Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Birthday, Shambleau!

Eighty years ago this month, in November 1933, "Shambleau" by C.L. Moore was published in Weird Tales. It was the author's first published story, consequently her first for "The Unique Magazine." It was also the first tale in the saga of Northwest Smith, that pale-eyed interplanetary adventurer and progenitor of Han Solo (and perhaps also Travis McGee, John D. MacDonald's Florida boat bum with eyes the color of spit.) "Shambleau" took the world of weird fiction by storm. Farnsworth Wright, E. Hoffman Price, and H.P. Lovecraft were instant fans--and it's no wonder why. If you haven't read "Shambleau" yet, you should at your earliest opportunity.

Happy Birthday, Shambleau!

"Shambleau" was originally printed in Weird Tales in November 1933. A quarter century later, Galaxy Publishing reprinted the story in a digest-sized "Galaxy Novel #31." One source says that the cover art was by Wally Wood.
A British edition came along three years later (1961). The label "A Science Horror Fantasy" covers all the bases.
A second British edition showed up in 1976. I don't know the name of the cover artist for either edition.
Alexis Oussenko created the illustration for this French edition from 1973.
"Shambleau" was translated into Italian for this edition of 1982. The cover artists were Paolo Tassinari and Pierpaolo Vetta
Finally, another Italian edition from 1991 with cover art by Oscar Chichoni (b. 1957). The cover story is "Vintage Season" ("La stagione della vendemmia"), but the cover illustration is clearly a depiction of C.L. Moore's vampiric Martian Medusa.

Text and captions copyright 2013, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Anthony D. Keogh (1900-1972)

Aka Mark Anthony Keogh
Clerk, Commercial Artist, Poster Artist, Display Designer, Photographer, Inventor, Technician/Engineer, Author
Born September 16, 1900, Springfield, Ohio
Died March 24, 1972, Springfield, Ohio

Anthony Daniel Keogh was born on September 16, 1900, in Springfield, Ohio. His parents were first generation Irish-Americans and filled their household with various Keoghs, Hogans, Faheys, and Flahertys, all relatives. Anthony D. Keogh began writing stories when he was about sixteen and made his first sale four years later. His story was called "Peppermint Courage," and it was published in the January 10, 1922, issue of The Black Cat. In an article published less than two weeks later in The Editor, Keogh explained the genesis of his story. He also wrote a little about himself, closing his article with these words: "I am neither notorious nor famous; am practically unknown outside Springfield." Anthony D. Keogh wrote one story for Weird Tales, "The Silent Five," published in December 1924. In his four years of writing before his first story was published in The Black Cat, Keogh also contributed to Radio News and Popular Mechanics.

Keogh was a jack of some trades: clerk, timekeeper, bookkeeper, assistant advertising manager, sign painter, poster artist, display designer, card writer, commercial artist, inventor (he patented a folding thermometer back), technician/engineer, and of course writer. During World War II, he contributed to the war effort by working as a photographer at Wright Field. After the war, when Wright Field became Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Keogh stayed on as a technician and engineer. I suspect he lived in Springfield all his life, at his parents' house at 526 Scott Street, even after they had all gone--all the Keoghs and other relatives. Keogh died in 1972 and was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Springfield.

Anthony D. Keogh's Story in Weird Tales
"The Silent Five" (Dec. 1924)

Further Reading

Update (Apr. 7, 2023): Antony Keogh in a photograph from the Springfield, Ohio, News-Sun, October 30, 1956, page 4. WADC was the Wright Air Development Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Text and captions copyright 2013, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

Monday, November 18, 2013

Talbot Johns (1909-1969)

Advertising Agent, Naval Officer, Author
Born February 14, 1909, New York
Died June 12, 1969, Los Angeles, California

Talbot Johns was born on February 14, 1909, and grew up in Queens, New York. Johns' mother was Florence Wilcox Johns, mother of four and a soprano soloist in her church choir. His father was William Hingston Johns, a British-born businessman and an amateur yachtsman, singer, organist, and composer. William H. Johns ran an advertising agency, Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn (BBDO), and co-founded the American Association of Advertising Agencies. The Dutch Boy paint trademark was his original concept. His son, Talbot Johns, attended St. Paul's School, Andover Academy, and Williams College, graduating in 1930. In the 1940 census, Talbot Johns was living in Minneapolis and working in advertising like his father before him. Johns served as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II. He settled in southern California sometime after the war and died in Los Angeles on June 12, 1969, at age sixty.

