082. Lester Dent – Correspondence 1929-1932

1929

April 29, 1929
How World Readers Get the NewsThe Tulsa World featured an article written by Lester Dent.
Source: Columbia Manuscript Collection Number C3071, Index

June 7, 1929
This is a one-page letter to Lester Dent from G. B. Jenkins, Editor at Top-Notch Magazine, 78-89 Seventh Avenue, New York. Dent’s address was listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jenkins was requesting additional short stories. He describes “Robot Cay” as “most interesting.”
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

June 1929
Dell Publications buys Lester Dent’s story, “Robot Cay.” 
Source: Columbia Manuscript Collection Number C3071, Index

Lester Dent’s first purchased story “Robot Cay” is published as “Pirate Cay” in Top-Notch Magazine, September 1929.

September 12. 1929
This is a rejection letter from Top-Notch Magazine Editor George Jenkins concerning Dent’s story, “The Mission of Senior Gomez.” Jenkins complained that Dent’s primary character was not heroic enough. He requested that Dent provide something closer to the hero in” Pirate Cay.” Jenkins asked that Dent submit more stories similar to “Pirate Cay.” Jenkins noted that the rejected story has been transferred to The Popular Magazine per Dent’s request. Dent’s address was listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jenkins also requested that Dent send in some biographical information.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

October 14, 1929
This letter was from Street & Smith, Seventh Avenue and Fifteenth Street, New York reporting the death of George Briggs Jenkins on October 11. Jenkins had been working for Street & Smith for nine years and had been editor of Top-Notch for the last three years. Mr. Joshua Garrison, Jr is the new magazine editor.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

December 5, 1929
J. Garrison, Jr, Editor of Top-Notch Magazine wrote to Lester Dent that they were accepting “Death Zone” but rejecting “Moon Cay.” Garrison noted that “Moon Cay“ was good for the first thirty pages but fell off after that. Garrison gave Dent some pointers on improving the rejected story for subsequent resubmission. Dent’s address was listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.


1930

Circa 1930 – This is an undated letter from A. A. Wyn, Editor Magazine Publishers, Inc, 67 West 44th Street, New York addressed “Dear Friend.” This appears to be a generic rejection letter. It also includes two additional pages with details on submitting manuscripts. No address is listed for Lester Dent.

Circa 1930 – undated and unsigned letter from Street & Smith rejecting Dent’s manuscript. It appears to be generic in nature. No address is listed for Lester Dent.

Circa 1930 – This is an undated and unsigned letter from Collier’s at 250 Park Avenue, New York, rejecting Dent’s manuscript. The letter is generic in nature, but the Editor had inserted some hand-written remarks at the bottom. The Editor noted that the story was too heartbreaking for their use and that it seemed to be part of a longer story.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

Circa 1930 – This is another undated rejection letter from A. A. Wyn, Editor, Magazine Publishers, Inc. Associate Editor H. Wiswer wrote at the bottom that they are not looking for gangster stories. He urges Dent to send in more stories. No address was listed for Lester Dent.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

January 20, 1930
J. Garrison from Top-Notch Magazine wrote Dent another rejection letter. He stated that they have a surplus of serial stories but will transfer the manuscript to The Popular Magazine per Dent’s request.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

February 5, 1930
Philip Conroy, Co-Editor at The Popular Magazine wrote to Dent about the manuscript for “Blackbeard’s Specter” which was transferred over from Top-Notch. Conroy accepted the story and wrote that Dent will receive a check in a few days. Conroy asked for a sequel to the story and mentioned they will probably retitle it for publication. He also requested more stories from Dent. Conroy also offered some praise and criticism concerning some broad parts of the story. Lastly, he asked Dent for sixty-to-seventy-thousand-word serial of a fantastic nature along the lines of Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, or H. G. Wells. Dent’s address was listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

February 6, 1930
The letter is a follow up on “Blackbeard’s Specter” regarding payment from Co-Editor Philip Conroy. Dent had estimated the story at 35,000 words. The publisher counted 30,000 and was sending $375 in payment. Conroy noted that Dent was being paid the same rate for this story as he had been paid from Top-Notch. Dent’s address was listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

February 8, 1930
Lester Dent sent a manuscript to Joshua Garrison at Top-Notch Magazine titled “The Skeleton from Moon Cay.”
Source: Letter to Garrison dated April 23, 1930

March 4, 1930
This is a letter to Dent from Philip Conroy at Top-Notch Magazine requesting more material. Dent’s address was listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

March 10, 1930
Fiction House Editor John Byrne writes to Lester Dent rejecting “The Albino Terror.’ Byrne notes that the story is good but fails to meet the magazine’s requirement regarding length. Dent’s story is sixteen thousand words which makes it an awkward size. Byrne gives Dent some pointers on his personifications. He also requests some background information on Dent.

