First and Only Weekly Webzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Since 1996 ~ 10,000 Web Pages in Archive
Over 1,200 Volumes
Collected From 1875 Through 1950
The surviving editions are held in trust in the archive of grandson Danton Burroughs
Collated and Researched by Bill Hillman
Shelf: H2

Joseph Hergesheimer 1880-1954
Balisand ~ (1924).A.A. Knopf ~ A romance of a Virginia Federalist in the days of the Revolution and after. A rich background of plantation life, with a touch of somewhat cheap mysticism.
Java Head 1918
Begins: Very late indeed in May, but early in the morning, Laurel Ammidon lay in bed considering two widely different aspects of chairs. The day before she had been eleven, and the comparative maturity of that age had filled her with a moving disdain for certain fanciful thoughts which had given her extreme youth a decidedly novel if not an actually adventurous setting. Until yesterday, almost, she had regarded the various chairs of the house as beings endowed with life and character; she had held conversations with some, and, with a careless exterior not warranted by an inner dread, avoided others in gloomy dusks. All this, now, she contemptuously discarded. Chairs were--chairs, things to sit on, wood and stuffed cushions.
Quiet Cities 1928
Joseph Hergesheimer (1880-1954): author of The Lay Anthony, Mountain Blood, The Three Black Pennys, Java Head, Linda Condon, Cytherea, The Bright Shawl, Wild Oranges, The Dark Fleece, The Happy End, San Cristobal De La Habana (Cuba), etc.
American novelist, born in Philadelphia. He first achieved literary distinction with the publication of The Three Black Pennys (1917). This novel,
set against the background of the Pennsylvania iron industry, portrays the changing fortunes of a family of ironmasters. His other important works include Java Head (1919), dealing with miscegenation in a New England sea-trading family, and Linda Condon (1919), a character study of an emotionally repressed girl. Among his later colorful novels, generally considered less artistic, are Balisand (1924) and Tampico (1926). Hergesheimer, who has been called a naturalist writing of the romantic past,  is also the author of short stories, essays, biographies, and the autobiography, From an Old House (1925).

Far-fetched experimental prose
 Joseph Hergesheimer and the future of flowery writing
There's a certain kind of book you'll find lining  the walls of family-style restaurants or propping up bookends in better furniture stores and
knickknack shops. With nondescript covers, mid-century typefaces and obscure titles like The Hills of Allah by Lady Augusta Dainsforth, or The Limetree Grove by Wentworth Allan   Brooks, these are books that once may actually  have been read, but are now employed only as  decor. The duty of these one-time mass   consumption novels - and a little browsing reveals that they are almost always plot-driven  books clearly intended for the bestseller lists of 1927 or 1948 - is to be seen and not heard, to give the joint an upscale, literary flavor. It's the sad fate of Joseph Hergesheimer's books  that they would not be out of place at an Old Man Rafferty's restaurant. But unlike the rest of the placeholding blanks, Hergesheimer's books once actually meant a lot to America. In 1922, a Literary Digest poll rated him the Best Contemporary Author, and European writers  consistently ranked him in the top five. The German critic Friedrich Bruns considered Hergeshiemer's style equal to Flaubert's. The first doctoral thesis ever written on "ModernAmerican Literature" covered the books of Joseph Hergeshiemer. Even late in life, when his reputation had soured and his books no longer sold, Hergesheimer's  literary friends thought highly of his ornate style. When Hergesheimer asked why nobody was   reading his work anymore, H.L. Mencken told  him, "I don't know, Joe. I'll always enjoy watching you swing from tree to tree."  Hergesheimer suffered the ignominy of having  his reputation collapse while he was still alive. By  the time he died in 1954, he was a forgotten writer. Fewer than 20 papers have been written about him since, and his manuscripts linger untouched in the University of Texas library. Beyond the obvious point about the fickle finger of fame, there's a literary lesson in this.  Hergesheimer's ornate, flowery, exhaustively  descriptive style represented the "aesthetic" branch of American letters, a branch which, Victor E. Gimmestad's scholarly study notes, "began no school and had no followers." His  style is so florid that it's amazing he ever  acquired a reputation at all in a country where the highest praise you can bestow on prose style is to call it "lean" and "muscular."
Hergesheimer's real failing wasn't his style, but his inability to turn it off.  Hergesheimer can write some interesting passages Hergesheimer's career proves that there really isn't anything wrong with flowery writing. During the 1920s it was not yet clear whether the ornate Fitzgeraldian style or the brawny diction of Hemingway would become America's prose position of choice. Hemingway won that fight, but the ornate style stages an ccasional comeback, bloated and puffy from disuse.

