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Volume 1039
Presents
LOST WORDS AND LETTERS OF
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS
Pre-World War II

Headquarters
Michigan Military Academy
Orchard Lake, Michigan
May 3, 1898

To: Mr. E. R. Burroughs
      Pocatello, Idaho

Mr. C. R. Burroughs
      Pocatello, Idaho
My dear Sir:-
        I am much interested in your letter of the 26th.  I know that you will be a credit to yourself in such service as you wish to enter. I am just about arranging now to go to Washington, and I assure you that I shall gladly say what I can in your behalf, and I heartily wish for the highest success in whatever you undertake.
            Very truly yours,
                   (sig) Rogers
                                Superintendent
(Dictated)


Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Chicago
Aug. 14, 1908

To: Mr. E. R. Burroughs,
      197 No. Park Ave.
            Chicago, Ill.

My dear Mr. Burroughs:
            I regretted that I left so suddenly on my vacation that I did not get a chance to bid you goodbye.  I hope you will not lose track of us, and whenever you are out this way that you will drop in and see me.

             Your record with the House has been a fine one, and the work you have done in straightening out the Stenographic Department and bringing it down to a proper level as to cost of output has  been much appreciated, and if ever at any time you wish to return to us, I am sure the House will be glad to give your request for reinstatement its best consideration.
      With very best wishes, I am
             Sincerely yours 
                       (sig) P.V. Brinn?
                       General Office Manager


ERB Letter to the Table Talk Section of All-Story Magazine ~ May 1913
FROM THE MAN WHO KNOWS MARS
My Dear Sir:

It has been with feelings of considerable amusement that I have read your various references to me and other writers in your highly interesting "Table-Talk."

I am constrained to believe, however, that a continuation of this policy cannot but fail to produce in the minds of magazine readers an entirely erroneous impression, since the natural inference is that writers associate, in terms of equality, with editors.

Pray do not assume from this that I consider myself at all superior -- though I do feel that there are certain ethical proprieties which should outwardly, be rigidly observed by professional men in so far as their clientele is concerned.

As a matter of fact I am really quite democratic -- I would even go to lunch with a publisher, under certain, more or less obvious conditions.

I was quite sorry not to have been able to see you the last time you called -- I trust that my secretary made my apologies in perfectly good form.

By the bye, before closing I feel that I must speak of a very delicate matter. It is, in fact, no less than my man complains that you sometimes keep him waiting as long as ten minutes when he delivers a manuscript to you before you make out the check.

I do not wish to appear harsh, but I insist that this must not occur again -- James's time is very valuable.

As my car has just been announced, I shall have to close, but it is with every assurance of my continued favor that I subscribe myself, sir.

Very respectfully your obedient and humble servant.

EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS



Edgar Rice Burroughs
Lindon Avenue
Oak Park, Illinois
March 15, 1916
J.G. Kilmer, Esq.,
Chicago, Illinois

Dear Mr. Kilmer:

This will introduce William Bosley concerning when I spoke to you over the phone this morning. 

If you will be so kind as to figure out for him just what he owes the Illinois Investment Co., I will mail them a check for the correct amount to-day, if he gets back with the information in time. 

It is very kind of you to interest yourself in this matter and I assure you that I appreciate it.

Very sincerely yours, 
sid: E.R. Burroughs


December 27th 1920 sj

My dear Charley:

You had a good hunch but you didn't get it early enough in the season. Evidently you folks in the provinces haven't yet arrived at the "do you Christmas shopping early" stage, as your letter only reached me the day before Christmas. As it was utterly impossible, of course, to get autographed copies of the Tarzan stories to your boy at Christmas and as business other than that pertaining to Christmas had ceased on Tarzana for a few days I was unable to do anything in he matter. I shall however forward him a set in the course of a few days. 

It does seem odd to think of your having a boy that old. Our daughter Joan is our oldest. She will be thirteen in January while our two boys, Hulbert and Jack, are eleven and eight respectively. There is nothing like having children and especially around the 25th of December. We have had twelve real Christmases and I hate to think of the time when they will be grown up and Christmas will revert to the status that it occupied before our children came along. 