March 22, 1930
Lester Dent writes to Top-Notch Magazine about the story he submitted on February 8, “The Skeleton of Moon Cay.”

April 12, 1930
This is a letter from Lester Dent to John F. Byrne, Managing Editor of Action Stories regarding a previously rejected story. Dent had shortened the story from 16,000 word to 10,000 as requested and was resubmitting the manuscript. Dent noted that he was also including filler of 200 words, “Piracy in Chinese Waters.” He also mentioned that he had previously sold to Top-Notch and The Popular Magazine. Dent’s address was listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“Piracy in Chinese Waters” was single page article. It noted that during 1929 there were over six hundred attacks on ships by Chinese buccaneers. Dent noted that one technique used by the Chinese bandits was to have some of the gang members sail on the ship that was to be attacked. 
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

April 17, 1930
J. M. Ballantyne of the Claremore Writers’ Club asked if Dent could come over next Monday (April 22) and talk about how he writes stories. The letter was addressed to Tribune Office, Tulsa.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

The Madison County Record mentioned J. M. Ballantyne in the Thursday, November 7, 1929, edition. Reverend J. M. Ballantyne arrived in Kingston from Claremore, Oklahoma. He planned to stay for a month. The article noted that Ballantyne was a poet and writer who had contributed to several well-known papers. A subsequent search of newspaper articles turned up many articles naming J. M Ballantyne along with some short fiction.

April 21, 1930
The Editor from Top-Notch Magazine, J. Laurence, sent Dent a rejection notice for his story “The Skeleton from Moon Cay.” There was nothing wrong with the story. The magazine was simply not buying these kinds of stories at the moment. Laurence suggested Dent resubmit in the fall. Dent has sent this story in on February 8. Lawrence apologies for keeping it so long.
Dent’s address was listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

April 23, 1930
Lester Dent wrote to Joshua Garrison at Top-Notch Magazine regarding the story “The Skeleton from Moon Cay” that was mailed on February 8, 1930. Dent commented that the story was 20,000 words long. He noted that he previously inquired about the story on March 22, 1930. Lester Dent also mentioned a story, “Death Zone,” previously bought by the magazine. Dent’s address was listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

April 24, 1930
Lester Dent wrote a letter to Argosy Magazine Editor, A. H. Bittner at 800 Broadway, New York. Dent was apparently submitting a story, but it was not named. He mentioned that he had read Argosy for nearly 15 years while wrangling horses on the 4-J ranch in Wyoming.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1

May 6, 1930
Letter from Richard Merrifield, editor at Top-Notch Magazine rejecting Dent’s novelette, “Under the Arctic Ice.” Merrifield writes that he likes the story, but it is basically too fantastic. He states that the magazine tries to be “true to life” in its stories and depict events in a realistic manner. The plot involved a submarine trip under the arctic ice cap. It is noted that the story involved Chinese mobsters and Russian “nut” scientists. The letter refers to the former in derogatory terms unacceptable to modern readers. The editor also praised Dent’s story “The Thirteen Million Dollar Robbery” which was previously published. Merrifield requests a short story from Dent while he works out the details of his nest manuscript.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

May 15, 1930
John Byrne, Managing Editor at Fiction House writes Lester Dent rejecting his story “Hell Cave.” Byrne notes he has a strict policy avoiding jungle tales.

May 23, 1930
Richard Merrifield, editor at The Popular Magazine sends Dent a rejection letter for his story “The Phantom Lagoon.” This is a sequel to Dent’s earlier story which the magazine purchased, “Blackbeard’s Specter.” Merrifield states the story does not meet their current requirements rather than rejecting it outright. He also tells Dent the magazine in looking for a 30,000-word novelette.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f1.

