A.M.Y. business is about fourteen and smokes corn husk cigarettes out behind the stable and thinks he’s on the high road to Hell.

Smith responded with an addendum to the mailing list: “The October Junto—and a Few Comments”:

It is to be regretted that a number of these Amys (I suppose that means “A Modern Youth”) are laboring under the impression that they will leave Time an intellectual and radical name if they will only die with the syphilis. To my mind, the seat of the intellect is located in the brain, and not in the nether regions. It is not necessary for me to comment further except to say that it’s godamned blasphemy to mention the idea of a preacher in connection with Bob Howard[see Lenore Preece’s comment in January 1929 Commentary]—and by that, I mean that it’s blaspheming Bob Howard. If anyone wants to know about those tortures [described in “More Evidences of the Innate Divinity of Man”], I’ll see if I can’t get Bob to present “specific information” personally to all those who desire erudition.

Tevis Clyde Smith

P.S.—I think it was unnecessary for Bob to explain certain tortures of women. Remember, we have postal laws!

Other comments from the Mailing List include the following:

To whom it may concern: I prefer to deal with people who sign their names to their opinions. Will A.M.Y. reveal himself or herself? T.V. [Truett Vinson]

Good Lord! What are we, cut throats? Have we lost sight of our treasured philosophy, our staunch independence, etc., etc? Did somebody accidentally drop a bomb that wasn’t a dud? I feel like I’d just been in a volcano or something after all this. The Junto is very good. Who is A.M.Y.? No fair hiding behind an alias. Anyway, what he or she said about Truett isn’t quite fair. As for “Our Beloved Barbarian” he can take care of himself. M.E. [REH's cousin, Maxine Ervin]

This issue is about half pure trash and half good reading. Lenore and “Hal” Preece are good. Bob Howard hit the nail on the head. Good thot in Smith’s comment. If A.M.Y. is in earnest, he’s all wrong. I hope to be able to contribute some worthy material soon. Truly, C. Dennis Hart

 More next time . . .

[Go to Part 3]

Howard only makes a few mentions of his birthday in his correspondence, one such time is in a letter to Clyde Smith written late December 1929:

I don’t know when I’ll ever get over to Brownwood. It’ll likely be a good while. I’m expecting you birds, anyway. Wish you could be over here my birthday.

It seems Howard never made a big deal about the day and he would certainly be surprised that today his fans the world over pause to remember his birthdate. Of course, it is well known there was some discrepancy about his actual date of birth as discussed in two previous birthday posts, “Two Birthdays for ‘Two-Gun’ Bob” and “Happy Birthday REH.”

Recently, on one of his many annual trips to Texas, Rob came across what amounts to Howard’s birth announcement in the Weatherford newspaper in a column called “Peaster Pencilings.” The tiny town of Peaster may not be known for much these days, but it is the birthplace of one of the premier writers of fantasy and horror of the 20th century.

Several years back, Howard fan Russell Andrew suggested to me having a historical marker in Peaster,  Howard’s birthplace would be a good idea. I thought it was a good idea and passed it on to several board members of the REH Foundation. Shortly afterward, at the behest of the Foundation, I started work on getting a historical marker placed in Peaster.

I spent some time on the not-so-user-friendly Texas Historical Commission website (recently, it was upgraded to 21st century standards), found the forms and information and became familiar with the process, part of which was coordinating with the Parker County Historical Commissioner inWearhterford. However, he seemed to know less about the process than I did. Still, I pushed forward, doing the research and completing the paperwork. The next step was a review by the County Historical Commissioner and again little help was forthcoming. So he referred me to the Texas Historical Commission, giving me an e-mail address and phone number.

I was able to get in touch with the contact person he gave me. While talking with this gentleman, I discovered something I did not know. The rules of the commission allow for one marker per historical individual and Howard has his at his gravesite. So that put a halt to the plan for a Texas Historical Commission marker in Peaster.

That being said, some sort of commemorative marker can be placed in Peaster, just not a state designated one. However, there is no city government in Howard’s birthplace. Of course a local landowner would have to give their consent or permission would have to be obtained from the county for a place to put it on county property.

While the state of Texas foots the bill for a sanctioned historical marker, Howard fans would have to pony up the funds for the Peaster marker. It is certainly a worthwhile project and one I plan on revisiting this year.

In the meantime, I plan on reading a few of my favorite Howard stories this evening while imbibing several adult beverages and remembering Howard on the 108th anniversary of his birth.

This entry filed under Howard Biography, Tevis Clyde Smith.

