Edgar Rice Burroughs Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Edgar Rice Burroughs

Birthday :

September 1, 1875

Died On :

March 19, 1950

Also Known For :

Creator Of Tarzan, Novelist

Birth Place :

Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Zodiac Sign :


Edgar Rice Burroughs was a famous American writer.  His most famous work was the creation of Tarzan and the Barsoom series.

Childhood And Early Life

Edgar Rice Burroughs was born on September 1, 1875, in Chicago, Illinois.  His father Major George Tyler Burroughs served in the Union Army during the Civil War.  His mother was Mary Evaline Zieger Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs was one of five children.  In 1891, Chicago was dealing with major illnesses.  Children were dying by the thousands from bronchitis, pneumonia, influenza, and typhoid fever.  Edgar Rice Burroughs' parents sent him to live with his two older brothers on a ranch in IdahoEdgar Rice Burroughs returned home after six months but was then sent to Massachusetts for school.  



Edgar Rice Burroughs studied at many schools during his childhood.  Some of his schools would close or consolidate because of the contagious diseases that were affecting the lives of the children. 

At public and private schools, he learned Greek, Latin, and English composition.  Edgar Rice Burroughs was not a strong student and was known to get into trouble.  After his return from Idaho, his parents sent him to Philips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Edgar Rice Burroughs did not last more than a semester because he was expelled for his behavior. 

His father continued his goal to send his son to military schoolEdgar Rice Burroughs started the Michigan Military Academy in Orchard Lake in 1892.  Even though he tried to escape the school, he eventually graduated in 1895.



Edgar Rice Burroughs taught geology, calvary, and Gatling gun for a while preparing for the entrance exam for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  Unfortunately, Edgar Rice Burroughs failed the exam and was deployed to Fort Grant in the Arizona Territory

Edgar Rice Burroughs was later released from active duty in 1897 when Edgar Rice Burroughs was diagnoses with a heart murmur doing his check-up.

Edgar Rice Burroughs took on some jobs after he left the military.  Edgar Rice Burroughs worked with family on the ranch and with his father at the American Battery Company.  Edgar Rice Burroughs opened his own stationary company in Idaho and worked alongside his brothers in a gold dredging business

In 1904 Edgar Rice Burroughs was a railroad policeman in Salt Lake City, Utah, then on to other businesses along the way.  His failures to hold a job that satisfied him and provide for his family left him feeling more and more depressed. Edgar Rice Burroughs was inspired to start writing when he was a lead pencil sharpener wholesaler and browsing through pulp fiction magazines.  Under the pen name Norman Bean, Edgar Rice Burroughs sold his first serialized story “A Princess of Mars” in The All-Story magazine in 1912.  It was published under the title “Under the Moons of Mars.” 

Edgar Rice Burroughs continued that series with his first book of the Barsoom series.  In 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs also wrote the fictional story that would later be his legacy, Tarzan of the Apes.

Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote to support his family, and by 1919 Edgar Rice Burroughs felt more financially secure with his work. The family moved to San Fernando Valley, California and bought a ranch of their own.

Edgar Rice Burroughs continued writing numerous short stories. In 1923, Edgar Rice Burroughs launched his own company called Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.  Under his own company, he was able to print his writings. When World War II started, Edgar Rice Burroughs became the oldest American journalist during the war.  Edgar Rice Burroughs covered stories in the South Pacific as a war correspondent.


Later Life

After his work as a war correspondent, Edgar Rice Burroughs returned to the United States and lived out the rest of his life in Encino, California.


Personal Life And Legacy

Edgar Rice Burroughs married Emma Hulbert in 1900.  The couple had two sons and a daughter.  Joan Burroughs married James Pierce, the actor who portrayed Tarzan in the 1927 film Tarzan and the Golden Lion

They also portrayed Tarzan and Jane in a weekly radio show.  In 1934, Edgar Rice Burroughs divorced his wife.  In less than a year, Edgar Rice Burroughs married actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt.  The couple divorced in 1941 because of his alcoholism.

Edgar Rice Burroughs died on March 19, 1950, in Encino, California at the age of 74.

Edgar Rice Burroughs is known for bringing more interest in the genre of science fiction adventure.  He is also known for unique characters such as Tarzan.  Tarzan of the Apes was first on the big screen as a silent film in 1918. 

The first sound film based on his character Tarzan was Tarzan the Ape Man released in 1932 starring Johnny Weissmuller in the title role.  Today, Tarzan is one of the most successful fictional characters ever created with over forty films and numerous television episodes both live action and animated.  



Between his return from his war correspondent job and his death, Burroughs suffered numerous heart attacks.   

Awards And Achievements  

•    Tarzan, Texas was recognized by the US Postal Service, 1927
•    The town around Burrough's California ranch, Tarzana, also took on that name, 1930
•    Wrote 91 novels total
•    Published 26 Tarzan titles with millions of copies sold around the world in 34 languages
•    Science Fiction Hall of Fame, 2003

Summary Of Major Works

•    Tarzan of the Apes novel (1912)

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