Harold Hersey (aka H. Kemp, P. Kennedy, C. Kiproy, Larrovitch, R. Le Moyne, A. Owens, V. Vernon)
When the Boys Come Home


Poetry: Rare and Collectible: 1923 Privately printed: 
Erotic art deco prints throughout.
Poems imbued with more than a touch of fantasy, science fiction, horror. 150 pp.
Recorded by Ives ~ Copyright Harold Hersey

The Lavender Cowboy by Harold Hersey

He was only a lavender cowboy,
The hairs on his chest were two,
But he wished to follow the heroes
And fight like the he-men do.

But he was inwardly troubled
By a dream that gave him no rest,
That he'd go with his heroes in action
With only two hairs on his chest.

First he tried many a hair tonic.
'Twas rubbed in on him each night.
But still when he looked in the mirror
Those two hairs were ever in sight.

But with a spirit undaunted
He wandered out to fight,
Just like an old-time knight errant
To win combat for the right.

He battled for Red Nellie's honor
And cleaned out a holdup's nest
He died with his six guns a-smoking
With only two hairs on his chest.


Night ~ 1923
Harold Hersey was Publisher/Editor of Murder Mysteries Magazine 1929 & Murder Stories Magazine 1931 He wrote under many pen names.

Hopwood Hicks
The Sleepy King ~ Fairy Tale book
Grace Livingston Hill
Ariel Custer  1925 Lippincott or G & D reprint ~ 336 pages
Tomorrow About This Time   1923 Lippincott, Philadelphia or G & D reprint ~ 345 pages
Covers of  recent edtions still in print
White Orchids ~ and a multitude of other titles many of them for girls, all with a strong Christian slant
Grace Livingston Hill: A Life Lived for Christ ~  She was born in Wellsville, New York to a young Presbyterian minister and a published writer. It is no wonder that Grace received such strong talents and strength in God from her parents for they were the role models, along with her Savior Jesus Christ, that shaped each and every decision in her life. Grace once said that her father was the man to which she compared all other men. She was very close to both her mother and father, but was also very close to her Aunt Isabella, also a published writer more commonly known as Pansy. Along with her mother, Pansy spawned the interest in writing and telling stories at a very young age. On Grace's twelfth birthday, Pansy gave her a very special gift. From one of the stories that Grace had recited to her, Pansy took the initiative to type out the manuscript and send the story to her publisher. Pansy presented Grace with a little hardback book. Her first book had been printed by D. Lothrop Company, which was also one of Grace's publishers later in life. During most of Grace's teenage years, she remained close to her parents. Her father, being a minister, was called to different areas of the eastern United States, and she would always help out with her father and his congregation. Her father was called to Florida and while they were there, Grace obtained a job at a local school as a gymnastics instructor. It was not until Grace wanted to take a trip to Chautauqua Lake in New York where her family had gathered together in the summer for years. She desired to go so badly, but her family was not financially stable enough at that time to take such an extravagant trip. Once Grace became determined to go to Chautauqua, she became determined raise the funds to make the trip possible. This was when Grace began writing her first book, The Chautauqua Idyle, which was published by D. Lothrop Company and was distributed at the conference in Chautauqua. Grace was also in attendance at the conference, and she had achieved her goal. She now knew that she was capable of something great. This was just the beginning of her long and fulfilling writing career.  She had began courting a couple of men, but it was Fred Hill, a young minister much like her father, which took Grace's heart. They married and had two daughters all while she continued her writing career. She taught her daughters at home, and she always had time for raising them in accordance with the Word of God. It wasn't until her husband died that things changed for the worse. Grace was forced to go out on her own and make a living for herself. It was at this time that her writing became more than just a passion and hobby but a career for financial purposes. Just when she thought that things could not get worse, her father died as well. Grace's mother came to live with her, and was very helpful in raising Grace's two daughters. Grace soon became strengthened her God and with His Blessings, was able to go on with her life.  Grace later married Flavius Josephus Lutz who was the organist at her local church. Grace thought that she might have a chance at normalcy for awhile, but second marriage soon began to tragically dissolve. It took ten difficult years before Grace finally asked the verbally abusive Flavius to leave. Grace never divorced Flavius, but she did stop using his surname. After the separation, much of the excitement in Grace's life began to settle. Grace continued to write and remained a large part of her daughter's lives and later also in her daughter's husband's lives. Grace would later say that she was too much a part of their lives, but everything fell comfortably into place.  Grace went on to write over one hundred books, and she became known as the pioneer of Christian Romance. For years, she struggled with her publishers in an effort to incorporate Jesus Christ's Plan of Salvation into the stories of her books. Many of her first books had the 'religiousness' edited out, but slowly she managed to slip subtle messages into her books. Soon the publishers realized that there was actually a rather large audience for her books even with the religious aspect. Her books are not only entertainment or a presentation of the Plan of Salvation, but her books also present a wonderful blue print for life. From the stories that she tells, Grace was able to depict story lines that were and still are very much like the same situations that many Christians experience. She presents ways for Christians to live the best that they can for their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The heroes and heroines of Grace's books are perfect role models for all Christians today. We can all learn from the moral lessons that Grace taught throughout the years in her many books.

