Painting a Portrait of Glenn Lord

In his article “Imagine,” which appeared in Anniversary: Glenn Lord and The Howard Collector, Rob Roehm poses a question: “Imagine for a moment a world in which Glenn Lord didn’t discover the works of Robert E. Howard. Frightening, isn’t it?” Rusty Burke poses the same question in a different way: “When I think of what we might not have had were it not for Glenn, and his dedication to Howard, I’m put in mind of a kind of reverse Ozymandias: without him, a wasteland…”

All of us reading Robert E. Howard have directly received the benefits of Glenn Lord’s frequent forays to obtain and preserve the REH typescripts or copies of his stories and poems. Those benefits go beyond just reading. Many Howard scholars have acknowledged that Glenn Lord’s generous assistance with their REH projects has had life changing results. He inspired many of us to not only read what REH created, but to write about REH “the Man.” Books using Howard’s own words were published, other books on Howard related subjects edited, articles and blogs written and information was gathered as a result.

Reading the tributes to Glenn over the past few days, I found many descriptive adjectives: quiet, self-effacing, kind, incredibly generous, and honest are just some of these. I would like to add that he followed his own passion, did what he loved and dreamed his own dream. On this blog, Damon Sasser gathered the website links for the tributes to Glenn. I went through and extracted something from each of them plus excerpts from some of the many acknowledgements written in almost every volume published about REH. They paint an awesome portrait of Glenn Lord.

Barbara Barrett

To Glenn Lord for his relentless dedication towards the preservation of REH’s own words (The Wordbook: An Index Guide to the Poetry of Robert E. Howard)

Rusty Burke

To Glenn Lord for his many years of championing REH and specifically for his support of this project. (The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian)

To Glenn Lord for his years of effort on behalf of REH and for his hard work in assisting this project. (The Bloody Crown of Conan)

To Glenn Lord, friend and mentor, and Robert E. Howard’s mightiest champion. (The Conquering Sword of Conan)

I wasn’t about to miss the eightieth birthday of one of the most important people in my life. What would my life have been like without Glenn Lord, without his friendship and his mentoring and his patience with my endless requests for material and information? Look over the past 53 years, beginning with Always Comes Evening, and think of all the books he edited or provided content for, all the fanzines he encouraged with his benevolence, all the scholarship that he worked tirelessly and without fanfare to promote. When I think of what we might not have had were it not for Glenn, and his dedication to Howard, I’m put in mind of a kind of reverse Ozymandias: without him, a wasteland, but fortunately we are able to look upon his works and rejoice. (REHupa Mailing #232, “Houston Trip Report,” December 2011)

Bill Cavalier

We’ve just received word that our Friend and Mentor Glenn Lord passed away today. (REHupa website)

Mike Chomko

If you have ever enjoyed any of Robert E. Howard’s creations–Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane, or any of the countless other characters that Howard brought to life–you owe a debt of gratitude to the late Glenn Lord. (PulpFest website)

Frank Coffman

I only met with Glenn in person on three occasions – all at Howard Days events. I’ll always remember him as a kind and friendly and completely approachable man, with none of the airs one might have taken in the position of preeminent scholar, early biographer and literary agent for REH. He was a man of vast knowledge with a keen appreciation of literature – both prose and poetry. (The Robert-E-Howard: Electronic Amateur Press Association blog)

Mark Finn

See, if you’ve read any Robert E. Howard, and it wasn’t Conan the Cimmerian, you have Glenn to thank for that. As the agent for the Howard estate, Glenn published and put publishing deals together from the late 1950s up to the 1990s. He tracked down Howard’s poems and letters. He found original typescripts and tear sheets for Howard’s entire writing career. As a collector, he owns the vast majority of everything that REH wrote. But in his role as Howard’s agent, he generously granted access to his collection in order to get Howard’s work out there, into the world, for all of us to read and enjoy. Even when he was no longer the agent, he continued to help with the ongoing publishing efforts. That’s the kind of guy Glenn was. He was the Source. He was the guy with the inside track, the little scrap of info, that one thing that you needed, and he gave without thinking. (Finn’s Wake website)

 Charles Gramlich

I met Glenn several times in Cross Plains, Texas. Always a kind word for everyone. Always polite and completely unaware it seemed of his celebrity among Howard fans. (Adventures Fantastic website Comment)

