Sunday, May 20, 2012

Walter F. McCanless (1876-1965)

Teacher, Author, Linguist, Musician, Composer
Born November 23, 1876, Guilford, North Carolina
Died November 28, 1965, Charlotte, North Carolina

Walter Frederick McCanless was born on November 23, 1876, in Guilford, North Carolina (1), and seems to have spent his life in the Carolinas, teaching high school in Smiths, Hayesville, and Unionville, North Carolina, and college at Clemson A & M College in South Carolina and Guilford County College and High Point University in North Carolina. According to his son, his subjects were English and mathematics. McCanless was also a linguist, played the violin and cello, and composed music.

McCanless wrote three letters in and one story for Weird Tales. The story is called "The Phantom Violinist" and it appeared in the magazine's first year in print, in November 1923. Apparently he was also the author of From Ballad and Chronicle to Historical Drama (University of North Carolina, 1904) and The Auxiliary Use of Get (University of North Carolina, 1922), which may have been theses or dissertations. McCanless died a few days after his birthday, on November 28, 1965, in Charlotte, North Carolina. McCanless should not be confused with the North Carolina textile tycoon, rancher, and booster Walter F. McCanless (1887-1958), although there might be reason for confusion: according to his genealogical research, McCanless shared the name "Walter" or "Walter F. McCanless" with ten other men.

(1) According to a McCanless family member, the actual place of birth was Wadesville, North Carolina.

Walter F. McCanless' Letters and Story in Weird Tales
"The Phantom Violinist" (Nov. 1923)
Letter to "The Eyrie" (Nov. 1923)
Letter to "The Eyrie" (Feb. 1924)
Letter to "The Eyrie" (Mar. 1924)

Further Reading
I don't know of any further reading on McCanless.

Walter F. McCanless' story, "The Phantom Violinist," appeared in this issue of Weird Tales (Nov. 1923). The cover art is attributed to an artist named Washburn.
Walter F. McCanless (1876-1965)

Thanks to Randal A. Everts for the photograph and further information.
Text and captions copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley


  1. John K. McCanlessAugust 8, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Walther F. McCanless, the author of The Phantom Violinist published in the November, 1923 edition of Weird Tales, was my Grandfather. I have been trying for years to aquire an original copy of the November 1923 edition of Weird Tales, but would settle simply for a typed copy of the Phantom Violinist story, if I have to as a lst resort. I discovered an auction selling a collection of Weird Tales a year or two ago, but was too late by a few days, and, therefore missed the only opportunity I have ever found to aquire a copy. Can any, author of one help me?


  2. John K. McCanlessAugust 8, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    I should have proofed my previous comment, I appologize to all who read it........I beleive you can understand my intent.


  3. Mr. McCanless,

    A company called Girasol Collectables prints facsimile editions of selected pulp magazines. The November 1923 issue of Weird Tales just happens to be one in their line of reprints. Their website:

    Good luck.