Zane Grey
Altadena, California
April 24, 1935
Miss Clerm Phelps
Honoraville, Alabama

Dear Miss Phelps:

          While Jane Withersteen in "Riders of the Purple Sage" did not actually exist in the life, she was yet a product of conditions that were possible at that time.  I spent a number of years traveling in the country in which the story is laid and came in contact with many characters around whome I built the romance. 

          The sequel to "Riders of the Purple Sage" is the "Rainbow Trail."

Yours sincerely,

                                  Zane Grey

I recently found a letter that was written by Zane Grey to my father’s sister, Clera Phelps, in April 1935. I was not familiar with Mr. Grey, but looked up the book he referenced in the letter and found this website. Apparently, my aunt, an avid reader, had written him a letter, asking him questions about a character named Jane Withersteen in “Riders of the Purple Sage.” In the letter he mentioned a sequel called the “Rainbow Trail.”

I’m not sure if it is valuable or collectable, but it is certainly interesting that he took the time to send a personal letter to my18-year-old aunt in Alabama.

My aunt, Clera Phelps, died in 1988 and the community they lived in --Honoraville, is about eight miles East of Greenville, Alabama. (It is pronounced, believe it or not, Hor-NOR-vul.)

Thanks for your interest,
Jennifer Davis

I was doing a little research on the web and ran across your ERB & Zane Grey Web site.. you did a Great Job.. thank you.

I have an interest in ZG more from the fishing tackle collectors perspective, I've had the good fortune over the years to find more than my share of ZG stuff.

After reading through your web site,  I have a letter from Romer to his dad that I thought you might find interesting and a fun read about the impact of the depression and ZG's free spending ways, (also feel free to use),  Romer must have learned a bit from his mother.. Maybe she wrote it?? 

Wishing you the best
Russ Wilson
Arnold, CA.

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Letter from son, Romer, in Altadena, CA to father Zane Grey, somewhere in the Pacific.


Monday - January 16, 1933
Dear Dad:
I haven't been able to find time to write the installment letter I thought of some time ago; so I am putting it all in here.

First of all let me remind you that you have on many occasions mentioned the value of thinking right. I have tried to do that and am placing a few of my recent deductions in this letter. I am expecting you to think right about what you are going to read.

A great retrenchment of all expense is vitally neccessary (sic) to the existence of the Z.G. financial stability. I shall attempt to show you why; and then follow it up with my suggestions for your part of the deal. I shall not go into details as to what will happen if we do not retrench as they are rather gory. And I expect you will agree with me and comply to the best of your ability, we have practically no cash. (This "we" includes all the corporations, Mother and you.) We have no certain contracted income with the exception of four payments of $2500 each from Paramount. There is a possibility of some cash from the "West of the Pecos" deal, but no surety. Harpers will keep 75% of your book royalties to pay both loans, and possibly they may take more. We can't sell any stories to magazines - they all find some excuse to send them back - and I will say that I believe if we could I doubt if we could get $10,000 for a serial now. We cant sell any motion picture rights because the studios are using up their old material, and not spending any money on new story material. "Westerns" came back and then
Z.G. -2
"went out" again because they are so rottenly made the public can't stomach them. I seriously doubt if we could get $10,000 for a picture just at this point.

This isn't due to conditions being any worse, but to uncertainty, and to the result of all the studios, magazines, etc. finding out how much money they lost last year. I think things will get better; but I can't be sure and neither can you. Nor can we be sure how soon they will get better.

Of course - with regard to what I outlined as to what money we were sure of -- we may and very probably will get more. Yet I feel we should plan only on what we are sure of.

Now as to what has to go out -- that is what expenses there are to meet. Mother must have money for insurance on you, herself, Betty, Loren and I. This is vitally important to us all; she must pay interest on this place (Altadena) and principle 
payments on the mortgage; she must pay taxes on all your property such as the yacht, houses, and various other property. (These are $2000 delinquent now) incidentals such as Loren's expenses, food, gas and oil, utilities are not to be sneezed at; you left over $2500 in bills that have to be paid. The corporation has to pay $300 a month to the MacRae account; $125 a month to Andy's wife and $60 a month to Emil's brother. I suppose the attorney's fees will amount to $100 a month to keep you from being sued on various accounts; my salary and Ed's has to be paid -- and to these I attribute the only possibilities for either a stock proposition or a picture deal right now; our first consideration is of course to send you money enough to keep going.
Z.G. -3
We have reduced every possible outgo to its least possible minimum. If you can approportion your expenses during the next few months to meet your income -- or rather to meet what part of it we can send you -- we shall certainly come out with colors flying. The less we have to send you the more we can pay on debts and thereby reduce interest payments. The question of raising outside capital at the present is undoubtedly on the shelf. I mean by this that simply Ed cannot go to New York to raise the preferred stock money until we can afford that expense, and until the general uncertainty of peoples -- particularly investors -- minds has been overcome by an upward trend in values, and a noticeable reaction in business. The only thing  that can raise values is an increase in profits. This cannot happen at once. It will take time. If we are careful, and can hold out a while longer, we will be in a great position to make a lot of money.

