Me Tar'-z'n, you Jane


This letter, from Edgar Rice Burroughs to a young fan*, might settle the debate over how to pronounce the name of Burroughs's vine-swinging hero. By 1927, when this letter was written, Tarzan had already appeared in numerous print follow-ups and even a few movies, so it's no surprise that the letterhead is for "Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc." rather than just the man himself.

This letter is one of hundreds in the Daniel Berkeley Updike Autograph Collection, a wide-ranging group of manuscripts currently being listed by a volunteer. Hopefully we'll have the list available online soon.

In addition print, film and television, Tarzan made his way to Burroughs's bookplate as well ( image from the Library of Congress, where a letter describing the bookplate is available as well):

(See the original version of this post at Notes for Bibliophiles, the blog of the PPL Special Collections)

* There are references to a Gloria McAuslan Christensen of Providence online, and according to the Social Security Death Index, a Gloria M Christensen of Providence was born in 25 July 1913.  If they're the same person, the author of the letter would have been 14 at the time.


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Jordan Goffin

Special Collections Librarian Jordan Goffin has been mining the wonders in the Library’s Special Collections since early 2011. If you’d like to stop in and spend some time with the historic and noteworthy books, manuscripts and ephemera at PPL, contact him by email at or by phone at 401.455.8021. Also, visit the Notes for Bibliophiles blog ( to read more about the exciting materials in Special Collections and to keep up with events and announcements.


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