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Volume 7194

Pioneer ERB Fanzine Writer
by Alan Hanson

John Harwood: Pioneer ERB Fanzine Writer
by Alan Hanson

John Harwood was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1914. Had he been born 50 years earlier he might have been raised on the stories of crusty, old sailors, and eventually have gone to sea himself as many young men of previous generations had done in that old whaling city. By the time John Harwood came along, though, the whaling industry had disappeared, and there were no sailors to tell their stories to eager young boys. Instead, at an early age, John discovered the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and his youthful imagination regularly carried him away to Tarzan’s Africa and John Carter’s Mars. Instead of going to sea, John Harwood went to work in New Bedford’s textile mills, and there he worked his whole life. He never lost his youthful love for the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs, though, and that love became a life-long avocation. He was there when ERB fandom first organized, and, in my opinion, became the foremost ERB fanzine writer of his generation.

I became familiar with the name of John Harwood soon after joining The Burroughs Bibliophiles in the mid-1960s. By then Harwood was among a small coterie of writers who regularly filled Vern Coriell’s Burroughs Bulletin with articles of a quality arguably unmatched in ERB fanzines before or since. Among his writing cohorts was Allan Howard of Newark, New Jersey, who wrote entertaining features on a wide variety of subjects. Maurice B. Gardner of Portland, Maine, was Vern’s book and movie reviewer. ERB pastiche fiction was the specialty of Bill Gilmour of Jessup, Pennsylvania. Frank J. Brueckel of Los Angeles, an astronomer by trade, authored long scientific treatises analyzing ERB’s various worlds.

When it came to writing about themes in ERB stories, however, no one could match John Harwood’s depth of knowledge and use of detail. As a new Burroughs fan as a teenager, I remember being amazed at the exhaustive scope of a Harwood article. As just one example, consider his article, “Who Says They Weren’t Married?” It appeared in a 1962 issue of The Gridley Wave. In it Harwood addressed the rumor that Tarzan books had been removed from the shelves of an elementary school library in Downey, California, supposedly because Tarzan and Jane weren’t married. In the article, Harwood dismissed the incident outright as media hype. Nevertheless, he went on to provide all the evidence anyone would ever want, and more, that Tarzan and his mate were indeed married. In addition to citing the wedding ceremony in The Return of Tarzan, Harwood identified over 500 other passages in the Tarzan books that indicated Tarzan and Jane were married. He even pointed out that Jane is referred to as Lady Greystoke exactly 157 times in ERB’s Tarzan stories.

A Commitment to Detail

It was a commitment to exact and complete detail that separated John Harwood from all other fanzine writers of his time. When it came to knowledge of Burroughs’ works, the only other fanzine writer of the 1960s and 1970s who could compete with Harwood was the great John F. Roy. Aside from differences in writing style, though, Roy did not have the passion for detail in his articles that Harwood did. Roy typically identified conditions and patterns in ERB’s stories and then was content with giving a few examples to support his argument. As an example, take Roy’s article, “Tarzan Is Not for the Birds” in a 1963 issue of ERB-dom. In it Roy mentioned that he had wondered about the role of birds in ERB’s fiction, and so he reread the first 12 Tarzan books and took notes, on which he based his article. John Harwood, on the other hand, would never have been satisfied with having read just half of the Tarzan series. He needed to have every applicable reference in the entire series on hand before he put pen to paper. For example, read the opening paragraph of Harwood’s article, “The Ambidextrous Ape-Man” in ERB-dom #67 in 1973.

“In ERB’s jungle detective story, ‘Tarzan and the Jungle Murders,’ he has the ape-man solve a murder by bringing out the fact that the murderer was a left-handed man. That made me wonder, was ERB’s Tarzan right-handed or left? So I reread the original Tarzan series, all 26 first editions.”

Just what kind of man could be so fascinated with ERB’s stories that he would sit down and read 26 books, all of which he had read many times before, just so that he could answer one simple question? Since John Harwood’s work provided inspiration for my own meager fanzine writing efforts, I often wondered just what kind of person he was. Therefore, when I went to the Dum-Dum in Woodland Hills, California, in the summer of 1996, finding out more information about John Harwood was on my list of things to do. To my surprise, though, Burroughs Bibliophiles President Bob Hyde told me he had never met John Harwood, this despite the fact that they were both charter members of the bibliophiles. Pete Ogden, who printed many Harwood articles in ERBANIA, knew him only through correspondence. Bob Barrett, another active fan back in that era, also could tell me nothing about John Harwood. For some unknown reason, it turns out that Harwood did not attend the annual meetings of The Burroughs Bibliophiles. Perhaps he was not financially able to do so, or perhaps he was a shy man who would have felt uncomfortable at a Dum-Dum. Whatever the reason, I was unable to find anyone who knew John Harwood personally.