Pansies for Thoughts ~ From the writings of Pansy — Mrs. G. R. Alden

J. Crowther Hirst
Is Nature Cruel? ~ 1899 (A book ERB recommended while discussing Man Eating Lions)

There appears on the other hand to be sufficient evidence to show that the cruelty of nature is apparent rather than real in many cases. The majority of animals do not actually hurt their victims in spite of appearances to the contrary. J. Crowther Hirst tells us that he wrote to big game hunters and missionary doctors, securing the record of some sixty men who had been pounced upon by bears, lions, tigers, leopards, and panthers. Fifty-eight of them felt no pain or terror.  If this be true of man with his intense sensitivity, it should be more true of animals.

Adolf  Hitler 1889-1945
Mein Kampf  (My Struggle)(1940) ~ 1936 
This book written by Hitler outlines his plans to shape the world. Also he points out many areas of political and military strategy or 1939 Haughton Mifflin Co. It is the first unabridged and annotated American edition.
Online eText Edition:

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in Austria. Hitler was the third child of his fathers' third marriage. His father's name was Alois and his mother was Klara. When Hitler was born he was a sickly child and his mother constantly worried if he would make it or if he would die in infancy like her other children before him. He had a deep bond with his mother that united them both throughout his childhood. His mothers' constant fear and protectiveness over Hitler may have resulted in him learning to take advantage of this to get whatever he wanted. Hitler's father was seldom home due to the fact that he didn't want anything to do with the children or to be bothered by them. During elementary school Adolf received good grades and was a good student. This changed however, during High School where he got bad grades and was not that great of a student. Alois wanted Adolf to be a civil servant like him but Adolf had other ideas. He had wanted to be an artist, which his father never wanted him to become.After his father died he left home at 16 and went to Vienna. In 1907 he took and exam to get into an art school which he later failed. He had tried two more times and still failed. Also in 1907 his mother had died so he decided to stay in Vienna to live and learn. After failing the art exams he thought about becoming and architecture but that also fell through. He had to then take on odd jobs to eat and he lived in cheep housing or sometimes even park benches. Hitler later made some money by painting scenes of Vienna and for advertisement companies. Friends and acquaintances knew him as odd, moody and very easily angered. You can see later on how easily angered he can be during his speeches and when people brought him bad news or news that he did not want to hear.As a boy he learned to hate non-Germans especially the Jews. At home he had never heard the word Jew before and as a young boy he knew a Jewish boy. When he was 14 or 15 years old he frequently ran up against the work and he would get an uncomfortably feeling during religious disputes. While in Vienna though he started running up against more and more Jewish people. When he was walking down the street one day he encountered a person in a long caftan and wearing black side locks. He first thought that it may be a Jew but then he started having second thoughts and thought that the person could also be a German. This may be one reason why Hitler decided later on to make the Jewish people wear the Star of David so that he could recognize whom was a Jew and who was a German. Hitler considered himself to be a German, even though he was an Austrian, and had a fierce pride in his ancestry. He sneered at the Austrian parliament because they recognized 8 different languages to be official. Hitler didn't think any form of government could last if it recognized so many nationalities as equals. When Hitler became Chancellor he only wanted "pure" German blood and if you had any other nationality in you, you were considered tainted and would later be run out.