La Plata Man Known as Writer – Lester Dent Sells Stories Written in Leisure Hours – Dent recently talked about short story writing for the Oklahoma University journalism extension class and the writer’s club in Claremore, Oklahoma. The article states this was reported in a Sunday World story. The article includes a nice picture of Dent wearing an aviator’s leather helmet with goggles on his forehead in classic pose. The article also mentions that Bern Dent lives three-quarters of a mile north of Santa Fe Lake. Dent is working the night shift for the Tulsa World. It is also mentioned that Dent attended the Tulsa University law school for a short period. Source: La Plata Home Press, June 12, 1930.

June 13, 1930
John Byrne of Fiction House writes to Lester Dent rejecting “Breed of the Red Dragon.” Byrne notes the story has the right elements but fails to deliver much action until the last portion of the story. He also complains that it uses the same elements of the previously rejected “The Albino Terror.”

August 20, 1930
Letter from Lester Dent to John Byrnes, managing editor of Air Stories Magazine, located at 220 East 42nd Street, New York submitting a new story. Dent mentions that he had previously sold the story “Vulture Coast” to the magazine. He also comments that the magazine had rejected several other stories.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

September 5, 1930
Dent writes to John L. Laurence, editor at Top-Notch Magazine, pitching a story he has included. The story is not named but based on its description it is like “Under the Arctic Ice” which was rejected in a letter dated May 6 from Richard Merrifield, editor at Top-Notch. There is no mention of the previous solicitation nor its rejection my Merrifield. Dent goes on to mention the submarine polar expedition by Sir Hubert Wilkins. Dent asks that Laurence pass the magazine along to High-Spot or another of the general adventure magazines.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

September 8, 1930
Lester Dent receives a letter from a novice author. Paul Thompson who was living at 217 South Choctaw in Claremore, Oklahoma mentions that he had sold a story titled “The Death Noose” to Gangster Stories. The story sold for ten dollars. Dent had helped with Thompson with a rewrite of the story and Thompson offers thanks for the help. Dent’s address is listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

September 15, 1930
Dent receives a $135 payment from Fiction House, Inc (220 East 42nd Street, New York). The story was “The Devil’s Derelict” and will be published in Action Stories. The letter lists J. B. Kelly as editor but is signed by F. N. Youngwood.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

September 16, 1930
Top-Notch Magazine sends Dent a rejection letter for “Peril’s Domain.” The letter is signed “The Editors.” The notation on the left margin is JIL/J.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

September 17, 1930
E. C. Richards, Editor of High Spot at Street & Smith sends Dent a rejection letter for “The Skeleton from Moon Cay.”

October 6, 1930
The managing editor, John F. Byrne, sends Dent a check for $275 for the story “Peril’s Domain.” Byrne indicates it will be published in an air magazine and requests more stories from Dent.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

October 7, 1930
Dent sends a letter to Harold Hersey who is editor of Outlaws of the West. Dent is proposing a series based on a character he calls “The Cowl.” He mentions his prior success in selling to Action Stories, Popular, Air Stories, and Top-Notch.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

October 9, 1930
In a letter to All-Fiction Magazine (100 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York), Dent submits “The Skelton from Moon Cay” to the editor, Carson W. Mowre.
Dent’s address is listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

October 15, 1930
H. W. Scheuttauf, Associate Editor at Metropolitan Publishers rejects Dent’s story, “Hell Cay.” Scheuttauf points out a few painful deficiencies in Dent’s use of words and plotting. The comments appear to be aimed at helping Dent improve his stories. He urges Dent to submit more work.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

October 22, 1930
Paul Chadwich, Editor or Air Trails requests some air action stories for publication.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

October 23, 1930
Dent receives a reply from Editor C. W. Mowre on his story “The Skeleton from Moon Cay” that he previously submitted to All Fiction Magazine. Mowre notes that All Fiction does not use this type of fiction and his other two air magazines use on wartime stories. Mowre is sending the story over to Martinsen at Sky Riders.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

October 25, 1930
Dent writes a letter to H. W. Scheuttauf, associate editor at Man Stories located at 537 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois. Dent is promoting oil field stories that around 10,000 words long. Dent mentions a prior rejection letter that included some guidance on correcting the story.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

November 3, 1930
Dent receives a rejection letter from Lon Murray, Editor at Action Magazine. The story is “Breed of the Red Dragon.” The magazine appears to have a surplus of material and complements Dent on his “usual good style.” Murray requests 6,000-word sports stories from Dent with the possibility of a series.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

November 6, 1930
John Burr, Editor at Five-Novels Monthly sends Lester Dent a rejection letter for “The Polar Corsair.” Burr points out that Five-Novels Monthly is a love story magazine. He also notes that war backgrounds are not used by the magazine.

