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Edgar Rice Burroughs Page


September 1, 2011 
 Happy 136th Birthday Ed!




EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS (September 1, 1875 - March 19, 1950) was born in Chicago, Illinois.  The fifth of six sons of businessman George Tyler Burroughs and Mary Evaline (Zeiger) Burroughs.  He was the youngest of four surviving brothers and attended Chicago's Brown elementary.  By 1886 he rode horseback to the Harvard School at 18th and Indiana Avenue.  He was taught Greek and Latin before learning English composition.
An influenza epidemic in 1891 Chicago caused ERB's parents to send him to Idaho where older brothers Harry and George, with partner Lew Sweetser, owned the BarY Ranch in Cassia County.  The city boy loved horses and became and expert bronco buster.
That Fall he was sent to Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts.  Popular, ERB was elected class president but dislike the formal curriculum and ran away.  ERB's father, a Union cavalry officer during the American Civil War, believed a military school might benefit his son.  At Michigan Military Academy, Orchard Lake (Fall 1892), ERB's commandant was Captain Charles King, a name he later used in his novels.  ERB was on the football and cavalry teams and was editor-in-chief and artist for the student newspaper The Adjutant.  He remained at Michigan Military Acasemy after graduating in 1896 as Assistant Commandant; a Professor of Geology, Cavalry, and Gatling Gun.
ERB desired entry into West Point but failed the entrance exam (14 of 118 applicant were accepted).  He enlisted in the army and was assigned duty at Fort Grant, Arizona, "B" Troop. 7th Cavalry, under the command of Colonel "Bull" Sumner.  ERB's duties were "digging boulevards in the desert where no boulevards were needed" and chasing Indian outlaws without stragety or success.  A bout of dysentary uncovered a heart murmur which disqualified him for an army commission.  ERB obtained an honorable discharge and returned to his brother's cattle ranch in Idaho.
Ever desirous to start his own business, be bought a stationary store in Pocatello (1998).  He sold it back to the original owner at year's end.  Back at his brother's ranch he decided the cattle business was not for him.  In 1898 ERB returned to Chicago to work at his father's American Battery Company.
A regular salary ($15/week) encouraged ERB to marry childhood sweetheart Emma Centennia Hulbert on January 31, 1900.  Her father, Alvin Hubert, was proprietor of the Sherman and Great Northern hotels.  In 1903, ERB and Emma joined brother George in Idaho to operate a gold dredge in the Stanley Basin.
ERB later joined brother Harry's gold dredging operation near Parma, Idaho (1904) in which town he was popular enough to be elected alderman; but the gold business soon failed.  ERB and Emma moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where he worked as a railroad policeman rousting hoboes and drunks from freight cars.  Dissatisfied, the couple sold their belongings at auction and returned to Chicago.
From 1904 to 1908 temporary jobs included time-keeper, light bulb and candy sales, peddling Stoddard's lectures, E.S. Winslow Company accountant and, at emotional nadir, volunterring officer to the Chinese army (never happened).  Early in 1908 he landed an excellent job managing the clerical department at Sears, Roebuck & Company but felt his destiny lay elsewhere.  He resigned August 1908, determined to go into business for himself.
A bleak period followed.  Emma's jewelry was pawned to buy food.  They lived in Oak Park when Joan was born January 1908.  Hulbert, their first son, arrived August 1909, by which time ERB was office manager for Physicians Co-Operative Association.  The company sold "Alcola", an alleged cure for alcoholism but the Food and Drug Administration shut them down within a year.
Alcola's president, Dr. Stace, and ERB formed the Stace-Burroughs Company which sold booklets (written by ERB) on expert salesmanship.  The Stace-Burroughs Company sank without a trace.
ERB formed a new agency which sold pencil sharpeners.  While agents peddled product door to door he sat in a borrowed office.  Killing time, ERB shecked his ads running in various pulp magizines.  He read some of the fiction and decided "if people are paid for writing such rot, I can write something just as rotten."
He began his first story early in 1911.  It was influenced by the popular theories of astronomer Percival Lowell.  The story was so improbable he signed it "Normal Bean" to signify he was not insane.  ERB sent it to Thomas Newell Metcalf, editor of All-Story, where it was accepted immediately.  Metcalf changed the title to "Under the Moons of Mars" and ran it in six installments February to July 1912.  A copy editor, assuming an error, changed ERB's nom de plume to Norman Bean.  The pun spoiled, ERB dropped the alias permanantly.  He received $400 for his story, a staggering sum at the time.
Metcalf sensed untapped potential and suggested ERB write a story along the lines of Arthurian legend.  ERB obliged with a Gothic romance entitled "The Outlaw of Torn".  All-Story rejected it (eventually sold to Street & Smith's New  Story Magazine in 1914).  He had begun a third story "Tarzan of the Apes" in December 1911 and finished May 1912.  Metcalf published it complete in one issue of All-Story, October 1912.  ERB received $700, resulting in a decision to take up writing full time.  This decision was further strengthened by the birth of a third child, John Coleman Burrough (February 28, 1913), who would eventually illustrate twelve of his father's first editions.
During the next twelve months ERB wrote and sold eight novels.
After many rejection slips from several publishing houses, ERB received an offer from A.C. McClurg & Company, Chicago.  The company had previously rejected "Tarzan of the Apes" but the story's popularity resulted in a signed contract.  ERB's first book "Tarzan of the Apes" was published June 17, 1914.  It became a national best seller.  McClurg published a total of 29 ERB books between 1914 -1929.  Most of these first editions were illustrated by J. Allen St. John, a chicago artist now identified with the Burroughs legend.
In 1919, ERB purchased a 540-acre ranch in California's San Fernando Valley. Idyllic, ERB played at gentleman farming while solidifying a multi-million dollar industry.  Thre ranch was named "Tarzana" and the city which sprand up arounf him officially took the name on December 11, 1930.
ERB routinely sold first serial right to the pulps while retaining reprint and book rights.  He was 36 when his first story was published in 1912.  Eleven years later ERB incorporated himself and by 1931 decided to publish his own books to maximize earnings.  ERB succeeded admirable and ERB, Inc. published 24 first editions.
In 1934, their children grown, ERB and Emma's divorce became final December 6, 1934.  Four months later on April 4 1935 he married Florence (Gilbert) Dearholt, a former actress and divorcee with two small children.  They had a prenuptial agreement to part as friends if the marriage failed.  They divorced after seven years on May 4, 1942.  ERB remained devoted to her children for the rest of his life.
ERB and son Hulbert witnessed the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941). A one-time major in the Illinois State Militia at Oak Oark in 1919, ERB was finally in the right place at the right time to be of service.  He became the oldest WWII war correspondent.  His "Laugh It Off' column was published regularly in the Honolulu Advertiser.  He visited Australia and several Pacific atolls and went on combat bombing missions with the 7th Air Force out of Kwajalein.
After the war, ERB retired to a modest home in Encino, California.  He died on March 19, 1950 of a heart attack induced by a form of Parkinson's disease.  His ashes were buried beneath a black walnut tree in the front yard of his corporate headquarters on Ventura Boulevard.
In the last year of his life ERB reread all of his books "to see what I had said and how I'd said it."
ERB is now considered the "Grandfather of American Science Fiction".
Taken from A Souvenir of the 1992 Dum-Dum, Louisville, Kentucky (Condensed from the original by Bruce Bozarth (Tangor) with some of my miniscule additions stuck in)




