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ERBzine Volume 1025
Danton Burroughs
From Tarzana, California
Memories from the
Danton Burroughs
Family Album 
ERB WWII Correspondent
. . . AND NOW. . . IN THE VERY WORDS OF MR. BURROUGHS. . .
The Wartime Letters of the 
Oldest Correspondent in the WWII Pacific Theatre
Edgar Rice Burroughs
c/o G-2 First Island Command
Somewhere in South Pacific
and
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
1943

Collated by Bill Hillman


The letters are to daughter Joan Burroughs unless otherwise stated
CONTENTS
USS Shaw Introduction
January 20, 1943
March 5, 1943
April 6, 1943
April 6, 1943
April 9, 1943 (Mike Pierce)
April 10, 1943 (Caryl Lee)
April 10, 1943
April 10, 1943 (JCB)
May 15, 1943
August 3, 1943
August 13, 1943
October 2, 1943
October 4, 1943
November 2, 1943
December 6, 1943 (Thelma Terry)
December 28, 1943
December 29, 1943

Intro From ERBzine 0508:
Edgar Rice Burroughs and the USS Shaw: 1943 
Dear Bill,
I've been interviewing my father to compile a record of his experiences in WWII.  He served on a destroyer USS SHAW from 1941-45.  Well, he told me a story the other night I'd never heard before, about having Edgar Rice Burroughs on board for several weeks.

The ship was pretty banged up at the time and it was going back to Pearl Harbor for repairs. SHAW had seen quite a bit of action (Battle of Santa Cruz Islands and naval battles around Guadalcanal) during Oct-Dec '42 and then had suffered damage to the hull on a reef while entering Noumea, New Caledonia (where they picked up ERB).  Temporary repairs to the hull included pouring concrete into the holes.  They lost a boiler room in the process, so speed must have been seriously affected.  The voyage from Noumea to Pearl Harbor took 6 weeks.

Burroughs was very popular with the crew.  They refueled in Suva, Fiji (Feb '43) and the crew organized a football game.  It seems the gunnery officer had been a football star at Annapolis and another crewmember was an All-American.

I've received a message from one of dad's shipmates who was the Chief Yeoman on Shaw at the time and shared a cabin with ERB.  He said he got ERB's autograph on something and is pretty sure he still has it.  I just replied to him inquiring about any pictures he may have had taken with ERB or memorabilia.

I would really like to read ERB's perspective on life aboard SHAW.  Dad said Burroughs wrote about it and the story was published in Esquire magazine.

So I'm looking for a copy of it and found your website.  I'm thinking it must have been included in "Diary of a Confused Old Man or Buck Burroughs Rides Again".  Do you know where I might find this?  I'd be glad to share whatever I come up with.  Whatever assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks much for any help.

Foster Rash


Carrying on with his activities as the Pacific's oldest war correspondent, Edgar Rice Burroughs returned to Noumea, New Caledonia from Sydney, Australia, on January 10, 1943. He checked into the Grand Hotel du Pacifique where he was glad to see old friend, navy Lt. Hal Thompson, husband of family friend Rochelle Hudson. One of his first assignments was to follow a field artillery training excercise at the battalion's camp in Dumbea Valley. To get there he had to travel by horse and mule through jungle-covered mountainous terrain. He also visited a military hospital where he revelled in the heroic stories of the wounded enlisted men. His free time was spent socializing in various officers clubs.

He was hoping to get a flight back Hawaii, but was notified that he would return directly to Pearl Harbor on the destroyer USS Shaw, leaving on January 31. The Shaw was badly in need of repair at Pearl as she had grounded on Sournois Reef while entering Noumea harbor, New Caledonia. "Her keel was badly wrinkled, some of her plates were sprung, and she had holes in her bottom that had been patched up with concrete."

Burroughs writes "Temporary repairs had been made, but her keel was badly wrinkled, some of her plates were sprung, and she had holes in her bottom that had been patched up with concrete. And she had but one screw. The Shaw was practically a wreck. . . ." "Some of the crew never laced their shoes during the whole cruise, except when we were in port. This and the fact that many of them wore black sox so as not to attract sharks, added zest to the voyage. . . ."

Despite the ship's crippled vulnerable condition the voyage to Pearl was relatively uneventful. During the trip Burroughs wrote United Press dispatches and a murder mystery: More Fun! More People Killed! When not writing Burroughs spent much of his time on the bridge where the routine was occassionally broken by submarine alarms.

During this long return trip the Shaw docked at Suva, in the Fiji Islands, and then went on to Tutuila in the American Samoas, where Ed visited the town of Pago Pago and noted:

"I saw the Sadie Thompson hotel. Through the windows, I saw Sadie's room -- or what might have been."

On February 28, aboard the Shaw, Ed wrote, "Jack's birthday -- 30 years old. On Joan's birthday I as in Noumea. On Hulbert's, in Honolulu. I should like to be in Chungking on my next one."

The Shaw arrived at Pearl Harbor on March 2, and later, as expected, Ed completed a detailed account of the entire trip, requiring sixty pages to tell the whole story. Titled "The Diary of a Confused Old Man, or Buck Burroughs Rides Again," the account was begun in April 1943 and not finished until June 8. The ending summary revealed that army chaos had made Burroughs a noncorresponding war correspondent.