Hitler Bio

Elmo Hohman
The American Whaleman; A Study of Life and Labor in the Whaling Industry ~ 1928 ~ NY: Longmans

History of American merchant seamen. 
Ref: Overview of American Whaling
Quotes in History of Whaling on Stellwagen Bank

C.F. & G.H. Holden
Holden's Book on Birds ~ 1874 ~ New York Bird- Store ~ Reference for anyone interested in birds, especially in the custom and history of keeping birds as pets in cages.  Illustration of aviary cages and 32 engraved illustrations of birds.

Albert Allis Hopkins, ed.
Scientific American Cyclopedia of Receipts, Notes and Queries ~ 1898 ~NY: Munn and Co.
A book of old formulas. It is obvious that the medical information could be quite dangerous. Some of the alloys containing arsenic can poison a person. It is a quaint book of formulas on how our grandparents and great grandparents did things in another era. Some of the drink recipes are delicious, but some of them leave a great deal to be desired. 

Emerson Hough
The Covered Wagon ~ 1922 ~ NY: Grosset & Dunlap ~ 379 pages
Illustrated with scenes from the Photoplay "A Paramount Picture"  The story of the wagon trains going west. Chapter titles include:The Edge of the World,  Man Against Man, The Plains, The Great Encampment, Arrow and Plow, The Road West, Old Laramie,  Oregon! Oregon!

 The 1923 Paramount film adaptation with screenplay by Emerson Hough and Tully Marshall: A silent forerunner of Western epics, this film follows two wagon caravans as they depart from the newly crowned Kansas City and begin their journey westward, determined to settle in Oregon.Along the way, the pioneers must combat Indians and the elements (first desert heat, then mountain snow). Adding even more drama is a love triangle that develops between a pretty woman and two male travelers. History has obviously lessened the emotional impact of the film, but beautiful photography makes it a visual treat. Starring: Alan Hale, Tully Marshall

Two more recent edition: Classics Illustrated & Pocket Book
The Magnificent Adventure ~ 1916 (First appeared in Munsey’s Apr, May 1916)

The Story of the Cowboy: 1897 Grosset & Dunlap-Illustrated by William L. Wells.   Mr. Hough was sometimes careless and unreliable as a historian.  For example, in the chapter entitled "Wars of the Range", Hough gives an  unreliable history of Billy the Kid.  He claims that the Lincoln County War was the bloodiest of all range wars and makes the exaggerated statement that two or three hundred men were killed in the conflict.
The Law of the Land: 1904 Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis in 1904.  Illustrated by Arthur I Keller.
Online eText version:
The story takes place in the South and describes plantation life, after the Civil War.
Way of a Man: 1902 Outing Publishing, illustrations by George Wright
Civil War Virginia
54-40 or Fight ~ A.L. Burt Company  ~ 1909

Miss Lady

HOUGH, EMERSON, 1857-1923 Journalist, editor of Forest and Stream, and novelist of the West.
Emerson Hough's American West by Carole M. Johnson: From Books at Iowa 21 (November 1974) Copyright: The University of Iowa
As a working journalist, Hough traveled over the American West in the closing decades of the nineteenth century when the West was being ransformed from a wilderness into a civilized region. He participated in that change inasmuch as his writing contributed to the integration of the West into the national identity. Like his friend Theodore Roosevelt, Hough developed into an historian of the westward expansion and an ardent patriot who saw in the western experience the traditional American ideals of individuality, courage, strength, and pragmatic integrity he felt were necessary for the survival of modern America. As a writer of western history and fiction, Hougli sought to establish the West as a subject with enough dignity and interest to transcend the popular image of the Wild West cultivated by writers ignorant of the true West or its past. As a conservationist and an authoritative commentator on every sport from fly casting to bear hunting, he sought to preserve the American wilderness because he saw it as a source of the nation's strength and uniqueness. His most popular novels, The Covered Wagon (1922) and North of 36 (1923), were the culmination of his efforts to identify the West with the ideals of the American past.