I always envy my children and more so since we have lived here, (this is our second Christmas on Tarzana), for while I had everything that a boy could want I lived in a big city and could not really have or enjoy the things that my children do here. It was surprising to both Mrs. Burroughs and myself to note the almost immediate change in their Christmas wants after we came to Tarzana. They have little or no desire for toys or play things now. It is saddle blankets, spurs, riding boots, guns, game bags, taxidermist's tools and books on natural history, the stars, flowers, trees and birds that interest them and that they ask for when they write to Santa Claus -- a pleasant little fiction that they keep up although none them believes in a personal Santa Clause. I think Heywood, if he is at all like my children, would have the time of his life here with them and especially since the arrival of four of their Christmas gifts this year - two lion cubs and two monkeys.

There is nothing like the country for children, but as I recall it you folks built quite a way outside of New York where you might live like human beings, something which to my mind is impossible in a a crowded city. We are about twenty one miles from the shopping district of Los Angeles and are inside the city limits, but it is a real country with coyotes, deer, mountain lion and bob-cat in the hills at the back of the ranch. 

I was very glad to hear from you again and pleased to learn from your letterhead that you are in such good company. I trust that this association has had an uplifting effect upon you. 

Mrs. Burroughs joins me in kindest regards to Mrs. Clark and yourself.

Very sincerely yours, 
(ERB sig)

Mr. Charles E. L. Clark
1 West 34th St.,
New York City.



A photo postcard of the Tarzana Baseball Team and its founder, Edgar Rice Burroughs. 
Circa: 1922. This photo was reprinted in the Porges biography.

Edgar Rice Burrouighs
Tarzana, Ranch
Reseda, California
February 8, 1924
Mr. Lynne A. Brown
Los Angeles, California
My dear Lynne:

           I went into Dyas' to thank you for the goose the other day, and found that I had missed you by only a few minutes, as you had just been in before me.

          We certainliy appreciated your kindness in bringing the bird to us.
          With kindest regards, I am

Very sincerely yours,
(sig) E.R. Burroughs


From the Danton Burroughs Tarzana Archive
February 18th, 1926

My dear Irene:

I am so sorry that you have been ill again, but really I do not see how anyone can keep well or happy either where there is so much fog and cold. Perhaps, however, it has been due to the Englishman's ability to withstand the English climate that has fitted him to wage his many successful battles against adverse conditions in all parts of the world. I have a very warm spot in my heart for the English, and a natural pride in my English descent, which combined with the Dutch blood of my mother's forebears should have endowed me with much finer characteristics than I possess.

By this time, no doubt, you have heard from your story, and I hope that you have had an acceptance, but if not this time, one will come eventually if you stick to it.

I have not seen Capt. Thurley's picture "Pearls and Savages", but I greatly enjoyed his book, in fact probably much more than you would have enjoyed the film. I read a great many travel books and am now enjoying Svenhedin's story of his life as an explorer. I think you would enjoy that very much. Quite a considerable section of my library is devoted to such works, which I find infinitely more thrilling and entertaining than fiction, and much more instructive.

No, I do very little shooting. I do not even own a shot-gun, although I have a number of rifles and revolvers. When we lived on Tarzana we usually carried a small caliber revolver or a pistol of some sort when we rode mornings and often got a shot at cayotes. My older son, Hulbert, bagged several small animals and rattle snakes. I cannot derive any pleasure from the taking of a wild animal's life. I would rather shoot a man than a deer, and I used to spend a great deal of time during the deer season riding over my property trying to protect the deer from a lot of counter jumpers who would just as soon shoot a doe as a buck.

I never had a great deal of admiration for any of the big game hunters, but to me the sporting thing is hunting savage animals with a camera and shooting only in self-defense or for food.

It does not seem possible that you will soon be 18; I always think of you as a very little girl, as you were when you first started to write to me. Joan is growing up too; she was 18 in January, and although she is very much of a live wire, she is still sweet and natural with none of the vices that the present day flapper is supposed to possess. As a matter of fact, I think that most of the decadence of the younger generation exists in the minds of the muck-rakers. I see a  great many of the girls and boys who are friends of my children and I think that they are the finest, cleanest lot of young people that I have ever met, much finer than my own generation at their age.

