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Just in time for Howard Days . . . I thought I should provide some information about the two new REH Foundation books that will be available soon: School Days in the Post Oaks and The Collected Letters of Doctor Isaac M. Howard.
School Days in the Post Oaks is an anthology of newspapers articles covering Robert E. Howard’s life and times in the post oak country. The articles were pulled from community papers—Cross Plains Review, Brownwood Bulletin, Dallas Daily News, etc.—and school publications—The Tattler, The Progress, Daniel Baker Collegian, Yellow Jacket. These articles cover a range of activities: from Robert Howard’s graduation from Cross Plains High to his summer graduation from the Howard Payne Commercial School. They describe events that occurred both on campus and off; for example, Howard’s Brownwood High graduation is narrated in detail, even including the text of the commencement speech. Other articles describe what it was like to work for the Yellow Jacket, the overcrowding at BHS, the senior picnic, and more. Along the way, other Howardian personalities receive equal attention: Tevis Clyde Smith, Echla Laxson, Novalyne Price, C. S. Boyles and others.
This heaping helping of Howard’s “time and place” also includes all of Howard’s stories and poems from the above-named publications, including the recently found “Letter of a Chinese Student” and items whose authorship is uncertain. There’s even an index.
The Collected Letters of Doctor Isaac M. Howard is a lot more than the title implies. It begins with a “Prelude” section which contains letters to Robert E. Howard: items from August Derleth, C. L. Moore, Farnsworth Wright, Otis Kline, and others. Following a handful of newspaper articles describing Robert E. Howard’s death and funeral, Isaac Howard’s letters begin. These are interspersed with responding letters from Wright, Derleth, Kline, and E. Hoffman Price, as well as other, related letters (in a letter from Kline to Carl Jacobi, it’s easy to see the myth-making of Howard’s suicide beginning). The sections with Isaac Howard’s letters end with a couple of newspaper articles announcing his death and a letter from Alla Ray Kuykendall which describes the doctor’s final moments.
As a post script, E. Hoffmann Price’s articles and letters regarding the Howards are included. Readers can eavesdrop on Price as he describes the contents of Howard’s fabled Trunk to August Derleth, and trace Price’s changing view on Two-Gun as Howard’s fame and popularity surpassed his own.
A “Miscellanea” sections concludes the volume, with a copy of Doctor Howard’s will, the Kline ledger and lists of stories and poems, letters from P. M. Kuykendall and Oscar J. Friend that detail a plan which could have altered the course of Howard publishing, and, finally, subject and title indexes.
The contents for each volume will be posted at the Foundation’s website when the official announcement is made in a week or two.