Tuesday, 18 November 2008

AHV in Yellowback


Author - Explorer - Adventurer

by Ed Mattson

Yellowback Library (Fanzine), November/December 1987. Digital capture November 2008, Doug Frizzle

Sometimes while reading a book I wonder where the author got the idea about the story I was reading. Most, I believe, came from the imagination, but this wasn't so in the case of A. Hyatt Verrill.

He was born Alpheus Hyatt Verrill on July 23, 1871 in New Haven, Connecticut, and was fortunate enough to live in a time which is considered the golden age of writing, especially in juvenile fiction.

This was also the era in which both South and Central America were really opened up for travel, and I guess you could also say this was the golden age of discovery and exploration of those areas.

Verrill was not only an author, but an illustrator, naturalist, explorer, archaeologist, inventor, and, no doubt, an adventurer.

His writing accomplishments that are of interest to the juvenile book collector are the four volumes of the Boy Adventurers Series, published by Putnam from 1922 to 1924, the Radio Detective Series in four volumes published by Appleton in the year 1922, and the Deepsea Hunters Series in three volumes published by Putnam from 1922 to 1924. However, by no means is this all he wrote, and in fact he wrote more than one hundred books plus many articles in magazines. To mention a couple that were published in Amazing Stories: "The Astounding Discoveries of Dr. Mentiroso"(1927), and, in 1928, "The Psychological Solution." Also published in Fantastic Adventures was the story in 1939 called, "The Mummy of Ret-Seh." Many more stories in different magazines were written by Verrill, and those who are more interested in his works can find some information about Verrill in Who Was Who in America, 1951-1960.

This man was a real adventurer and lived in several different countries throughout his life. He spent time in British Guiana, Surinam, Bermuda, Panama, and many more countries in this region. His contributions to science are well-documented, and in 1896 he illustrated the Natural History Section of the Webster's International Dictionary. Also at the turn of the century he invented the Autochrome Process for Natural Color Photography.

All his books are in demand and rarely does one appear that is not snapped up at the moment it appears.

It took me from 1959 to 1987 to complete the Boy Adventurers Series in dust jackets, and I have yet to complete the Radio Detectives Series.

A. Hyatt Verrill died on November 15, 1954 in Florida, where he was laid to rest. Here was a man who truly lived the adventures that he wrote, and after all these years we still get to enjoy them...

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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.