Leo Grin

Glenn lived long enough to receive numerous accolades for his work and saw his side win in the big spiritual and critical battle for REH’s legacy over the de Campian crowd…If there’s an afterlife of any sort, then doubtless he finally met the spirit of the guy who fueled his obsession these last sixty years. Maybe Steve Tompkins made the introductions. (REH Two-Gun Raconteur website, from Rob Roehm’s “A Rambling Reminescence”)

  Chris Gruber

I could recite the compositional narratives that he produced in support of his life’s passion, I could list his written promotion of the author Robert E. Howard beginning with his first essays and ending with his work as Director Emeritus of an organization that exists solely due to the efforts of two people: Robert E. Howard, the author whose work is valued by so many, and Glenn, the man who tracked it down and safeguarded it against the twin dangers of Time and Indifference. I could say that he was also a true fan, interested not only in the commercially viable Conan stories but also in the lesser known works that help the rest of us to revel in the full depth and sophistication of an unparalleled imagination. I could say that he was an adventurer whose vision and dedication helped preserve a unique history that continues to shine long after he has passed. I could say that he was supremely dedicated to preserving the legacy of a long dead author the world had almost forgotten about as I recount the many miles, months and years he drove from town to town, spoke with countless people, and tallied for the rest of us the three dimensional life of Robert E. Howard…I could say all that and more and not have gained an inch on the measuring stick of his life and importance to those of us who knew him. I knew Glenn, though I cannot say I knew him half as well as I would have liked… He was likeable, affable and a gentleman. I liked him very much. (The Punch-Drunk Bard website)

 Dave Hardy

Glenn enriched my enjoyment and understanding of REH’s achievements incalculably. He was gracious and helpful to fans and researchers…I was fortunate enough to meet Glenn at Howard Days in Cross Plains years ago. I was a gushing fan. He was courteous and kind. Later that same weekend we chatted a bit, we didn’t talk about Conan or de Camp or the history of REH publishing, but East Texas towns and Houston traffic. Glenn had a life outside of fandom. He served his country in the Korean War, as other generations of the Lord family have served in more recent conflicts. He was a quiet man, given to brief and occasionally blunt statements, but with warm, good humor. I count myself lucky to have been able to thank Glenn for all he did for REH fandom. I last saw him at his eightieth birthday party in November, surrounded by generations of his loving family. (Fire and Sword website)

 Al Harron

Glenn Lord, the World’s #1 Howard Fan and Mentor to so many of us, passed away on December 31, 2011. (The Blog That Time Forgot website)

If you are a fan of Robert E. Howard, Conan, or any of his creations, then you owe Glenn Lord your thanks. If you picked up a Lancer or Sphere or Berkeley in the Howard Boom of the ’60s and ’70s, you can thank Glenn Lord for getting the stories printed across dozens of publishers. If you tore through an issue of Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian, you can thank Glenn Lord for providing Roy Thomas with indispensible advice and assistance, and even then-unpublished stories for adaptation. If you watched Conan the Barbarian in 1982, you can thank Glenn Lord for negotiating the deal to make and film it. If you’ve enjoyed anything related to Kull, Solomon Kane, or the other creations of the Man from Cross Plains, then you owe Glenn Lord for promoting all of Howard’s work beyond just Conan. If you’ve read any scholarly material on Howard or his creations, be it a critical anthology or a wiki site, you can thank Glenn Lord for being the man to start it all (Conan The Movie website)

I’ve always maintained that Howard’s work spoke for itself, and that it didn’t need “saving” from obscurity. It did, however, need – or rather, deserved – cultivating, preserving, promoting. Howard’s works were like the relics of a lost civilization buried under the desert: perfectly preserved and able to withstand the ravages of time, but who could enjoy them when swallowed by the sands? Glenn Lord was the archaeologist, the excavator, the adventurer: searching for clues to every artifact’s location, cataloguing and documenting every lead, and bringing his findings to the world. The world of Robert E. Howard without Glenn Lord is like Egyptology without Champollion: one that can barely be comprehended. (Conan Forum website) 

Paul Herman

First and foremost is Glenn Lord, whose tireless efforts to find everything, and then to disseminate a great amount of the information, is the touchstone for starting any such project. Glenn provided innumerable details for this volume and can easily take credit for supplying the largest portion of the information… (The Neverending Hunt)

To Glenn Lord, the first and best paladin of Robert E. Howard, the standard that may never be equaled (The Neverending Hunt Dedication)