1927 08-20 TV to HP 1a

After I put up the first of my posts on The Junto, I realized that most people have never seen the postcard that preceded the formation of that group: Truett Vinson to Harold Preece, postmarked August 20, 1927. The text has been published, but never the picture (I think). The card is part of the Glenn Lord Collection.

1927 08-20 TV to HP 2

The card is important because it shows exactly when Howard and Vinson were in San Antonio together, and about when they met Preece fact to face. The “Monday” referred to would have been August 22, 1927. This contradicts Preece’s memory of the meeting as recorded in his essay, “The Last Celt,” where he says the meeting took place in July.

Preece’s meeting with Vinson and Howard would have been fresh in his mind that weekend, August 27-28, when he met with a large group of Lone Scouts in Dallas’ Lake Cliff Park. A photo of the boys at the event has been online for a while (scroll down for a picture with two more Junto members, Herbert Klatt and Hildon Collins), but the original poster has the wrong date attached. Because of Preece’s mention of the meeting in “Robert’s Lady Cousin” (from an issue of Simba) I knew what newspaper the photo came from, and the Vinson postcard provides a window of dates. So, with an assist from Paul Herman, who lives near enough to a Dallas library with a collection of the Times-Herald to go digging, I was able to get another copy of the photo showing several soon-to-be Junto members, as well as a short article I didn’t know about before:

1927 08-27_0002a

The article is from the Times-Herald for August 27, 1927; the photo appeared in the edition for August 28.

1927 08-28_0008

1935 postcard

As we saw last time, by mid-1937 the material from Robert E. Howard’s trunk that was thought to be worthy of publication had been pulled by agent Otis Kline; the rest of the material, a majority of the content, was safe and sound at the home of Dr. I. M. Howard in Cross Plains. And while some of that material may have been lost when it was part of the Memorial Collection at Howard Payne, the doctor had arranged for the return of his son’s letters to H. P. Lovecraft, so the amount of Howard material in the Trunk actually grew. This would not continue to be the case.

There are no mentions of the Howard material in the surviving correspondence that I have seen from mid-1937 through 1938. The trail of the Trunk picks up again in 1939, when Groo Beck of the Druid Press requested the poetry of Robert E. Howard from the Kline Agency. Robert Barlow was a partner in the Druid Press and had wanted to publish a collection of Howard’s verse for some time. Kline wrote back on November 1, 1939, saying that he would send the originals and for Beck to return them after he’d copied those poems that he wanted. This was a lot of material. Following Howard’s death, the Kline Agency had inspected the materials in the Trunk and kept more than 200 titled or untitled poems, but even more incredible are the notations on their list of “Robert E. Howard’s Poems” with items like “mixed poetry – mostly untitled – 150 sheets”!

While the poetry deal was cooking, Kline and Dr. Howard were discussing the possibility of reprinting some of Robert Howard’s stories. In a January 20, 1940, handwritten letter to Kline (unpublished), Dr.  Howard says, “If you were dealing this stuff again, would it be necessary for you to have his original mms? If so, they’re here in his steel trunk should you need them.” (At least I think that’s what he says; Dr. Howard’s penmanship and punctuation are terrible.)

On February 15, 1940, the Druid Press finally had an answer for Kline about the poetry:

[Howard] seems to have written rapidly and a little carelessly—one would have to in order to write so much! We have examined every piece in the collection, no trifling assignment, and have put some scattered pages in order incidentally, restored a couple of titles from other sources, and evaluated (for our purposes) the mass. It seems to us that about a hundred pages of this material is distinctive and publishable (external factors aside.) The intensity of some plainly-phrased lines; the dream-like, surrealist imagery of others makes for actual poetry, however formless the preponderance may be. “The Adventurer’s Mistress,” “An Opium Dream,” and “Astarte’s Idol” are among those which pleased us especially. At your suggestion, we have taken transcripts (on microfilm) of those we would like to see in a book.

At some point after this, Doctor Howard must have asked to have the poetry typescripts returned to him, for when he moved from Cross Plains to Ranger in 1943, he or those helping him appear to have burned as trash a large portion of Howard’s verse. Thank goodness for the Druid Press microfilm; in Kline’s October 15, 1943 letter to the doctor, he notes what “a tragedy” it will be “if all of Robert’s unpublished poems are lost,” but with the help of E. Hoffmann Price, Kline hopes to get into contact with the Druid Press, one of whom, Barlow, “had gone to Mexico City” and get at least some of the poetry back.

