I’ve always said that there are more Howard discoveries to be uncovered, more treasures out there stored away in someone’s attic or on the top shelf of a closet. When I received the newest issue of The Robert E. Howard Newsletter this weekend, Howard scholar Paul Herman proved my suspicions were once again correct.
With the REH Foundation Press planning a new volume of Howard’s westerns, Paul needed the best source material available for the stories, including Howard’s novel A Gent from Bear Creek. So he followed up on Don Herron’s previous find in 2006 of a copy of an original 1937 manuscript for Gent (originally published by British publisher Herbert Jenkins). The manuscript was in California when Don first located it, but the owner, George Roady had moved and Don had lost track of him. Putting on his Steve Harrison hat, Paul quickly discovered Mr. Roady had relocated to Missouri.
It seems George had obtained the manuscript from his father, who had been a handyman for Zora Mae Bryant during the 1980s and early 1990s. Mrs. Bryant was once the owner of the copyrights to Howard’s writings and gave the elder Mr. Roady the manuscript and a few other Howard items. Paul was soon zipping off to visit the Roady family in Missouri and scan the rare manuscript.
I won’t give away all the details for those of you who have not received your Newsletter, but bottom-line, in addition to finding some previously unknown letters by Doc Howard, Paul discovered the Roady family has what appears to be Robert E. Howard’s typewriter. Further tests and research is needed, but at first blush, based on the provenance, this appears to be the genuine article – the true Underwood for the Ages.
Now, everyone has heard of the typewriter acquired by Jay Corrinet in 1993 from a Underwood typewriter salesmen who said he bought it from Doc Howard in 1937, and which was believed to be Robert’s. However, in light of this discovery, one has to pause and wonder if that old salesman didn’t pull a fast one on Mr. Corrinet.
As a reminder to those of you who do not get the Newsletter, you a missing out on amazing finds like this, as well as rare manuscripts and letters that will appear nowhere else. It is easy to become a member of the Foundation and get the Newsletter and other Howard goodies, plus your membership dues are tax deductible.
And stay tuned — more details are sure to come on these amazing finds.