Though a midwesterner, Hough was a product of the frontier tradition. He was born in Newton, Iowa, on June 28, 1857. His parents, Joseph Bond Hough and Elizabeth Hough, had emigrated from Virginia to Jasper County, Iowa, in 1852.John, the first Hough to reach the American colonies, had emigrated from Chester, England, in 1683, and his descendants subsequently moved from Pennsylvania to Loudoun County, Virginia. Emerson Hough was always proud of his southern, Anglo-Saxon ancestry because it testified to his "ancient, undeniable one hundred percent Americanism." Joseph Hough taught school, served as a county clerk, worked as a county surveyor and a farmer, and at one time was a grain and lumber merchant. Emerson Hough himself displayed the same kind of frontier versatility in his lifetime. In fact, his father was the prototype for many of his fictional heroes and a pattern for his own life. "My father was a Virginian," Hough said once, "a grand man as I look at it, simple, temperate, manly, the best shot with rifle or gun that I ever saw. I suppose I got my love of field sports and my love of the Old West from him -- that it was heredity that sent me west and shaped much of my later course of life." Hough was a proficient sportsman himself, hunting and fishing in every state of the Union and in Canada and Mexico before he died. He maintained a husky appearance and led a strenuous life in spite of constant illnesses which plagued him from childhood. Fortunately, this enforced idleness as a child allowed him to read a great deal. He indulged his preference for romanticism in Tennyson's Idylls of the King; and the battle scenes in the Biblical Book of Kings provided a natural transition to Ivanhoe and most of Walter Scott's historical fiction. Perhaps the book which influenced Hough most was Henry Howe's Historical Collections of the Great West, published in Cincinnati in 1851. "I still think this is one of the great books of America," he said, for it showed us America as it once was -- the most wonderful country ever occupied by civilization. I wish those old days were back, or that I had been born in them."  As a youth, Hough was deeply impressed by Howe's declaration in the preface of his book that historical fiction had greater charm than plain history.

Hough graduated with two other pupils from the local high school at Newton, Iowa, in 1875, and after teaching in a country school for one term, he entered The University of Iowa in 1876. His university career was an eventful one in which he played on the football team, edited the college  newspaper, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1880. Hough's father urged his son to study law, partly out of his own failure in that ambition for himself; but reluctant to enter the legal profession, Hough spent some time as a surveyor in a civil engineering party before deciding to read law. As a diversion from his studies he began to write sketches on the outdoors and on hunting for publication in eastern magazines. His first published article, "Far From the Madding Crowd," which appeared in Forest and Stream (August 17, 1882), revealed a romantic primitivism which was to pervade his later work: "There is no more natural or effective way to rest," he wrote, "than to merge for a time the artificial man into the natural; to sink civilized training in the instincts given us by our fathers, the savages . . ."

Hough was admitted to the bar in 1882 at Newton, Iowa. Shortly thereafter, an unhappy love affair precipitated a desire to travel west. Fortunately a friend who was practicing law in White Oaks, New Mexico, invited him to join his law firm there, and when the American Field offered him a free railroad pass to write some sketches on the Southwest for them, Hough left immediately for New Mexico.

The New Mexico Territory in the 1880's was a place of social and political upheaval, the scene of murders, range wars, Indian uprisings, and the coming of the railroad-the last frontier. Hough arrived in White Oaks on June 1, 1883, and formed a law partnership with Eli H. Chandler. At this time White Oaks -- "half mining camp and half cow camp" -- was considerably tamer than its neighbors, Lincoln and Fort Stanton, which were just recovering from the ravages of the Lincoln County War and the tempestuous career of the late outlaw, Billy the Kid. But, despite the inevitably numerous legal proceedings typical of a mining community, Hough and his partner did not have much of a law practices Increasingly, Hough was more attracted to the pleasures of the hunt than to the drudgeries of the law, and he later admitted that he devoted a great deal of time to bear hunting. Recognizing that a man had to be versatile in order to survive, Hough spent the remainder of his time working as a reporter and sometime editor on the Golden Era, a weekly White Oaks newspaper. Eventually, journalism began to occupy as much of his time as hunting.

