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The Trunk

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This section of the website features essays, links and other sources of information that is of interest to Robert E. Howard scholars. Much like the trunk Howard tossed his unsold and unfinished manuscripts into, the contents of this webpage will hopefully be as valuable as the contents of Howard’s trunk. The goal of this feature is to serve as a folio of information that will prove useful to anyone doing research on Howard’s writing and his life and times.

If you have something you’d like to contribute to this repository of information, please contact the Editor.

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“A Man and His Dog” by Patrice Louinet (Dwelling in Dark Valley #1)

“He Picked Picts to Depict” by Roderick T. Long

“In Defense of Hester Jane Ervin Howard” by Leo Grin (The Cimmerian Archives)

REH Historical Documents (The Robert E. Howard Foundation)

“Revisiting ‘Die Black Dog!’” by Charles Saunders

“Robert E. Howard and the Movies” by Rob Roehm

“Robert E. Howard’s Automobiles” by Rob Roehm

Scholar Tools (REHupa)

Women Writers in Weird Tales (Tellers of Weird Tales)

Texas in the 1920s

by Norman D. Brown

At one time historians commonly described the 1920s as a decade of sterility, in which little happened except the economic excesses (symbolized by the great bull market o¬n Wall Street) that brought on the 1929 crash and the ensuing Great Depression. Most historians concentrated on politics and, compared with either the Progressive era that preceded it or the New Deal reforms that followed, the twenties did indeed look like retrograde years. However, the period was really one of amazing vitality, of social invention and change. The twenties were the formative years of modern America. In that decade the country became urban, and a new type of industrial economy arose, typified by mass production and mass consumption. Both factors speeded the breakdown of traditional habits and thought patterns in such areas as religion, folkways, dress, moral standards, and the uses of leisure time. The popular image of the Twenties is that of a “roaring” era, replete with “flappers,” Fords, raccoon coats, jazz, movies and radio, speakeasies, Florida real estate promotions, mail-order stock schemes, bootleggers, gangsters like Al Capone, flamboyant preachers, and the “Lone Eagle,” Charles A. Lindbergh. Societies do not give up old ideals and attitudes easily; the conflicts between the spokesmen for the old order and the champions of the new day were at times both bitter and extensive. The reaction of Texans to this cultural conflict is of central importance in the history of the state.

Read the rest of this essay.


Texas as Character in Robert E. Howard’s Fiction

by Mark Finn

“Great literature transcends its native land, but none that I know of ignores its soil.” — J. Frank Dobie

When Texas authors are mentioned, certain names spring instantly to mind: Larry McMurtry, Cormac MacCarthy, and Sandra Cisneros are recognizable in particular for their literary accolades. With a little more prompting, the names J. Frank Dobie and H. W. Brands might emerge as authors of distinction. Popular fiction is usually ignored, even when an author’s work is far more internationally famous than the author himself.

Robert E. Howard is best known for the creation of the genre of heroic fantasy, a combination of fast-paced action and ‘weird’ or supernatural elements woven together to form a driving narrative. Sometimes less charitably referred to as “sword and sorcery,” this genre was very popular throughout the twentieth century. Even more fascinating was the fact that it was invented by a native Texan in the midst of The Great Depression.

Read the rest of this essay.


Pigeons From Hell

Thriller Television Script


as old convertible comes jouncing along to and PAST CAMERA.

We see that the car has two occupants, brothers of college
age, TIM BRANNER, who is driving, and JOHN.

continuation of Sc. 1. The car rounds a curve, skids, and
Tim fights to keep it on the road. He over-controls and
the convertible slues into a mudhole. The front wheels
drop and the car hits high center. He jams it into reverse
but there’s not sufficient traction on the rear wheels to
pull it out.

Read the rest of this script.


Conan the Texan: Robert E. Howard

by Maggie Van Ostrand

Editorial Note: This entry comes under the heading of “lest we forget.” The author of this piece, Maggie Van Ostrand, caused a firestorm to sweep through Howard Fandom with this and a similar piece on the Fandomania website. This is the text of the post that appeared on the Texas Escapes website on December 9, 2009. Shortly after a tidal wave of criticism hit her editor’s inbox, this flawed piece was removed.

Read the rest of this article.


Markets in False Face

by O. Foerster Schully

When is a market not a market? This is an important question when time is spent in writing a yarn for an untried market that professes to be cordial to new writers.

Recently I bought a copy of a certain sex-story magazine which was supposed to be in the market for material and read it from cover to cover in order to get a line on the editor’s preferences.

About two-thirds through the issue I was struck by a remarkably similar note in the handling of the stories. It was not that the characters were alike, but that their thought processes were the same. As I continued I became more and more convinced by this strange similarity. In the end I decided that three, or at the most. Four writers had authored the entire contents of the book.

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The Hyborian Sage: Real-World Parallels Between Howard’s Essay and Modern Discoveries

by Wm. Michael Mott

In recent years, television programming, along with publishing ventures, have presented a number of projects looking at the concept of catastrophism, along with diffusionism. One of the best of these books is Brad Steiger’s Worlds Before Our Own, a work that initially earned that writer a great deal of ridicule and personal attacks. Yet now we see him having the last laugh, as both science and scholarship are finding that he was, perhaps, on the right track… Rather than history being largely linear and steadily progressive, it may in fact be cyclical and catastrophic, interrupted periodically by massive upheavals and periods of chaos, hardship, the displacement of populations, and the destruction of entire civilizations within a very short span of time.

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The Writing Game

by Glenn Lord

From 1930 through 1936, Robert E. Howard (1906 – 1936) had contributions in 48 of the 80 issues of Weird Tales, including serial installments but excluding verse. In the same period he had stories in some 78 other magazines – no serials — excluding verse, as well as non-remunerative work in a fan magazine (The Fantasy Fan) and a semi-pro magazine (Marvel Tales). This averages 18 sales per year, which earned him a fairly decent income during The Depression. This despite low rates – and they really weren’t much lower than they are nowadays – and despite that Weird Tales’ policy of payment on publication was pretty much a joke, they owed Howard something like $1350.00 at the time of his death. This was eventually paid off to his father.

An examination of his sales record prior to 1930, however, will reveal almost the obverse of the above. Howard was 15 (1921) when he entered the “writing game” as he called it. His reasons for taking up writing he summed up thusly:

I took up writing simply because it seemed to promise an easier mode of work, more money, more freedom than any other job I’d tried.

Prior to that time, he had work in a high school newspaper and a poem in his hometown newspaper, but this article will only deal with remunerative publication.

Read the rest of this article.

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