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On March 5, 1958, Glenn Lord wrote to Oscar J. Friend: “You might be interested to know that E. Hoffmann Price got the majority of items from the Howard Memorial Collection when Dr. Howard died. He says however that most of the stuff has been borrowed or misplaced in the interim.” But, as we saw last time, Price had written a letter to Stuart Boland in an attempt to track some of that stuff down. On March 24, Price wrote to Lord:
I have just mailed you the microfilm strip. Hope it contains something new. Stuart Boland just returned from long trip in South America. He made brief acknowledgment of my message, but no reference to subject, Howard letters. Said he’d see me presently.
It appears that Boland had actually returned before Christmas of 1957 [see above], but on May 5, 1958, he finally wrote to Lord:
E.H.P. wrote to me about some letters which had been written by Bob Howard to him some time before the latter’s demise. I was under the impression that I had returned all the material E.H. had given me when he requested the return of H. P. Lovecraft’s epistles to him for Arkham House—Previously I had sent all duplicate material to a fellow named (Don?) Laney in Los Angeles at E. H.’s request. Laney was the publisher of a top-notch S.F. fan mgz. However, I shall check diligently for any stray material and send it on to you if located.
Glenn wrote back right away, but he would wait eight months for Boland’s reply [photo of Boland is from the 1931 Blue and Gold Yearbook from the University of California at Berkeley]. Meanwhile, E. Hoffmann Price had started digging. When Amra editor George Scithers visited Price, the pair found two previously unpublished items in the “tear sheets.” Scithers wrote to Oscar Friend on January 26, 1959, to obtain publishing rights: “While going through some of Robert E. Howard’s tear sheets—now in the hands of E. Hoffmann Price—I came across a couple of unpublished fragments of Howard’s work.” He goes on to transcribe the poem “But the Hills Were Ancient Then” and the fragment that begins with “The wind from the Mediterranean . . .”
Boland’s next letter—January 12, 1959!—contained little information about the items Lord was seeking. It more appears that Boland was looking for an audience. He told Lord: “I corresponded with Bob for quite some time before his demise—also with his father. I have not located the missives—but if recollections and reminiscences will help, I can give you some rather colorful data concerning the letters we exchanged on European topics, art culture, archeology and anthropology, ecology and the Dark Ages.” Boland appears to have traveled extensively, including all the “usual areas of the Grand Tour” as well as North Africa and Asia Minor. Upon receiving Boland’s letters from these exotic places, Howard “replied via American express ‘poste haste’ and asked about Pompeii, Boscoreale, Herculaneum, Rhodes, Olympus, Palmyra, Orvieto, Palermo, etc.”
Glenn replied, no doubt asking about original copies, but Boland’s response on February 1 makes it clear that he has nothing: “All I can give you is a ‘Remembrance of Robert Howard’ based on what I recall of his correspondence. Laney had all the original papers and missives.” And, of course, Francis T. Laney was dead.
But Glenn wasn’t easily put off. He had tracked down Laney’s widow and sent her an inquiry. She responded on February 6, 1959: “As soon as I can find a bit of time I’ll get into Francis’ files and see if the tear sheets of Howard’s material and the Lovecraft correspondence is there.” She got back to him on April 25:
I have, at last, gone through all Mr. Laney’s effects. I did not find either the tear sheets or the Howard-Lovecraft correspondence. I am sorry. Neither did I find reference or correspondence which would have indicated where they might be. Will keep your letter and if anything should turn up will let you know.
Around this time Glenn started planning a summer trip to California. He had already been in contact with George Scithers, and when Glenn told him of his plans, Scithers responded: “As far as I know, Price has nothing else of Howard’s—reminds me I must return his file of Howard’s tear sheets.” But, of course, Glenn would have to find out for himself. During his trip he did visit with Price, and Price commented on the visit in an August 23, 1959 letter to Lord. Regarding the file of tear sheets mentioned by Scithers, Price said, “My inclination is to divide the Howard tear-sheets among the collectors & students I know. That would be better than letting the pages fall apart, from age and chemical deterioration, unshared by those who like yourself [are] keenly interested in REH’s writings.” Concerning the REH-HPL correspondence, Price said this:
So, with both Stuart Boland and Francis T. Laney out of the picture, and E. Hoffmann Price’s meagre stash inspected, “this marked the end of the trail,”* as far as Glenn was concerned. He had received a few photos and the Barlow microfilm from Price; the REH letters were apparently in the hands of a greedy fan; and the rest of the items were just “tear sheets,” after all.
*Zarfhaana #52, E.O.D. mailing for August 1998
[Part 7 is here.]