November 8, 1930
Dent writes to Paul Chadwick at Air-Trails submitting a story titled, “Dinosaur Tears.” He also includes a short filler piece “The Landing Field.” Dent follows up with another page describing his youth in Wyoming and stating he had left that area twelve years ago.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

November 15, 1930
Dent receives a rejection letter from H. W. Scheuttauf, associate editor at Man Stories. In his letter dated October 25, Dent did not mention that he had included an actual story with his letter. Scheuttauf mentions that he is returning the story and describes the plot as being filled with “technical apparatus that dulls the interest.”
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2.

November 18, 1930
Dent fires off a letter to John Byrne at Action Stories trying to promote a sale of his oil field story. Dent asks if the story has too much technical detail. Dent states that he has worked around the oil fields several years.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

November 18, 1930
Richard Martinsen, Executive Editor of Sky Riders writes Lester Dent about his story “The Skeleton from Moon Cay.” Martinsen requests some background information on Dent since they have not bought from him before. He is holding the story until he hears from Dent.

November 21, 1930
Dent notes in a letter to Richard Martinsen at Sky Riders promoting a story called “Hell Hop.”
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

November 21, 1930
In a second letter to Martinsen, Dent includes some background information on the other magazines to which he has made sales. The list includes Popular, Top-Notch, Air-Stories, and Action-Stories. Dent lists two references associated with his telegraph operator work: Mr. Manton Marrs, City Editor, Tulsa World and Mr. Victor Barnett, Managing Editor, The Tulsa Tribune.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

November 24, 1930
John Byrne at Fiction House writes Dent about his oil field yarn, “The Greasy Gamble.” Byrne rejects it as being outside the scope of their magazine. He states it is a good story but that it is not a popular story topic. He suggests Dent try Argosy. Byrnes adds in a handwritten note at the bottom of the page that the market for air stories is good and requests Dent write more of them.

November 25, 1930
Richard Martinsen purchases “Skeleton from Moon Cay” with payment of $250 to come in a few days. He tells Dent he has plenty of longer air stories and that Dent should restrict himself to short stories if he plans to sell to Dell. He mentions to Dent that Scotland Yard needs all types of detective stories.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

November 26, 1930
Dent submits his oil field story (The Greasy Gamble) to A. H. Bittner at Argosy.
Dent’s address: listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

Circa December 1930
Dent received a rejection letter from Ziff Davis for his story “Hell Cay.” David Vern closes the letter with the comment “This hurts us more than you.”
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

December 2, 1930
Lester Dent receives a telegram from Dell publisher Richard Martinsen inviting him to New York. He is buying “Hell Hop” for Sky Riders. He requests a 35,000-word story for Scotland Yard needed in ten days. Payment for “Hell Hop” coming. Martinsen advises Dent that if he younger than 35 years, making less than $100 per week, and has only a few children to come to New York where he will personally help him.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa.
Source: Postal Telegraph, December 2, 1930

December 2, 1930
Paul Chadwick writes Dent rejecting his prior story idea about petrified pearls. Chadwick rejects the story on the basis of the idea. He compliments Dent on his writing style. Chadwick suggests that Dent submit a plot outline that they can collaborate on.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

December 3, 1930
Richard Martinsen at Dell urges Dent to finish his story for Scotland Yard and get on a train and come to New York. Martinsen assures Dent that he will help him.

