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Compiled by Bill Hillman


ERB: The Formative Years
Like Ulysses. . . 
(Quote from the ERB biography by Robert W. Fenton)
"Ulysses wandered ten years after the battle of Troy and made his way safely home after braving great perils and tribulations. ERB wandered twenty years after having been sacked at Phillips Academy, facing the more realistic perils and tribulations of trying to make good. 
By March 1912, at age 36, the log of navigator Burroughs read thusly:"
1891-95: Student, Michigan Military Academy, Orchard Lake, Michigan.
1895-96: Assistant Commandant, Tactical Officer and Cavalry instructor, Orchard Lake.
1896-97: Private, 7th U.S. Cavalry, Fort Grant, Arizona. Discharged by favor.
1898-99:  Retail book and stationery business, Pocatallo, Idaho.
1899-1902: Treasurer, American Battery Co., Chicago.
1900: Married, January 31, to Emma Hulbert, Chicago.
1903-04 Gold mining, Idaho and Oregon.
1904-1905: Policeman, Salt Lake City, Utah.
1905-1906: "Expert Accountant," T.J. Winslow Co., Chicago.
1906-1908: Stenographic Department, Sears, Roebuck Co., Chicago.
1908: Joan Burroughs, born January 12.
1908: Sales Agency Business, Chicago.
1908-1909: Magazine ad buyer for Physicians' Co-Operative Association, Chicago.
1909: Hulbert Burroughs, born August 12.
1909-1911: Secretary-treasurer, Stace, Burroughs & Co., Chicago
1911: Secretary and advertising manager, Champlin-Yardley Co., Chicago
1912 (March): Under the Moons of Mars, written in the fall of 1911, under the pseudonym of "Norman Bean" running serially in All-Story Magazine


* ERB is a member of the prestigious Ashland Club in Chicago. 
* Ed writes the poem "The Violet Veil." ???
January 10:  Minidoka, Idaho Wedding - George T. Burroughs Jr. and Edna McCoy of Bellvue, Idaho. 
January 24:  Chicago Wedding - Frank Coleman and Grace Stuart Moss. 
January 31:  In the culmination of a 10-year courtship, Ed and Emma Centennia Hulbert are married. Ed settles in for a few years of steady work at his father's American Battery Company. His father raises his salary to $15 a week as a wedding present. They move in with Emma's parents (Alvin Hulbert and Emma Theresa Drake) for a time at 194 Park Avenue.
February 4:  Death of Alvin Hulbert, Sr. at age 71. 
1900-01: Ed takes an increasing interest in poetry, drawing and cartooning. 
June 19: By appointment by Governor Steunenberg, George Burroughs represents Idaho at the International Mining Congress at Milwaukee Wisconsin.
August 8: James Hubert Pierce is born ~ future son-in-law and movie/radio Tarzan actor.
May: After the stock-market collapse of May 1901, Ed helps his father salvage the American Battery Company by going around to all the city's fire stations and selling them storage batteries for their new electric equipment.
* ERB creates his first complete unified works - three booklets dedicated to Harry's young children, five-year-old niece Evelyn and seven-year-old nephew, Studley: a humorous booklet about family members, a collection of children's poems and drawings, "Snake River Cottontail Tales," and a booklet of recipes and cartoons, "Grandma Burroughs' Cook Book" (Christmas 1901). 
1902: Ed  contracts typhoid. 
August 23: (News Item: Idaho Daily Statesman ~ Boise, Idaho): Placer Mining in Cassia County: T. Coleman Burroughs of the Yale Dredging company, which is operating on the Snake river in Cassia county, was a Boise visitor Wednesday. He reported business good with its company, which had been securing very satisfactory returns. 
October: Ed and Emma have a hard time making ends meet. He borrows on his life insurance policy. 
* ERB  writes the poem, "What are the Wild Waves Saying? An Evening Lullaby for the Children."
1903 - Spring: Funded by a $300 dollar loan from brother Coleman, Ed and Emma transport their possessions via Union Pacific and an open Concord stagecoach to Idaho's Stanley Basin on the Salmon River, where the Sweetser-Burroughs Mining Company gold dredging operation and their houseboat -- El Nido -- are located. 