"I had been gone three months, had a wonderful time, and written twenty-five stories, practically none of which have ever reached United Press. They had so notified Frank Tremaine, UP Bureau Chief in Honolulu. We think they may be mouldering in the War Department in Washington, where Colonel Stead asked me if he might send them direct. "

Burroughs' sense of patriotism and appreciation for his fellowmen was unshaken, however, as evidenced in the letter he wrote to daughter Joan soon after reaching Hawaii.
 


Edgar Rice Burroughs
c/o G-2 First Island Command
Somewhere in South Pacific
APO 502
20 January 1943
20 January 1943Joan, Darling:

I'm still "Somewhere". If I could have a word from home, it wouldn't seem so far. The nearest I have come to it lately was when Jack Rice, the photographer with whom I flew in a Fortress several months ago, blew in here a couple of days ago. He had seen Hulbert two weeks before.

A Colonel Nelson, who has just come in from Guadalcanal and is on his way to the States, will have a short stop-over at Hickam Field. He has promised to look Hulbert up and tell him that I am still alive.  Wasn't it swell about Hully's promotion?   I can't recall if I wrote you about how we heard of it. Anyhow, Hully came in December 4th to spend the night with me and the following day. Just before dinner, Harriet Brown, who lives at the Niumalu, phoned me that she had a guest in her apartment who wished to meet me. I told her that Hulbert was with me, and she said to bring him along and we'd have a high-ball. When we got there we found that her guest was Major General Willis H. Hale, Hully s Big Boss - a very swell person.   He touched Hully's gold bars, and said, "You can take those off. I promoted you this morning."   So we all drank high-balls to the event, and General Hale wrote in my autograph book, "On the day of Hully's promotion."

Yep, I hide my head in shame. I am an autograph hound. I have filled two books and am about to start on the third. I've got privates, Pfcs, corporals, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors, colonels, generals, nurses (pretty ones), an American Consul, two governors, Australians, New Zealanders, Englishmen, Frenchmen, and I hope to get a cannibal.   Practically all of them mean something to me. I don't ask for any that don't.

As a War Correspondent, my dear, your Dad is a flop; but he's having one hell of a good time. I work hard at it (being a correspondent; not at having a good time), but what I send in is tripe. I am occasionally up at 4 A.M. and off for a story in Bouncing Baby, my jeep. I have recently gone up with parachutists and watched them jump, and. the other day I rode for two or three hours over steep, narrow, and precipitous mountain trails with a pack artillery outfit. It was great being back in a saddle again. I have met many swell people and made numerous friends. The Army couldn't treat anyone any better than I have been treated. From General Harmon down they have done everything possible for me. If you want to start a whispering campaign just tell 'em that this outfit of Harmon's is tops and doing a swell job at the front. And you'll be stating a fact.

20 January 1943There is one thing I miss here more than another. That is being clean. I have only four khaki uniforms with me. I haven't space for any more. Two are in the laundry. One got soaked in the rain yesterday and covered with mud, and I got mud on the one I am wearing right after I put it on. And I am invited to a party tomorrow night by Commander Burroughs, whom I interviewed yesterday. He commands a Carrier Group of four squadrons. His branch of the family comes from New Hampshire. A very nice chap. In addition to being dirty, I am all bitten up by spiders; and I think I hate fleas. At least, a kind friend suggested that I might.

Am enclosing some pictures I thought the children might like, though I don't know why. I have never been to Ballarat. The pictures were sent to me, God only knows why, by a doting Australian mamma who wants me to get her baby daughter a job in Hollywood. I was in Australia for a couple of weeks and broadcast there several times, with the usual kick-back - people writing to ask me to do things for them. They should have written to God or Admiral Halsey. I can't do anything for them.

A great deal of love, Darling, to all of you at home.
Papa
(written)
P.S. Many happy returns of the 12th!
P.S. It is now 11:00 am, Wed. here and 5 P.M. Tues. in L.A. It doesn't make sense.


1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
March 5 1943

March 5 1943Joan darling:

On my return to Honolulu, I found two nice letters from you, of December 13 and January 15.  You could not have sent me anything for Christmas that I could wish more than your continued love and mistaken belief that I am a great guy.  Anyway, I like to have you say it.  And I am just as proud of you, dear, as you seem to be of me.

I wrote Jack yesterday; so won't repeat here, as I know he will show you the letter. Joan. you just can't imagine how wonderfully every one has treated me.  As you know, I have always been just a little bit cynical about homo sapiens.  But now I guess that I shall have to admit that God made a pretty good job when he whittled him out.  And for me, the best of them are our own people.  After spending three solid months with Army, Navy, and Marine Corps men of all ranks and grades I am so damned proud of being an American that I am on the verge of bursting.  They are friendly, they are intelligent, they are ingenious, they are courageous.  I know that there are morons and heels among us, but they are outnumbered a thousand to one.

The aborigines on the islands love us.  They hate the Japs and they are not particularly crazy about non-American whites.  Our boys laugh and kid with them. and they'll work all day for us for food and a package of cigarettes just to be with us.  They are a simple, likable. childlike people.  If they stewed you for dinner, it would not be because they disliked you.  Quite the contrary.