A Private Life for a Public Fan

What very little that is known of John Harwood’s personal life, then, comes from an autobiographical sketch printed in The Gridley Wave #3 in June 1961. From it we know that Harwood was born and raised and lived his entire life in New Bedford. There are very few other revelations of a personal nature in the article, which dwells with Harwood’s relationship with ERB’s books and fandom. For instance, there is no mention of a wife or family. In his correspondence with them, neither Bob Hyde nor Pete Ogden could recall John making any reference to an immediate family, and so that part of his life is a mystery.

Harwood explained, however, that it was through a couple of relatives that he first discovered the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

“Edgar Rice Burroughs had written his first novel, UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS, and had it published in the ALL-STORY MAGAZINE in the year before I was born. However, it wasn’t until 1922, when I was eight years old, that I read my first book by the author. A cousin had received a copy of THE SON OF TARZAN for a Christmas present a couple of days before my birthday and it wasn’t until after the first of the year that he had finished it up and let me read it. Up to that time, I had thought Tom Swift and his various inventions was the tops in reading entertainment. I changed my mind and thought I had discovered and even greater hero than the young inventor after reading my first Tarzan book. Later I found out that another cousin owned four more of the Tarzan books (TARZAN OF THE APES, TARZAN AND THE JEWELS OF OPAR, TARZAN THE TERRIBLE, and TARZAN AND THE GOLDEN LION.) When my cousins outgrew their interest in Tarzan they turned the books over to me, thus making a start to my collection.”

A few years later, the young John Harwood discovered that Burroughs wrote other kinds of books besides Tarzan. The Martian books especially fascinated him with all their swordplay, which reminded him of the Douglas Fairbanks movies he was seeing at the time. For the next 20 years, Harwood read Burroughs’ books as they were published in book form. He bought one first edition of each title. Those same first editions he used as his reading copies of the books throughout his years of research and writing for the ERB fanzines. Whenever Harwood wanted to point out a specific passage in a Burroughs book, he made reference to the page number in the “first edition” of the book. The bookshelf of John Harwood held no multiple editions of Burroughs’ books. In the 1961 sketch, he explained why.

“My collection of books consists of only one copy of each title plus a few of the unpublished magazine stories. My interest in the hobby lies more in the contents of the books than in the books themselves. Thus, if I had half a dozen copies of TARZAN OF THE APES in its different editions and wanted to look up the details of Tarzan’s fight with Kerchak, I would need only one book to do any research.”

ERB Fanzines Became His Forum

It was through his job in one of the New Bedford textile mills that Harwood first learned that there were other Burroughs fans like him around the country. A fellow worker gave him some back issues of certain science fiction magazines. In the readers’ column of one issue in 1947, John saw a letter referring to several Burroughs stories that had never appeared in book form. When John wrote to the author asking for more details, he received a long, friendly letter in return. That was how John first came to know Vernell Coriell. It was Vern who soon thereafter provided the encouragement and the forum needed for John to become a fanzine writer.

“In one of his first letters, Vern told me that he had been thinking of starting a fanzine to be devoted to the subject of ERB and his works. He wanted my opinion on the subject. I replied that it sounded like an excellent idea but didn’t think that he could gather enough material to keep up publication for any length of time. In his next letter he stated that if fans send in enough articles on various phases of ERB’s life and works he might succeed. He asked me to expand some of the ideas I had mentioned in one of my letters into an article. I wrote an article which I entitled THE UNWRITTEN STORIES OF ERB and sent it to him. That is how I started writing for the fanzines.”

That first article appeared in The Burroughs Bulletin #4, dated October 1947, but it was not the first time John Harwood’s name had appeared in the Bulletin. Two months earlier, Harwood had supplied a “Tarzan Quiz” for Burroughs Bulletin #2. For the next 27 years, Harwood’s articles and letters were a constant presence in Burroughs fanzines. While his work was most often seen in Vern’s publications, through the years he contributed to many other fanzines, including Barsoomian, ERBANIA, Erbivore, and ERB-dom. Personally, I have never seen a copy of Norb’s Notes, but in a 1962 issue of The Gridley Wave, Vern wrote that Norb’s Notes was “of interest to ERB fans due to the efforts of Maurice B. Gardner and John Harwood, who appear in almost every issue.”