1. Tarzan of the Apes (1914)
2. The Return of Tarzan (1915)
3. The Beasts of Tarzan (1916)
4. The Son of Tarzan (1917)
5. An Auto-Biography (1917)
6. A Princess of Mars (1917)
7. Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar (1918)
8. The Gods of Mars (1918)
9. Jungle Tales of Tarzan (1919)
10. The Warlord of Mars (1919)
11. Tarzan the Untamed (1920)
12. Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1920)
13. Tarzan the Terible (1921)
14. The Mucker (1921)
15. At the Earth's Core (1922)
16. The Chessmen of Mars (1922)
17. Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1923)
18. Pellucidar (1923)
19. The Girl from Hollywood (1923)
20. The Land that Time Forgot (1924)
21. Tarzan and the Ant Men (1924)
22. The Cave Girl (1925)
23. The Bandit of Hell's Bend (1925)
24. The Eternal Lover /The Eternal Savage(1925)
25. The Moon Maid (1926)
26. The Mad King (1926)
27. The Outlaw of Torn (1927)
28. The War Chief (1927)
29. The Tarzan Twins (1927)
30. The Mastermind of Mars (1928)
31. Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1928)
32. The Monster Men (1929)
33. Tarzan and the Lost Empire (1929)
34. Tanar of Pellucidar (1930)
35. Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1930)
36. A Fighting Man of Mars (1931)
37. Tarzan the Invincible (1931)
38. Jungle Girl/The Land of Hidden Men (1932)
39. Tarzan Triumphant (1932)
40. Apache Devil (1933)
41. Tarzan and the City of Gold (1933)
42. Pirates of Venus (1934)
43. Tarzan and the Lion Man (1934)
44. Lost on Venus (1935)
45. Tarzan and the Leopard Men (1935)
46. Swords of Mars (1936)
47. Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins with Jad-Bal-Ja, the Golden Lion (1936)
48. Tarzan's Quest (1936)
49. The Oakdale Affair and The Rider (1937)
50. Back to the Stone Age (1937)
51. The Lad and the Lion (1938)
52. Tarzan and the Forbidden City (1938)
53. Carson of Venus (1939)
54. Tarzan Clans of America (1939)
55. The Scientists Revolt (1939)
56. Tarzan the Magnificent (1939)
57. Synthetic Men of Mars (1940)
58. The Deputy Sheriff of Commanche County (1940)
59. Land of Terror (1944)
60. Escape on Venus (1946)
61. Tarzan and "The Foreign Legion" (1947)
62. Llana of Gathol (1948)
Burroughs dies in 1950
63. Beyond Thirty and The Man-Eater (1955)
64. The Girl From Farris's (1959)
65. Savage Pellucidar (1963)
66. Tales of Three Planets (1964)
67. Tarzan and the Madman (1964)
68. John Carter of Mars (1964)
69. Tarzan and the Castaways (1965)
70. The Efficiency Expert (1966)
71. I Am A Barbarian (1967)
72. The Wizard of Venus and Pirate Blood (Ace Paperback) (1970)
73. Tarzan: The Lost Adventure (1995)
74. Minidoka 937th Earl of One Mile Series N (1996)
75. Marcia at the Doorstep (2000)
76. You Lucky Girl! (2000)
77. Forgotten Tales of Love and Murder (2001)
3/11/2002 - Thanks to J.G. "Huck" Huckenpohler for the current update for 1996-2001 publications of Burrough's works.



Bud Plant's Incredible Catalog


ERB, Inc.


Bill Hillman's ERBzine

Panthan Press

Von Horst's Pellucidar

National Capital Panthans of The Burroughs Bibliophiles

Frank Cho and Liberty Meadows

Tarzana, California