I was walking along a road on one of the islands when I passed close to a couple of women.  I smiled and nodded, as I did to most of the natives I passed.  The woman nearest me was a horrible looking, toothless old bag.  As she passed close to me, she pinched my leg and smiled coyly.  Who says the old S.A. isn't working?

I had a grand time on a destroyer.  Spent a month aboard her.  The Executive Officer shared his cabin with me.  He ranks next to the captain.  I sat at the Captain's right at mess.  We chased subs and dropped depth charges.  It was quite exciting.  They gave me the run of the ship.  It was fun standing on the fantail when depth charges were dropped or being on the bridge when we were entering a harbor. And ladders!  I was running up and down 'em all day.  I am convinced that there is nothing wrong with my heart.  Over the loud speaker would come the command, "Stand by for submarine attack!"   That gives one's heart a few extra beats to the second.  Then, if I didn't go aft to the fantail, I'd scamper up three ladders to the bridge as fast as I could scamper.  When the charges detonated, the ship would jump and shudder.  Just to give you an idea of the force of these charges of TNT:  Another destroyer dropped charges two and a half miles away, and our ship shook.

I bought some junk for the kids and you.  And I mean junk.  But it is from far places.  If I ever get caught up with my correspondence, I'll wrap it up and send it along.    Lots of love!

Papa

EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS. INC.
TARZANA, CALIFORNIA
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
April 6  1943

Caryl Lee dear:

I came near coming home not so long ago. When I asked for surface ship transportation from New Caledonia to Honolulu, I was told that I would have to go by freighter or transport to California and then take another ship back to Honolulu. But at the last minute, they put me aboard a ship sailing for Honolulu. The other way would have meant a journey of about three months duration. In a way, I was lucky, but I should like to have come home for a visit.

It is quite dull here. Once in a while I go to a party, or play cards at the hotel. Yesterday, I went to a party given by General Emmons at the Waialae Country Club. I went with General White. I doubt that you would remember him. You never saw so many generals in your life as there were at that party. Mr. and Mrs. Pflueger sat at the next table, and there were many other people there whom I knew.

I was interested to know that you are working at the Blood Bank. It is fine that you are doing something to help win the war. We all should.

The meals have progressively deteriorated until often I cannot eat them. We have no menus now, because we have no choice. There is one thing -- take it or leave it. A Filipino pantry boy does the buying and dictates what we are to eat. The hotel is run by the servants for the servants, and if the guests don't like it they can get out. But I like the people there, and it is a good place to reduce.

Maybe I'll see you again some day. What shall we do then?  Love and kisses?

E


EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS. INC.
TARZANA, CALIFORNIA
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
April 6 1943

April 6 1943Joan darling:

Your nice letter of January 29 has gone too long unanswered. I don't know why. Now I can tell you a couple of the places I visited, as statements have been released in the press to the effect that we have troops in both these islands, and I was also allowed to broadcast the same to the Mainland recently.

I spent some time in New Caledonia. My letter of January 20 to you was written from there. I was quartered in a hotel in Noumea, the capital; and was sort of officially attached to G.2, Headquarters of the First Island Command, under Major General Bush B. Lincoln.

Was also in Australia for sixteen days. Had a swell time there with plenty of good food, something I had not been accustomed to for more than a year.

I was twice on Vita Levu, one of the Fiji Islands. The last time I spent twelve days in Suva. The islands are British. The native Fiji police and East Indian Sikh police are very colorful. The newspapers recently published the fact that there were some American troops there.

In a former letter I told you about the old lady who pinched my leg. That was the first time I visited Vita Levu, and was at the other end of the island from Suva. The old lady was a Fijian, and doubtless in her youth ate people. She looked like she still might.

It seems a little tame and dull here now, but I don't expect to be given another assignment. There are too many correspondents out now. However, there is occasionally something to relieve the monotony. Yesterday, Brig. General White took me to Lieut. General Delos C. Emmons picnic at Waialae Country Club. On the way, we stopped to pick up a friend of his who was going along with us, and had cocktails at her apartment.

I have never seen so many silver stars gathered together before. There were about two hundred guests, and most of the men seemed to be generals. I knew many of them, and many of the other officers and civilians. The Pfluegers, of whom you have doubtless heard me speak, sat at the next table. I know hundreds of people here. I wish that I had a better memory for faces and names.

Supper was cafeteria style (buffet to you), and consisted of hot dogs, ham, potato salad, potato chips, and all the other things that are piled on plates. There was also coffee and beer, but no hard liquor. General White furnished two of his Negro soldiers who pattered and danced. The dancer, whose name I have forgotten, was a big time night club entertainer on the Mainland. He certainly let himself go in front of all those brass hats.

There was also dancing for the guests to an army band, and the party closed with a picture - Tripoli. I think - with Dorothy Lamour, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. There were some funny gags in it but otherwise was not so good.   On the way home we stopped at the lady's apartment for a nightcap. It was, altogether, a very pleasant evening.

"Willum" White is one of my oldest friends here. I met him in 1935 during a former tour of duty he had here. He was a major then.