Correspondence with ERB

About the time John Harwood started writing for The Burroughs Bulletin, he is known to have corresponded with Edgar Rice Burroughs at least once. Harwood described that communication in Jasoomian #7 in 1972.

“The mention of the (NATIONAL) GEOGRAPHICS brings to mind a letter I had from him (ERB) one time. I’ve tried to find the letter in recent years but with no luck so I can’t quote his exact words. Back in the late 1940s I wrote to him suggesting that he do a story laid back in the whaling days and mentioning New Bedford as the starting point of the voyage. I thought he might show some whaling scenes, the hero swallowed up by a whale, and recovered, the whale ship attacked and sunk by an enraged whale, the survivors taking to the whale boats, one of the boats attacked by a giant Octopus or squid, and finally the men reaching dry land. Then they would find themselves on an island full of wild beasts and savages. Then would come a series of regular ERB adventures with the hero using a harpoon in place of a spear like Tarzan. With my letter, I sent ERB a couple of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICS with articles about whales, octopuses, and squids for background material. ERB returned the magazines with a letter stating that he would be glad to mention New Bedford in a story but that he wasn’t well and didn’t think that he would be doing anymore writing.”

Edgar Rice Burroughs may not have been impressed with Harwood’s story idea, but he certainly was impressed with Harwood’s articles on his stories. Vern Coriell reported that after reading John’s stories in The Burroughs Bulletin, Burroughs commented, “I am amazed at the knowledge John Harwood has of my stories. As a matter of fact, he knows more about them than I do.”

Charter Member of The Burroughs Bibliophiles

A decade after Burroughs passed away, Vern Coriell finally pressed forward with the formation of The Burroughs Bibliophiles. John Harwood was involved with the formation of that group, as Vern explained in The Gridley Wave #3.

“Not long after I published the first issue of THE BURROUGHS BULLETIN, I began to consider the possibility of organizing a Burroughs fan club. The idea was discussed at various times with fans like Al Howard, Stan Vinson, John Harwood, Maurice Gardner, Forry Ackerman and others. All agreed that there was need for such an organization.”

Harwood was not among the 30 or so fans who met and officially formed The Burroughs Bibliophiles in Pittsburgh on September 4, 1960. However, according to Bob Hyde, who presided at that organizational meeting, Vern decided that those Burroughs fans with whom he had discussed the formation of the club would also be considered charter members, even though they did not attend the meeting. John Harwood, then, was among the original members of The Burroughs Bibliophiles. Vern designated him member #25.

A Simple Question & Answer Style

Although John Harwood had a commitment to thoroughness and detail in his articles, his writing style was rather simple. The typical Harwood article was built around questions. Very early in an article, he would pose a question, and then proceed to answer it. For example, Harwood opened his article about Opar, “The City of Unseen Eyes” (BB #13, 1962), by asking, “What do we know about the history and location of this abode of evil?” He then went on to outline what ERB revealed about Oparian history and to place it upon the map using the hints that Burroughs provided. Throughout the article, other questions were asked and answered in turn. “How did Opar originate and why did it finally become a city of ruined buildings and degenerate humans?” “What does Tarzan do with all this wealth?” “What happened to all the other cities in this African empire of the motherland?” “How is it possible that the two sexes of a single race can be so dissimilar?

The repeated asking and answering of questions, then, was the most conspicuous component of John Harwood’s writing style. The questions he asked in articles were undoubtedly the same ones that came to him while reading a Burroughs story, providing the inspiration for the article in the first place. It is, perhaps, not the most creative of writing styles, but the reader of a John Harwood article always knew where the author was headed. The use of questions to structure his writing decreased somewhat through the years, but never completely disappeared.

In a couple of articles toward the end of his fanzine-writing career, Harwood used an interesting variation of his question-and-answer style. In his “Fantastic Fencing Folios” (BB #19, 1970), Harwood opened up with his typical questions.

“John Carter defeating a roomful of swordsmen! Gahan of Gathol splitting an opponent from crown to chin! Vor Daj lopping off the head of a foe! All these are exciting scenes from the Mars books of ERB. How true to life are they? Not the fact that they are laid on the Red Planet. Not the fact that some of the swordsmen have six limbs. But how true to the facts of life are the feats of these swordsmen?”