Joan joins me in love and best wishes.

             Very sincerely yours,

Miss Irene Ettrick
Little Ilford Rectory,
Essex, E. 12




July 27, 1927
Edwin Balmer, Esq.,
Editor
The Red Book Magazine
36 South State Street
Chicago

Dear Balmer:

I got a kick out of your letter of July 20th relative to my breaking so many rules. Life would be much simpler if there were not so many rules. I imagine I have broken every rule of English grammar several thousand times and being at heart a purist, I should be desolated if I was aware of it, but as I do not know a single one of these rules, I am saved much mental anguish.

I am not going to say that I hope you like the story as that would be too much to expect. But I do hope that you will see in it a circulation builder and that is what old Tarzan has always been -- busted rules and all.

Yours,
Edgar Rice Burroughs


 

EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, Inc.
TARZANA
RESEDA, CALIFORNIA
Telephone Reseda 222
Telegraph Western Union ~ Cable Burroughs ~ Express: North Los Angeles, California

April 8, 1930
Mr. James M. Libby
9529 - 118th Street,
Richmond Hill, N. Y.

My dear James:

        I should be very glad to answer the questions contained in your letter of April 2nd, but you must understand that these are only my personal opinions, some of which are given without the weight of any considerable legitimate knowledge of the subject, with the possible exception of the first.

        I attribute my first success in writing to chance, since I nor no other man may possibly know just what is going to strike the fancy of millions of people.  The long continued popularity of my stories, however, is  another matter and this I attribute to the fact that I have always done the very best work that lay within me.  I have not permitted myself to attempt to coast on the momentum gained on the popularity of my former books, but in each new story I try to write the very best story that I can.  The result of this is, I believe, that at no time have any great numbers of my readers been keenly disappointed in any story of mine.

        I have no hobby.  I am interested in a great many different things, books, wrestling matches, football games, prizefights, flowers, animals, automobiles - in fact almost everything interests me. I spend a great deal of time on horseback because I find it a healthful form of exercise and also because I have ridden horses all my life.  Naturally, the thing that one can do fairly well he likes to do.

        My opinions on prohibition, the League of Nations and the disarmament policy are utterly worthless.  However, I have no objection to stating them.

        I am a strong believer in temperance, but I am highly antagonisticto the principle involved in prohibition.  Furthermore, I am confident that prohibition does not promote temperance, while it does promote lawlessness.  I also am of the opinion that it is unenforceable and in the Literary Digest poll I voted for repeal.

        On general principles I am opposed to any entangling alliances with foreign countries.  We are today probably the richest and most powerful nation the world has ever known and I believe that we can remain a power for peace if we do not permit ourselves to be entangled unnecessarily in European politics.

        I consider the disarmament conference an utterly worthless gesture. With human nature as it is and always has been, and probably always will be, there always will be wars.  Nothing will discourage a belligerent nation more effectively than a well armed adversary.

            With best wishes, I am
                        Yours very sincerely,
Edgar Rice Burroughs

On February 10, 1934, Edgar Rice Burroughs received delivery of his new aircraft and on February 12th his diary entry was “Soloed Perfect. Got My Wings. Great Thrill.” His son Hulbert also soloed and on February 15th the staff and pupils of The Pacific School of Aviation held a Solo Dinner for Hulbert Burroughs and his father Edgar Rice Burroughs at the Hollywood Athletic Club 1934. This is the blank invitation to that event.
Unfortunately, on Feburary 16, Hully crashed the plane while landing into a strong cross wind.
Their flight instructor, Jim Granger, was killed in a crash on October 3 when his brakes locked on landing.


 
August: Bert Weston's letter to Charles Rosenberger concerning Ed and Emma's breakup. This text is taken from a copy hurriedly transcribed in Ed's handwriting::

"What I write, Margaret and I agree upon. She has known Ed and Emma only 10 years less than I have, and I think there has not been a day when we have not discussed them. 