1903 - Summer: Ed and Emma take many romantic walks along the river. His brothers possibly feel he is not carrying his own weight in the company. After a possible quarrel with George, Ed and Emma load their belongings and a collie dog, Rajah, on a freight wagon and leave to join brother Harry's gold dredging operation at Parma, on the Snake River. Ed gambles away his money ($40) at Hadley and Harry has to fund the remainder of the trip. 
1903 - October 9: Ed sends his father an illustrated birthday letter, informing him that he is taking correspondence lessons in drawing and is still hoping to be a cartoonist. 
1903: Fall: Ed writes his first piece of fiction: Minidoka 937th Earl of One Mile Series M. An Historical Fairy Tale - 82 pages handwritten on the backs of letterheads and odd sheets of paper. It is filed away and forgotten until long after his death. 
December 25: Ed and Emma spend Christmas in Parma, Idaho. Christmas letters go out on the letterhead of the Sweetser-Burroughs Mining Co.: Geo.T. Burroughs, Jr. Pres., Walter S. Sparks, Vice-Pres., Lewis H. Sweetser, Sec'y., Henry S. Burroughs, Treas., Minidoka, Idaho. They receive a mounted Gila monster from Bert and Margaret in Beatrice.
March 18: The death of Major Burroughs' 67-year-old brother, Henry Rice (born June 10, 1838), who resides at 580 Washington Boulevard.
April 5: Ed runs successfully for the office of  Parma town trustee or alderman
April: The gold dredging company fails and Harry gets Ed a job as railroad policeman for the Oregon Short Line Railroad Company at Salt Lake City. He is armed with a Colt six-gun, serial number 70495. To help pay the bills they take in boarders: Ed has a card printed up with a photo of the two of them on one side with information on the other side: "Newly Furnished Rooms for Single Men. In New Brick House, Electric Lights, Porcelain Bath. Rates: $10.00 Per Month for One. $12.00 Per Month for Two. 111 North Fifth West Street. Cor. North Temple, One Block From O.S.L. Yards. Salt Lake City."
October 14: Ed resigns, with good references, from the railroad company. He and Emma then auction off their furniture for train fare to Chicago. Since his parents have moved into a smaller rental house on Jackson Boulevard, he and Emma move in with Emma's family at 194 Park Avenue.
Summer: The Burroughs brothers, having experienced failed businesses in Idaho, have all returned to Chicago. George has taken over the presidency of American Battery Company upon his father's retirement. Harry, after recovering from a serious eye injury, takes a job with a telephone company and later with Automatic Electric as assistant to the manager. Coleman, whose Minidoka store had burned, works as sales manager of Hawtin Engraving.
Winter: Ed starts what are to be a series of jobs over the next seven years: a high-rise construction site timekeeper, door-to-door book salesman, a seller of electric light bulbs to janitors and candy to drugstores, an accountant and office manager, promoter of a snake-oil medicine, "Alcola," reputed to cure alcoholism, schizophrenia, psoriasis and Down's syndrome, etc. 
1904-1907: Sometime in this time period wrote the illustrated booklet featuring a long children's poem: "The Violet Veil" A Treely Truly Story - Profusely Illustrated in 18 Colors by the Author. Emma, Ed, Rajah & Co." Publishers - 194 Park Avenue Chicago.
Ed documents many of the daily events in his life with a series of cartoons
Winter: Ed writes to General King, now superintendent of St. John's Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, requesting advice about obtaining a position as a cavalry instructor. 
March: Ed is employed with E. S. Winslow, Co. where he tells friends he is working as an "Office Boy."
March: Ed requests and receives many letters of recommendation from previous contacts. 
March 5: Another former commandant of MMA, Frederick F. Strong, sends Ed a glowing recommendation for the position of Cavalry Instructor and Tactical Officer. 
March 12 & 17: Ed sends letter seeking a commission in the Chinese Army. No positions are available.Legend has it that around this time he was accepted in the Nicaraguan Army but his family vetoed it.