April 6 1943Had a talk with Major Shelton yesterday, and asked him how Hully was getting along. You know. you can't get a darned thing out of Hully finer than statements to the effect that he is a wash-out and a no-good. Shelton said that he is doing a swell job. that there isn't t another photographer in that outfit that can touch him. He says that Hully is a really top-notch photographer and that his work is appreciated by men in high places. When they have important photographic missions, they sent Hully. He also spoke of Hully's conscientious attention to details and duty.   I was not surprised but it was nice to hear it. And Shelton knows, as Hulbert is directly under him. They office as well as quarter together. Their desks are backed up to each other so that they sit facing each other. There is a little lettered name plate on Hully's desk: "1st Lt. Hulbert Burroughs". They have a nice office and nice quarters - all new and modern.

Wilma Bird, wife of the Capt. Phil Bird I introduced to you by letter, had a baby recently, Anne Carol; and Phil has been doing handsprings ever since. I'll bet that baby has been toasted a thousand times. Wilma is home now, and I went up to see them Sunday with some other friends.   Phil said some time ago that inasmuch as he had been introduced to you. he was going to write you. Phil has been staff duty ever since he has been here, but yesterday he was given command of a battery. He said that he had had an extra cot put in his quarters for me. He has done a great deal for me since I met him, and I have seen more of the Army because of him than I possibly could have otherwise. He used to cart me around almost everywhere he went.

Yea I got the picture of Jane, Jack, and John Ralston. He is a cute little rat. Looks something as Jack did when a baby.   Ralph wrote me that Jack is working for Douglas. That is fine. I  know that he will make good. Like Hulbert, he knows his profession. I am glad he is not doing that newspaper page any longer. That work was too hard on his eyes, too exacting in the matter of time, and had not much of a future.

Love to you all,


EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, Inc.
TARZANA, CALIFORNIA
Honolulu
April 9 1943

April 9 1943Dear Mike:

Shortly after we dropped anchor in Suva harbor, a native Fijian paddled alongside in an outrigger canoe, bringing native fruits, vegetables, and other things to sell to the sailors.

I went aft to the fantail of the destroyer to see if he had anything I wanted.  He did.  He had a war club that I immediately thought you might like.

The sailors were crowded so thick on the fantail that I couldn't get near the rail, but a sailor got the war club for me.  And I am sending it to you by parcel post.

Suva is a town on the Island of Vita Levu, the largest of the Fiji group.   Get your mother to show you on the map where it is.

Until not so long ago the Fiji Islanders were notoriously savage cannibals.  They are a fine looking race, beautifully muscled, tall and strong.   They have long hair that sticks straight out in all directions.  They are fond of Americans, and always have a ready, engaging smile for us, greeting us with, "Bula-bula!" and a sort of salute that looks like a hitchhiker's gesture.

I have some more junk for Mamma and Joanne.  Some day I may get around to sending it on.  No longer having Ralph and Pete and Mildred to do things for me, things sometimes don't get done very promptly.

You will soon be nine, and I am told that you are a very fine boy. I wish that I might see you.  Take good care of your Mother.

Lots of love!
Your grandfather,
Edgar Rice Burroughs

To
Master Michael Pierce,
Los Angeles, California.


Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
April 10, 1943

Caryl Lee dear:

Am sending you a few little things by parcel post. They are just souvenirs of my trip South.

The pikake necklace is made of shells gathered and strung by ex-cannibals of the Fiji Island of Vita Levu, where I acquired it. I though you could wear it when you dance the hula. There is also a so-called Australian "black opal" that I picked up in Sydney, Australia.

The little sea horse was made by natives of Vita Levu from the shell of a tortoise.

And there are a few pieces of money that you can't spend. Isn't that too bad!

Love,
E


Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
April 10, 1943
Joan darling:

Developing an excess of energy, I have managed to get the remainder of the junk off.  How I came to accumulate such trash is not a long story.  There is a great deal of trash down there.  What is not trash, they have boosted the prices on as much as 500 to 600% since our boys blew in with money to burn and no sense of value.  AND I didn't know whether I was going to have enough money for legitimate expenses, as I was unable to get checks cashed after I left Honolulu.

Incidentally, they have also boosted prices on trash.

However, I thought that you might like to have souvenirs of the travels of Marco Polo Burroughs.

Please divide them in your family as you see fit.

If there is excess postage on the package, please let me know.  It has just occurred to me, (too late, as usual) that the descriptive matter on the various packages may call for 1st class postage.

Lots of love!

Papa


TARZANA, CALIFORNIA
TELEPHONE RESEDA 222
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu TH
April 10, 1943
 Dear Jack:

Am sending to you and Jane by parcel post some souvenirs of my
trip South.

The beads are shells gathered and strung by native Fijians. That,
of course, is their only claim to interest.

The sea horse is cut from the shell of a tortoise that once roamed
the wilds of Vita Levu seeking its prey.

As you have always had a penchant for collecting things, I imagine
that you collect coins and currency. So I am sending you a few items
that I acquired during financial transactions involving a tremendous
amount of fiscal acumen to keep from getting gypped by the money
changers. After getting back to my quarters I'd get pencil and paper
and try to figure out just how much I had been gypped. The two French
notes represent part of a thorough gypping in Noumea.

The five franc note of the Bank of Indo-China is interesting because
while passing as currency, it has no actual value. It is a Vichy
French note issued by a bank largely owned by Japs. I was told that
there was no reserve of resources or assets to back it up.

