A FEW MEMORIES OF OUR COLLECTING
by Dela White
learned to read by going to the library and checking out the Tarzan stories.
Tarzan was his hero! Then there was the day he went into a Denver
Used Book Store and found a large box for sale. He was only 12 or
13 at that time and was working in a bakery for very little. The
dealer named a price – said he would hold them for him until he had enough
money to carry them home. Many weeks later he proudly took the "trolley
car" carrying his new Tarzan collection.
It wasn’t until we were married
that he discovered the other series of Burroughs and his desire was to
have a complete set of the ERB writings. My parents had moved to
California in the early '50s. Each time we would go to visit, we
would go to the used book stores and try to find missing books – and when
we met Ed Gilbert (Editor: ERB's brother-in-law who had a book store
in Hollywood), we were able to obtain a few 1st editions. We
also discovered ERB Inc. and met Hulbert – and later became friends with
Roy was injured from a construction
accident January of 1979. We soon found it was good therapy for him
to spend time with the books and with others who enjoyed them also. Many
evenings were spent with Ken Webber and other Coloradans before our first
Dum-Dum in California in 1989. At that Dum-Dum we learned to know
some of the Tarzans and Janes from the movies; and there was more to ERB
than books! There were Do-Dad’s, Original and copied Art works, Pulps,
Magazines, Big Little Books, Comics and MORE! This then was the beginning
of the "Quest" that would include first editions for both our sons.
And the quest never ended!
In 1987 one of our sons found
a job in Lexington, Kentucky and it wasn't long before we knew about the
Edgar Rice Burroughs Collection in the Rare Books Department of the University
of Louisville. How exciting it was to learn to know George
McWhorter and Bobbie Rucker – and their love of this author! We found
it important to stop and visit them each time we would go to visit family.
So now we had "Burroughsiana" in California, Kentucky, and of course, Colorado.
Danton introduced us to his mother,
Jane Ralston Burroughs, in Santa Barbara. We had several visits to her
home and then enjoyed a meal somewhere after. Knowing that her husband
(and ERB’s son), John Coleman, used her as his model for Dejah Thoris,
we began a process to have a bronze statue made of her for our collection.
Jim Spratt worked with us to create three statues. (one for him, one for
us and one for Dejah Thoris (Danton’s mother). I could write a book
about other forms of art and how we managed to include them in our collection.
So many memories of items, the collector who let us have them and where
we found them.
And the collection grew as we
traveled throughout the United States and one trip to England to spend
time with Frank Westwood and Doreen. Always! We would spend
time in used books stores and collectibles malls. One of our stops
in Hollywood found the memory books of Joan Burroughs. We enjoyed
learning more about this young daughter of ERB. Much of this was
donated to the University of Louisville in 2000. This was prior to
our move from Denver to Elbert County and the country life we enjoyed for
We sold our Denver home and moved
the collection with us. Again, Roy had the enjoyment of creating
a collection to share with others, but only a few came that way.
Whether living in Denver or in the country, we loved sharing what we had
of Edgar Rice Burroughs! Bill and Sue-On took many picture while
with us and have included them here. The rarer ones, other collectors
will recognize . . . and it would be almost impossible to include them
Roy's health continued to decline
and in 2011 he entered a Nursing Home in Aurora, Colorado.
Because of his chronic pain from his accident in 1979, he developed Dementia.
Then on May 25, 2013, he left his earthly home and I was the keeper of
the collection by myself. I remained in our home until September
of last year (2015) and moved into a 1000 square foot apartment. There
was no way to keep our lifetime of collecting with me, so I contacted the
Heritage Auction in Dallas, Texas. James Gannon, the head of the
Rare Books Division, brought his crew out to package it all up and ship
to Dallas. Last fall many of the books were auctioned at the Signature
Auction in New York. More items were included in the weekly internet
auctions early this year. Heritage
is now in the process of putting together an auction of the Roy and Dela
White Collection for October 27, 2016. It is difficult to let
it all go, but it is also exciting to think of these items finding a new
home. You can contact the Heritage Auction for all the items to be
included if you would like to add some really rare ERB items.
Memories of many Dum-Dums, ECOF’s,
visits with too many to mention and the love we all share of Edgar Rice
Burroughs will make October 27 a bitter/sweet auction for me. For
those who win the prizes, my blessings go with you.