An October 25, 1943 letter from Doctor Howard to E. Hoffmann Price, written shortly after the doctor realized that he had lost the poems mentioned above, shows that Howard was realizing his mortality and wishing to preserve what he had left of his son: “Mr. Price every mms. of every story Robert ever wrote is in separate strong paper envelopes. There is a lot of them until well near the end of his life. They [Weird Tales] swiped all of his rights, but just what rights they have and what they have not I have never been able to find out. I realize that my time is short. At best, I am considering turning these over to do with full power to keep, sell, or dispose of as you may see fit” (REH Foundation Newsletter Vol. 5, No. 4). Saddened that his remaining family has “paid very little attention” to him, and understanding that they wouldn’t know what to do with his son’s literary effects, he tells Price the following:

I have it written in my will for my executor to take charge and keep these manuscripts because I am afraid for my nieces to come into possession of them for reasons before stated. I am sure if Robert could speak he would say just what I have. So if this would suit you, I will rewrite the will with this provision in it and when at my death these manuscripts will be turned over to you. It might take years to do anything at all with them if ever. But the will will give them to you entirely.

It appears that Price declined the offer, for in his November 5, 1943 letter, Doctor Howard says, “As to Robert’s manuscripts, I still think that I shall make provision for you to have them, because you are a writer yourself and you understand the work of these manuscripts” (Collected Letters of Isaac M. Howard). His November 10, 1943 letter reiterates his intention of adding a clause to his will, and on December 28, 1943, he tells Price:

Here is what I have in mind, provided it would suit you: place all these papers, mms, in a good new trunk and ship them to you, then write it into my will that at my death they become yours or the other way around. I will place these all in a good trunk and keep them and instruct the executor of my will to turn them over to you.

Dr. Howard begins to send things to Price, writing on February 27, 1944, “I sent, under separate cover, first class mail, some odds and ends.” What these were, we don’t know. We also don’t know if the good doctor was sending little “odds and ends” to anyone else. His nephew, Wallace Howard, ended up with a stack of postcards sent to Robert E. Howard from H. P. Lovecraft, but whether he received them before or after the doctor’s death, I don’t know.

Sometime before August 18, 1944, E. Hoffmann Price managed to acquire the Druid Press microfilm of Howard poems. On that day, Dr. Howard wrote and thanked him. On September 8, he sent another batch of “odds and ends.” On November 12, Dr. Howard died; there is no mention of E. Hoffmann Price in his will.

[Go to Part 3]

This entry filed under Dr. Isaac M. Howard, Howard Biography.

1895 Indian Territory

On May 30, 1901, Dr. I. M. Howard registered his medical certificate in Montague County, Texas, up north along the Red River, which served as the border between Texas and Indian Territory—the future state of Oklahoma. Just over the river, about a mile into the Chickasaw Nation, was the small town of Petersburg. The 1902 edition of Polk’s Medical and Surgical Register lists Dr. Howard as practicing in two places: Graford in Palo Pinto County, Texas, and in the Indian Territory, Petersburg, Chickasaw Nation, population twenty-five. Good times. Rather than supposing that Dr. Howard was maintaining two practices so far apart, I’m guessing that the Petersburg listing is a holdover from when he was in and around Montague County, probably as early as 1900. To the best of my knowledge, that listing in Polk’s is the only evidence we have that Dr. Howard spent time in Petersburg. Over my Thanksgiving break, I took a little drive to see if I could change that.

Before heading east, I did my usual round of internet archeology, but all I could find on Petersburg were scattered mentions in gazetteers and post office directories, a little ancient history. Not too helpful. I even had a hard time finding a map that showed its location; the one at the head of this post is from 1895. I eventually determined that Petersburg was in present day Jefferson County and located the county seat, Waurika.

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At Waurika, I perused the county records like I normally do in Texas; unfortunately, all of their records begin in 1907, with statehood, long after Dr. Howard was gone. Any records pertaining to him would be in the Indian archives, not the county courthouse. While in town I also went to the county library, which is housed in an old railroad depot. I really wanted a photograph of old Petersburg, but I had no luck at the library, either. With all of my “official” options exhausted, there was nothing left to do but visit the site.

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From Waurika, I took Highway 81 south to Ryan and grabbed the 32 east. Near Grady, the road gradually dips southeast for a few miles then takes a sharp dive south where it joins Highway 89. Petersburg is just ahead, but first is the cemetery.

