New REH Letter Found in Glenn Lord Effects

During my Spring Break this year, Lou Ann Lord sent Paradox Entertainment seven large boxes of paperwork from the Glenn Lord files. Paradox is located in Beverly Hills—or “Down Below” as we call everything south of here; “here” being the High Desert of Southern California. With such a large cache of material so close, I used up three of my seven days going back and forth to help sort the stash. Two of the boxes were full of assorted papers with no rhyme or reason as to organization: newspaper clippings, photocopies of magazine pages, Glenn’s retypes of REH typescripts, notes on foreign REH editions, copies of Glenn’s various efforts for a variety of amateur press associations, etc. A big mess. The other boxes were comparatively neat and organized and consisted primarily of correspondence. This was separated into file-folders, each labeled with either someone’s name—“Price, E. Hoffmann”—or the dates the letters were received—“1979 / January—June.”

Paradox was, of course, most interested in the contracts; I had a different focus: here was the history of everything, letters from the agents, Kittie West and Oscar J. Friend, and Harold Preece and Tevis Clyde Smith and . . . So after Nikko, Paradox’s intern, had gone through a box and made notes on its contents, I went through it and pulled various items for scanning or photographing. I’d originally planned on just scanning everything, but it quickly became obvious that I just didn’t have enough time to do that. I did, however, look at every single piece of paper in all seven boxes. I quickly skimmed each sheet and made my determination: copy or don’t copy. So the Foundation will have Roehm’s version of what was most important in the boxes. I’m sure others wouldn’t agree with everything I selected, and some will whine at what I left out, but the good news is that it will all be available at a Texas University at some point down the road, at least that’s the plan.

Anyway, I’d work at Paradox for four or five hours, then collect the items I thought most important and take them home to scan (their scanner isn’t very good). I’d spend the rest of the day scanning what I had, plus most of the next day, and then return to do it all over again the following day. I found out early that I wasn’t going to be able to scan everything while making the detailed notes about what each scan actually was—I just didn’t have enough time—so now I’m sitting here with a pile of images that need to be dated and sorted. I have no idea how long that’s going to take.

I also discovered that I sometimes lack focus. Several times, something from the stacks would send me off looking for more information. Case in point: a Glenn-typed document beginning “Name: Robert Ervin Howard” and ending “Dime Sports Magazine / June 1936.” The document appeared to be a transcription of an unknown “about the author” letter that Howard had sent to that pulp around the time that “Iron-Jaw” was published (April 1936). Why had we never heard of this? Maybe, I thought, someone had sent it to Glenn and he discovered it was a fake; or maybe he could never verify it was the real deal; or maybe it was just lost in the stacks.

No one I know has that particular issue, so I started making phone calls and sending emails to various places with pulp collections. This took time away from scanning, but I really wanted to know about this letter. Two days later, one of my contacts came through and we now have a new, verified Howard letter for the correspondence collection.

The Score Board

[Dime Sports Magazine—June 1936]

So many of you fans seemed to like Robert E. Howard’s fight novelette “Iron-Jaw,” in the April issue, that we asked Mr. Howard to step up and introduce himself. Here’s what he says:

Name: Robert Ervin Howard

Ancestry: Scotch-Irish, old American pioneer stock.

Born: Peaster, Texas—which is about 45 miles west of Fort Worth—in the early years of this century.

Occupation for the past several years: writing. Occupations before that: picking cotton, working in grocery store, smashing baggage, working in tailor shop, working in dry-goods store, toting rod for geologist, working in drug-store, secretary in law office, ditto in gas office, jerking soda in oil-boom-town drug store, public stenographer, working in automobile agency, writing oil news for newspapers of Texas and Oklahoma.

Have sold many yarns to various magazines: sports, westerns, detectives, mysteries and adventures.

About the first half of my life was spent in various parts of West, East and South Texas and western Oklahoma, mostly following land booms and railroad booms. As a child I crossed the South Plains, not in a covered wagon indeed, but in a buggy, in what was about the last big colonization movement in Texas—the settlement of the Great Plains. (I did go down the Nueces in a covered wagon.) I also saw the beginning of the development of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The last half of my life has been lived in the oil-belt towns of Central West Texas.

My personal appearance doesn’t matter, I suppose, but in case anybody’s interested I stand a little less than six feet, weigh a hundred and ninety-five pounds, like fried liver and onions washed down with lager, and my favorite pastime is holding down a ring-side seat and watching a good fight-card.

And that’s just one of the items that we’ve found in Glenn’s collection. Members of the REH Foundation can look forward to lots of previously unknown material in upcoming Newsletters.