During his stay in New Mexico, Hough bad been gathering material for the American Field and other Midwestern publications like Field and Stream and Outing. In a series of sketches which appeared in the American Field from June 2, 1883, to May 31, 1884, he wrote about his travels in the Southwest. These sketches reveal a perceptive response to an environment that must have appeared strange if not extraordinary to the young man from the Midwest. This response often takes a humorous and, in some cases, comic form, foreshadowing some of his best work in Heart's Desire. Other more serious sketches show a remarkable insight into the powerful influence of the frontier environment upon its inhabitants, at its worst twisting the soul with loneliness, at its best eliciting superior qualities of courage, self-reliance, individuality, and pragmatic integrity that were necessary for survival in the West. "The ancient law of individualism and of the survival of those who ought to survive, was the actual law of the land," Hough wrote of the West be had known in the 1880's, and he firmly believed and advocated the idea that "environment produced the creature."  To a great extent Hough's life in White Oaks determined the kind of values he admired, but his attachment to White Oaks was based on more than a youthful romanticism. While he was frankly idealistic about the place, he also recognized that White Oaks, as he had known it, had been real, and he was concerned with capturing that reality before it vanished into unrecognizable myth: "One saw there the actual old West, not the railroad tourist West, but the real West, with its population made up of flotsam and jetsam of the westbound tide of humanity." Consequently, in his best western fiction, Hough based his stories on his own personal observations and experiences, showing little tendency to romanticize or exaggerate his characters or the West.

In February, 1884, Hough returned to Iowa to attend his mother, who was ill. When he found his father in serious financial difficulties, he abandoned the law altogether and turned to journalism to support his family. From February to October of 1884, he worked as the  business manager of the Des Moines Times, and in late November of that year he became the associate editor of the Register in Sandusky, Ohio. Hough also wrote humorous stories for the McClure-Phillips syndicate at five dollars a column and articles on sports for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat at six dollars a column. From Sandusky, Ohio, he went in 1889 to Chicago, where be worked on the American Field, the sporting publication to which be had previously contributed. His assignments for this magazine took him to Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, the Indian Nations, Texas, and other wild, remote parts of the country. He later recalled that by age thirty-two he had been successively "a sewer of grain sacks, a rodman, a levelman, a law student, a lawyer, an editor, a reporter, a solicitor, a collector of bad debts, a special writer, a townsite boomer, and a newspaper owner."  Since 1882 he had contributed occasional sketches on hunting and fishing to Forest and Stream, a New York sporting journal, and in 1889 he became its western representative. His responsibility was to edit the "Chicago and the West" column for fifteen dollars a week. His job also required him to solicit advertising, an activity he disliked intensely. Nevertheless he resolved to become "the best posted man in America engaged in the journalism of outdoor sports."  Of the years between 1889 and 1904 he later wrote: "I never worked harder in my life than I did at this time, and I don't know that I have ever been happier. In all this time I was getting a sort of education which embraced pretty much all of western America. I knew western standards and western life pretty well."

One of Hough's trips during this period had far-reaching effects. In the winter of 1893, in company with his friend and guide Billy Hofer and two soldiers from Fort Yellowstone, Hough crossed the whole of Yellowstone National Park in below-zero temperatures for the purpose of photographing the wild game and counting the buffalo, whose number was dwindling because of the encroachment of winter poachers. Though the authorities thought there were five hundred buffalo left in the park, Hough could hardly find one hundred. In the course of his trip be was also instrumental in capturing a poacher. When the army fined the poacher only by confiscating his outfit, Hough was outraged and wrote a report showing the absurdity of the park regulations as practical protection for the wildlife and emphasizing also the actual extent of the ravages of the poachers on the park buffalo. This report, later published in an eastern newspaper, moved Congress in May, 1894, to pass a strong law making the poaching of wild game in the park a punishable offense, the first time that government protection had ever been given to the buffalo. Hough said of his part in this historic event: "I have always thought this was about as useful a thing as I ever was able to do in the somewhat thankless attempt to be of service to the wildlife of America."

