I received a really interesting email the other day from Margaret Watts in Australia. She has in her possession a sculpture with some pulp fiction connections, but we're not really sure what the full story is.
According to Margaret, this sculpture was given as an award at some point in the 1930s in the United States. Charles L. Wrenn's signature is on the base, and along each side of the base are the names COWBOY STORIES, RANCH ROMANCES, and ACE HIGH, which we all know were popular and long-standing pulp Westerns during the 1930s.
Margaret checked David Saunder's website, the Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists (www.pulpartists.com) and says the signature on the sculpture matches the one on Charles Wrenn's bio page.
According to Margaret, "This statuette came into my family via my mother’s second husband, Arthur. Arthur told my brother that he’d inherited from his mother who lived for quite some time in the US. He also said that it had been awarded in the 1930s. Unfortunately, as with many family histories, Arthur is now long deceased and the story is not complete."
Margaret also told me of another intruiging tidbit: in the 2006 movie THE HOLIDAY, (you know the one, where Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz switch houses), Kate befriends an elderly screenwriter (played by Eli Wallach). When she visits his house, there, among his many awards, is the sculpture.
PulpArtists.com says that Charles Wrenn sold freelance pulp magazine covers to The Danger Trail, People's Magazine, Ranch Romances, Three Star Magazine, and War Stories from 1920 to 1936. In 1936 he moved to Wilson Point, South Norwalk, in Fairfield, Connecticut, where he painted portraits and landscapes until he died in 1952 at the age of 72.
Below are a couple of Wrenn's covers.
So, does anyone have any ideas of the story behind this sculpture? I'm thinking that maybe it was an award given by someone like the Western Writers of America, but not sure.