Thursday, April 7, 2016

John Murray Reynolds (1900-1993)

Author, Shipping Executive, Naval Officer
Born May 29, 1901, New York, New York
Died July 6, 1993, Deerfield Beach, Florida

John Murray "Jack" Reynolds is an example of a man who lived in the upper levels of society, yet wrote pulp fiction and was unashamed to do it. He was born on May 29, 1901, in New York City and graduated from Princeton University in 1922 with a degree in geology. At Princeton, he was a member of Cloister Inn, Clio Hall, and the rifle and pistol team. Once out of school, Reynolds got a job with the Munson Steamship Line and spent a year in Cuba before moving to the main office in New York City. In 1933, he became vice-president of the Sword Steamship Line. In 1940 he resigned his position for a commission in the U.S. Navy. Reynolds worked in intelligence and counterintelligence and spent three years in London, where he played a role in the Normandy invasion. The Princeton Alumni Weekly said of him, "Jack was also reputed to have had the largest mustache in the navy."

Reynolds separated in 1946 with the rank of commander. Upon leaving the Navy, he entered the ship brokerage business. In 1963, he founded and became first president of the Society of Maritime Arbitrators of New York. He was also associated with W.K. Proom & Company and Harvey Bryant Company, and was owner of the Meridian Marine Corporation.  

And through much of that, he wrote pulp fiction.

According to an obituary (see links below), John Murray Reynolds wrote 150 short stories. These were published in Adventure, Boys' Life, Cosmopolitan, Five-Novels Monthly, Frontier Stories, Golden Fleece, Indian Stories, Munsey's, Sea Stories, and other magazines. He also authored seven books. A list of his stories is in the collections of the Princeton University libraries. (See below.) The FictionMags Index and the Internet Speculative Fiction Database list his stories as well. One that has seemingly slipped through the cracks is "The Dark Planet," a four-part serial in Boys' Life in 1935.

Reynolds' stories in the genres of science fiction and fantasy:
  • "The Devil-Plant" in Weird Tales (Sept. 1928)
  • "The Celadon Vase" in Weird Tales (Mar. 1929)
  • "The Dark Planet" (four-part serial) in Boys' Life (Mar.-June 1935)
  • "Ki-Gor: King of the Jungle" in Jungle Stories (Winter 1938; reprinted in Summer 1948) 
  • "Puppets of the Murder Master" in Bull's-Eye Detective (Fall 1938)
  • "Forest of Evil" in Weird Tales (Apr. 1938)
  • "Peace on the Sea" in Golden Fleece (Jan. 1939)
  • "The Golden Amazons of Venus" in Planet Stories (Winter 1939)
  • "Goddess of the Moon" in Planet Stories (Spring 1940)
  • "Soul of Ra-Moses" in Weird Tales (May 1940)
His books include Bugles at Midnight (1931), The Guns of Yorktown, illustrated by Manning de Vere Lee (1932), and The Private Life of Henry Perkins (1947).

John Murray Reynolds died on July 6, 1993, at age ninety-two in Deerfield Beach, Florida. His ashes were scattered at sea.

John Murray Reynolds' Stories in Weird Tales
"The Devil-Plant" in Weird Tales (Sept. 1928)
"The Celadon Vase" in Weird Tales (Mar. 1929)
"Forest of Evil" in Weird Tales (Apr. 1938)
"Soul of Ra-Moses" in Weird Tales (May 1940)

Further Reading
"John Murray Reynolds '22 Collection: A Checklist" compiled by Bruce J. Wasser, Princeton University Library, 1968, here.
"John Murray Reynolds, 92, Dies" by Journal of Commerce Staff, Journal of Commerce, July 8, 1993, here.
"John Murray Reynolds, Shipping Executive, 92," New York TimesJuly 10, 1993, here.
"John M. Reynolds ’22," Princeton Alumni WeeklyOct. 13, 1993, here.

The Guns of Yorktown by John Murray Reynolds (1932), with illustrations by Manning de Vere Lee.

A photo of John Murray Reynolds on his eightieth birthday, from the Princeton Alumni Weekly, November 3, 1980, page 32. 

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

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