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After leaving the cemetery, I drove into “town” and parked on the shoulder. There is a contemporary home set back from the intersection that once marked the center of town, and nothing else. Oh, there’s some fencing and a historical marker, but nothing save the road sign to say that a town called Petersburg ever existed.

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While I was stomping around the historical marker near the intersection, a really old guy driving a tiny tractor hove into view. He was being followed by a younger guy in a pickup truck who I took to be an employee or grandkid. I flagged him down and started to ask if he knew anything about the place. He asked what I was looking for.

I told him about Dr. Howard and wondered if there might be a photograph of the town in its prime.

He laughed at that and said it was never much of a town and had been dead “for at least 75 years.” He indicated three of the four corners of the intersection and pointed to each in turn, saying there was the gin, there the school, and there the store. That was it. He could not remember a time when there had been a post office.

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With that, he jammed the tractor back into gear and lumbered away. I took a few photographs of the empty spaces and then headed south. I had an appointment in Mineral Wells.

Back home, I found the photo below at ancestry.com. The poster says it is W. A. Eakin’s store at Petersburg, sometime before 1899. If anyone out there in the blogosphere has a better photo of the place, I’d sure appreciate a copy.

Petersburg pre1899 WA Eakin's Store

This entry filed under Dr. Isaac M. Howard, Howard Biography.

9-28 01

Back when I was preparing the Collected Letters volumes for the REH Foundation, I was in fairly regular contact with Glenn Lord. Besides pestering him for copies of Howard’s letters, I was also after issues of The Junto, the amateur press/Lone Scout paper that Howard contributed to from 1928 to 1930. In one of his letters, Glenn told me that he had complete copies of all the Juntoes listed in The Last Celt, minus two, and over the course of several years I received photocopies of them all. Lenore Preece never sent Glenn the missing two issues, only the Howard content/mentions.

Glenn wrote the definitive article about The Junto (which I’m pretty sure was titled by someone else), “The Junto: Being a Brief Look at the A.P.A. REH Partook In as a Youth,” which appeared in 2006’s Two-Gun Bob: A Centennial Study of Robert E. Howard. But while that article tells the reader everything they need to know about the group, it doesn’t delve much into the content of the actual mailings. That will be the focus of this series of posts. And before you start hunting for issues on eBay, there was only one copy of each mailing prepared. That one issue was then circulated to the members on the mailing list. Lenore Preece is the last person to have them in her possession; we don’t know what happened to them upon her 1998 death.

The first issue of The Junto that we have copies of is Volume 1, Number 6, for September 1928 (which probably came out mid- to late-August), but some of the previous issues are mentioned in the surviving letters to Tevis Clyde Smith written by Robert E. Howard, Booth Mooney, and Harold Preece. We’ll begin there.

The first issue of The Junto was probably dated April 1928 and came out in March. Upon receiving it, Robert Howard wrote to Clyde Smith:

I’m going to give your name to Booth Mooney as a possible subscriber to The Junto; a pretty good paper for that type. He seems to be a kindred soul, lacking the touch of idealistic optimism I find cropping out in Preece and Klatt ever and anon. They are the true reformers, the men who will do real good in the world. You, I and I think Mooney will do the world good — we will do it so good that likely we will all have plenty of money before we take the count.

Howard was true to his word and Mooney wrote to Smith late in the month:

Bob says that he considers you the coming poet of the age. He further informs me that you have the true fire. Also, he says that you wish to receive THE JUNTO. You will. NOW: I want you to contribute. Can you get me some material for the next issue? It must be in by the tenth of April. If you will send me some of your poems, the more the better, by that date, my appreciation will know no bounds. Really, I do want you to contribute, and I hope that you will do so.

Mooney also mentioned one of his own projects: “I am at present engaged in writing (in vers libre) a book, Voices From the Tombs. Extracts from this will appear in the next issue of THE JUNTO.”

Smith apparently met the deadline, for in a circa April 1928 letter Mooney responded, “Thanks muchly for the article and poem. They’ll both appear in the next issue of THE JUNTO.” Around the same time, Robert Howard was telling Harold Preece, “Glad you liked the stuff I had in The Junto. I had thought it would contain something by you and was disappointed when I found it did not.” Since these early issues of the travelogue were later destroyed in a fire at the Mooney home, we have no way of knowing what Howard “stuff” was included therein.

In early May 1928, Clyde Smith sent Mooney a few contributions. Mooney responded:

Thanks for the article and poem for THE JUNTO. Right worthy are they. I hope you continue to send such within your letters. Especially good is “Collegiate,” for I happen to have knowledge that the events depicted therein happen as everyday occurrences on the campus. Which, probably, is one reason why I have never and shall never honor any college by my attendance.