I note in your letter, you do not suggest any action on my part, or on our part. I agree with this, for the reason that in all these years, Ed has never asked my ideas on any subject, even on matters about which I was much more experienced than he could be. Also, there have been times I, sort of off my guard, have offered him suggestions, and these received no consideration whatever from him. So we feel, that of recent years anyway, I have been just a sort of habit with Ed and not an very welcome one. We feel, if I should go to see Ed, or write him, that it would do not good, and would probably make him more determined to go ahead with his present plans. 

I have known Ed since the fall of '95. He has always been unusual and erratic. I have told Margaret many times, when Ed has done or said anything which seemed sort of queer, that as long as I had known him he had always done or said just such things. 

I suppose looking back, that the fact that Ed always has been unusual, erratic, and or perhaps queer, has been his great charm and attraction for me. I have known Emma only a few less years than I have known Ed. About the last time I saw Hulbert, I told him how Margaret and I felt about Emma: how high she rated with us, the way she had stood by Ed, and the fine children she had raised -- After matrimony Ed had some lean years, and they were damned lean! And there were a lot of them! So far as I know, Emma staid right in there. Item! I knew Ed's father as well as a youngster could. He was a grand man. He scared most youngsters, but I used to stand attention, and Say: Sir, to him, and we got along. As long as he lived I never failed to call on him when I went through Chicago. His office was only a step form the Union Station. I was Ed's good friend and admirer, and during those worthless years in Ed's career, I battled Mr. Burroughs in Ed's behalf. He said Ed was no good. I told him that Ed was plenty good. That he had not happened to Hit yet. I wonder what Ed's father would think of him now? I think the fine old gentleman has won his argument with me! You and I have lived long enough to know, if we know anything, that no man of our age can get along with any woman, around half our age, even tho this woman is a very fine person as I get it. Ed's Elder Year Light O'Love is anything but a fine person --
If Ed goes on with this, he is doing a terrible injustice to Emma, he is doing an awful thing to his children, and he is letting himself in for such real trouble as even he has never known! If Ed goes on with his present program he will too soon be busted, broke and just a tramp. The combination he has in mind, just does not work out. You know this; I know this; and if Ed wasn't crazy he would know it too. I suppose that Emma has a tender feeling for Ed, even yet! She would have, for she is a grand person --

If Ed insists upon going on with this Young Bride program, the damned old mis-lead fool! Emma should think of Ed as one she loved, but who is dead, and gone --

Through you I suggest to Emma, that she employ the best attorney in L.A. to take her case, on a percentage basis, and to sue, and lay Ed to the limit. If this silly old man, insists on going on with his present ideas, Emma should forget Ed: she should look on him as dead, and she should get from this stranger all that she possibly can for herself and her children. For certainly this new younger female is going to wreck Ed, and quickly, and utterly. 

I do not know for whom I am the sorrier, Emma or Ed. This is tough on Emma, and undeserved, but if Ed goes on through with his absurd program, he is going to experience hell and repeat, and there is no doubt of that!
You state in your letter that Ed says he has always wanted to get rid of Emma. That is just a damned lie. That is a statement of a person who is not sane --

Charming, unusual, erratic personality that Ed is, there is no woman on earth that would have lived with him, and put up with him, except Emma; and do not be fooled! Emma suited Ed plenty, until this insane streak hit him. Why, if your wife, or mine, ahd happened through some sad mis-chance to have married Ed, they would not have live with this nut for a month, and Emma has stood by him and wonderfully, through all these years. 

I had no right to ask you to write me about the Burroughs' affair, and my only excuse is that we have great interest in them. I am very grateful to you for the fine letter you wrote me -- That was a fine thing for you to do-- What you wrote is of course confidential in every way -- 

The Burroughs situation seems to us to be a hopeless sad affair for both Ed and for Emma, unless Ed makes a return to sanity.

I am sure I couldn't  have any influence with Ed. I never have had and in his present mood, he would not listen to me --

It seems likely  that the letter ended here; perhaps there was more that Ed did not copy. 