I have found three short stories by Talbot Johns published in American magazines:
  • "Date in the City Room" in Weird Tales (Jan. 1939)
  • "Death of a Truck" in Collier’s, illustrated by Hardie Gramatky (Mar. 21, 1942)
  • "Past Midnight" in North•West Romances (Spring 1950)
"Date in the City Room" was reprinted in the British edition of Weird Tales (#12, 1951) and in 100 Ghastly Little Ghost Stories, edited by Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg, and Martin H. Greenberg (Barnes and Noble, 1993). I believe Johns also wrote a piece called "The Best Places Are Flat."

Talbot Johns' Story in Weird Tale
"Date in the City Room" (Jan. 1939)

Further Reading
"W.H. Johns Dies; Advertising Man" in the New York Times, Apr. 18, 1944, p. 21.

    Talbot Johns' lone story for Weird Tales appeared in the January 1939 issue with a cover by Virgil Finlay.

Text and captions copyright 2013, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Alice I'Anson (1872-1931)

Born January 25, 1872, San Francisco, California
Died June 5, 1931, Mexico City, Mexico

When I first encountered the name Alice I'Anson, I thought the first letter of her last name was a lower case L, as in the contraction of the French article la or le. Then I learned that the first letter is an upper case I. It's a curious surname but apparently not uncommon, and it has nothing to do with French or any other Continental language. In fact, I'Anson is a British or Scottish surname that may derive from "Ian's son" and as such is related to the name Janson. If you go further in your research, you're bound to discover a website, I'Anson International, which tells all about the name, the inevitable confusion over its spelling, and the many people who have borne it.

Alice I'Anson's story begins in England, the native country of her father, Miles I'Anson. He was born in Middleham, North Yorkshire, and baptized in November 1835. His father was a tailor who may have been widowed by the time of the 1841 English census, which found the family in Middleham. By 1850, Miles I'Anson was in Newark, New Jersey, and working as a porter. Well before that time, there was an I'Anson family already established in New Jersey. Perhaps in leaving England, Miles I'Anson only joined another branch of I'Ansons in the New World.

Miles I'Anson married Elizabeth Flintoft, daughter of John Flintoft of Flintoft and Haines Smelting Works. Elizabeth's mother was Elizabeth I'Anson, presumably a distant or perhaps not so distant cousin to her new husband. The couple had three children, Alice (b. 1872), Beatrice (b. ca. 1875), and Miles (b. 1876). The Christian name Miles ran through the I'Anson family for generations.

Miles I'Anson was a gold prospector, a poet, and a mining engineer (from 1875 to 1891) in California. By 1891, he was back in Newark, the city from which he wrote the introduction to his book The Vision of Misery Hill: A Legend of the Sierra Madre and Miscellaneous Verse (New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1891). I don't know what connection if any I'Anson had with the San Francisco literary scene that included Ambrose Bierce and George Sterling, but it's a possibility worth considering. Elizabeth I'Anson died in 1913. Miles I'Anson died in 1917 and was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Newark. The month was November. Presumably, Miles I'Anson was born in and died in the same month of the year, eighty-two years apart.

It's certain that Miles I'Anson, father of Alice I'Anson, was a literary figure with several poems and an illustrated book of verse to his name. He may have been the same Miles I'Anson of Newark who bore back the body of the Anglo-American writer Henry William Herbert (1807-1858) from New York City to its final resting place at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, the same place that would one day receive the body of Miles I'Anson. The cemetery adjoined Herbert's home place, called "The Cedars" for its surrounding trees. Like I'Anson, Herbert was a British immigrant. Having arrived in the United States in 1831, he founded the American Monthly Magazine in 1833. A teacher, classical scholar, translator, poet, novelist, historian, and artist, Herbert was well known though not always well liked in American literary circles. He wrote about sports under the pen name Frank Forester. On May 17, 1858, he called his friends to a dinner at the Stevens Hotel in New York City. Only one showed. After dinner, Herbert stood in front of a mirror and put a bullet through his heart. If our Miles I'Anson was the man who accompanied the cortege of Henry William Herbert, he would have been just twenty-two years old at the time.

According to a later document, Alice I'Anson was born on January 25, 1872, in San Francisco, California. (1) She had poems published in Belford's MonthlyCalifornian Illustrated, The International, and Overland Monthly magazines. In 1895 and 1918, she was in Newark and Sussex, New Jersey, where her family lived. By 1930, when her first poem in Weird Tales appeared, Alice was residing in Mexico City. Called "Teotihuacon," the poem concerns the ancient Aztecs and their grisly habits of human sacrifice. Robert E. Howard wrote a letter to "The Eyrie" in appreciation. You can read more at the website REH: Two-Gun Raconteur, here.