As expected, many other questions are posed during the remainder of the article, but they are not offered directly to the reader, as was the usual Harwood style. Instead, they are asked of a fictional character that Harwood created. With questions in hand, Harwood claimed to have visited an old friend, “Dr. Johann Van Marshall, curator of the Museum of Medieval Weapons located in one of the almost forgotten parts of Greater Boston.” The reminder of the article is in the form of an interview, with Harwood describing some of the prodigious blade work described in the Martian series, and Dr. Van Marshall speculating on the possibilities that such feats could be accomplished in real life. 

John Harwood’s Co-authors

Considering that John Harwood didn’t attend Dum-Dums and apparently rarely met fellow ERB fans, it is interesting that he worked with a variety of co-authors on fanzine projects. Harwood and H.W. Starr were probably the first to question the need for Martian women to have breasts and navels in their 1963 article, “A Scholarly Analysis of the Females of Barsoom” (BB #14). The two worked together again to produce “Korak—Son of Tarzan?” (BB #16) and “Across Darkest Africa with the Waziri” (BB #20). Pete Ogden shared a byline with Harwood on a survey of the Tarzan series (ERBANIA #25, 1970), as did Camille Cazadessus, Jr. (aka “Caz”), on the article, “The Ambidextrous Ape-Man” (ERB-dom #67, 1973). Finally, John worked with Allan Howard to produce their “Tarzan Encyclopedia,” published by Vern Coriell in 1974.

When Harwood collaborated with another fan, it was probably more as a co-researcher than as a co-writer. After the two agreed to work on a certain project, they probably did their separate research. Then, through back-and-forth correspondence, their findings were shared and conclusions reached. One of the two then wrote the article and probably offered it to the other for comments and corrections. Of the three collaborations between Harwood and Starr, I suspect that Harwood wrote “Korak—Son of Tarzan?” and “Across Darkest Africa with the Waziri.” Both are marked by Harwood’s question-and-answer style. Starr, however, must have been the writer of “A Scholarly Analysis of the Females of Barsoom.” This article contains an element of humor that, frankly, is quite unlike any ERB-related article John Harwood wrote.

It’s time to assess John Harwood’s place in the history of Burroughs fandom. Certainly he was a prolific writer of fanzine articles and letters. There have been many other fans, however, who have written just as often for the fanzines over the years. How John Harwood ranks among them depends much on the preferences of the person doing the ranking. For those who like, as I do, reading detailed articles about ERB’s stories, then there has never been any better fanzine writer than John Harwood. On the other hand, to those Burroughs fans who have little interest in such articles, Harwood was simply just another fanzine writer.

Whatever the varied opinions of Harwood’s writing style and content, however, he did make three unique contributions to fan scholarship for which he deserves special recognition in the history of Burroughs fandom. The first was his work in the area of Tarzan chronology, and the second was his “Literature of Burroughsiana.” The third wouldn’t surface until nearly 30 years after Harwood’s death.

Putting the Focus on Tarzan Chronology

Since Vern Coriell’s first efforts to organize ERB fandom, surely no subject has been debated as much as Tarzan chronology. Some of the many who have taken a position on the subject are Philip José Farmer, Pete Ogden, Frank J. Brueckel, John F. Roy, and Mike Moody. Even I must confess to spending many hours and not just a few dollars on the subject. However, all of us who have ever dabbled in the subject of Tarzan chronology, followed in the footsteps of John Harwood, for he first brought up the subject, defined it, and outlined the two basic solutions to the problem.

Way back in December 1947, in Burroughs Bulletin #6, fandom’s first article on Tarzan chronology appeared. It was John Harwood’s “How Old Is Tarzan?” In it he explained something that most Burroughs readers at the time had probably never noticed, that the dates ERB used in the first eight Tarzan novels appear to contradict each other. In his usual logical style, Harwood started with the 1888 date provided by ERB in Tarzan of the Apes and worked forward to show that Tarzan’s family was reunited in 1929 at the end of The Son of Tarzan. But then Harwood pointed out that at the end of Tarzan the Terrible, Burroughs placed Tarzan’s son Jack on the Argonne front in World War I. Since the war ended in 1918, the statement obviously ran counter to the timing of events in the first four Tarzan novels. Taking the statement in Tarzan the Terrible at face value, and assuming that Jack was 18 in the year 1914, Harwood then worked backwards until he came up with an 1872 date for Tarzan’s birth. This was the first expression of the “push-back theory” that a number of ERB fan scholars have accepted. At the end of his article, Harwood accepted the theory.