December 3, 1930 – Dent sends a telegram to Richard Martinsen telling him he will produce the story. Dent mentions that he falls within Martinsen’s guidelines to come to New York but needs to think it over.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

December 5, 1930
C. W. Mowre of All-Fiction at Dell Publishing writes Dent a letter returning “The Polar Corsair” and explaining it is too long for his magazine. Mowre urges Dent to send in stories of seven thousand, fourteen thousand, or twenty thousand words in length. Mowre also needs factual articles of an adventurous nature.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

December 9, 1930
Dent writes a letter to Richard Martinsen at Dell sending him the promised story, “The Osage Ogre,” for Scotland Yard. Dent mentions payment received for two stories bought for Sky Riders. Dent propositions Martinsen on a story idea involving a treasure hunt in Wyoming with a twist.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

December 11, 1930
Lon Murray of Air Trails sends Dent a letter rejecting “Hell Cay.” The story was also passed by Excitement which declined the story. Murray states they need short stories of 5,000 words.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

December 12, 1930
Dent writes a letter to Richard Martinsen with the manuscript to a story. This is apparently the 15,000 Wyoming treasure story he mentioned in his letter dated December 9, 1930.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

December 13, 1930
This is the second page of a letter from Richard Martinsen to Lester Dent urging him to come to New York. Martinsen assures Dent he can make $500 per month if he is willing to work hard and take constructive criticism. He also notes that Carson Mowre of All Fiction will also buy Dent’s material. Martinsen notes that Dent made no mention of the offer in the letter he included with “The Osage Ogre.” Martinsen states he will not mention it again.

December 16, 1930
Richard Martinsen at Dell writes Lester Dent in apparent answer to a missive with Dent telling him they are coming to New York. The letter mentions pending payment of $500 for “The Osage Ogre.” Martinsen urges Dent to do his best to get to New York by early January 1931.
Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

December 17, 1930
Don Moore, Managing Editor at Argosy sends Dent a rejection letter for “The Greasy Gamble.” Moore notes the plot is too confusing and unbelievable.

December 20, 1930
Lester Dent writes a letter to Richard Martinsen at Dell acknowledging Martinsen’s second letter. Dent thanks him for the $500 payment for “The Osage Ogre.” Dent includes an outline for a Curt Flagg story involving missing ships and a landlocked harbor in the North Atlantic. A shipload of Lewisite, pirates, and a plan to extort protection from London is central to the plot. Dent’s address: 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dent notes that he plans to be in New York before January 5th.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2

December 20, 1930
The Sooner State Press carries an article titled Fiction Field Beckons to Tribune Man in its Saturday, December 20, 1930, edition. Lester Dent is subject. It is stated that he has worked for the Associated Press as an operator for the past four years. Dent is leaving to join the staff of Sky Riders in New York City. He has been writing and selling fiction for the past two years. The article lists several stories Dent has authored: “Pirate Cay,” “Death Zone,” “Buccaneers of the Midnight Sun,” “The Thirteen Million Dollar Robbery,” “Vulture Coast,” “The Devil’s Derelict,” “The Skeleton from Moon Cay,” and “Hell Hop.”

At 25, Lester Dent Makes Hit As Writer – The article states Dent will leave Tulsa, Oklahoma and head for New York on January 1, 1931. The article also states Dent will visit his parents before leaving for New York. Dent has been working for the Tulsa Tribune for four years and has been writing commercially for less than two years.
Source: La Plata Home Press, Thursday, December 25, 1930


1931

January 1, 1931
The Dents arrive in New York City.
Source: National Register of Historic Places – Dent Home: Section 8 page 16

January 13, 1931
Lester Dent signs a one-year lease for the furnished room D-1 at the Hutchinson Garden apartment building located at 224 Brookside Avenue, Mount Vernon, New York. The lease period runs from January 15, 1931, through January 14, 1932, for $105 per month. The lease shows Dent’ previous address as Hotel New Yorker, New York. The 1931 Mount Vernon, New York City Directory lists Dent living at the same address.

January 17, 1931
Note: Letter is dated 1930. Lester Dent writes to P. D. Petty sending in his resignation letter.
Source: CA5569_Box10_correspondence_f1

February 22, 1931
Vin H. Johnston of Montreal, Canada sends Lester Dent a letter via Top-Notch Magazine with the help of the editor, Mr. Oliphant. The letter deals with a story by Johnson dealing with the Sargasso Sea. He is concerned because of similarities between it and Dent’s previously published story, “Death Zone.” Johnston states his story will be published in book form rather than magazine. He is asking Dent’s blessing on the similarities.
Dent’s address: not listed.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

