Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lucius Beebe & The American West

Before introducing the topic of my post, I'm excited to tell you my new book, BEGUILING DELILAH, is now available on Amazon. At last! 
US Amazon     UK Amazon    CA: Amazon    AU: Amazon
FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Now, about Lucius Morris Beebe: (December 9, 1902 – February 4, 1966) Beebe was an American author, gourmet, photographer, railroad historian, journalist, and syndicated columnist.

Lucius Beebe (R) and partner Charles Clegg; back jacket photo - Steamcars To The Comstock

Born in Wakefield, Massachusetts to a prominent Boston family, Beebe attended both Harvard and Yale, where he contributed to the humorous magazine The Yale Record. He was known for pulling pranks, including an attempt to decorate J. P. Morgan’s yacht with toilet paper dropped from a chartered airplane. Consequently, he proudly had the sole distinction of being expelled from both Harvard and Yale. Eventually, he did earn his undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1926, only to be expelled during graduate school.
As a young man, Beebe published several books of poetry, but soon turned to journalism. He worked as a journalist for well-known newspapers in New York, Boston and San Francisco, and was a contributing writer to many magazines.
Beebe wrote a syndicated column for the New York Herald Tribune from the 1930s through 1944 called This New York. The column chronicled the doings of fashionable society, of which he was a notable part, at famous restaurants and nightclubs. He came up with the term “café society” to describe the people in his column.
Beebe in the West
In 1950, Beebe and his long-time life partner, photographer Charles Clegg, moved to Virginia City, Nevada, somewhat of a mecca at that time for writers. Beebe and Clegg purchased and restored the Piper family home.
Piper-Beebe House; Creative Commons; Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Later, the pair purchased the dormant Territorial Enterprise newspaper, relaunching it in 1952. By 1954 the paper had the highest circulation in the West for a weekly newspaper. Beebe and Clegg co-wrote the "That Was the West" series of historical essays for the newspaper.
In 1960, Beebe began writing a syndicated column titled This Wild West for the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition to being a journalist, Beebe wrote over 35 books. His books dealt primarily with railroading and café society. Charles Clegg helped write many of his railroad books.

The pair also authored The American West: The Pictorial Epic of a Continent, first published in 1955 by Dutton Publishing. I own a 1989 hardcover edition published by Bonanza Books. I love it mainly for the plethora of wonderful illustrations. I wish I could share a few of them with you but don’t want to infringe on copyrights. The book is available used on Amazon. I highly recommend it.

Amazon description:
This truly magnificent book recreates with a wealth of rare pictures and vivid authoritative text the tremendous epic of the American West. As sweeping, spirited and many-sided as its subject, the book portrays the Old West in all its variety, from the days of the first pioneers to the final passing of the frontier. Includes more than 1000 illustrations.”

Reviews: There are only 2, but one is by our own Caroline Clemmons. Both give 5 stars.

By Bob G. on January 27, 2011

“. . .This is an absolute essential piece for your bookshelf if you are an aficionado of US History, particularly the classic era of the Western Frontier. What's most notable about this large volume, with over 500 pages, is the numerous illustrations (over 1000!) that will guarantee hours of your enjoyment. . .

“Worth the visual enjoyment alone, The American West: The Pictorial Epic of a Continent is written in an engaging style of colorful narration not seen in today's academic tomes. Much like the newspapers of the day, the authors Beebe & Clegg make fine use of the English language and deliver humor and excitement in their accounts.

“From the mountain men to the closing of the frontier, the whole story is presented as an illustrated summary that is always fun to pick up and refer to over and over again. A definite keeper!”

By Caroline Clemmons on November 11, 2014

“I bought this book after a friend mentioned it. It's a large book filled with illustrations and old photos to illustrate the text. Very useful for research.”

 Lyn Horner is a multi-published, award-winning author of western historical romance and romantic suspense novels, all spiced with paranormal elements. She is a former fashion illustrator and art instructor who resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” - with her husband and a gaggle of very spoiled cats. As well as crafting passionate love stories, Lyn enjoys reading, gardening, visiting with family and friends, and cuddling her furry, four-legged children.

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  1. The cover for your newest release is you make your own covers, since you are a former fashion illustrator and art instructor? You're pretty amazing!
    If I bought another research book, I'd have to leave home...we're trying to downsize, and one "downer" is that I must get rid of some books.
    Well done, Lyn. Thanks.

    1. LOL I'm glad you like the cover, but no, I didn't do it. Kim Killion did, although I chose the photos. She put them together following the same format as the rest of the series.

      I understand about not having room for more books. I'm in the same boat. If we ever move, I will have to give away quite a few. Sob! I hate to part with any book!

  2. Congratulations on your new release, Beguiling Delilah, Lyn.
    Research is so much fun. I really appreciate you sharing The American West and how its author came o write it. Don't you find it so interesting how people who didn't finish college or got kicked out ended up being so very successful in life?
    Loved your blog about Lucius Bebee and his partner Charles Clegg.

    1. Thank you, Sarah. Yes, I love researching although I often get so involved with it that I forget to stop. Beebe and Clegg were fun to research. Beebe was quite a character. He loved to wear top hat and tails while mingling with the high society elites he wrote about, but when it came to researching and writing his books, he was dead serious. I would love to have known him.


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