That was not to be John Harwood’s final stance on the subject, however. In the mid-1960s, after other fans began to punch holes in his theory, Harwood took up the subject again. He seemed to realize that in his initial article he had not fully considered all the evidence and possibilities, and being the perfectionist that he was, he needed to reassess the question, even if it meant admitting his first conclusion was wrong. He teamed up with H.W. Starr, and their article, “Korak — Son of Tarzan?” appeared in Burroughs Bulletin #16 in August 1966. Harwood started out by admitting his previous research was flawed. “At first, the revised list of dates seemed to take care of everything. Then varying inconsistencies began to crop up pointing to other facts that were out of line with history.”

As a couple of examples, Harwood pointed out that the six-cylinder car Burroughs described as being in Wisconsin in Tarzan of the Apes was an impossibility in the “push-back theory” year of 1894. Also, Harwood noted that historically the exploitation of natives by a European power was unlikely in the year 1872. These facts seemed to fit much better with the 1888 date for the birth of Tarzan that ERB provided in Tarzan of the Apes. Harwood was then faced with a dilemma. Either to abandon all the dates given in Tarzan of the Apes, or conclude that there never was a character named Korak. Howard and Starr came up with a way around the dilemma. Korak was Tarzan’s cousin, not his son. Admitting that their theory “seemed almost sacrilege,” Harwood and Starr embraced it anyway as the only way to accept the dates of “Apes” and the existence of Korak. Theories about when Tarzan was born that Harwood put forward, both in 1947 and in 1966, resulted in much debate among Tarzan fans for several decades.

The Literature of Burroughsiana

John Harwood’s second lasting contribution to Burroughs fan scholarship was his “Literature of Burroughsiana.” In his 1961 autobiographical sketch, Harwood explained the genesis of the project.

“When the old LITERARY DIGEST published the article entitled HOW TARZAN KEPT THE WOLF FROM THE DOOR in the November 30, 1929, issue, I became a fan of Burroughs, the man, as well as Burroughs the writer. For a long while, this was the only item of a biographical nature in my ERB collection. Then the July 29, 1939, issue of the Saturday Evening Post published the article, HOW TO BECOME A GREAT WRITER by Alva Johnson. After adding this to my collection, I decided to see if many such articles had been written about the author or his works. Armed with a pencil and paper, I invaded the reference room of the local library and searched through some of the various indexes and complied a long list of magazine articles that had been written over the years. As some of the magazines were still available in the library, I took them out, a few at a time, starting with the oldest ones first and copied the articles for my notebooks. Then in various reference books at the library I found brief articles about he author which I copied by hand and transferred as typed copies to my notebooks when I got home. This was the start of my collection of biographical and critical material about ERB and his works.”

Through the years, Harwood continued to add to his collection of ERB-related newspaper and magazine articles. In 1954, his organized list of articles appeared in Barsomian #7 under the title, “The Literature of Burroughsiana.” It began modestly in that first appearance with only about 115 entries. Over the course of the next nine years, with the help of many other Burroughs fans, Harwood greatly expanded his list of ERB-related articles. It culminated in a 105-page book, containing over 1,000 entries, published by Caz in 1963. The title page described the contents of “The Literature of Burroughsiana” as follows:

“A listing of magazine articles, book commentaries, news items, book reviews, movie reviews, fanzines, amateur publications and related items concerning the life and/or works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Compiled and with commentary by John Harwood.”

With the publication of this volume, a new world was open for hundreds of Burroughs fans. Any fan who lived near a public library now had access to dozens, perhaps hundreds, of articles dealing with ERB that he never knew existed. Of course, today the volume seems woefully inadequate. However, it is quite possible that a number of articles cataloged in “The Literature of Burroughsiana” would have remained unknown to this day had John Harwood not discovered and revealed their existence back in 1963.

“The Tarzan Encyclopedia”

As Burroughs fandom entered the 1970s, John Harwood had been a major player for a quarter of a century, and he showed no signs of slowing down. In the early 1970s, Harwood regularly reviewed books, both fiction and non-fiction, for Pete Ogden’s ERBANIA. At the same time, his byline continued to appear in other fanzines, such as The Burroughs Bulletin, ERB-dom, and Erbivore. In early 1975, Vern Coriell published John Harwood and Allan Howard’s “Tarzan Encyclopedia.” It was a 41-page compendium of all the characters and terms to be found in ERB’s Tarzan stories. Included were ape-English and Pal-ul-don dictionaries, as well as synopses of all 26 Tarzan stories. This first collaborative effort between Harwood and Howard was another important fan effort by two men who had been preeminent among fanzine writers for several decades. It seemed that they would go on forever.