Alice I'Anson had five poems published in Weird Tales and one in its companion magazine, Oriental Stories. She also wrote two published letters to "The Eyrie" and one to Oriental Stories. Most of those were published posthumously, as Alice died of heart failure at her Mexico City home on the morning of June 5, 1931. She was just fifty-eight years old. Alice I'Anson was survived by her brother and sister. Her remains were interred at the American Cemetery in Mexico City. They may yet rest there, far from her original home.

Alice I'Anson's Poems in Weird Tales and Oriental Stories
"Teotihuacon" (Nov. 1930)
"Rondeau Orientale" in Oriental Stories (Feb./Mar. 1931)
"Phantoms" (June/July 1931)
"Jungle Feud" (Nov. 1931)
"Shadows of Chapultepec" (May 1932)
"Kishi, My Cat" (Oct. 1932)

Alice I'Anson's Letters to "The Eyrie" and to Oriental Stories
Oct. 1930
Feb. 1931 (Oriental Stories)
June 1931

(1) "Report of the Death of an American Citizen," American Consular Service, Mexico City, June 9, 1931.

A sixteenth century depiction of human sacrifice among the Aztecs, from the Codex Magliabechiano. Alice I'Anson sang of just such a scene in her poem "Teotihuacon" in Weird Tales, November 1930.

Text and captions copyright 2013, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Norman Elwood Hammerstrom (1899-1970)

Norman Elwood Hamerstrom
Chemist, Author, Farmer
Born November 29, 1899, Washington, D.C.
Died May 15, 1970, East Moline, Illinois

Norman Elwood Hamerstrom was born on November 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C. The census taker caught up with his family in Galesburg, Illinois, in June 1900. That record shows Hamerstrom (spelled Hammerstrom) as having been born in February 1900. Most records, including Hamerstrom's World War I draft card (which he signed "Norman Elwood Hamerstrom"--one m), give a birthdate in 1899. Hamerstrom's mother, Emily Amanda Akeyson Hamerstrom (1866-1932), daughter of Swedish immigrants, was listed as married in 1900, but her husband, John, was not to be found.

Norman E. Hamerstrom was a chemist. In 1918, he worked for Gulick-Henderson, a Chicago firm of chemists and metallurgists. Hamerstrom attended the University of Illinois for at least three semesters in the early 1920s. In 1924 he collaborated with Richard F. Searight (1902-1975) on a story, "The Brain in the Jar," published in Weird Tales in the November issue that year. The story was reprinted in Weird Tales in June 1936. We should note that the November 1924 issue was the first under the guidance of Farnsworth Wright and the first issue in nearly half a year. Perhaps Wright recruited the young author.

Hamerstrom's mother was born in Galesburg, Illinois (hometown of Carl Sandburg). The Hamerstrom and Akeyson families lived in that city for many years. Norman Hamerstrom was enumerated there in the 1900 and 1920 censuses. By 1930, his life had taken a different turn, for Hamerstrom was listed as a patient at the East Moline State Hospital for the mentally ill. He was a farmer and so not incapacitated. Hamerstrom was still there in 1940 and died in East Moline, Illinois, presumably in the hospital, on May 15, 1970, at age seventy.

Norman Elwood Hammerstrom's (Hamerstrom's) Story and Letter in Weird Tales
"The Brain in the Jar," with Richard F. Searight (Nov. 1924, reprinted June 1936)
Letter to "The Eyrie" (Jan. 1925)

Further Reading
Only the story itself.

An undated postcard of the Watertown Insane Asylum before it was renamed East Moline State Hospital in 1909. The facility was called "the castle on the Mississippi," and it was enormous. Norman Elwood Hamerstrom spent most of his adult life at the hospital. I doubt that the reverse of the card reads anything like "wish you were here."

Text and captions copyright 2013, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

Friday, November 15, 2013

Francis D. Grierson (1888-1972)

Author, Newspaperman, Editor, Lawyer, Engineer
Born November 27, 1888, Dublin, Ireland
Died September 24, 1972, Lewisham, London, England

Francis Durham Grierson was born on November 27, 1888, in Dublin, Ireland. His parents were Thomas B. Grierson, an engineer, and Frances E. Grierson. In the 1901 census of England, the family was in Beckenham, Kent. Ten years later, at age twenty-two, Grierson was on his own, employed as a subeditor at the Cambrian Daily Leader and living in Swansea, Wales. From 1912 onward, Grierson contributed articles, essays, and short stories to Detective Tales, Munsey's, The New Strand, The Smart Set, and other magazines. He wrote three stories for Weird Tales. All were published in the magazine's first year in print, 1923. (1)

One hundred years ago this month, Francis D. Grierson sailed from Liverpool to New York aboard the Lusitania, still a year and a half away from its rendezvous with a German torpedo. Grierson gave his occupation as engineer. With him was his male secretary. I believe Grierson worked for a railroad at about that time. In early 1915 he married Elinor Abraham in Swansea, Wales. Great Britain was already at war by then. If the army hadn't already come calling, Grierson would soon join the ranks of the British Expeditionary Force on the Continent. He attained the rank of captain in the Sixth Welsh Regiment.