John Hocking

Mr. Lord sent me a kind, encouraging letter with instructions on how best to contact those who controlled Conan. In its small way, this polite deed says something about the kind of gentleman Glenn Lord must have been. I never knew the man, but between his peerless, foundational work with Howard’s writings and his, in retrospect, remarkable kindness to an uninformed newcomer, I mourn him. (Black Gate website Comment)

Dave Houston

I tell you this as I now realise that it was because of what Glenn Lord had accomplished with Howard’s works, which had led me to this path in life. Without it I would have been caught up in the daily life of riots and death in the streets of my native town Belfast, Northern Ireland. It shaped me and formed my life for the better and without it I would have been worse off no doubt. My father used to say to my mother when she complained of her child playing with demon figures and pentagrams and small barbarian figures, that it is damaging to his mind, and my father pointed out, that least he is where we can see him and not on the streets fighting and getting shot etc. (Comics Centre website)

 Brian Leno

I realized I had stumbled across something pretty unique. On the front of the paperback was another beautiful Frank Frazetta painting but the de Camp and Carter names were missing and Robert E. Howard stood alone on the spine and the cover. It was only when I opened the book that the title page carried the name of the editor—Glenn Lord. That was it. The introduction in Mr. Lord’s book was a very classy opening—a letter from Howard to Lovecraft, where REH had written his thoughts about writing and what it meant to him…By this time I had realized that Glenn Lord was one devoted friend of Howard’s and I truly welcomed his introductions and the notes before each story. Every time I saw Glenn Lord’s name, in fanzines or books, I knew that here was someone who not only treated REH with respect, but was the Howard scholar and knew precisely what he was talking about. (REH: Two-Gun Raconteur website)

 Patrice Louinet

I would like to thank Glenn Lord, for fifteen years of understanding and cooperation, and for being the gentlemen that he is. (The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian)

Thanks to Glenn Lord for his support of this project and his continuous help. These books couldn’t exist without you. (The Bloody Crown of Conan)

Without Glenn, these Conan books would never have been what they are; I can never repay you for your help and patience with my never-ending and sometimes weird requests. (The Conquering Sword of Conan)

[H]e would always include some copies of typescripts and, at first, even bought me the books I needed but had no way to find in Limoges, France. I sent him money at first, but he soon told me that he was not keeping count, and proposed what he called a “gentleman’s agreement”: I was to find him what foreign books and publications he needed, and send them to him…We discovered Howard had been published in virtually every country in the world, most of the time in pirate publications, and many had begun to appear after the collapse of the USSR. I remember tracking those from Estonia, how he would marvel at the sheer number of Conan books published in Russia (nearly a hundred at the time), and the fun we had trying to match the text or cover to a specific story or equivalent of an American edition. Over the next few years I would buy, receive and send him books from I don’t know how many countries. It was more than a fanzine or two this time, but it was — again — terribly inadequate when compared to the sheer bulk of material he was sending my way…I remember Glenn laughing at the World Fantasy Con in Austin, in 2006, when I brought him a page from a transcript of an interview in which the de Camps described him as a truck driver and a man so inferior in social status to them it was almost shocking. I remember him showing that piece of paper to everyone in sight and just chuckling: “a truck driver!”…I remember that evening in Cross Plains when he brought me, among other things, the original typescript to “The God in the Bowl” so I could read it so very close to the Howard house, a few yards away from where Bob Howard had typed it. It was one of those magical moments in my life, and I know he knew perfectly well what it would mean for me. (REH Two-Gun Raconteur website)

  Joe and Mona Marek

No One Knows More About Robert E. Howard! (first line of cover on Glenn Lord’s Ultima Thule)

Dennis McHaney

I was with Glenn just a few weeks ago, at his 80th birthday party. I will miss Glenn like he was a member of my own family. (McHaney’s Robert E. Howard website)

If it weren’t for Glenn Lord, none of us would be here today. There just wouldn’t be any Howard fandom as we know it. No Howard Days, no Wandering Star Press, no Del Rey Library, and no Conan comic books…Without Glenn Lord, Arnold Schwarzenegger would likely never have found the role that turned him into a superstar of action films…Without Glenn Lord, the Robert E. Howard section of our libraries would be unimagineably sparse. Without Glenn’s quest for the lost trunk of Howard papers, all we would have is Howard’s Weird Tales legacy and the inferior L. Sprague de Camp paperback series, and the latter would likely have disappeared with the bankruptcy of Lancer books, if not for the expanded interest in Howard caused solely from the efforts of one man – Glenn Lord. (Anniversary: Glenn Lord and The Howard Collector)

