Monday, October 7, 2013

Dwight A. Boyce (1910-2003)

Florist, Musician, Writer, Artist
Born October 14, 1910, West Brookfield, Massachusetts
Died March 5, 2003, Berlin, Vermont

Dwight A. Boyce was born on October 14, 1910, in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. He attended schools in Ludlow, Massachusetts, and graduated from Ludlow High School. Boyce furthered his education at the Cummington School of Art in Cummington, Massachusetts. For many years he owned and operated a florist shop in Ludlow. He also worked as a florist in Montpelier, Vermont. In addition to being a florist, Dwight Boyce played piano in local Montpelier establishments. He also wrote and drew pictures for Good Old Days and Country Life.

The Collector's Index to Weird Tales by Sheldon Jaffery and Fred Cook (1985) is an imperfect book. I haven't run into any greater imperfection yet than its omission of Dwight Boyce's name. From 1935 to 1946, the artist contributed at least fifteen illustrations to Weird Tales, yet his name is not mentioned even once in Jaffery and Cook's index. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database gives Boyce credit where it is due, but I'm not sure that source is entirely accurate, either. For one, it does not list all of Boyce's letters to "The Eyrie." For another, it gives Boyce credit for illustrating stories he may not have illustrated. What I mean by that is that Boyce seems to have contributed fillers or spot illustrations rather than illustrations for actual stories. I'm led to believe that by the page numbers on which his work appeared: according to the ISFDb, every one of Dwight Boyce's drawings for Weird Tales (excepting the masthead) came on the last page of a story. I take that to mean they were mostly there to fill space. The illustrator for the story would have received credit in Weird Tales. The creator of spot illustrations would not have. If that's the case, maybe Jaffery and Cook's omissions are understandable. My suspicion that Boyce's drawings were spot drawings is supported by an image that I found on the Internet (below). It came at the end of "The Tree of Life" by C.L. Moore in the October 1936 issue of Weird Tales. As far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with the story. The ISFDb does not have an entry for that illustration.

I discovered Dwight Boyce while looking at the table of contents for the 1984-1985 version of Weird Tales. His name is on the illustration for "Peau de Cuir," a novelette by Steve Perry published in the Winter 1985 issue. From there I found that Boyce also wrote letters to "The Eyrie," five in fact, printed from 1934 to 1936.

Dwight A. Boyce died on March 5, 2003, in Berlin, Vermont. He was ninety-two years old. His wife, Ruth A. Henrichon Boyce, a nurse, survived him by nearly a decade. She passed away on June 11, 2012, at age 101.

Dwight A. Boyce's Letters in "The Eyrie"
Aug. 1934
Apr. 1935
June 1935
Sept. 1935
Mar. 1936

Dwight A. Boyce's Illustrations in Weird Tales
Note: All of these illustrations would appear to be spot illustrations or fillers, except for the headings. As such, they came at the end of the stories listed here. See Alan Husby's comment below.
"On a Train with a Madman" by Pan-Appan, translated by Roy Temple House (July 1935)
"The House of the Evil Eye" by Hugh Davidson (June 1936)
Illustration (Oct. 1936)
"Telegraphy and Telepathy" by Roy Temple House (article, June 1937)
"The Abyss Under the World" by J. Paul Suter (Aug. 1937)
"The Death of Ilalotha" by Clark Ashton Smith (Sept. 1937)
"The Shunned House" by H.P. Lovecraft (Oct. 1937)
Weird Tales Masthead (May, July, Sept., and Nov. 1940)
"Where Are You, Mr. Biggs?" by Nelson S. Bond (Sept. 1941)
"The Shape of Thrills To Come" by Anonymous (essay, Mar. 1944)
"The Dear Departed" by Alice-Mary Schnirring (May 1944)
"The Dead Man's Hand" by Manly Wade Wellman (Nov. 1944)
"The Watchers" by Ray Bradbury (May 1945)
"The Skull of the Marquis de Sade" by Robert Bloch (Sept. 1945)
"Midnight" by Jack Snow (May 1946)
"Peau de Cuir" by Steve Perry (Winter 1985)

A poor reproduction of Dwight Boyce's illustration for Weird Tales, October 1936, page 333. It came at the end of "The Tree of Life" by C.L. Moore.
Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley

2 comments:

  1. Hi Terence-
    These are definitely filler illustrations. I see from the list I sent you last year, that there are only 3 unique drawings; 2 appear first in the June 1935 issue and the third, which you include above, in June 1936. I count 16 appearances total through 1946 at ends of stories. This is not counting the Table of Contents and "shape of things" headings that I see you have included.
    All best, Alan Husby

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  2. Hi, Alan,

    Thanks for the clarification. I can see now why Boyce's name was excluded from the index to Weird Tales.

    By the way, what is "shape of things"? Was that a regular feature in the magazine?

    TH

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