Ransom Center Receives Collection of Fantasy Writer Robert E. Howard
AUSTIN, Texas — The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has received a gift of materials related to writer Robert E. Howard (1906-1936), a prominent and prolific writer in the fantasy genre. Though Howard is perhaps best known for creating the character Conan the Barbarian, he wrote more than 100 stories for pulp magazines of his day, though his career spanned only 12 years before he committed suicide at the age of 30.
The collection, which includes more than 15,000 pages of manuscripts, sketches and ephemera, was donated by the estate of Glenn Lord (1931-2011), a Texas literary agent, editor and publisher of Howard’s prose and poetry. Lord is considered the first and most important researcher of Howard’s life and writings.
“The Ransom Center has one of the largest collections of classic science fiction novels, as well as the papers of several important science fiction and fantasy writers,” said Richard Oram, associate director and Hobby Foundation Librarian at the Ransom Center. “The Glenn Lord collection of Robert E. Howard will add an additional dimension to these materials. Everyone is familiar with the Conan the Barbarian books or films, and the franchise originated in Howard's Underwood No. 5 typewriter. Today, original typescripts of this Texas writer are sought after by collectors around the world, and we are grateful that Mr. Lord decided to place them here."
Howard maintained a regular correspondence for six years with fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft, and the two debated the merits of civilization vs. barbarianism, cities and society vs. the frontier, the mental vs. the physical and other subjects. Some of this correspondence is preserved in the collection.
Other highlights in the collection include Howard's hand-drawn map of Earth in the Hyborian Age, the setting for his Conan stories; original typescripts of works such as "The Hour of the Dragon" and "The God in the Bowl"; and a handwritten draft of his play "Bran Mak Morn."
Lord became a collector of Howard’s work in the 1950s and amassed the world’s largest collection of Howard’s stories, poems and letters. Lord served as the literary agent for Howard’s heirs for almost 30 years, and his collection was used as the source text for almost every published Howard work appearing in books and magazines between 1965 and 1997.
The materials will be accessible once processed and cataloged. Two cases of Howard materials will be on display in the Ransom Center’s lobby through Sept. 3.