Looking Back on this year, Ed laments the loss of old friendships:

". . . the unjust and abominable treatment I received from others whom I thought were my friends. Perhaps they felt that they were justified, for they only heard one side of the story and that garbled and slanderous. Under the circumstances I could not tell my side even when I had the opportunity. I just had to keep my mouth shut and take it. The fact that some have since acknowledged their errors and apologized did little to lessen the hurt. 

My family all understand, and acknowledge that my action was warranted. My two brothers, my niece, and my nephew, who have met Florence since our marriage, all love her and appreciate the fact that she is a very fine woman. You can have no idea what we went through, though -- bombarded with filthy anonymous letters for years. 

While some of my "friends" would not accept Florence, she has always accepted my friends; and without exception they have all liked her. She has done nothing to alienate my affection for my children, even though Emma has forbidden them coming to my home. On the contrary , she is always urging me to see them; and when any of them do come to our home, she is very sweet to them. 

.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Tarzana, California
Telephone Reseda 222
October 19, 1935
Professor J. John Munson
159 West 96th St.,
New York, N.Y.

Dear Professor Munson:

Relative to your letter of October 9.

I tremble to think of what two college professors will have to say about TARZAN OF THE APES.  However, I think I can bear it, as my work has been panned by experts for twenty years. 

You ask me for my personal opinion of the story. The fact that it has been in print for twenty-one years, and is still selling thousands of copies each year, fortifies my belief that it is a corking good yarn. Technically, it may be poor literature although, personally, I question that it is so very poor. It tells a story in understandable English, holds the attention and interest of the reader form start to finish, and presents the impossible so plausibly as to carry a strong suggestion of verity to the reader, which I believe to be one of the secrets of the success of my many highly imaginative stories of Mars, Venus, and the earth's core, to mention a few.

It has always seemed to me that most critics fail to take into consideration the purpose for which a book is written. Mine are written for a single purpose - to entertain. They are good or bad according to whether they do or do not entertain. 

As a sidelight on TARZAN OF THE APES I may say that my education was not along literary lines. Until I was thirty-five I had no idea that I would ever attempt to write a novel. TARZAN OF THE APES was my third story and, like the others, was written to entertain, in the hope that the remuneration would make this new profession support my family.

I have never made any pretense of literary ability, being fully aware of my limitations, but after twenty-four years of successful writing, I do know that I can write stories that entertain millions of people. Just what this means to the literature of my time, I don't know - probably very little - but it has meant a great deal to my readers in twenty or thirty different countries of the world, and I am sure that not all of them are lacking in the ability to know and appreciate a good yarn. 

If this letter doesn't contain the information you wish, I shall be glad to add anything more that may be helpful to you.

Yours very truly, 

Edgar Rice Burroughs
(sig) by C.R. Rothmund
ERB/mb
 


Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
December 30, 1935 
BULLOCK'S
Los Angeles

Gentlemen:
Please deliver to Mr. Hulbert Burroughs goods as selected and charge to my account. 

Yours truly,
sig: Edgar Rice Burroughs

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Owosso, Michigan Argus-Press,
Special Centennial Edition ~ July 1936
While I did not know James Oliver Curwood personally, I was, of course, familiar with his works and, naturally, like countless thousands of others, I am glad to contribute an expression of my esteem for Owosso's famous son upon the occasion of the city's One Hundred Birthday Anniversary.

An incident which occurred a number of years ago endeared Mr. Curwood to me. It was when my daughter was a little girl and simply devouring Curwood's books. She wrote Mr. Curwood to tell him how much she enjoyed his novels and received a very lovely letter in return, which she still treasures.

With every good wish for the success of Owosso's celebration next July, I am

Very Sincerely Yours,
Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Tarzana, California
August 2, 1938
Miss Wilma Shephard
283 Simcoe St.,
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

My dear Miss Shephard,

I am glad to learn from your letter of July 22 that you have enjoyed my books.

It was kind of you to write and tell me so, and I hope that they will always continue to interest you.