The fifty centimes note is Fighting French as you may gather from
the Cross of Lorraine on the reverse. It is probably not worth a
damn either.

The white metal Fijian penny is a George V mint, the brassy one is
George VI.  The paper pennies were issued, I understand, because
American soldiers have made such a run on the metal ones as souven-
irs.  The latter were getting quite scarce while I was there. This
may also be the reason for the 1s note.

I wish now I had brought home something worth while for all you
children.  I explained to Joan why I had not. It is a sad story.

When you write please tell me about your new job.

Love,

OB

EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, Inc.
TARZANA, CALIFORNIA
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
May 15 1943

May 15 1943Joan darling:

Your Air Mail letter of the 20th April and your 3 cent letter of April 26 arrived together yesterday. Also a letter from Joanne dated April 24. It is usually a waste of postage to try to send it by Clipper under present conditions. I haven't had a letter come in by Clipper for weeks.

Your letter to Phil Bird came with the others. I took it out to his battery yesterday. He was thrilled to death with it. Read it aloud to me. It was a very sweet letter. Thank you for writing it. He said he would reply to it immediately.   I collect magazines and books for Phil's battery and take them out occasionally.   Yesterday, one of his officers told me of references to me made in letters home by a couple of the enlisted men. One of them, referring to having seen me at a recent battery dance, wrote "but you're liable to meet anybody here."   Another: "He's terribly old. He must be sixty."

Am going out there to another battery dance this afternoon, taking a girl with me - maybe two. The dances are held for the men, but the officers dance, also.   At the last dance I saw a buck private cut in on a lieutenant colonel. The girls are all colors except coal black - Chinese, Korean, Hawaiian, Portuguese, and white.   The boys are, of course, from all parts of the Mainland. Just watching is a lot of fun. They serve beer, sandwiches, and hot dogs.

Phil has made an excellent record since he took command, and has received commendation from his superior officers, including a "superior" from his commanding general on accuracy of battery firing.

You say I should keep a diary. I do. At Hulbert's suggestion, I am writing up my recent experiences in the South and Southwest Pacific areas. It will make extraordinarily boring reading, but Hulbert asked for it. The Lord only knows when I will finish it, and the chances are that you won't have to read it until after the war is over; as parts of it might not pass censors, although it seems innocuous enough to me, and is certainly out dated.

Was very sorry to hear that Jane has chickenpox. Hope Johnny doesn't contract it, but he probably will - or has. It must be over by this time.

May 15 1943As far as I know (in reply to your inquiry), none of my stories appeared in Mainland papers. Until today, I thought they were so rotten that United Press wouldn't release them (and they were rotten). But today I received a letter from George Carlin, General Manager of United Feature Syndicate, a subsidiary of United Press, in which he says: "The United Press reported that the stories you sent were swelL, but somehow the subscribing papers did not come through with the promotion and display anticipated. This was probably due to the press of big war news, especially from North Africa."

That made me feel a little better.  A few that were run here seemed to be very well liked.  I was just getting onto the knack of the thing when the Navy refused me transportation to Guadalcanal.  Perhaps I am just as well off.  I was more scared of malaria than I was of the Japs, and malaria caused more casualties down there than bullets - both among our own troops and those of the Japs.  The worst part of contracting malaria is that one may be subject to recurring attacks for the rest of one's life.

Hope your Victory Garden is more of a success than any of my gardens ever were.  But it probably won't be.  If the damn things come up at all, there are always a million pesky pests to devour them before you can.  I was once successful in growing strawberries at the Mecca Avenue Place.  And the quail came in and ate them all.  I couldn't do a thing about it, because nothing could induce me to kill a quail - as you probably recall.

Thanks a lot for your letters.  I look forward to them.   Haven't heard from Ralph since his letter of April 2nd.

Love,
Papa

EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, Inc.
TARZANA, CALIFORNIA
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
August 3 1943

August 3 1943Joan darling:

Received your letter of July 17 yesterday, and it was good to hear from you again.  I know how you feel about bills.  The first of each month used to be a terrific headache for me.  But no more.  I pay cash for everything.  It is a grand and glorious feeling to meet the dawn of each new month knowing that the sword of Damocles is not hanging over my head.  I am enclosing a check for $100 which you may use if you wish to start you on the road to that beatific condition.   There is just one rule to follow: Buy nothing for which you cannot pay cash.

Life here has ceased to be very exciting.  I am ashamed to say that outside of a little bridge, a little poker, and an occasional cocktail party I do nothing.  I cannot think of anything to write.  Whatever creative urge or ability I may have had has apparently vanished. My main occupation is reading the Encyclopedia Britannica.  In five weeks I have gotten as far as CLOOTS. JEAN BAPTISTS DU VAL GRACE, BARON VON.   I still have a long way to go.  Have also been reading a brief history of the Pharaohs. Inasmuch as about all that is known of them is taken from eulogistic inscriptions from their tombs, temples, and other monuments, inscribed there by sycophantic biographers who would have lost both their jobs and their heads if they had told the truth, I am not as deeply impressed as I might be.

Just at present, when not engaged with the Britannica, I am reading the autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, a great artist, but also a lecherous braggart, a liar, a thief, a murderer, a traitor, and all-in-all one of the most scurrilous of all historic characters.

