Cross Plains – 1957

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

 13 June 1957

Dear Mr. Friend:

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

I did find, in the hands of the head of history department at Howard Payne, a previously unpublished poem entitled THE TEMPTER, probably one of the last Howard wrote.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

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

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

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

Cordially,

Glenn Lord

[Date-stamped: “JUN 17 1957”]