*  ERB inquires about books on fingerprinting and on the care of infants, suggesting that the first ideas for his Tarzan of the Apes plot may be developing. 
*  Ed takes a position in the correspondence department at Sears, Roebuck & Company
April 17: Ed is promoted to Manager of the Stenographic Department at Sears where he excels.
December: Ed sends out personally-drawn Christmas cards with a picture of himself as Santa being treed by a snorting reindeer with the typed greeting: "Uncertainty as to the movements of a certain stock has decided Santa Claus to remain where he is for an indefinite period. We are therefore sending you only our best wishes for A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year. A poor excuse is better than none. ~ Emma and Ed"
*Famous astronomer Percival Lowell publishes Mars as an Abode for Life in which suggests that Mars was once covered by oceans and is a supports a very old, complex civilization struggling to support life by building a canal system to bring water from the polar ice caps. 
January 12: Emma gives birth to daughter Joan at the Park Avenue Hospital. (The name is pronounced Jo-anne in the Burroughs family.) Lifelong friends, the Westons have a daughter two months later. Ed dotes on new baby: "Joan is a son-of-gun, she is THE BOSS of the ranch. She is spoiled, ruined curdled. But what do we care. We are proud of it."
March 12: Ed writes to Bert Weston after learning of the recent birth of baby Jane to the Westons: "I [now] know more about babies than the man who invented them. I can tell a baby where ever I see one. No one can fool me. I am getting so that I stop and inspect every baby I see on the street. I can tell how old they are without looking at their teeth. Many mothers with large families are coming to me for advice. So are fathers without any families."
* Ed writes a humorous article, "What Every Young Couple Should Know." Apparently it is submitted to Woman's Home Companion on May 5, 1937 but it is never published.
March 29: Letter from 194 Park Ave., Chicago Ill. to Westons: "Sure I change Joan. If you dont know how to do it I will tell you. Insert eight safety pins in your face, grasp infant firmly by hind legs, place three cornered piece of cloth beneath stage entrance, put on shoe that has fallen off during scuffle, grasp one end of one corner of didy with teeth unoccupied by safety pins, take the other two corners in one hand, drop them and put on the other shoe, do it all over again, in the mean time say goo-goo and giggle-goggle. After pinning all securely feel of baby. You will find her wet again by this time and should immediately commence to change her again. Repeat."
A move to the house across the street is planned by fall, after they lay hardwood floors and buy more furniture. The Burroughs household now consists of Ed, Emma, Joan, Rajah the dog, and canaries.
August: Ed leaves his success and security at Sears to go into business for himself. 
Summer: Ed and a partner start an advertising agency based upon a correspondence course aimed at preparing students in salesmanship: Burroughs & Dentzer, Advertising Contractors. It fails. 
*  Ed writes the poem "Poverty!" and pawns Emma's jewelry. 
December 25: Ed receives a warm Christmas letter from his father in which he reports that he has paid off Ed's debts to Coleman. Business apparently has turned sour for all of the Burroughs clan. 
* George and Mary Evaline have moved to 493 (1418) Jackson Boulevard.
* Florence Gilbert, future wife of ERB is born.
Summer: Ed accepts a position as office manager for Dr. Stace's Physicians Co-Operative Association selling Alcola, which is publicized as a cure for alcoholism. Ed turns down an offer to come back to Sears to start a business with Stace in which they train salesmen - a part of their training involved the selling products for the company. 
August 12: Birth of son Hulbert. Ed and Emma start an elaborate baby book with art, poems and photos. 
Your pop came prancing home one night
Upon the Lake street "L"
And Mamma met him at the door
Some gladsome news to tell.
"Oh, papa dear, look here, look here!
"And skip around in joy,
"For I've been down to Hillman's store
"And bought a baby boy."
December: Lack of funds results in Ed creating the drawings and verses for home-made Christmas cards.

Poem in Edgar Rice Burroughs' hand
written on the occasion of son Hulbert's birth ~ August 12, 1909
From the Hulbert Burroughs Baby Book

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Compiled by Bill Hillman
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