Francis D. Grierson is most well known as an author of detective novels, the first of which was The Limping Man from 1924. Over the next thirty-five years, he chronicled the adventures of fictional detectives Andrew Ash, George Muir, and Inspector Sims and Professor Wells. Grierson wrote more than four dozen books altogether. Unique among them was a science fiction novel, Heart of the Moon, from 1928. Grierson also wrote non-fiction, including The Single Star (1918) and The French Judicial Police (1934), for which he was awarded the Legion of Honour from the French government. (2)

According to the online Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Grierson was also a lawyer and an editor at The Daily Mail. He lived in London for many years and died in that city on September 24, 1972, at age eighty-three.

Francis D. Grierson's Stories in Weird Tales
"The Hall of the Dead" (Apr. 1923)
"The Case of the Golden Lily" (Oct. 1923)
"The Iron Room" (Nov. 1923)

Further Reading
The works of Francis D. Grierson are listed at the following URL:
You can find and translate a brief biography of and a list of works by Grierson on the French version of Wikipedia.

(1) The last of those was published ninety years ago this month. Time flies.
(2) Grierson was a great admirer of the British crime writer Edgar Wallace (1875-1932). He wrote a remembrance, "Edgar Wallace: The Passing of a Great Personality," in The Bookman in March, 1932.

Three covers for novels by Francis D. Grierson: The Limping Man (originally from 1924), Murder in Black (1935), and The Crimson Cat (1944). Like John D. MacDonald, he seems to have liked color-coded titles. 

Text and captions copyright 2013, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Alice Drayton Farnham (1906-1974)

Born October 17, 1906, Pennsylvania
Died April 20, 1974, Dade County, Florida

Alice Drayton Farnham was born on October 17, 1906, in Pennsylvania. She married a man named John Walter Russell in the 1920s. They had three children before being divorced in the 1930s. Alice moved her children from place to place over the years. In her most trying times, she placed them in an orphanage for two years. Even when they were with her, she was forced to leave them at home during the week and returned to them on weekends. Their experiences brought the children closer and helped make them independent. I wish I had more to tell about Alice and her family. Together, they and the people of their generations built a world and helped keep a world from being destroyed.

Alice Farnham Drayton was an author of short stories, but I have found just three published credits for her:
  • "Helpmeet" in Bluebook (Feb. 1952)
  • "Morne Perdu" in Weird Tales (Mar. 1952)
  • "Black As the Night" in Weird Tales (Nov. 1952)
Alice F. Russell died on April 20, 1974, in Dade County, Florida. She was sixty-seven years old.

Alice Drayton Farnham's Stories in Weird Tales
"Morne Perdu" (Mar. 1952)
"Black As the Night" (Nov. 1952)

Further Reading

Alice Drayton Farnham had her story "Helpmeet" published in this issue of Bluebook (Feb. 1952) under the name Drayton Farnham. The cover was by Bill Fleming.
Weird Tales, March 1952. According to Jaffery and Cook, "Morne Perdu" by Alice Farnham was the cover story. I haven't read the story, so I can't say whether this is an illustration for it, or simply a generic haunted house/scary scene so common in Weird Tales at the time. Joseph R. Eberle was the artist.
Alice Drayton Farnham's byline showed up again on the cover of the November 1952 issue of Weird Tales. Jaffery and Cook call this a generic cover and not illustrative of any particular story. The artist was Anthony Di Giannurio.

Text and captions copyright 2013, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Horatio V. Ellis (1895-1945)

Salesman, Author
Born March 9, 1895, Cheboygan, Michigan
Died August 27, 1945, Hennepin County, Minnesota

Update (November 1, 2023): I now have confirmation that Horatio Vernon Ellis (1895-1945) was the author of "The Gorilla." Confirmation comes by way of a letter to "The Eyrie" written by his mother, Rosella (Cole) Wickman (1885-1942), aka Mrs. F. Wickman, published in November 1923.

Update (March 9, 2023): I don't have a lot of confidence in Horatio Vernon Ellis as the man who wrote for Weird Tales. I'm revisiting this posting today because today is his birthday, and I noticed in the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDb) that I misspelled the name of the city in which he was born. I have made the correction. Thanks to the ISFDb for pointing out the error.

