Just got in a note from Rob Roehm, a Big Name Fan in Robert E. Howard circles in recent years, tireless tracker of any mention of the Howard family in courthouses and county records across Texas. My favorite of his discoveries was finding the spot in the ruins of Fort McKavett where REH had a picture snapped — quite a job of detective work. And one year Rob and I drove cross country from his lair in the Mojave Desert to the annual Howard Days celebration in Cross Plains, Texas.
Rob says, “Just FYI, the bit from the Palouse Republican and the June 11, 1936 item from the Brownwood Bulletin (the one where Howard is expected “to live only a short time”) both appeared in The Collected Letters of Isaac M. Howard. The bit from the Republican was also in The Howard Collector #2.”
And herewith those previous appearances are duly noted — however, as I replied to Rob: “But the Kansas City and all the other discoveries are cool, right?”
Rob said, “Yeah, those are the only bits in this latest batch of articles that have been republished (to the best of my knowledge). The Portal to Texas History, newspaperarchive.com, and Texas Tech’s archive of papers (including the Cross Plains Review), have all been pillaged over the last 3-5 years, though they are constantly adding new papers to the mix. And there are several other websites, too.
“Nice to see others are looking through newspaper archives.”
Indeed, you want as many eyes involved as possible. Brian Leno only got into it as part of his boxing research, and Scott Connors has been looking for Clark Ashton Smith bits for the bio he’s writing — but of course if Scott sees a ref to another Weird Tales writer, such as Robert Barbour Johnson, he takes a look.
In any event, with new fans coming in every day, I suspect it is easier for them to surf in at random and get tipped to the dope than be expected to buy all the books and zines. I remember various academics over the years whining about how expensive it was to be expected to keep up with all the print material, but keeping up is part of their job description — if they’re pretending to some expertise in things Howardian.
I actually have a copy of the Doc Howard letters, leafed through it once and put it back on the shelf for a rainy day. Rob slapped that one together, but I played a crucial role in getting some of the more interesting content — if the content was to be all legal and above board. I went up to get J. Dan Price to sign the okays to use letters from his dad, pulp fictioneer E. Hoffmann Price. And that involved a typical mighty session of drinking Jack Daniels.
At some point in the revels Dan said to me, You know what’d I say to this request if you weren’t the one making it?
I said, You’d say No.
Dan said, That’s right.
I think they give me a small credit line in the book, which in no way suggests the oceans of Jack Daniels that were sailed.