By 1897 Hough had reached middle age without notable professional success. Marriage to Charlotte Cheesebro in that year brought stability into his life and gave a direction to his career. In order to increase his income he began utilizing the accumulated experience of years of travel and  bservation-what he called his "vacation work"- by writing about what he knew best. In 1896, through the influence of George Bird Grinnell, owner of Forest and Stream, Hough was asked to do a volume on the cowboy for the "History of the West" series, edited by Ripley Hitchcock. The Story of the Cowboy (1897), a historical and factual treatment of the cowboy and his life which is still considered a classic document on the cattle industry, established Hough's reputation as a western writer. Critical reception of the book was almost unanimously favorable and even enthusiastic, and the praise of people like Hamlin Garland and Theodore Roosevelt encouraged Hough tremendously. Garland wrote to Hough, saying that "It is a splendid performance. It has the power of the larger sort. It has dignity, restraint and structure. I wish I had written it myself." Theodore Roosevelt's approval meant even more to Hough; he marked this year as his true arrival as a western writer and Roosevelt's congratulatory letter as a landmark and inspiration in his life:

Though The Story of the Cowboy did not make much money, Hough was encouraged to complete his next book (a novel this time) within a few months, working on it at night and pursuing his journalistic activities during the day. When it was published in 1900, The Girl at the Halfway House attracted little attention and made even less money. Though not an artistically successful novel, The Girl dealtthoughtfully and intelligently with the problems of the settlement of the West, focusing specifically on the development of a Kansas cow  town into a prosperous, civilized city. In fact, this novel and the short stories Hough wrote during this period show an artistic and intellectual growth, and their success is based mainly on his objectivity and bonesty in dealing with western themes.

Not until the publication of The Covered Wagon in 1922 did Hough enjoy again the success of his first bestseller, The Mississippi Bubble. Nevertheless in the intervening years his writing afforded him a comfortable living. He enjoyed his career despite the constant pressure to produce a steady stream of marketable material, most of which he gathered on his summer trips. Hough responded to these demands with incredible stamina and ingenuity, in some cases using the same material in different ways. For example, a financially disastrous investment in farming by irrigation in Texas became the basis for an amusing and informative article, "Under the Ditch in Texas," which appeared in Outing (February, 1909). In another instance, Hough satirized the land frauds he had discovered taking place in the West through a series of Curly stories which appeared from 1909-1913 in the Post, Collier's, and the Popular Monthly. Unable to editorialize on these land abuses for fear of offending the editors of the Post, who were closely allied with big business, Hough wrote these stories out of a sense of indignation, and incidentally produced some of his better fiction.

Hough's inability to make money on his western fiction continued to discourage him considerably, and after 1913 be produced a large number of articles, short stories, and books on more topical, modern concerns. Most of his important work was done in conservation. These articles were often reprinted by conservation clubs and did much to promote the movement nationwide. Hough also wrote "The Young Alaskans" series of books for young people, encouraging them to enjoy outdoor life and preserve the natural environment. In fact, Hough was so active in the conservation of the national parks that on different occasions he was offered the position of superintendent of Yellowstone Park and Grand Canyon Park. He turned down the offers because the salary was too low, but he admitted privately that an official position, especially a government post, would restrict his freedom.  Nevertheless, he did not lose his passion for western history, and in 1917 he eagerly accepted an invitation to write a volume on western subjects for the "Chronicles of America" series, a cooperative history in fifty volumes, edited by Allen Johnson for the Yale University Press. The general editorial scheme was to relate American history in terms of "a romantic adventure of epic proportions." Hough's contribution, The Passing of the Frontier: A Chronicle of the Old West (1918), fit this requirement exactly because it was a compilation of his sketches and articles from previous years. He did not attempt to discuss the influence of the frontier on American politics as be had done in his earlier historical accounts. Instead, he included chapters on the more striking phases of frontier life in the Far West in its mid-century stage of existence. In an about-face from his previous views in The Story of the Cowboy and The Story of the Outlaw, in which he had glorified the individual hero, he reserved his highest praise in The Passing of the Frontier for the settlers:

The chief figure of the American West, figure of the ages, is not the longbaired, fringed-legging man riding a raw-boned pony, but the gaunt and sad-faced woman, following her lord where he might lead, her face bidden in the same ragged sunbonnet which bad crossed the Appalachians and the Missouri long before. That was America, my brethren! There was the seed of America's wealth. There was the great romance of all America-the woman in the sunbonnet; and not, after all, the hero with the rifle across his saddle horn.

