1875: Edgar Rice Burroughs is born to George Tyler &
Mary Evaline (Zieger) in Chicago, Illinois. He is given the middle
name of Rice after his colonial ancestor in Massachusetts, Deacon Edmund
* His father is a retired Civil
War Major and rich whisky distiller.
* Ed is the youngest of
four boys - George Tyler Jr., Henry Studley and Frank Coleman.
* The family lives in a three-story
brick house on Chicago's West Side, 650 (later 646) Washington Boulvevard
between Lincoln and Robey Streets
1891: Ed reluctantly returns to the East from working
on his brothers' ranch in Idaho.
* One can almost imagine Mary
Zieger Burroughs' surprise when her young son returned home wearing a Stetson
hat, black leather vest, Levis, cowboy boots with spurs and a .45 caliber
Colt Single Action Army revolver riding low on his hip.
1894: To the amazement of everyone, the Michigan Military
Academy football team, of which Ed was captain and quarterback, held the
heftier, more experienced team from the University of Michigan to a tie.
1895: Lieutenant E. R. Burroughs heads a group
of 11 editors of the MMA newspaper, The Adjutant
1896: Ed, on his 21st birthday while with the US
Cavalry at Duncan Arizona, receives a picture from future-wife Emma who
is vacationing in Coldwater, Michigan.
* Due to his lingering dysentery
and his knowledge of horses he is assigned the softer job of running the
1901: 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"
1902: Ed and Emma have a hard time making ends meet.
He borrows on his life insurance policy.
1903: 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.
1904: 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
1905: Ed documents many of the daily events in his life
with a series of cartoons
1908: Ed writes the poem "Poverty!" and pawns
1909: Ed and Emma work on an elaborate baby book with
art, poems and photos to celebrate the recent birth of Hulbert.
1911: Encouraged by All-Story pulp magazine's tentative
interest in the unfinished manuscript of his first novel, Under
the Moons of Mars, and the acceptance of his verses in the
Chicago Tribune, Ed spends most of his time writing.
1913: Ed is finalizing plans to take his family to California
for the winter. The sole means of support for the family of five is now
the income from his writings .
1914: Ed is half-way through the writing of Sweetheart
1916: The Burroughs family name the camp
set-ups on their California
motor trek via Oak Park - Ottawa - Camp Point - Hannibal - Emporia
- Newton - Larned - Dodge City - Ute Pass - Santa Fe Trail - Pikes Peak
- Arizona - New Mexico - Mojave Desert - San Bernardino - Los Angeles.
Ed celebrates this birthday at camp 27: "Camp Arkansas."
1917: Influenced by the Great War, Ed prepares to submit
patriotic, 400-word articles to newspapers: "To
the Mother," "To
the Home Girl," and "To the Woman on the Town."
1918: ERB is busy promoting the Tribe of Tarzan club
which is successfully selling Liberty Bonds. The request of the Fuel Commission
that citizens not use cars on Sundays so as to assist in fuel rationing
for the war effort has put a disappointing temporary end to the Burroughs
family week-end rides and their visits to Coldwater.
1919: Ed, who is a member of the Auto Club, enjoys the
day taking his family for rides in his Packard Touring car. Unfortunately
the car is hit the next day by a People's Express Truck.
1921: The English Tarzan stageplay makes its US debut
at New York's Broadhurst Theater. It has a short run.
Ed starts showing a series of
September films in the Tarzana Ranch Ballroom Theatre: All Dolled Up
~ Jail Bird ~ The Dog Doctor(short) ~ The Smart Sex ~ A Bunch of
Kisses ~ The Blazing Trail with Frank Mayo ~ Seeing is Believing
Cheated Love is cancelled because it
starred Carmel Myer a popular vamp of the silents ~ No Woman Knows
1922: ERB is considering subdividing 50 acres of hia
ranch land into business and residential lots and is working on plans to
transform Tarzana into a town with its own post office.
1923: Ed plans to enroll Hulbert and Jack at the Urban
Military Academy in Los Angeles and Joan in the Cumnock School of the Theatre
in LA. She is interested in a career in theatre.