For John Harwood, however, it appeared to be one last remarkable effort in a long list of contributions to Burroughs fandom. Suddenly, there were no more John Harwood articles in the Burroughs fanzines. His regular letters-to-the-editor stopped. Although the reason for John Harwood’s absence was unknown to most fans back then, it now appears it was due to his declining health. Years later, Burroughs Bibliophiles president Bob Hyde revealed that in his files he had a letter from the executor of John Harwood’s estate informing him that John died on July 15, 1980, of colon cancer. He was 65 years old.

John Harwood’s death went virtually unnoticed in Burroughs fandom. ERB-dom had ceased publication several years earlier, and Vern’s publishing was grinding to a halt. I found no reference of John’s passing in any of the remaining fanzines still being published. There was no “Lifetime Achievement Award” from The Burroughs Bibliophiles for John Harwood. There was no remembrance of him at the next Dum-Dum. It could be argued that John Harwood neither sought nor would have been comfortable with any of the above accolades. It seems a shame, though, that Burroughs fandom, which had received so much from John Harwood, could not have found some way to show its gratitude posthumously.

“Heritage of the Flaming God”

Two decades after his death, John Harwood gave one last gift to fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs. In 2000, “Heritage of the Flaming God: An Essay on the History of Opar and Its Relationship to Other Cultures” was published by Waziri Publications. The extended essay was a collaborative effort between John Harwood and Frank J. Brueckel. The two long-time ERB fans started working on the essay together in 1966. In a 1976 article in “The Gridley Wave,” Harwood explained how the essay was written and submitted for publication.

“We worked on the article from 1966 to 1971 with Frank doing most of the writing. I’d send in a five or six page version of a chapter and he’d rewrite it in his own words containing the essence of my ideas plus material added by himself. His version would run 10 to 15 pages of more professional type writing.

“Frank sent the manuscript to Vernell Coriell in July of 1971 to be published in the Burroughs Bulletin. He personally delivered the completed work to me when he came east on his vacation around the last of July that year. It was good visiting with him in person after five years of letter writing.”

Probably due to financial and other personal difficulties, Vern never published the essay that Harwood and Brueckel had spent five long years writing. Neither of the authors lived to seen “Heritage of the Flaming God” in print. Brueckel died in 1976 and Harwood in 1980. At some point, Philip José Farmer read the essay and used the world of ancient Opar described in it as a backdrop for two novels, “Hadon of Ancient Opar” (1974) and “Flight to Opar” (1976). 

When Vern Coriell died in 1990, the manuscript was found among his papers and transferred to The University of Louisville’s Edgar Rice Burroughs collection. Copies of the essay found their way into the hands of a small group of Burroughs fans, one of whom sent a copy to me in the spring of 1998. Fascinated, I resolved to publish it. With the help of co-editor Michael Winger, “Heritage of the Flaming God” by John Harwood and Frank J. Brueckel was finally published and made available to all Burroughs fans. Two decades after his death, John Harwood had made another major contribution to the “Literature of Burroughsiana.”


Back in 1961, when Vern Coriell asked John Harwood to provide a biographical sketch to run under the column heading of “John Harwood — Burroughs Bibliophile,” John balked at first. He explained to Vern that he felt out of place in The Burroughs Bibliophiles, since his collection consisted only of reading copies of ERB’s books. John suggested to Vern that the space “could be better occupied with a story about a fan with a big collection that was really worth writing about.” Vern finally convince John to write his autobiographical sketch, and I think quoting Vern’s editor’s note following the column is a fitting way to close this remembrance of John Harwood.

“John Harwood has devoted countless hours of his time to research on articles and the compilation of information about ERB and his works that has proved most beneficial to Burroughs fans and collectors. Every ERB enthusiast owes Harwood a nod of thanks … for through his efforts many an ERB item has been rescued from oblivion by being brought to the attention of collectors … In my opinion, John Harwood is more of a Burroughs Bibliophile than 99% of us.”

— The End —

John Harwood


From Our ERB Online Bibliography
A Collector's Hypertexted and Annotated Storehouse of Encyclopedic Resources
Burroughs Bibliophiles
Vern Coriell’s Burroughs Bulletin: Issues 1-25
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The Return of Tarzan
Tarzan and the Jungle Murders
Tarzan of the Apes
Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
Tarzan the Terrible
Tarzan and the Golden Lion
The Son of Tarzan

How Tarzan Kept The Wolf From The Door
How To Become A Great Writer

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