My name is Bruce Wood.
The first exposure I had to Edgar Rice Burroughs
came at the age of 6 when my antique-collecting father brought home a first
edition of Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar.
I was too young to read the book, but my cousin read it to me. By the time
I was 11 I had mastered reading skills well enough to read it for myself.
This I did - many times. By the time I was 13 the book was falling apart
from constant re-reading.
Books published At the Earth's Core
in 1962 I was already haunting the local news stands searching for science
fiction. I discovered the book immediately, and recognizing the authors'
name, I decided to give it a try. At The Earth's
was soon followed by The Moon Maid
and then Pellucidar and The
Moon Men. I was hooked. From that point on I acquired and read everything
I could find by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Unfortunately for me, there were
few paperbacks available at that time. But fortunately for me, the foreword
to The Moon Men was written by Camille "Caz"
Cazedessus, Jr., publisher of ERBdom. Upon
receiving my first issue, #5, of this unequalled fanzine I started buying
titles in hardback. At first I only purchased those books which were not
available in paper. Being only 14 at the time I had to settle for low grade
copies - after all, who could afford the sum of $600 for a first edition
of Tarzan of the Apes even if it did include
a jacket? (Oh! for those days again!)
But after 5 years of collecting,
my uncle called and I spent 26 months in Southeast Asia, effectively putting
a hold on these activities. What with the real-life adventure I was living
at the time and a marriage almost immediately after the war, I was absent
from the hobby for about 10 years. In the late 1970's I came back only
to discover that my favorite source had dried up - Caz was no longer active,
having sold his own stuff about 1978 and given up publishing ERBdom.
I began to search the rare book stores.
Ouch! Things were hard to
find and when they did show up the price was outrageous! Imagine $20-$25
for a G?D in jacket. Well, I bit the bullet and paid the price. After all,
I was single again and working as an electrical design engineer for General
Motors, so I could afford the books even if I didn't like the price. However
progress was slow since the books were scarce even with funds now available
for their purchase.
Then my big break came.
One of the book stores offered to go into a partnership with me to purchase
an entire collection from a collector who was liquidating. I was to have
first choice of the 40 year collection. When the dust cleared my collection
was as complete as I thought it would ever become.
is me circa 1985 holding my first edition of Tarzan of the Apes.
It is the printing with no acorn on the spine. My collection
at this time included every first edition. Of these, all books had a jacket
excepting the McClurg editions.
I did have five McClurg titles in jacket, but mostly the
McClurg editions were backed up by a G?D in jacket.
Therefore I had a copy of all jackets.
By this time the Mcclurg editions
in jacket were selling for $600 to $800 a pop, except "Tarzan
of the Apes" which had reached a price over $2000, and I had decided
there was nothing else to buy as long as I considered myself sane. I continued
reading the books, mostly the paperback editions. Nearly every title was
now available in paper and it was almost criminal to even handle my jacketed
firsts, let alone actually read them. So my collection just sat
on the bookshelf, taking up space, not being read, and constantly reminding
that I might as well be looking at a $10,000 bill sitting there.
In 1988 the fatal thought
struck - why not sell off the books, not one of which had been even opened
for 5 or 6 years. And so I committed what I now consider the greatest blunder
of my 52 years and sold out. More than any single event of my life, not
even excluding the ill-fated marriage of the 70's, I wish I had that decision
to make over again. But wish in one hand, as they say, and spit in the
other and see which fills first.
Now I am collecting again.
This time I am restricting myself to the reprint editions. I am shooting
for reprints in jacket but firsts are out of the question. At current prices
5 or 6 McClurg jackets would cost me more than I got for my entire collection
in 1988. And that brings you up to date on my collecting activities, except...
Employing the methods of
Burroughs himself in Jungle
Tales of Tarzan, I will take you back again to the 1963-64 era.
In the mid 1960's I became much interested in the Pellucidar
map and started adding to it by reading the books carefully and trying
to determine the locations of different areas from text references. It
was about this time I discovered the fanzines - ERBdom
Erbania from Pete Ogden, The
Burroughs Reader from Dale Broadhurst, and the little known Thuria
that was distributed by Larry Taylor in Kent, Ohio. Kent soon after became
well known because of the unfortunate incident resulting in the student
When I was 15, Larry accepted
a rather simple 'Pellucidar Glossary' from me because he was a little hard
up for material. I figured that if Larry would publish me maybe I could
get an Atlas of maps published. But even then I had big ideas. Larry's
fanzine was produced on a spirit duplicator which didn't look as good to
me as The Burroughs Reader, which was mimeographed.
Of course the photo offset
ERBdom was even
better, but I wasn't brave enough to try for the big time.
Anyway, correspondence with Dale
resulted in a deal where I paid a part of the printing costs for an issue
which contained my expanded map of
and Dales' redraw of Amtor. I received 150
copies of these maps which were to be included in a "Burroughs Altas".
The accompanying text even called them "Burroughs Atlas Maps". But there
were two problems:
1. I wanted the "Atlas"
format to be 8.5x11 but Dale had not informed me that he was reducing the
format of BR?T to 5x7