The Rarest Dust Jacket - The Return of Tarzan
N. C. Wyeth cover illustration for THE RETURN OF TARZAN in NEW STORY MAGAZINE, August 1913.
Ironically, for a jacket so rare, the painting itself still exists. In a foreword to Robert Lesser's Pulp
Art, Danton Burroughs, grandson of ERB, wrote:
"This Wyeth painting has an interesting , and partly apocryphal, history. In 1913 my grandfather
attempted to buy one of the two Wyeth paintings done for New Story. The one he wanted would only
be sold by Wyeth for a hundred dollars, a princely sum for anything in 1913. Edgar Rice Burroughs
wrote back to A. L. Sessions, the editor of New Story, and in a letter dated June 14, 1913, Burroughs
stated, "I want to thank you for the trouble you have taken relative to the cover design by Mr. Wyeth. I
am afraid, however, that Mr. Wyeth wants it worse than I do, so I shall be generous and let him keep
it." Many years later, in 1965, Hulbert Burroughs learned of a Wyeth Tarzan painting that still existed;
he purchased it for fifteen hundred dollars, believing that it was the same one his father had been
unable to afford in 1913. In fact, the one my grandfather sought in 1913 has apparently been lost to
the ages. Oddly enough it wasn't even as interesting a painting as the one we have; the picture
Edgar Rice Burroughs sought to purchase shows two men in ordinary desert garb riding horses
(presumably one of those men is Tarzan). The painting Hulbert bought is actually more significant,
because it shows Tarzan in his traditional setting. "
The first edition dust jacket for this book has simply disappeared over the years. Today,
according to Phil Normand at recoverings.com, only one partial and one complete copy is known
to exist. No one really knows why. Only recently has Phil Normand gained access to the one that
exists so that it could be copied. Consequently, Phil's facsimile is the most accurate available on
the facsimile market. I've tried to ascertain what the value of this book with an intact jacket might
be if it came up for auction, but how can anyone make an accurate estimate on an item so rare.
Bruce Wood's facsimile version of this rare jacket.