Pope Alexander VI and his bastard son, Caesare Borgia, are two other choice products of Italy into whose putrid lives I have again been dipping.  I can say this for them, that their villainies fascinate one. The Pope's illegitimate daughter, Lucretia Borgia, has been much maligned.  She was the most decent of the lot.  Or perhaps I should say, the least indecent.  Benito, Edda, and the other Fascists had an all-time low mark to shoot at, but they have done pretty well. I am waiting for another assignment, which I shall not get.

Lots of love,
Papa


EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, Inc.
TARZANA, CALIFORNIA
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
August 13  1943

Caryl Lee dear:

Your letter of July 28, received yesterday, was the nicest letter you have written me. You write very much better with pen and ink than you do with pencil. And the envelope was neatly and properly addressed and stamped. I'll have to give you and "E".

And you really wrote a letter! It acknowledged mine and answered my questions. I am very proud of you. Thanks for your expressions of love. One likes to hear those things. And don't forget that I love you.

No, I am not in the army. I am an accredited correspondent. I have to wear my uniform only when I am on assignment with the troops. As I am not on assignment now, I don't wear it, for which I am glad for two reasons. ONe is that in this hot weather my slack suits are much more comfortable. And the other, that after I sit down once in a clean uniform it is so wrinkled that I look like something the cat dragged in and didn't want.

No, there is nothing new over here that I know of. Guns fire and bombers dive, and occasionally the air raid alarm sounds; but it is all for training and practice. As far as I know there hasn't been an enemy ship or plane around here for more than a year. General MacArthur and Admiral Halsey are keeping the Japs too busy in the South and Southwest Pacific, and the Army and Navy in the Aleutians, to permit them to waste men and ships in what would be a futile venture in this direction. Notwithstanding this, however, the Army and Navy seem constantly on the alert here, just as though they were expecting an attack.

Which is good business.

You say you don't remember all the things we used to do. What do you remember best? Let's see how good your memory is. Now I don't remember making a donkey for you out of a coconut. Hold everything! I do now. It had a large coconut for the body and a little baby one for the head. Is that right? I don't know what became of it. "So fleet the works of men, back to their earth again ancient and holy things fade like a dream."  (Charles Kingsley).

No I never ride a horse here. I don't like livery stable horses. When I can have my own again, maybe I'll ride -- and take you along on another.

I didn't know that anyone else was reading my letters to you. But I really can't see that makes any difference, as they certainly contain no military secrets. I hope that you can find the time from all your other correspondence to write me other nice letters occasionally.

Lots of love, Sweetheart!

E


EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, Inc.
TARZANA, CALIFORNIA
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
October 2 1943
24
October 2 1943Joan darling:

I'll start this reply to your nice letter of September 17, which I found in my mail box this morning; but I shall have to finish it to-morrow, as I must go back to my quarters and listen to the California-USC game, which starts at 11:15 A.M. Hawaii War Time.

Thanks!   My eye was perfectly O.K. within a week after the accident. I ran into Dr. Holmes, my occulist, on the street yesterday; and he told me again how lucky I had been and that he had been very much worried about me at the time of my accident.

And I don't need anyone "to take care of me" - period.  I sew on my own buttons, and when the holes in my socks get too large, I throw the socks in the waste basket.  I have even done a little of my own washing on occasion and also some of my pressing.  It takes a long time to get these things done here, and often they are not done any too well.

I never want for company, as I keep a stock of library books on hand; and no one can lack for company who has a good book to read.  I wish that you might see the long list of books that I have read since I started to keep a list of them in August.  Then, of course, I have some social contacts - bridge, poker, and parties.  I have not been in so great demand for the last named since August 10th, when I stepped onto the wagon temporarily. (And now for football.  Aloha!)

******
Monday, October 4

I didn't come down to the office Sunday, as I had expected to do. Watched several sets of paddle tennis at the hotel until noon.  Then Lt. (j.g.) Bob Kahn phoned me, and I asked him over for lunch.  He said he had a friend with him; so I told him to bring him along. Kahn had a letter of introduction to me from Hal Thompson (Rochelle's husband).  Kahn brought not only his friend, Capt. Fred Baumstark, USMC (Marine, not Medical), but also a present of a full quart of Bourbon; so I stepped down off the wagon before lunch.  After lunch, I telephoned Mildred Rathbone, who lives with Leila Langford a few cottages from me, and asked her if I could bring a couple of friends down to meet her.  She said, "Come on; we are just having a drink." We found Capt. John King there.  He had brought in two quarts of Bourbon the day before.  I had played bridge with him and Mildred the previous evening until 12 or 1 o'clock.  So we stuck around there until Mildred and King went out to get some lunch.  Mildred told us we'd be more comfortable on her lanai, and to stay there until they came back.  So we brought my bottle of Bourbon and stayed.
MISSING PAGE 2

October 2 1943busy.  Brig. Genl. Landon of the 7th Air Force, with whom I have become very well acquainted, brought in a portfolio of Hully's pictures for me to see.  They were all good, and many of them magnificent.  One very cute one was of a little Polynesian boy, stark naked except for a soldiers tin hat.  He was a beautiful child with enormous brown eyes.  In honor of that occasion, I stepped down from the wagon, after a month and a half, to join the general.  He is a very swell person, and only a few years older than Hully and almost as good looking.