Very truly yours,
(sig) Edgar Rice Burroughs


LETTERS TO DAUGHTER JOAN
From ERB: My Famous Father-In-Law by James H. Pierce
ERBzine 0940
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, INC.
TARZANA, CALIFORNIA
Palm Springs
Feb 14 1936
Feb 14 1936Darling Joan:

Another paving stone for Hell    I wanted to send valentines to Joan II and Mike, and here it is Valentine's Day and nothing done. What a mind! If I ever get a spare hour in town we'll. have lunch together again. I an pretty sure I can make it next Tuesday. Will you get hold of the boys and ask them!    We can meet at The Berries at 1 o'clock. If that is not a good hour for you, telephone Ralph, or drop me a line addressed to Tarzana.   If, for any reason, you or the boys can't make it next Tuesday, let me know in the same way. I won't have to know until I reach the office Tuesday morning. I hope you are all well and that none of you drowned. Didn't it rain!   We were up Wednesday and drove back Thursday; and it rained nearly all the time, although it was perfactly clear here when we left and was not raining when we got back.    I'll be glad when it warms up here. The doctor told me sun baths would be good for me, but I've had only one since I got back. 

I'm getting back into shape slowly. I can see much physical improvement and some mental. I have been absorbing for so many years that my thinking apparatus was affected, and it never was any too good.   The doctor says it will come back 100%.  I hope he is right. At 100% I may even have sense enough to come in out of the rain - who knows! 

Lots of love to you all.   Am looking forward to seeing you Tuesday. I'd like to have Jim come, if he cares to.
Always,
Papa

August 25, 1937 
August 25, 1937Mrs. James H. Pierce, 
10452 Bellagio Road, Bel-Air, 
Los Angeles, California. 

Dear Joan:

Florence has asked me to ask you if you will come to dinner next Wednesday, and, if possible, come early in the afternoon to swim. Will you please call her and let her taow. The telephone number is CRestview 1-9145.

With love,

Yours,
Papa

 

August 30, 1937
August 30, 1937Mrs. James H. Pierce, 
10458 Bellagio Road, Bel-Air, 
Los Angeles, California. 

My dear Joan:

I am so sorry that you can't come Wednesday, and I know that Florence will be when I tell her.

I can understand, though, how difficult it is for you to get away and leave the children.

With lots of love to you,

Yours,
Papa
 

September 20, 1937
September 20, 1937Mrs. Joan Burroughs Pierce, 
10452 Bellagio Road, Bel-Air,
Los Angeles, California. 

Dear Joan:

Sorry that I was not at the office when you came.

I am working at home now because I seem to be able to accomplish more there, and save the time of driving back and forth.

Am certainly anxious to see you.   I hope that we can get together soon.

Love,
Papa
 

October 1, 1937.
October 1, 1937.Mrs. Joan Burroughs Pierce, 
10452 Bellagio Road, Bel-Air,
Los Angeles, California, 
Dear Joan:
Am glad you like BACK TO THE STONE AGE, and that you think CARSON OF VENUS starts out well. I hoped that you children would read it when I sent it over.

I don't know what sort of reaction Lesser is going to get from Eleanor Holm.   He tells me that he took the matter up with the Motion Picture Producers Association, or whatever they call it, and with the P.T.A., and that their reaction was favorable.

Wish I might see you oftener.
With lots of love, I am,
Yours, 
Papa

May 19, 1939
May 19, 1939Dear Joan:
I was sorry to learn from your letter that Mike has mumps. I certainly hope that the rest of you don't contract them.

In the matter of the Tarzan Clan music. Ralph now vaguely recollects that it was in a large envelope with Schermer's name on it and that it might have been in the Spanish cabinet that stood in my office, and which your Mother came over and took, with some other things, while I was away. We thought it barely possible that the contents of the cabinet might not have been removed and that the music is still in it.

I wonder if you would be good enough to look the next time you are at Bel-Air, and see if you can find it. I also recollect that there were quite a number of my photographs in this drawer, and they may still be there. If they are, will you return them to me.
With love,
Yours,
Papa

Mrs. James H. Pierce,
5714 Bantage, 
Studio City, California.

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