1924: ERB is home after a 10-day fishing excursion with
his sons into the Sierras. He describes the outing in "Notes on Trip
to Mono Creek and Porpoise Lake" The famous Doodad was created
during this trip. Ed shows early symptons of heart trouble.
* ERB makes plans to rent out
Tarzana Ranch and Koonskin Kabin to movie companies: “The Bar ‘F’ Mystery”
“Bred in the Bone” starring William Fairbanks, “The Pioneer”
and “Terrible Terry” with William Duncan, and “The Squatters”
1925: Ed celebrates his 50th birthday in Phoenix, returning
home with the family from the South Rim of Grand Canyon. He is about to
sever all official connections with the financially-troubled El Caballero
1926: Thanks to Ed's influence, former All-American centre
James Pierce is given a screen test and is hired for Tarzan and the
Golden Lion, the last of the Tarzan silent movies.
* Hulbert and Jack start their
daily commute to the Los Angeles Coaching School. Jack starts writing and
illustrating his own stories.
1927: Ed writes letters disagreeing with Sinclair Lewis'
forcing his anti-religious views on the public in Elmer Gantry.
He feels a novelist's sole purpose should be to entertain. He praises the
work of aviator Charles Lindbergh and pleads for the protection of wildlife.
1928: Ed and Jack spend labor day weekend at Catalina.
He brags about his new Tarzan dog: "He is a six month Old English Sheepdog,
weighs fifty five pounds and is still going strong. I think he is one of
the brightest dogs I ever saw, but, like all puppies, a damn nuisance and
eleven times as much a nuisance as though he weighed only five pounds."
1929: Ed and the boys start an auto-camping trip to the
Ensenada area in Lower California. Ed and Hulbert have built a sleeping
trailer for Hully's Buick. The family also travels north to Grant's Pass,
Oregon in two Pullman Aerocoaches.
1932: Ed spends his birthday at the beach with all the children
present at dinner time.
Triumphant with illustrations by Studley Burroughs is
published by ERB, Inc.
1933: Ashton Dearholt writes from Guatemala that RKO
want Ed to sponsor and endorse a picture making expedition.
and the City of Gold is published by ERB Inc.
and the Lion Man is published by ERB, Inc.
1936: Tarzan and the Immortal Men is released
by ERB, Inc. as Tarzan's
Quest, a title suggested by ERB secretary Mildred Bernard.
It features the final book jacket and illustrations used by long-time ERB
illustrator J. Allen St. John.
1937: ERB is working on Tarzan newspaper strip continuity.
He enrolls stepchild Lee in the Hollywood Military Academy in Brentwood
hoping that his studies will improve. The boy is not happy and is soon
1939: Ed's 64th birthday coincides with the breaking
out of World War II. He states: "I was barred from Germany for a
great many years and, as far as I kow, I still am. I know Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's
Tarzan pictures are barred there. However, I do consider it a compliment
to be barred from anything Nazi. I am only hoping that we are not going
to be dragged into HItler's private war. It would mean a lot with the number
of sons we have."
1941: Ed, now alone in Hawaii, is excitedly awaiting Hulbert's
arrival on Sunday.
1942: Ed socializes with many officers of the Signal
Corps, Intelligence, Anti-Aircraft Brigade, etc. He enters into a battle
of wits with the Signal Corps. Each tries to baffle the other with coded
messages - "undecipherable ciphers."
1944: Sensing that friends are going to throw a birthday
party, he asks Hulbert to invite him out to Hickam for dinner and the night.
Hully prepares a meal for Ed and three other officers: steak with onions,
french fried potatoes, corn, tomatoes, raisin rolls!
* In his article, "What
Price Tolerance," printed in Hawaii magazine, ERB demands
automatic citizenship for alien parents of any man who has served honourably
in the armed forces.
1947: In an effort to revive the Tarzan
newspaper strips, ERB moves in to supervise. Burne Hogarth, artist
on the Tarzan Sunday page, is assigned the daily strip, replacing Rex Maxon.
Rob Thompson, a Tarzan radio script writer in the '30s, takes over continuity.
1950: March 19
Edgar Rice Burroughs dies after eating breakfast in
bed while reading the Sunday comics.
He is cremated at the Chapel of the Pines in Los Angeles.
His ashes are buried under the tree in front of the
ERB, Inc. offices on Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, California.