February 25, 1931
Lester Dent responds to Vin H. Johnston’s letter. Dent gives his bless on the story and comments that stories on the Sargasso Sea are bound to share some similarities even if independently created. Of interest to Doc Savage readers, Dent mentions “The Isle of Lost Ships” by Crittendon Marriott. Dent remarks that the movie adaptation appeared shortly after his own Sargasso Sea story was published.
Dent’s address: 4333 46th Street, Long Island, New York.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

March 14, 1931
Linton Davies, Assistant Managing Editor at Fiction House sends Dent a rejection letter for “Whirlygig Hell.” Davies notes the story is long on murder and short on plotting. Davies notes that Dent does fine with action and style.

April 15, 1931
Paul Chadwick at Street & Smith reluctantly sends Lester Dent a rejection letter. Chadwick notes that he simply has too much material currently on hand. He asks that Dent send more stories later.

April 23, 1931
C. W. Mowre, editor at Dell writes Dent requesting a clear photograph of Dent and a short explanation of the last story purchased. Both items are to be used for promotional purposes. 
Dent’s address: 224 Brookside Avenue, Mount Vernon, New York.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

Dell shuts down the magazines Dent was writing for in May.
Source: “Bigger Than Life, The Creator of Doc Savage” by Marilyn Cannaday, 1990, page 11

May 8, 1931 – C. W. Mowre, editor at Dell, sends Dent a rejection letter for his story “Strafed Jinx.” Mowre criticizes the plot as being too frequently used. The letter lists Dent’s address as 224 Brookside Avenue, Mount Vernon, New York.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

May 26, 1930
R. Oliphant of Top-Notch sends Lester Dent a rejection letter for his story “S. O. S.”

May 28, 1930
John Byrne, Managing Editor of Fiction House returns Dent’s story “Arctic Loot.” Byrne states that it is not a bad story but needs a little more novelty to meet their standards.

May 28, 1930
Lester Dent writes to William L. Mayer, Editor at Airplane Stories. Dent has included an unnamed 10,000-word story. There is a handwritten note on the bottom of the letter stating that the magazine has temporarily suspended publication.

June 3, 1931 – James Holden, assistant editor at Argosy sends back Dent’s story, “Doom Coast,” as being to unrealistic for their readers. The letter lists Dent’s address as 224 Brookside Avenue, Mount Vernon, New York.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

June 5, 1931 – The editor at Detective Fiction Weekly sends Dent a rejection letter for “Cupid’s Skelton” and “The Body in the Sky.” Both stories are rejected as being unrealistic. The letter lists Dent’s address as 224 Brookside Avenue, Mount Vernon, New York.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

June 11, 1931 – D. Norton Taylor, assistant editor at Detective Fiction Weekly sends Dent a rejection letter for his story “The Treasure in the Derelict.” Taylor notes Dent is “still using unfortunate probabilities” but requests additional stories. The letter lists Dent’s address as 224 Brookside Avenue, Mount Vernon, New York. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

June 17, 1931 – Air Trails editor Paul Chadwick returns Dent’s story “Doom Coast.” The story is rejected mainly because it is not a air-war story. The letter lists Dent’s address as 224 Brookside Avenue, Mount Vernon, New York. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

June 18, 1931 – Associate editor Dorothy C. Hubbard at Detective Fiction Weekly writes Dent a rejection letter for his story “The Treasure in the Derelict.” The letter lists Dent’s address as 224 Brookside Avenue, Mount Vernon, New York. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

June 24, 1931 – Complete Stories editor E. C. Richard sends Dent a rejection letter for his story “Arctic Loot.” Richard notes that the magazine does not publish air stories and has an adequate inventory of stories at the moment. The letter lists Dent’s address as 224 Brookside Avenue, Mount Vernon, New York. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

Circa July 1931 – Harry Widmer, associate editor at Magazine Publisher, Inc. sends Dent a handwritten note rejecting his story. It appears this is a detective story of 6,000 words. Dent is also criticized for using first person in the narrative. No address is shown on the note. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

July 17, 1931 – Editor C. W. Mowre rejects Dent’s story “Chinese for Buzzards.” Mowre notes that the story overuses dialogue with resulting loss of drama. The letter lists Dent’s address as R. F. D. No. 3, La Plata, Missouri. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