The same letter mentions the May 10, 1928 death of original Juntoite (to use REH’s terminology) Herbert Klatt (photo below). There was a flurry of activity amongst his friends and correspondents, with plans for publishing a memorial collection of Klatt’s writing being discussed. Mooney offered to send the compiler “an article by Klatt [that] appeared in the first issue of THE JUNTO.” The collection never materialized, but Mooney also told Smith that the “July issue of THE JUNTO will be the Klatt Memorial Edition. It will be typed as are regular issues, but it will contain only material by and regarding Klatt.” [This episode is discussed in greater detail here.]

HCK hat 300

As the plans for honoring Klatt went their course, the June 1928 mailing of The Junto began circulation. While the mailing itself does not survive, we know that it contained Smith’s “Collegiate”; Booth Mooney wrote to Smith about the comments that had been written on the Mailing List: Bob Howard—“Let’s have more by Smith; the rougher, the better; every man for himself and Hell for all.” Below this, Harold Preece wrote: “One doesn’t have to go to college for that.” Katherine Preece—“Why ‘Collegiate’? It is not restricted to college life.” Myron Flechtner—“As for Clyde Smith’s ‘Collegiate,’ I have no quarrel with it; the ‘type’ he describes exists, altho they are hardly numerous, and, too, he has laid it on a bit too thickly. There is nothing ‘raw’ about it, as Preece says; I suppose he alludes to the language used by these young jackasses.”

Howard also wrote Smith about the issue:

Having just read the Junto I get une grande kicke out of it especially your poems and article. I instantly sit me down and indict, following “comments” on the address sheet: “Let’s have more by Smith and the rougher the better; every man for himself and Hell for all.” Seeing that Truett has forgotten to comment, I considerately add for him: “Anybody who don’t like what I said about Will Hays will kindly go to Hell, you bastards.”

Smith’s article appears to have caused a bit of a ruckus. In an August letter to Smith, Mooney mentions “a new feature” to appear in The Junto, “a discussion page. If you wish to defend your article, ‘Collegiate,’ in this department, you are at liberty to do so.” He also says, “Personally, I agree with you regarding the article. It is certainly true to life. Though, I have never attended college, I have a brother who has, and I can judge by him.” Juntite Hildon Collins appears to have had a different reaction to Clyde’s work. On August 30, 1928, Truett Vinson wrote to Robert Howard: “Collins writes there are only two objectionable features to The Junto—Clyde’s ‘college article’ and your opinion of it.”

Vinson was about to create a bit of a stir, himself. Whether or not the July 1928 issue was the Klatt Memorial issue, we’ll probably never know, but it did contain a piece by Vinson called “Hell Bent” which we will see the reaction to in the next installment.

[Go to Part 2]

1923 Pecan Yearbook

Here’s another brief biography for one of Robert E. Howard’s classmates in the graduating class of Cross Plains High School for 1922.

Clarence Scott Boyles, Jr. was born to his namesake, C. S. Boyles, Sr., and Prudence Lucile “Lucy” (Cutbirth) Boyles on August 1, 1905 in Baird, Texas. In 1959, the senior Clarence provided an oral history to his oldest child, Laura Boyles Freeman. Here’s what Laura recorded (I found this on ancestry.com):

On April 29, 1890 a red-haired, freckled-faced, 16-year old boy landed in Abilene, Texas. That boy was Clarence Boyles. With $3.00 in his pocket, he had come west to make his fortune. His mother having died in September, Clarence came to West Texas principally for his health. Nearly all of his family—parents, two brothers, and one sister—had passed away. Addie, who was studying music at Baylor College, and a younger brother, Henry, were all the family that remained.

The train from Waco left at sunrise and arrived at Cisco at sunset. The engine burned cordwood, and there was never a time all day that the engine crew had a supply of wood and water at the same time. The passengers would all pile off and help load the cordwood so the train could get started again.

At Cisco, Clarence took the “Texas and Pacific” midnight train for Abilene. The next several years were spent as an apprentice in a saddle and harness shop. However, Clarence doubled as a delivery boy for a meat market and spent his summer months on the Chris Seale Ranch at Belle Plains as an extra hand during the round-up.

On May 15, 1894, Clarence S. Boyles went into the saddle and harness business at Baird, Texas, with a capital of $60.00. He made all the harness he sold, and most of the saddles. He had a saddle stock patented.

