Walt Coburn was a famous western author in the pulps. He started his career as a writer when his lifetime goal of being a cowboy was ended after an accident. With a little encouragement from author Robert J. Horton, who had heard Coburn’s stories earlier and realized his talent for storytelling, Coburn parlayed his start with a vignette in the July 8, 1922 issue of Argosy into a thirty year, multi-million word career in the pulps.
|Author Walt Coburn riding a horse near his house in Tucson, Arizona|
From a mini-bio included with the inventory of his papers at the University of Arizona:
Walter John Coburn was born in White Sulphur Springs, Montana Territory, on October 23, 1889. His father, a pioneer cattleman, arrived in Montana Territory in 1863 and founded the Circle C Ranch, one of the largest outfits in the Northwest at the time. Walt gained his cowboy experience which served as material for his future fiction and non-fiction stories as a “$40 a month cowhand” on the Circle C.
From his first accepted story in 1922 until the demise of the pulp western serials in the 1950s, Coburn gained a reputation as “king of the pulp westerns.” He published more than 1,000 stories and 40 books. At one point he was producing 600,000 published words a year, and he kept that pace up for two decades. His stories were particularly noted for their authenticity to the frontier and range experience.
Coburn first came to Arizona in 1916 and ranched with his brothers in Globe. He moved to Prescott in 1927, spent 35 years in Tucson and returned to Prescott for the last 10 years of his life. Coburn committed suicide at the age of 82 on 25 May 1971. His autobiography, Walt Coburn: Western Word Wrangler, was published posthumously in 1974.
These photos of his house were shared with me recently.
|Exterior of author Walt Coburn’s house in Tucson, Arizona|
Looks like a quite lonely place.
The verandah is quite welcoming, but looks like it’s from a much older time period.
|Living room of author Walt Coburn’s house in Tucson, Arizona|
Except for the lamps in the living room, there are no electrical appliances.
|Study in author Walt Coburn’s house in Tucson, Arizona|
The author’s study with books and lamp to the right of the desk.
|Kitchen of author Walt Coburn’s house in Tucson, Arizona|
The kitchen was the only modern room, with a refrigerator and an electric cooktop.
If you want to know more about Walt Coburn, his auto-biography is _the_ book to get. James Reasoner reviews Stirrup High (deals with his boyhood and early youth) and Western Word Wrangler (some coverage of boyhood and youth, more about his writing career) here, and prefers the former. You can’t go wrong with either.