Spending Vacation Here – Lester and Norma Dent are visiting in La Plata and Carrollton. The Dents plan to vacation out west and finish up in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Dent plans to be at the great Frontier Roundup held in Cheyenne in August. They will return to New York afterwards. Source: La Plata Home Press, Thursday, July 23, 1931

July 30, 1931 – Associate editor, Harry Widmer of Magazine Publishers, Inc. writes Dent a rejection letter for his story “S. O. S.” Widmer inquires about a “Wallace Beery” western that Dent is apparently writing. The letter lists Dent’s address as R. F. D. 3, La Plata, Missouri. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

August 4, 1931 – Air Trails editor Paul Chadwick sends Dent a rejection letter for “Naked Man Upstairs.” The letter lists Dent’s address as R. F. D. 3, La Plata, Missouri. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

Magazine Tour Writer To Tour West – Long article on Dent’s vacation. He plans to cross the Big Horn mountains and retrace the trip he made in a covered wagon as a youth. The trip itinerary lists the Black Hills, Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado. Norma’s sister, Corrine Gerling will also be traveling with them. The trip will last three to four weeks with the travelers returning to La Plata. They will return to New York in October. La Plata Home Press, Thursday, August 13, 1931

August 28, 1931 – The Detective Fiction Weekly editor sends Dent’s story “The King’s Millions” back. The story is criticized as incoherent. The letter lists Dent’s address as R. F. D. No. 3, La Plata, Missouri. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

August 31, 1931 – Linton Davies, assistant managing editor at Fiction House, Inc. writes Dent a rejection letter for “Chinese Buzzard.” The story is described as burlesque and unbelievable by the editor. The letter lists Dent’s address as R. F. D. #3, La Plata, Missouri. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

September 23, 1931 – Editor C. W. Mowre at Dell sends a rejection letter to Lester Dent. The story, “The Naked Man Mystery,” is rejected on grounds of being unbelievable and gruesome. Mowre uses the term “haywire” in describing the plot. The letter lists Dent’s address as R. F. D. No. 3, La Plata, Missouri. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

September 24, 1931
Lester and Norma Dent are back in La Plata after their tour out west. They plan to visit with Lester’s parents and then return to the East. Source: La Plata Home Press, Thursday, September 24, 1931


1932

Circa 1932 – In an undated letter, Dent receives a generic rejection notice from editor A. A. Wyn at Magazine Publishers, Inc. There is a handwritten note on the bottom signed Harry XXXXXX. The notes urge Dent to get rid of the “ unpleasant, repulsive characters” and put more emphasis on a western essence. No address is listed on the letter. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

Circa 1932 – Lester Dent’s Federal Tax Form for 1931 shows a total income of $2,557.00 for the year. He has $18.00 in deductions for taxes already paid. Dent lists $75.00 in interest income. This indicates the Dents possessed several thousand dollars in savings. The goes inline with a letter Dent wrote earlier stating he had two-years of salary saved when he came to New York in January 1931. Dent’s entire income, excluding savings, comes from Dell Publishing Company and Magazine Publishers, Inc. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f2130

February 25, 1932 – Street & Smith editor-in-chief F. E. Blackwell contacts Lester Dent about doing some lead stories in The Shadow Magazine. The letter has a handwritten note “This is the start of Doc Savage, Mrs. Dent.” Dent’s address is listed as 1132 South Quincy, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

March 4, 1932 – Lester Dent writes back to F. E. Blackwell at Street & Smith expressing his interest in the offer. Dent’s address is listed as 4333 46th Street, Long Island, New York. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

March 10, 1932 – F. E. Blackwell at Street & Smith writes a letter telling Dent to call and make an appointment to see him. Dent’s address is listed as 4333 46th Street, Long Island, New York. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

March 30, 1932 – F. E. Blackwell at Street & Smith writes to Lester Dent and mentions Dent’s letter of the prior week. Blackwell explains that his brother died at that time and he has been handling the affairs. Blackwell criticizes Dent’s synopsis of “Golden Vulture” as disjointed. Blackwell requests Dent to submit three chapters. Dent’s address is listed as 4333 46th Street, Sunnyside, Long Island, New York. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

April 1, 1932 – Over at Dell, C. W. Mowre writes Dent about a submitted story, “Range Bats.” Mowre recommends a few changes to the story and a resubmission. Dent’s address is listed as 4333 46th Street, Sunnyside, Long Island, New York. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

The May 1932 issue of Writers Digest contained an article by August Linninger. In it, he dissects Lester Dent’s story, “The Sudden-Disaster Gent” as an example of correct methods.