The research be had done for The Passing of the Frontier became the basis for a series of articles on western themes that Hough wrote for the Post in 1919, "Traveling the Old Trails." A few of the subjects Hough dealt with were the pioneer migration of the 1840's, the early exploration of the Far West and the Northwest by Lewis and Clark, and the cattle industry, the subjects of his earlier and more successful work. These articles were marked by an extreme patriotism and individualism, a personal reaction to what he considered the socialist threat to the American political system. Indeed, this resurgence of interest in the national heritage of older, simpler values was symptomatic of his general bewilderment at the social upheavals, the complex international politics, and the changing social mores of the postnvar period. In a series of letters he wrote to his friend Frederick Bigelow, Hough expressed these feelings. In 1921 he wrote: "I'm afraid I belong to an earlier age ... when I see the jazz life of these hysterical tourists bent on pleasure and burry, I like that not even so well. I reckon there is no place for me." [29] In a letter which revealed the source of his nostalgia, Hough wrote of his disgust with the current administration, the govemment, and the country in general, and he added wistfully: "If I knew of any place in the world like White Oaks, New Mexico, as it was in 1880 I should take the next train thither." [30]

The Covered Wagon (1922) was written in this mood, and it was an immediate and spectacular success. Most reviewers praised the book, not for its literary merit, which they readily acknowledged as negligible, but for its description of an event of great interest and importance, the pioneer migration of the 1840's. The appeal of the novel lay in Hough's graphic visualization of the pioneer advance in the West and the purpose and courage of the dauntless pioneers, suffering, great danger and privation to achieve their goal. This representation of the past was met with great approval by the public because it affirmed the sanctity of older values and offered hope that these values would prevail again. The nostalgic awareness of The West That Was, which dominated The Passing of the Frontier, was present in The Covered Wagon and to a certain extent determined its success. Similarly, when the motion picture based on Hough's book was made, its patriotic appeal was probably as much responsible for its huge commercial success as its spectacular elements. It ran fifty-nine weeks at the Criterion Theater in New York City, eclipsing the record of The Birth of a Nation. The film's "thrilling 
interpretation of the pioneer spirit that made America" impressed one reviewer particularly. His observation that "boys and girls will get from its two hours a vivid and lasting impression of the history of their country that would generally be too much to hope for from months of conventional study" is evidence that Hough's desire to teach Americans a proper version of their own history was fulfilled. [31] In much the same vein Robert E. Sherwood gave Hough this tribute-. "He had the ultimate satisfaction of knowing that he had honestly reflected a period in American history of which every American has a right to be proud." [32]

What The Covered Wagon had done for the romantic pioneer days of the 1840's, North of 36 (1923) did on the same sweeping scale for the cattle trail days of the 1870's. Hough began working on the new novel even before the publication of the Wagon. Although persistent illness plagued him, he characteristically refused to slow down. While vacationing in Colorado in early July, 1922, he became gravely ill and had to be hospitalized. Thinking he would not live long enough to finish his novel, Hough called his friend Andy Adams, explained to him his outline for the book, and asked him to finish it. Nevertheless, Hough recovered enough to return to Chicago by December, 1922, with an almost completed manuscript. He sold the serial rights to the Post for fifteen thousand dollars, and in February, 1923, he sold the picture rights for the spectacular sum of thirty thousand dollars. [33] Hough was never able to enjoy this success. Having achieved at last the financial security he had worked so long and hard to get, he died on April 30, 1923, just a week after he had attended the Chicago premier of The Covered Wagon.

It is fitting that North of 36 was his last novel. [34] Concerned with the beginning of the great cattle drives from Texas northward in the Reconstruction days, the whole novel focuses on the cattle trail, which Hough saw uniting North and South and creating the "first and only true American tradition -- the tradition of the West." [35] Though North of 36 had little literary merit, Hough had created a regional novel that was for the most part faithful to the customs and practices of the Texas cattle country. He had realized the main objective of his career in western writing -- to identify the tradition of the West with the American tradition.

The Covered Wagon and North of 36 were the culmination of Hough's lifelong ambition to integrate the West into the national identity. Though his historical fiction was often marred by a tendency toward didacticism and an adherence to a rigid romantic formula, he reaffirmed the values of a past that were threatened at a time of social and political upheaval. Moreover, in all phases of his writing he bequeathed a vision of America defined in terms of the western experience, and he made this vision a part of the national heritage.



The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzine: Official Monthly Webzine of ERB, Inc.
John Coleman Burroughs Tribute Site
Danton Burroughs Website: Tarzana Treasure Vaults
Burroughs Bibliophiles
ERBzine Weekly Webzine

Bill Hillman

 ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All Original Work ©1996-2008 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.