I would suggest that you keep your outfit down as much as possible. Watch the food and gas. Drift as much as possible when fishing and don't run all over the ocean searching for something you already have achieved. Watch out that you don't get stung on transportation charges to the Tongariro. Don't go to the South Island. And leave the Frangipani in New Zealand for the present. I can just hear you saying,

               "But God damn it I want it in Tahiti".
               Dad you can't have everythin you want. Even Jesus Christ couldn't

And when you get to Tahiti don't drive all over the island. Stay at your camp, fish and write. Fish as close to home to home as 

Z.G. -4
you can. Is there any way you could get along without taking the New Zealanders to Tahiti?

We won't be able to send you a Ford if we don't make some kind of deal for a serial or a picture. I'll be damned if I can see where the money is going to come from -- but we'll have to trust to luck.

If you think right you will never take another trip without having the money in the bank I told you a year ago you shouldn't go to New Zealand this fall, but you went blithely on. Of course my opinion isn't much -- but I am a sort of statistician and I couldn't figure out how cost could be met without wither income or credit. I still can't.

If we keep expenses down, keep paying on liabilities, keep going, why surely we'll get to take the big trip and make the pictures we have planned; but take my advice and don't let a little inconvenience or temporary  change of your plans stand between you and your ultimate goal. Don't risk losing the background you have built up. You need it. You will do bigger things but you won't get a quarter as much for doing them. So hang on to what you already have. 

Enough for now. I'm tired. Don't let this fuss you - but for Christ's sake do something about it. 

Regards to all -- we are working like hell here. Love


From: BJ [mailto:bj3605@comcast.net] 
Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 8:57 AM
To: hillmans@westman.wave.ca

Hi - Just enjoyed spending some time on your web site - thank you for it.

My wife was born & raised in Middletown, NY, and her grandparents gave us an old roll-top desk before they died.  Their story is that it was originally owned by Zane Grey and was in his "Summer Home", as they called it.  The story goes that it was sold when the Grey family moved, and was purchased by their "Uncle Theodore", who was a story unto himself.  I know Zane's youngest son, Loren, was born in Middletown, so there is that Grey family connection.

Anyway, we moved the desk back to our home in Atlanta, GA (it breaks down into four pieces), cleaned and put it back together. It is an "S" curve, roll top, and sits in our living room.  We never considered selling it until recently, when we have fallen on hard economic times.

 The desk measures 50" wide x 29" deep x 45" high.  Dot, the curator at the Z.G. Museum in Lackawaxen has confirmed there was a "Summer Home" on the property, and that this desk could well have been sold when the family moved in 1918.

Joyce & Bill Johnson


Explore Our Zane Grey Tribute

Zane Grey Intro
The Edgar Rice Burroughs / Zane Grey Connection ~ Pt. 1
The Edgar Rice Burroughs / Zane Grey Connection ~ Pt. 2
The Edgar Rice Burroughs / Zane Grey Connection ~ Pt. 3
Zane Grey Bibliography Intro
Zane Grey Bibliography Illustrated Pt. 1
Zane Grey Bibliography Illustrated Pt. 2
Zane Grey Bibliography Illustrated Pt. 3
Zane Grey Bibliography Illustrated Pt. 4
Zane Grey Magazines Bibliography
Magazine Serials, Articles & Short Stories Bibliography
Zane Grey Comics I: Dell Westerns
Zane Grey Comics II: King of the Royal Mounted & BLBs
Zane Grey Biography
Zane Grey Altadena
Zane Grey Cover Mosaic
Zane Grey On The Web
Zane Grey Memorabilia & Letters
Zane Grey On Film


The Edgar Rice Burroughs / Zane Grey Connection
ERB/ZG Connection 1
ERB/ZG Connection 2
ERB/ZG Connection 3
Zane Grey Bibliography
Zane Grey Intro
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