Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Earl Pierce, Jr. (1910-1982)

Earl Monroe Pierce, Jr.
Aka Earl Pierce; Earl Peirce, Jr.; Earl Peirce
Born June 7, 1910, San Francisco County, California
Died March 14, 1982, Alameda County, California

Earl Pierce is a fairly common name. Locating him might not be easy, but I think I have the right Earl Pierce for this article. I base this on the fact that the Earl Pierce, Jr., in question here lived, like his collaborator Bruce Bryan (1906-2004), in Washington, D.C., as did Everil Worrell (1893-1969). All wrote for Weird Tales and all apparently knew each other and associated with each other in the nation's capital. Seabury Quinn was also in their group. With that in mind, I'll offer a very brief biography of the Earl Pierce, Jr., I have found with the assumption that he wrote for Weird Tales.

His name was Earl Pierce, Jr. I can say that with almost certainty, as I don't believe Peirce is at all a correct spelling. I wonder now if Pierce misspelled his own name to distance himself in some way from his family or his past. If I have the right Earl, and he was born in San Francisco, then Washington, D.C., is about as far as he could have gone from home while remaining in the United States. That's mere speculation. More likely, the misspelling of his name is a simple typographical error. The Earl Pierce, Jr., I have was Earl Monroe Pierce, Jr., born on June 7, 1910, in San Francisco County, California, to Earl Pierce, Sr., an interior decorator and furniture salesman, and Lizinette (Hoyle) Pierce. Earl Pierce, Jr., had one younger sister as far as I can tell.

In 1920, the Pierce family was in San Francisco. Earl, Jr., presumably graduated from Berkeley High School in 1928. In what would have been his senior year, or shortly after his graduation, he got his name in the papers by having a loud party at his parents' house, complete with wine, women, and song. That was in September 1928. In 1930, Pierce was still living in Berkeley with his family and working as a typist for a railway company. By 1940, he was on the other end of the continent, in Washington, D.C., and employed as the manager of an apartment building. Half of those years, 1935 to 1941, more or less coincided with his career as a fan and author of weird fiction and other popular stories. He had ten stories and three letters in the pulp magazines of the time. Seven of those stories and all of the letters were in Weird Tales. And then he fell silent. In later years, Earl Pierce, Jr., lived in the area of San Francisco and Oakland. He died on March 14, 1982, in Alameda County, California, at age seventy-one. With him died all of the hopes, dreams, and pleasures of his youth. His successes--his ten stories--remain for us to read today where we can find them.

Earl Pierce, Junior's Stories in Weird Fiction Magazines
"Doom of the House of Duryea" in Weird Tales (Oct. 1936)
"The Last Archer" in Weird Tales (Mar. 1937; reprinted in Startling Mystery Stories, Summer 1968)
"The Death Mask" in Weird Tales (Apr. 1937)
"The Homicidal Diary" in Weird Tales (Oct. 1937)
"The White Rat," with Bruce Bryan, in Weird Tales (Sept. 1938) 
"Satan Fills the Morgue" in Strange Detective Mysteries (Nov./Dec. 1938)
"The Stroke of Twelve" in Weird Tales (June/July 1939)
"Portrait of a Bride" in Weird Tales (Jan. 1940)
"Legacy of the Dead" in Terror Tales (July 1940) 
"The Shadow of Nirvana" in Strange Stories (Feb. 1941)

Letters to "The Eyrie"
Nov. 1935
Nov. 1936
July 1937, from Earl Peirce, Jr.

Earl Pierce, Jr., from the Berkeley High School yearbook, 1927.

Text copyright 2017 Terence E. Hanley


  1. Homidical Diary and Doom of the House of Duryea are online at Gutenberg.

    1. D. Jones,

      Thanks for the links. Now we have at least two of Pierce's stories.


  2. You've got the wrong person here. The writer was named "Peirce". He was a friend of Robert Bloch's in Milwaukee, c. 1935-37. Details at:

    1. Anonymous,

      Thanks for the information and correction. I will work on correcting what I wrote when I can.