Assuming I have the right Horatio V. Ellis, of which there appears to be just one in the census records, Horatio Vernon Ellis was born on March 9, 1895, in Cheboygan, Michigan, to Albert and Rosella Ellis. Ellis worked as an elevator operator and a plumbing salesman. He lived in Duluth, Saint Paul, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Bertha, also in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He wrote just one story for Weird Tales, "The Gorilla," from the September 1923 issue. I wish we knew more about Ellis. Instead all I can say is that he died on August 27, 1945, in Hennepin County, Minnesota, and was buried at Guardian Angel Cemetery in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

Horatio V. Ellis' Story in Weird Tales
"The Gorilla" (Sept. 1923)
See also a letter in "The Eyrie," written by his mother, Mrs. F. Wickman, and published in the November 1923 issue of Weird Tales.

Further Reading
Unfortunately none except for the story.

Weird Tales, June 1923, the first Weird Tales gorilla cover except that the gorilla is actually an orangutan, the killer in Edgar Allan Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue." (Thanks to Anonymous for the correction.) This was not the issue in which Horatio V. Ellis's story, "The Gorilla," appeared. That came along three months later. The cover artist was William F. Heitman.
Then came the gorilla of all gorillas, King Kong, from 1933. King Kong was Adolf Hitler's favorite movie. Mussolini was a fan of Mickey Mouse (called Topolino in Italian). And as we all know from watching Team America: World Police (2004), Kim Jong-Il was a big fan of American popular culture. (By the way, Gary's brother was killed by gorillas.) So what is it about American popular culture, created in a vat of democracy and free market economics, that attracts totalitarians and socialists so strongly? The world may never know.
RKO Radio Pictures, writer and producer Merian C. Cooper, special effects man Willis O'Brien, actor Robert Armstrong, and other members of the crew who worked on King Kong revisited the gorilla genre in 1949 with Mighty Joe Young. The gorilla is still clutching the girl in his hairy paw, but this time he's trying to protect her. Mighty Joe Young is an enjoyable movie. Unfortunately it didn't do well at the box office. According to Wikipedia, if the movie had done well, there would have been a sequel, Joe Meets Tarzan. I don't know about you, but I would watch a movie like that.
Gorillas appeared elsewhere in the pulps, as in "The Gorilla of the Gas Bags" by Gil Brewer, the cover story of the inaugural issue of Zeppelin Stories, June 1929. This is to me one of the most striking images from the pulps. For it we can thank illustrator, author, and aviator C.B. Colby (1904-1977).
Comic books (along with paperbacks and men's magazines) were of course the successors to the pulps, and there were plenty of gorilla comic book covers. The editors at DC comics noticed that gorilla covers sold books, so there were more and more throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. Long before that, in spring 1943, this big ape appeared on the cover of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. The cover, by Dan Zolnerowich (1915-1995), is an example of what's called "good girl art." 
Apes have been in popular culture for almost as long as there has been such a thing. An ape--in this case an orangutan--proves to be the murderer in what has been called the first detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Edgar Allan Poe (1841). (See the first image above.) The illustration is by Harry Clarke (1889-1931). 
Berni Wrightson interpreted the same scene in 1976.
Sometimes gorillas are bad. Sometimes gorillas are good. And sometimes gorillas are Magilla.

Text copyright 2013, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Laurence R. D'Orsay (1887-1947)

Pseudonym of Leopold Alexander Thalmayer
Aka Laurence Thalmore
Author, Critic, Literary Agent
Born November 8, 1887, Vienna, Austria
Died November 21, 1947, Los Angeles City or County

Laurence Rex D'Orsay was the pseudonym of a man named Leopold Alexander Thalmayer, also known as Laurence Thalmore. (1) He was born on November 8, 1887 (or 1893), in Vienna, Austria. In 1911 he was living in London, England. Five years later (on March 14, 1916), he arrived in New York with a woman who was ostensibly his British-born wife, Renette. She seems to have vanished from the public record after that.

The 1920 census found Laurence A. Thalmayer living in Kearny, New Jersey, and employed with a trading company. By 1925, he was already working as a literary agent. (He wrote to Kansas columnist Jay E. House [1872-1936] that year offering to place House's writings for him.) By 1930 Laurence Thalmore was in Beverly Hills with a relatively new wife and son. She was Nordica Abbott (1902-1969), a dancer and artist named for the American opera singer Lillian Nordica, also called Madame Nordica. (2) The son was named Kenneth Thalmayer, eventually Kenneth Edward D'Orsay (1923-1972). (3) Kenneth D'Orsay would one day have a daughter named Nordica Theodora D'Orsay, or Teddy for short. In the 1970s, Teddy was or was not part of some kind of intrigue involving the CIA, the Mafia, drugs, the Shah of Iran, and other fodder for conspiracy theorists. You can try to untangle all that yourself if you'd like.