To Glenn, with Love (Anniversary: Glenn Lord and The Howard Collector, Dedication)

Brian Murphy

I never met nor corresponded with Lord but like every other REH fan in existence I’m deeply in his debt. (The Silver Key website)

 John O’Neill

I met Glenn very briefly, at the World Fantasy Convention. What struck me the most was how friendly he was to everyone and how much respect that audience of mostly professionals had for the man. (Black Gate website Comment)

James Reasoner

The way I’ll always remember him, with a friendly smile on his face and an eagerness to talk about Robert E. Howard, pulp magazines, or anything else under the sun. He was one of the most truly decent men I’ve ever known. Rest in peace, Glenn. (Rough Edges website)

Rob Roehm

The vast majority of Howard’s typescripts and manuscripts, or transcriptions thereof, were provided by Glenn Lord. Without his assistance this volume, and many others, would never have appeared. (The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard)

To Glenn Lord – gracious Howard archivist, and genuine Southern gentleman of the first caliber, for giving his blessings to the reprinting of the first three issues of The Howard Collector (West is West)

As with all things related to Robert E. Howard publishing, this collection would not have been possible without the efforts of Glenn Lord. His dedication to tracking down and acquiring Howard materials, and then sharing them with his fellow fans and scholars, has never been surpassed, and he’s been at it for something like fifty years. This collection is a late birthday gift to the Godfather of Howard studies. (The Collected Drawings of Robert E. Howard)

I know that at some future Howard Days, when I’m older and balder, I’ll borrow E. Hoffmann Price’s words, substituting Glenn for Robert E. Howard: “Gentlemen, this is the hand that shook the hand of Glenn Lord! Line forms on the right, quit shoving, and don’t step on the women and children.” (REH Two-Gun Raconteur website)

Damon Sasser

I know at some point down the road I am going to have a Howard question and think of getting in touch with Glenn and that is going to be one strange feeling realizing he’s not here anymore…While Glenn’s flame on this earthly plane has been extinguished, it still burns brightly in each of us — a flame he lit with his life’s work — and it is our duty to carry it forward, bringing that light to others. (REH: Two-Gun Raconteur website)

Keith West

In case some of you don’t recognize the name, Glenn Lord was the person most responsible for helping to get Conan and Howard’s other work back into print in the 1960s and 1970s. (Adventures Fantastic website)

Cross Plains will be colder this year regardless of what the temperature is. (Adventures Fantastic website)

These are just a few of the tributes that I read. Whether they are a few words or a paragraph, they reflect Glenn’s influence in the lives of Howard fans.

Glenn’s influence in my own life began when I discovered REH’s poetry. Not only did Glenn also appreciate and love Howard’s poems, he saved the words for all of us to enjoy. In the Introduction to his book Anniversary, Dennis McHaney writes about Glenn:

In the pages of Weird Tales, he discovered many more examples of Howard’s verse, and realized that there was something more to Howard than just amazing pacing and descriptive brilliance. While Glenn continued to pursue other Howardian prose, he began gathering all of Howard’s verse that he could find.

At the lunch I had with Glenn and Lou Ann Lord in Galveston on Friday, November 18th, 2011, Glenn quoted the last lines of “A Sonnet of Good Cheer,” a poem which was unpublished during REH’s lifetime:

“Fool, fool, you came unbidden to this game,

“And Death that takes you hence shall ask you not.

“From life, this and only this, may you claim;

“Living, to die, and dying, be forgot.”

Glenn Lord set out to make sure that Robert E. Howard is not forgotten. It is fitting that as a man and a Howard fan, Glenn himself will not be forgotten.

What Now?

Years of experience have taught me that time changes everything. Some changes are easier to take and some like the death of Glenn Lord seem to darken and obscure the future. As a Robert E. Howard fan, I have only one question: What Now?

Who is going to be our *point* person, and our Source? Who will be our representative in Howard fandom? Who will be the glue that holds us together? Most of us writing and/or editing books owe Glenn a big debt. He was not only the promoter of REH’s writings; he was the standard by which many of us judged our own work. He was there watching and encouraging us. Behind it all was his passion and enthusiasm for REH’s words and his desire to spread this appreciation to others. Maybe that answers my “what now” question. As someone who deeply appreciates Glenn’s contributions, I can continue his work. In my own small way, I can grab the Robert E. Howard torch he handed to us and, as Damon Sasser says, bring “that light to others.”

This post is dedicated to Lou Ann Lord —
she is not a Howard fan, but she was always there for Glenn.