One summer, while working on the Seale Ranch, Clarence Boyles met [Prudence] Lucy Cutbirth, daughter of a neighboring rancher, Sam Cutbirth.

Three years after he opened his saddle shop in Baird, he and Prudence were married on May 25, 1897 at Belle Plains, Texas. The couple bought a home in Baird. Four children were born: Laura Alice, Clara Adelaide, C.S. Jr., and William James. The family continued to live there until 1911, when they moved to Cross Plains, 30 miles south of Baird. There he again went into the hardware business. A daughter, Patsy Frances, was born in 1913.

The June 14, 1919 issue of Lone Scout gives us an idea of Junior’s interests at the time. Boyles appears in that week’s “Lone Scout Messenger Department,” a place where Lone Scouts solicited for like-minded correspondents. He listed his interests as Stamp/Coin Collecting, Photography/Postcards, Jokes/Riddles, and Scout Boosting (publicity). He appears again in the August 2, 1919 issue with a short article, “New Stunt for a Phonograph”:

1919 08-02 p09 Boyles cu

The August 16, 1919 issue has a short note from Boyles: “Of course contributing [to Lone Scout] is all right, but do not forget to ‘Do a Useful Thing Each Day.’” This was the Lone Scout motto. He doesn’t appear again in Lone Scout until the July 10, 1920 “Messenger Department.” This time his interests appear as Tribe Papers, Exchanging Papers, Athletics, Hiking/Camping, and Foreign Correspondence. That same year, Boyles’ two older sisters married and moved away from Cross Plains.

The January 14, 1921 Cross Plains Review reports that C. S.’s mother “is now at a sanitarium in Brownwood, where she has the last few days undergone two operations.” This was just the beginning of Mrs. Boyles’ health problems and she ended up dying on July 27, 1922, of peritonitis following an appendectomy. Just a few days later, August 4, 1922, Boyles appeared in an article in the Cross Plains Review entitled “Radio Station Being Installed.” The article describes the efforts of several residents to have an “up to date radio plant” in Cross Plains. Also mentioned in the article are Renerick Clark (who appeared in the November 27, 1920 “Messenger Department”) and Robert E. Howard.

Come fall, Boyles ended up at Brownwood High School to pick up the college-required 11th year. Like his classmate Robert E. Howard, Boyles took the science course, was in the “Heels Club,” and contributed to the school paper, The Tattler, though Boyles part was a bit more official: he was the associate editor. Boyles also participated in the W.O.N. Club (whatever that was), the Cadet Corps, and was on the basketball team. While attending BHS, if not before, he met fellow senior Eunice Ilene Embrey, who was taking the Spanish Course, was in the Glee Club and Pep Squad, on the swimming and tennis teams, and was class secretary. They all graduated in May 1923.

After graduation, Boyles entered Howard Payne College and continued his newspaper activities with The Yellow Jacket; he even solicited material from his former classmate, Robert E. Howard, who supplied two short pieces, both entitled “Letter of a Chinese Student,” during the 1923-24 school year [more info on this is here]. Howard was not a student at Howard Payne that school year, and by the time he actually enrolled, 1924-25, Boyles was gone—married to former BHS classmate Ilene Embry and living in Sweetwater, Texas, where his father had moved and remarried.

1949 Chromascope Austin College

Boyles began a series of newspapers jobs with the Sweetwater Daily Reporter, and had his first child, Betty Ilene, in 1928. A son, Cullen S., followed in 1930. When World War Two began, Boyles enlisted in the Marines. After the war, he began placing stories in the Western pulps using the alias Will C. Brown and spent some time teaching Journalism at Austin College. He returned to military duty during the Korean conflict, rising to the rank of Major. Upon his discharge, he resumed writing and published his first novel, The Border Jumpers, in 1955. This was adapted to film in 1958’s Man of the West with Gary Cooper.

Regarding Boyles’ new career, his sister Laura Boyles Freeman wrote the following in 1959:

The talent for writing is evident in several of the family, principally my oldest brother, C. S. Boyles (alias Will C. Brown). He really writes. He has been in the newspaper business, but at present is publicity director for Austin College at Sherman, Texas. He writes for magazines (principally Western Magazines), and many of his plots are inspired by letters Papa has written telling of some incident he remembers about his first years in West Texas.

Not long after the above was written, Boyles and family moved to the California coast. His wife died in 1965, his son in 1973. Both are buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. Boyles lived the rest of his days in and around the San Diego area. He died on June 25, 1995 and joined his wife and son five days later at Fort Rosecrans.

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