In the meantime, Laurence R. D'Orsay busied himself as a writer and a literary agent. His stories included:
  • "Phantoms," Weird Tales (Jan. 1925)
  • "The Spirit of It," Short Stories (Jan. 25, 1925)
  • "Marble," Weird Tales (June, 1925)
  • "The Stamp of Courtesy," Clues (Oct. 1926)
  • "Jewels for Two," (with F. L. Grant) Clues (Dec. 1926)
  • "The Price of Empire," Soldiers of Fortune (May, 1932)
D'Orsay also wrote a novel, Mistress of Spears: A Tale of Amazulu (Kansas City, Missouri: Burton, 1930), plus non-fiction on writing and marketing for writers. He ran Laurence D'Orsay Literary Agency in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Henry Kuttner worked for D'Orsay before making a name for himself as an author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories. In his work for D'Orsay, Kuttner also helped Leigh Brackett get her career started. I suspect a number of science fiction fans from southern California and their friends from the hinterlands passed through the doors of the D'Orsay agency.

Laurence D'Orsay became a naturalized citizen in 1940. He died after the war, on November 21, 1947, in Los Angeles City or County and was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in Glendale, California.

(1) Laurence D'Orsay should not be confused with the British actor of the same name.
(2) Laurence Thalmore and Nordica Abbott were married on September 15, 1922, in San Francisco. She was born on March 21, 1902, in Fresno, California.
(3) Kenneth Thalmayer was born on October 3, 1923, in San Francisco.

Laurence R. D'Orsay's Stories in Weird Tales
"Phantoms" (Jan. 1925)
"Marble" (June 1925)

Further Reading
I don't know of any further sources on Laurence D'Orsay except for his own works.

Mistress of Spears, Laurence D'Orsay's 1930 novel with a cover design by an unknown artist.
And a work by his wife, Nordica Abbott D'Orsay.

A photograph of Nordica Abbott D'Orsay (with others) from the Los Angeles Times, Ocotber 14, 1950, page 15. (Photo added Feb. 22, 2021.)

Update (June 6, 2014): I found out today that Michael C. Ruppert, the man who made the allegations about Teddy D'Orsay, killed himself on April 13, 2014. Born on February 3, 1951, in Washington, D.C., Ruppert was a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, an author, a conspiracy theorist, and a radio host. 

Updated: June 6, 2014; February 22, 2021.
Text and captions copyright 2013, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

Monday, November 11, 2013

O.M. Cabral (1909-1997)

Olga Marie Cabral
Aka Olga Cabral, Olga Kurtz
Office Worker, Poet, Author
Born September 14, 1909, Trinidad, British West Indies
Died December 6, 1997, New York, New York

O.M. Cabral was Olga Marie Cabral. She was not Everil Worrell and she was definitely not Kenneth H. MacNichol. So how did that piece of fiction begin? Who made the original assertion that Kenneth H. MacNichol used the pen name O.M. Cabral? Whoever it was fooled The FictionMags IndexWikisource, the Internet Speculative Fiction Database--and me, too. Fortunately, Weird Tales researcher Randal A. Everts corrected me, but not before I posted a biography of Kenneth Hartley MacNichol as the author known as O.M. Cabral. I have decided to leave that biography posted here, even though MacNichol was not a contributor to Weird Tales. I apologize for my error, and I'm glad to have this chance to set the record straight.

Olga Marie Cabral was born of Portuguese parents on the British West Indies island of Trinidad on September 14, 1909. She was taken by her parents, Anthony and Marie de Lourdes Cabral, to Canada shortly after her first birthday. The family lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, for some time, but by 1930, Olga was residing in Brooklyn, New York, and employed as a stenographer. (1) Like Catherine Lucille Moore, Olga worked in an office by day, but turned her interests to fantastic fiction. And like C.L. Moore, she used only her initials in her published stories. O.M. Cabral had four stories printed in the weird menace magazine Thrilling Mysteries in 1936-1938 before breaking into weird fiction in Strange Stories (1940) and Weird Tales (1941). Her credits in genre fiction and verse include the following:
  • "The Dead and the Damned" in Thrilling Mystery (Jan. 1936)
  • "Horror Has Blind Eyes" in Thrilling Mysteries (June 1936)
  • "Hell Flares on Howling River" in Thrilling Mysteries (July 1936)
  • "Drowned Men Never Rest" in Thrilling Mystery (Sept. 1938)
  • "Tiger! Tiger!" in Strange Stories (June 1940)
  • "Mirage" in Weird Tales (Jan. 1941; reprinted in the British edition of Weird Tales #3, 1942)
  • "Unhallowed Holiday" in Weird Tales (Sept. 1941)
  • "Electronic Tape Found in a Bottle" in Science Fact/Fiction, edited by Edmund J. Farrell, et al. (1974)
  • "Revenge of the Uvengwa" in Weirdbook #26 (Autumn 1991)
Beginning in the 1930s, Olga Cabral also had her poetry published in modernist and socialist magazines. Her first book of verse didn't appear until 1959. It was entitled Cities and Deserts, and it was followed by several more volumes: The Evaporated Man (1968), Tape Found in a Bottle (1971), The Darkness Found in My Pockets (1976), Occupied Country (1976), In the Empire of Ice (1980), The Green Dream (1990), and Voice/Over: Selected Poems (1993). Olga also wrote two books for children, The Seven Sneezes (1948), a Little Golden Book illustrated by Tibor Gergely, and So Proudly She Sailed: Tales of Old Ironsides (1981). (2)

