Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Paul Powers Papers and Pulp Fiction Magazine Collection Donated to Ohio State University

It's been almost 15 years since I first learned of my grandfather's career as a pulp fiction writer. Back in April 1999 I discovered that he had been a prolific pulp western writer, with most of his stories being published in WILD WEST WEEKLY between 1928-1943. And two months after that, in June 1999, I reunited with my aunt Pat, my grandfather's daughter, at which time she handed over to me the two plastic bins containing his personal papers. Since then, we have published his memoir, PULP WRITER, published three anthologies of his short stories, DESERT JUSTICE, RIDING THE PULP TRAIL, and HIDDEN GHOSTS, and also reprinted his 1930 book KID WOLF OF TEXAS.

It's been an amazing 15 years. I now have a close relationship with my aunt and her children. I've met so many wonderful people through the pulp fiction community and have given talks all over the country about my grandfather's life. In the meantime, behind the scenes, my aunt and her husband Ted have been quietly acquiring copies of WILD WEST WEEKLY magazines containing my grandfather's stories and anything other magazines and books that contained his stories. Over 15 years, the collection grew to almost 400 copies of WILD WEST WEEKLY, WEIRD TALES, WESTERN STORY, TEXAS RANGERS, THE RIO KID WESTERN, EXCITING WESTERN, POPULAR WESTERN, THRILLING RANCH STORIES, RANGE RIDERS WESTERN, and more.

So it's with a lot of emotion and yes, a sense of completion, that I announce today that all of my grandfather's personal papers and the collection of pulp magazines have been donated to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. They will be part of the university's significant popular fiction holdings in the William Charvat Collection of American Literature, one of the world’s foremost collection of materials in this field, and their growing pulp fiction magazine collection. There they will be available for viewing and study by scholars, students and pulp fiction enthusiasts and historians.

These papers will be something that many scholars will be interested in studying, as they contain many insights into the career of a pulp fiction writer and his relationship with editors and publishers. Included are correspondence between the publisher and the writer, including 180 letters from the Street & Smith editorial staff, photocopies of book keeping records, and correspondence from other writers, agents, family, fans, and friends. There are letters of acceptance and rejection letters. All of the original manuscripts for all his stories, including the original for PULP WRITER and DOC DILLAHAY, and a “how to” checklist for writing a pulp western story are also in the collection.

This collection also contains examples of commercial products used by pulp fiction publishers to recycle pulp stories, such as Little Big Books; Sonny Tabor and Kid Wolf books, WILD WEST WEEKLY issues printed in the United Kingdom; and even a recording of a Sonny Tabor radio series. There are anthologies in which Paul Powers stories were reprinted over the years, (sometimes without his permission, like the NOT AT NIGHT anthology). And of course, there are the pulp magazines themselves.

The Powers family is thrilled that this donation has taken place. We know that Grandpa Powers would have been so pleased and proud and yes, probably a little surprised that the pulp fiction years he thought had been a waste have found a second life and will be of value to scholars and students for many, many years to come.

The Rare Books and Manuscript Library is also posting a Press Release on Facebook. (You should be able to view it even if you're not a member.) Any comments or questions regarding the collection can be posted there.

I would like to thank Eric Johnson, curator of the Rare Books and Manuscript Library at Ohio State for his acceptance of this donation, and his enthusiasm, patience, and support during this process which started last August and took almost five months to complete. Personally, I want to thank my Pat and Ted Binkley, my aunt and uncle, for their generosity in donating the substantial pulp fiction collection and the personal papers. None of this would have been possible without them.

I hope many of you will be able to benefit from this collection. This seems like the perfect ending to one of the most exciting stories of my life.


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14 comments:

Bill Crider said...

Congratulations. This is really cool.

Laurie Powers said...

Thank you Bill. Donating the collection just seemed like the right thing to do.

BISH said...

Wow, Laurie! This is great! Congratulations! You've worked very diligently to make this happen ...

Walker Martin said...

Laurie, when I first read this news my heart sank and I was actually disappointed to read of another collection being donated to a University.

Of course that's the collector in me speaking. I've known of some collections donated to libraries and universities over the years that have not worked out well at all. Often they don't know how to organize and handle such a collection and it is just boxed away in a storage area, etc.

But then I reread this post and I'm happy to say that if Eric Johnson is involved then the collection will be cared for as it deserves. He has been responsible for some nice activities involving pulps and I'm sure he will see that Ohio State University takes care of the collection.

Eric Johnson has attended many of the Pulpcons and all of the Pulpfests and knows alot about the pulp magazines. I'm sure he will take care of the collection.

Laurie Powers said...

Thank you Paul! You've always been a big supporter of my grandfather and I appreciate that.

Walker, I knew you'd have that reaction as I know that other collectors will as well. But I'd rather have this in the public's eye so it can be used for study, and for a long time to come. If it was with a collector it would be shut away for who knows how long, or broken up into splinters and sold. I don't want that. If it will make you feel any better, a good 1/4 to 1/3 of the magazines are reading quality only, because their covers were reinforced with masking tape by an earlier collector.

Laurie Powers said...

Oh, and p.s. I wouldn't have anyone other than Eric have it.

Cap'n Bob said...

This is good of you, Laurie, but whither goest thou now?

Bob Byrne said...

As an OSU alum and Columbus resident, thanks Laurie. That's awesome!

Tom Johnson said...

Congratulations, Laurie. I'm sure the collection will be cared for, and will benefit many. This was a true act of love on your family's part.

Laurie Powers said...

Cap'n Bob, I'm on to Daisy Bacon and LOVE STORY and whatever else strikes my fancy.

Bob Byrne: very cool! The plan is for me to give a presentation at OSU prior to PulpFest this year, although that hasn't been announced yet.

Tom: thank you. Like I mentioned before, it was an easy decision knowing Eric Johnson at OSU would be in charge of it. I know and trust him to take excellent care of the collection.

Barry Traylor said...

This is wonderful news Laurie as it will part of the collection for pulp scholars to use in the years to come.

Laurie Powers said...

Thank you Barry!

Sai S said...

Very good news. I hope that they will digitize and share as much of the content online as possible within copyright limitations.

Jared said...

Are you done publishing collections of your grandfather's works?