May 26, 1932
Letter from E. B. Blackwell, Editor-in-Chief at Street and Smith to Lester Dent. This is a rejection letter for “Wolf Range” that was submitted to Western Story Magazine. Dent’s address is listed as 4333 46th Street, Sunnyside, Long Island.
Source: CA5569_Box10_correspondence_f1

June 2, 1932 – Associate editor Harry Widmer at Magazine Publishers, Inc. tells Dent his resubmitted story “Invisible Horde” is improved. Widmer points out few items that need changing but tells Dent he will edit the story. He requests Dent next provide a western short story or short novel. . Dent’s address is listed as 4333 46th Street, Sunnyside, Long Island, New York. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

Later in 1932, the Dents move to 8904 34th Avenue, Jackson Heights, Long Island, New York. Dent mentions Jackson Heights in the first Doc Savage story, The Man of Bronze. Source: National Register of Historic Places – Dent Home: Section 8 page 16

August 1, 1932, Monday
Lester and Norma Dent arrive in La Plata. The local paper carried an article titled Lester Dent Is Now In The Big League – Visits Parents Here Enroute to Mexico and California – Dent and his wife arrived on Monday from New York to visit his parents. Dent plans to head out on a two-month trip via auto through Mexico and on to Death Valley, California. Louis Madison, now of Flint, Michigan, will accompany Dent on the trip. Madison and Dent both in the same graduating class at La Plata High School. Norma Dent will be staying in Carrollton. Dent picked up Madison on his trip home via Canada. The article features a prominent picture of Lester Dent dress in cowboy gear.
Source: La Plata Home Press, Thursday, August 4, 1932

Lester Dent was in Claremore, Oklahoma on Sunday, August 7, 1932 visiting his friend Paul Thompson. The article in the Thursday, August 11 issue of The Claremore Progress states that Dent will be collecting factual article material for a New York magazine. Dent intends to travel to Mexico before going to Death Valley. The article notes that Dent and Paul Thompson have been friends for several years after Dent became interested in author Paul Thompson’s fictional works.

Lester Dent is mentioned in a feature titled Among Oklahoma’s Literary People by Zoe E. Tilghman. The article notes that nine of Dent’s short stories are on the newsstand this month in Detective Dragnet, Western Trails, All Western, War Aces, and Western Romances. The article notes Dent is on his way to Death Valley to fulfill some writing commissions. The article describes Dent’s youth as one of cowboy, sheepherder, and horse wrangler in Wyoming. The story notes that the Dents currently live on Long Island but plan to move to Greenwich Village in the winter.
Source: Harlow’s Weekly, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Saturday, August 27, 1932

The Kirksville paper printed a lengthy article on Dent’s recent trip out west. He spent six weeks with school chum Jasper Madison touring the west. He is back home now at his parent’s home in La Plata. Dent mentions the hard work of panning gold and the high temperatures in Death Valley. Dent talks mostly about his visit with Death Valley Scotty in Death Valley. But he does find ample time to fill the article with biographical facts about himself. Source: Kirksville Daily Express & Daily News, Thursday, September 15, 1933

Former Tulsan Writes for Fiction Magazines – This is a shorter version of the article printed on August 17, 1932, in Harlow’s Weekly. This is likely a press release written by Lester Dent.
Source: Sooner State Press, Norman, Oklahoma, Saturday, September 17, 1932

December 5, 1932 – The American Weekly writes to Dent about his article “Today’s Gold Rush.” They reject the material stating they have ample inventory on hand. Dent’s address is listed as 8904 34th Avenue, Jackson Heights, Long Island, New York. Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f3

Zoe Tilghman mentions Lester Dent in her column, Among Oklahoma’s Literary People. She refers to his story, “Trickery Trails,” in All Western. Source: Harlow’s Weekly, Saturday, December 31, 1932

December 10, 1932 – Lester Dent begins work on “The Man of Bronze.”
Source: WHMC C3071 Index f. 2095-2097