I sure am proud of Hully when he comes in to visit me, he is so damned good looking.  All my friends at the hotel are crazy about him. too. Few men are blessed with three such children as mine.

Was invited to come to the dedication of a library at an Army post on the Windward Side.  Last Monday, an officer brought me about five hundred souvenir programs.  He wanted me to autograph some of them; so I autographed them all.  But when I read one of them, I damn near passed out.  I'll enclose one for you.  Was told that they would like to have me "say a few words".   The program, as you will note, indicated that I was guest speaker and was to deliver an address!  Jesus, lover of my soul!   To make it all the more horrifying, a really impressive audience turned out.  The colonel commanding the post was there. There were lieutenant colonels, majors, captains, lieutenants, ladies, enlisted men.  I did my best, which is anything but hot; but I got a lot of laughs.  It was a very generous audience.  They sent a sedan for me.  As a rule I am transported in a command car or a jeep, neither of which is the acme of comfort.

Just received a letter from George, dated August 30, the day following his seventy-seventh birthday.   It is difficult for me to realize that he and I are so old.  He says that he is really beginning to feel his age now, and that he can no longer do the work that he used to.  Edna's nurse, whom he kept on after Edna died, helps him.  Without her help, he says. he could not keep his place going.  His letter was very cheerful.  He leads a quiet, contented life with his chickens and his pedigreed Cocker Spaniels, which he breeds and sells.  He says that he never hears anything about the family, and asked me if Emma and Jessie were still alive.

I really didn't start out to write a book, but writing you is the next best thing to visiting with you; and I get a lot of pleasure from it. Were I a praying person, I should pray daily that we may all be re-united soon.  It is the one thing that Hulbert and I look forward to.

Lots of love to you and the children!
Papa


Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
November 2 1943

November 2 1943Joan darling:

I don't wonder that I haven't heard from you lately.  I just looked in my files and saw my last letter to you - October 2 - nearly three single spaced pages!   But I promise not to do it this time.  I just feel like visiting with you.

Haven't heard from Jack since his letter of July 13.  But I know that he is very busy.  I shall write him soon, as I shouldn't wait for a letter from him for an excuse.  How I wish I could see you both!

A reputedly well known Mainland photographer, now here, told a friend of mine that Hulbert is doing the finest war photography that he has seen.  His name is W. Eugene Smith.  They say he added the W because there is another Eugene Smith here.

Last night I dreamed that I was married again.  To whom, I didn't find out.  But I knew I was married because I was sitting at a desk with a pile of bills, making out checks.  I woke up with a headache. But what a relief when I realized that it had been only a dream.

My most recent letter from Ralph was the most optimistic and cheerful letter that I have ever received from him.  It added to my now normal state of cheerfulness.  He has done a wonderful job for the corporation and for all of us.  I hope that you full appreciate what he has accomplished against great odds and also his almost unbelievable loyalty to each and every one of us.  I am confident that Ralph could have his pick of many jobs that would pay him far more then he is getting and at the same time be free from all the many griefs he has shouldered for us.  He is highly intelligent, and his integrity has been proved beyond the shadow of a doubt.  Shannon saw to that, and is convinced by incontrovertible evidence.  We should give Ralph every possible support within our power, not only because he deserves it, but because if we lost him, God only knows what would happen to the corporation - and that is going to mean a lot to you children in later years.  It has meant a lot to all of us for twenty years.

Just phoned Phil Bird to ask him to dinner, but the colonel told him he couldn't leave tonight, as he (the colonel) is going on pass; so I am going up to have dinner with Phil.  He has asked me several times if you ever received his letter.  He has been hoping for one from you.  His address: Capt Phil Bird, Hq, 2nd Bn. 64th CA(AA), APO 958, c/o Postmaster, San Francisco, etc.   Their baby must be a hundred years old by this time, it seems so long ago since the regiment and a war correspondent were toasting her... frequently and raucously.

I let you off easy this time.

Lots of love!
Papa

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
6 December 1943
(Sent to: Miss Thelma Terry ~ 6 Arbutus Street ~ Mosman ~ NSW ~ Australia OPENED BY CENSOR)

Dear Terry:

Thank you so much for remembering me with Christmas greetings. Your note recalled pleasant memories of the many good times, you Ham, and I had together in Sydney.

Have not heard from Ham since I left the South Pacific. Did not even have the opportunity to say good-by to him. Submitted my request for transportation about noon one day, and was aboard a destroyer at 6 P.M. Had so much to do in those few hours that I could not get up to Headquarters to see him.

And I don't have his address. Think I'll just take a chance on dropping him a line to Richmond, Virginia. It might connect up some way. Then, if I hear from him, I'll remind him of that letter he promised to write.

This will reach you long after the holidays. I hope that you will have a very Merry Christmas and that 1944 brings you nothing but happiness.

Shall look forward to seeing you in Tarzana.

Very sincerely yours,
Ed Burroughs (sig)


Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
December 28 1943

December 28 1943Joan darling:

Thanks for the Christmas card and the little note of good wishes. It made good time, arriving on the 27th.

I met a Lieutenant Hall the other day who said that he met you in Los Angeles when he was stationed there. Had dinner with him at his mess. He commands an AA battery. A very nice chap.

