Honey Lenore Preece

Readers of this blog may have noticed that I’ve been looking into the lives of Robert E. Howard’s contemporaries lately. I don’t know what I’ll end up doing with all the factoids I’ve uncovered but, on this last day of work before a week-long Thanksgiving break, I thought I’d share a few regarding Honey Lenore Preece.

Born on January 17, 1912, Lenore was the youngest sister of Harold Preece, who should be familiar to most fans. In 1929, Lenore took over the editorship of The Junto from Booth Mooney, managing the issues until their end in 1930.

Following the demise of The Junto, Preece and Mooney backed a plan to publish a book collecting material by the Juntites to be entitled Virgin Towers. This plan didn’t go too far, and when it fell through Clyde Smith and Bob Howard planned a collection of their own. They brought fellow poet Lenore into the plan. The three submitted their manuscript, Images Out of the Sky, to the Christopher Publishing House, but when asked to help with costs, they declined (see the current REH Foundation Newsletter for more details). Of course, this wasn’t the only writing Preece was doing.

The 1930 University of Texas yearbook, The Cactus, reports that Preece won a cash prize during the first semester for something published in The Longhorn-Ranger, a campus publication. This is her only mention in the 1930 yearbook.

She’s back with a vengeance in the 1934 Cactus. Preece contributed to and was on the staff of The Longhorn; she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa; she was a regular contributor to The Texas Ranger, the campus’s humor magazine. Beside her student photo are listed her accomplishments to date:

Anthropology. PBK, Publications, Student Forum Club, S.W.G.S., Scribblers, Longhorn-Ranger Poetry Prize, 1930; Texas Ranger Poetry Prize, 1934; D.A. Frank Award, 1930, Second Place, 1934.

On the Drama Club’s page, under “Masks for the Campus Drama,” Preece is listed with the following:

The Poet: Lenore, High Preece in the Temple of Verse; the Perip’s Pie-Eyed Piper of sesquipedalian sonnets; Phi Beta Kappa with curly pate and iambic feet; has been known to devote entire summer session to the scribbling of sugary sagas of rustling leaves, bashful young loves, and ivy infested nooks bathed in the cooling balm of panting twilights; loves to quote, and will if you aren’t careful, the works of her adored masters—Shelley, Keats, Poe, Bishop; a study in freckles and free verse; fire-breathing champion of the “Ring Out, Sweet Ranger” movement: / Raving, Raving, Raving for lost Lenore, / Croak the critics, “Nevermore!”

The 1935 and ’36 yearbooks have her as a regular contributor to The Texas Ranger, the campus humor magazine. From there, the trail goes cold for a while.

Following the publication of Always Comes Evening in 1957, Preece got into contact with Glenn Lord. She and her brother shared information, letters, and items from The Junto, much of which appeared in The Howard Collector.

The Social Security Death Index has Honey L. Preece of Austin, Texas, dying on December 7, 1998.