Olga M. Cabral was married to Kenneth H. MacNichol, and in 1940, the couple were enumerated in the Federal census while living in Manhattan. That marriage would explain the conflation of the two writers, Olga Cabral and Kenneth MacNichol. Olga was also married to the Yiddish poet Aaron Kurtz. Born near Vitebsk, Russia, in 1891, Kurtz came to the United States in 1911. He wrote eight books of Yiddish verse, including Chaos (1920), Figaro, Plakaten, Marc Chagall (1947), and Lider (1966). Kurtz also edited and published the Yiddish poetry magazine Heintike Lieder. Kurtz died on May 30, 1964, in Long Beach, Long Island.

Kurtz's widow survived him by more than thirty years. Late in life she wrote:
I have lived through all the wars of this century, together with the rise of fascism, the Great Depression, the cynical witch hunts of McCarthyism, the atom bomb, the Cold War--I've seen it all. The twentieth century. My century.
Olga Marie Cabral Kurtz came into the world nine years after the twentieth century began and left it two years before its ending, on December 6, 1997, in New York City. Her brief obituary read: "Renowned poet and author, she enriched the lives of all she touched."

O.M. Cabral's Stories in Weird Tales
"Mirage" (Jan. 1941; reprinted in the British edition of Weird Tales #3, 1942)
"Unhallowed Holiday" (Sept. 1941)

Further Reading

(1) Olga Cabral attended George Washington High School in New York City. In 1926, she participated in the National Oratorical Contest.
(2) An actress named Olga Cabral appeared in a Portuguese science fiction movie called O Louco (1945), written and directed by Victor Manuel. I can't say whether this was the same Olga Cabral or not.

A poem by Olga Cabral, in which she sang of her island home:

The Music of Villa-Lobos
by Olga M. Cabral

Someone is speaking a lost language.
It is the music of Villa-Lobos.
I try to remember: where was I
born?  And from what continent
untimely torn?  I might have been
a priestess among the caymans
guarding the eye-jewel of the
crocodile god.  I might have sailed
orinocos of diamonds, seas of coconuts,
leased the equator for life and learned
my ancestral language.

But I have only some old sleeves of rain
in a trunk with spiders
to remember my ancestors by.
They have left me
nothing, and I have forgotten
that island of my birth
where the sun in his suit of mirrors
was seen once only with my vast fetal eye.

But in the music of Villa-Lobos
a god with a tower of green faces
comes striding across cities
of permafrost, and I am summoned
once again to the jaguar gardens
guarded by waterfalls
where the hummingbird people are at play
far from the cold auroras of the north.

from Tape Found in a Bottle (1971)

The Seven Sneezes by Olga Cabral (1948), illustrated by Tibor Gergely (1900-1978).

Following is a revised version of my original posting on Kenneth H. MacNichol:

Kenneth H. MacNichol
Author, Playwright, Journalist, Teacher, Lecturer
Born November 3, 1887, Canton, Ohio
Died June 29, 1955, Santa Cruz, California

On the occasion of Veteran's Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, I would like to write about a veteran of World War I. His name was Kenneth Hartley MacNichol and he was born on November 3, 1887 (some sources say 1886, others 1888) in Canton, Ohio. MacNichol began calling himself an author before the onset of the Great War in 1914. His first writing credits seem to have come from 1909. According to a later passport application, he served in France from July 1917 to June 1919. (The beginning date at least is questionable.) A blog called From an Oblique Angle says that MacNichol was a stretcher bearer before being transferred to the staff of Stars and Stripes. That blog, written by a man named Joshua Blu Buhs, includes a multi-part article on Kenneth MacNichol. I'll try not to go over the same ground as Mr. Buhs.