Have been entertaining a couple of Marine captains just back from Tarawa. One of them, Don Jackson, I met with Hal Thompson in Noumea a year ago. His home is in Santa Monica.   I sure met a lot of people on my trip down there, and every now and then one of them pops up in the news: Lt. Col. P. L. Hooper of Galveston mentioned in the taking of Tarawa, New Britain, the other day.

*********
Well bless my soul look whose here--an old admirer of yours who loves you good but never hears from you—you guessed it—Phil Bird. I just came into Ed's office to interrupt his day and take him to Pearl Harbor with Me. He tells me he is too blankety blank busy to go but I'm not giving him a chance, and am taking him anyhow. We certainly wish you could make arrangements to get yourself over here and are looking forward with a great deal of glee to our coming meeting after the war. Best wishes always,
Phil

******
December 29

Now to continue where Phil interrupted me. Yesterday I read of the death of Brydon Taves, UP Bureau Chief. Australia.  He was killed in an airplane crash in New Guinea. I met  him in Sydney. Frank Cubel, Mutal Broadcasting correspondent, whom I met in Noumea last December, was killed in that plane crash at Lisbon. Dick Tregaskia (Guadalcanal Diary), whom I also met in Noumea, was badly wounded in Italy recently. The destroyer McKean, which came back from the South Pacific with my destroyer, was torpedoed and sunk off Bougainville last month. I knew her officers quite well, especially her skipper. He was not lost. We spent a lot of time together at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, and I also had dinner aboard the McKean. This morning's paper ran an item saying that Lt. Col. Philip F. LaFollette, former governor of Wisconsin, landed at Cape Glouster with the Marines last week. He was the first officer I met when I landed on New Caledonia. And so it goes.
(over)
December 28 1943True to his word, Phil kidnapped me yesterday and took me to dinner at the Officers' Club at Shafter. Then to Pearl Harbor and Ford Island. On the way home we stopped at the PH Officers' Club and the Outrigger Canoe Club on Waikiki Beach.

In the evening I gave a little dinner at the Outrigger. There were sixteen of us. The Birds were there. Phil gave me a swell Ronson lighter - one of those with a wind guard that you pull up in a gale. My party was a little short of girls, there being but six. But they liked that. Among the guests were three Marine captains, an Army Lt. Colonel, a Navy lieutenant, and a G-man, and, of course, Capt. Bird. After dinner, Leila Langford asked us all to her Apartment at the Niumalu, where there was much singing to the accompaniment of a uke played by Don Jackson, who, individually, is all the entertainment any party needs.

Leila Langford painted the originals of the anthuriums and gardenias that I sent you, Jane, and Jack. She also colored the photographic reproductions. The framing was done at the shop of Floye Garrison, our top portrait photographer. She and her husband. Sterling Adams, were also at my party. He is the G-man I mentioned. They are all wonderfully lovely people, and Leila and Floye are beauties.

I hope my reference to going to dinner with Phil at Shafter and then giving a dinner later didn't confuse you. It's not my fault. It's the Army's. It has its dinners at noon.

In my last letter to you I mentioned playing poker at Shafter. During the game I acquired a $25 check. It bounced back on me the other day. I told Phil about it, and he promised to see the officer who gave it. Yesterday, when he came in, he was wild eyed. A $50 check that he had come by in the same game, issued, by the same man, had bounced back to him. Now he's really going after the guy. It's a court martial offense. An officer can be cashiered for it.   And, speaking of poker, I got into a nice game Monday evening and won $100.

Hulbert has suggested that in my writing I talk too much about myself. I guess he's right. But if I talk about other people, that's gossip. And anyway if I just talk about myself  I'll never be sued for libel. I hope you don't mind. There are really a lot of interesting things to write about here, but they'd never pass the censors. If they are of military interest, I never mention them unless they have appeared in the press.   When you write me, I always want to hear about you - what you are doing and even what you are thinking.

Lots of love and a Happy New Year!
Papa

Source: The Danton Burroughs ~ John Coleman Burroughs ~ ERB, Inc. Archive
Copyright 2003/2010 ~ Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

The Dean of WWII Correspondents in the Pacific
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The War Years
INTRODUCTION & CONTENTS
ERB WWII Time Line: 1940-1942 ERB WWII Time Line: 1943-1945 Photos  40-42   Photos 43-45
1940 Letters 1940 Letter Highlights 1940 Illustrated Timeline
1941 Letters 1941 Letter Highlights 1941 Illustrated Timeline
Pearl Harbor: Eye Witness Account USS Shaw / ERB Connection ERB-Truman H. Landon Connection
1942 Letters 1942 Letter Highlights 1942 Illustrated Timeline
1943 Letters 1943 Letter Highlights 1943 Illustrated Timeline
1944 Letters 1944 Letter Highlights 1944 Illustrated Timeline
1945 Letters 1945 Letter Highlights 1945 Illustrated Timeline
ERB: War Correspondent Pre- and Post-Wartime Timelines ERB Visits WWII Australia   Text Only
Our Japanese Problem ~ Hawaii Magazine ERB & Military: Early Years ERB Bio Timeline ~ 1875-1950
ERB Wartime Files v.1: Hawaii Clippings ERB Wartime Files v.2: Articles ERB Wartime Files v.3: Laugh It Off

 

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