First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Since 1996 ~ Over 10,000 Webpages and Webzines in Archive
Volume 0418
A Virtual Visit to The Nell Dismukes McWhorter
Memorial Edgar Rice Burroughs Collection

ERB Scholars at the Ekstrom Library Building
ERB Scholars at the Ekstrom Library Building
Virtual Tour & Scrapbook 16:
ERB Memorial Pulp Library
From the photo collection of
Bob "Tarak" Woodley
Bob Tarak Woodley

The Jewels of Louisville

George McWhorter Astounded as I was by all the stuff which immediately assails one visually when I entered the endless savage jungle of ERB which is the Louisville collection, it wasn’t very long before my senses caught the scent of ancient words. Very ancient and very pure.
Tarak with A Princess of Mars first hardcoveredition
Soon I was fondling a jacketed First Edition of Tarzan of the Apes. And one of A Princess of Mars. These are the heavy hitters. Books which to an ERB fan define Edgar Rice Burroughs. They heralded him as a commercial success, and launched his career as a writer. They contain his two most famous creations and the very favorites of his characters. John Carter. Dejah Thoris. Jane Porter. And Tarzan of the Apes.
Tarak with 1st Ed. of Tarzan of the Apes - Background Laurence and Sue-On
Tarak and JoN with ERB First Editions
Tarak and JoN with ERB First Editions
I greatly enjoyed this experience, of course. However, my eyes were soon drawn to the October, 1912 All-story which George keeps under the case in the entry room. An old pulp with a photo of a long-haired man fighting a lion; and finally I asked George if he would take that one out and let me look at it.
All-Story October 1912 - Tarzan of the Apes
All-Story October 1912 - Tarzan of the Apes

This was after all the birth of Tarzan of the Apes.

I had seen many images of that pulp before, though never the actual pulp.  I handled it with sheer reverence, for it is truly a treasure beyond compare. Yet not the first treasure.

For what I had never seen were the pulps which represented the actual birth of Edgar Rice Burroughs as a popular writer. Under the Moons of Mars. When I found these I was just mesmerized by them.

We all have our own individual subjective perspectives. For me, these pulps represent the pinnacle of all things ERB. Only the actual manuscripts would fascinate me more. Without the pulp publication of the initial Burroughs stories, and their resultant popularity, there would probably be no books. No Barsoom. No Tarzan. No Dum-Dum. No imitators or pastiches or countless hours of pleasure and rapture in my youth and afterwards. 

Here was where the world’s readers first encountered the granddaughter of 10,000 jeddaks and the twin spires of Helium. Here were the first words which described Tars Tarkas, and the dead sea bottoms of Barsoom. Here was where a man who would become perhaps the greatest storyteller in history first showed the world what kind of stuff he could write. Here was where he would soon tell the tale about a baby who was raised by anthropoid apes in an African jungle.

This kind of stuff just entrances me. It takes me back to a time before radio and television, before airplanes filled the skies and movies enthralled the masses. When people lived  a solitary, isolated, relatively ignorant form of existence, with respect to the World itself. When reading was a doorway to unimaginable pleasures, moreso because it was  perhaps the only doorway, except for one’s own daydreams.

This was fertile ground for a writer with the unparalleled imagination and storytelling abilities of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and to see those words in print; the first words in print, precisely  the same way those thousands of readers first saw them so long ago, engenders a feeling which is hard to describe for one who so loves the works of ERB.

We are fascinated with births and deaths. The Declaration of Independence heralded with birth of the United States. The Constitution defined its new parameters of individual freedom. These are always interesting documents to read; but how much more they speak to us when we view the actual documents, as they were written and signed by those brave ancestors whose blood and heroism and principles are embodied in those sacred documents.

These initial pulps represent the birth of Edgar Rice Burroughs as the writer who has affected all of us.  His imagination and his principles were carved into these pages and spread far and wide to be digested by readers who had never heard of him. Men and women who would judge him and his works with a perspective unlike any subsequent readers.

To read these first words, and the manner of their presentation, is quite an experience; and to read comments from the first readers of Edgar Rice Burroughs is akin to stepping back through time.  Such ancient tomes might not interest some; but others might gain some sense of the history and passion which I felt when I looked through these aged magazines.

I looked through every pulp, and photographed portions of each one; the title pages, the first words, and the last. I read some of these words, as others first read them. They are presented here for others to enjoy. And to remember.


Our Illustrated ERB Pulp Bibliography 
with hundreds of covers from 1912 to present is 
featured at: 
ERBzine 0220

Volume 0418

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