Kenneth H. MacNichol suffered from shell shock, what was later called combat fatigue and now PTSD. Separated from his wife and subjected to the strains and horrors of war, MacNichol not very surprisingly fell into the arms of another woman, Leonie Winckel. In December 1919, presumably after he had returned to the United States, she bore him a child. MacNichol's wife, Hetta Louise Eckel, for reasons we can only guess at now, took the child (and apparently the mother) into her own home. However, the arrangement did not work out, and both returned to Miss Winckel's home country of France. The result of all this was that Kenneth MacNichol became "temporarily deranged" and was placed under the guardianship of his wife. On his passport application of April 19, 1921, MacNichol's was called by a government clerk "the case of the irresponsible husband." The clerk wrote to his associate: "I would . . . address both passports to Mrs. MacNichols [sic] as he may destroy hers & skip alone to France." Evidently, both passports went to Mrs. MacNichol, for the couple traveled to Europe in the spring of 1921.

There was instability in the life of Kenneth MacNichol before that and for many years afterward. In his youth he lived in Ohio, New Mexico, Arizona, and probably California. The first of his several marriages (there were at least three) took place in Yavapai County, Arizona in 1913. His new wife was the same H. Louise Eckel who later became his guardian and later still his ex-wife. In the 1940 Federal Census, MacNichol was enumerated with another wife, the former Olga M. Cabral. MacNichol married again as late as 1953 in California. There was at least one and possibly two more wives between Hetta Louis Eckel and his wife of 1953.

During and after World War I, MacNichol lived in Barnstable and Boston, Massachusetts; Newark, New Jersey; Belle Mead, New Jersey (in a sanitarium during his breakdown); New York; London; San Francisco; and possibly other places. In that time, he worked as a newspaperman, lecturer, and teacher of writing. He also started his own businesses related to writing and books. According to Joshua Blu Buhs, MacNichol founded the San Francisco chapter of the Fortean Society. He also wrote plays, novels, non-fiction, and short stories. Wikisource lists his books and plays:
  • The King’s Idol (1909)
  • The Petaluma Product (1909)
  • Pan (play, 1917, presumed lost)
  • The Faerie Fool (play, 1918)
  • Enough Is Plenty (1918)
  • Home for Breakfast (1919)
  • That Kind of a Man (1920)
  • The Twenty-Seventh Story (1921)
  • He Missed the Train (1922)
  • The Affair Mouchard (1923)
  • The Devil’s Assistant (1923)
  • The Nose of Papa Hilaire (1923)
  • Freight (1923)
  • Between the Days (1925)
  • The Piper of Kerimor (1927)
  • Twelve Lectures on the Technique of Fiction Writing (non-fiction, 1929)
  • A Gamble in Gold Bricks (1931)
  • Murder Delayed (1935)
  • The Devil’s Well (1940)
  • Drums of the Dead (1940)
His genre stories and pulp fiction included the following:
  • "Murder Delayed" in Popular Detective (Mar. 1935)
  • "Murder in Vaudeville" in Detective Fiction Weekly (June 6, 1936)
  • "The Man Without a Face" in Doc Savage (Sept. 1938)
  • "Drums of the Dead" in Doc Savage (June 1940)
MacNichol also wrote for The All-Story Magazine, The Blue Book Magazine, Argosy, Blackwood's, and other magazines between 1909 and 1940. His writing credits seem to have dried up after 1941. In 1942 he was employed by the Newspaper Institute of America.

On June 26, 1955, MacNichol was riding in a bus in Santa Cruz, California, with his third or fourth or fifth wife Marie when it was struck by a train. MacNichol died from his injuries later that week, on June 29, 1955. His wife, though injured, survived him.

Note: Certain websites, without attribution, assert that Kenneth H. MacNichol used the pen name O.M. Cabral. They include The FictionMags Index, Wikisource, and the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (which refers to my own erroneous posting of November 11, 2013). In writing my posting on O.M. Cabral, I relied on those sources. I have since learned from Weird Tales researcher Randal A. Everts that O.M. Cabral was in fact Olga Marie Cabral, also known as Olga Cabral Kurtz. My posting on the author was incorrect. I have made corrections here. Although Kenneth H. MacNichol did not write for Weird Tales, I have decided to leave his biography posted here, with the right O.M. Cabral's biography posted above it. I have learned further that Olga Marie Cabral and Kenneth H. MacNichol were married at one time, and that's probably where all the confusion began over their identities.

Further Reading
You can read much more on Kenneth Hartley MacNichol in multi-part series of postings on the blog From an Oblique Angle by Joshua Blu Buhs.

Detective Fiction Weekly, June 6, 1936, with Kenneth MacNichol's byline on the cover.

Revised on March 28, 2015. Thanks to Randal A. Everts and Alistair MacNichol for corrections and clarifications.
Text and captions copyright 2013, 2023 Terence E. Hanley